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2007-era Vista build, should I upgrade?


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I am working on a '07 era custom build that is designed for vista, it essentially has the same specs as the original Mac Pro, and I am thinking of upgrading it, and I would like to know what the best OS for it is, preferably windows or linux, but I would be willing to hackintosh it if it would expand it's usability until sometime in the early 2020's (around 2021-2023). Any suggestions would be helpful. The current OS is listed below:

Windows Vista Ultimate x86

Service Pack 2

Internet Explorer 9, as a part of the updating.

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The way I see it (and I know people are going to disagree with me on this, feel free to), Windows 8.1 is currently the all-around best Windows version you can use today. It's faster than Windows 7/Vista, has a much wider range of compatibility with modern software and drivers compared to Vista and below (or Linux), and will be supported for another 7-8 years, vs Windows 7 which will end in roughly 4 years, or Vista which will end in less than a year. Windows 8.1 is also exempt from most of Windows 10's annoyances, such as the lack of update control, ugly UI, etc., and if you dislike the default UI, @NoelC has a guide that makes Windows 8.1 nice to use. Here are links to his guide and a screenshot of it working on my system: http://prnt.sc/cen6d2

However, as in @JodyT's case, there are some instances where your processor lacks the support for some instructions which Windows 8.1 requires. If this is the case, I suppose Windows 7 would have to be your OS of choice, or if you don't mind having to manually install updates, Windows 8.0 might work and you'll probably find it to be faster than Windows 7. Visit the "Server 2012 updates on Windows 8" thread for more info: 

Edited by 2008WindowsVista
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14 hours ago, 2008WindowsVista said:

there are some instances where your processor lacks the support for some instructions which Windows 8.1 requires.

Additional info:  https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn482072.aspx

These hardware features have been built into processors since about 15 years ago.

And I agree - Win 8.1, well tweaked, is IMO the best modern Windows system you can run - assuming you have, as I have, given up on the travesty that Microsoft is creating with Windows 10.  It's what I've chosen to have on my workstation to run my software engineering business.

-Noel

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The processor requirements are the same for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, JodyT as far as I know still uses Windows 8 because he prefers them than Windows 8.1 (as I do).

Edited by HarryTri
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Actually not exactly Harry Tri.  I have come to prefer Windows 8 because of it lacks telemetry updates and GWX.  However, it started out because I use a system that runs on a pair of Netburst (P4--style) Xeons.  These CPUs lack some of the security components needed to run the x64 version of Windows 8.1.  So at Windows 8 I must stay, or replace the system.

But now that all of that telemetry crap and updating crap came to light.  I do prefer Windows 8.  So if and when I acquire a newer system, I will still use Windows 8.

This was the thread (below) where I discovered all of this:

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Not sure what, but SOMETHING in Win 8.1's Explorer implementation slowed down a lot.

Select all the files at the root of drive C:, right-click, and choose properties.  Windows 8 will enumerate them much more quickly than 8.1.  I imagine that on a marginal system that could make the difference between Explorer seeming seriously sluggish or just mildly so.

In my case, with a modern system and high performance I/O subsystem, the problem isn't really noticeable, so it didn't hold me back from moving to 8.1.  But it really is there.

As far as I can remember there has never been an "everything's better" release.  It has always required a measured decision.  Imagine if we could have an OS that has the best attributes of all the versions ever built.  Think how far that fantasy is from the reality of "what have they done to me lately?"

-Noel

Edited by NoelC
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22 hours ago, JodyT said:

Actually not exactly Harry Tri.  I have come to prefer Windows 8 because of it lacks telemetry updates and GWX.  However, it started out because I use a system that runs on a pair of Netburst (P4--style) Xeons.  These CPUs lack some of the security components needed to run the x64 version of Windows 8.1.  So at Windows 8 I must stay, or replace the system.

But now that all of that telemetry crap and updating crap came to light.  I do prefer Windows 8.  So if and when I acquire a newer system, I will still use Windows 8.

This was the thread (below) where I discovered all of this:

I have a problem reading through extended topics to say the truth (which explains that you don't usually see posts from me in them). Anyway since Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have the same requirements for SSE2, PAE end NX as far as I know I wonder what these security components are:unsure: (you can give me a link to the exact post that they are mentioned if you prefer so).

Edited by HarryTri
Correcting typo
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I don't know of any differences in hardware requirements between 8 and 8.1 myself, which is why I posted the link to the Win 8 requirements page.

I've been monitoring this thread in the hopes of learning the difference.

-Noel

Edited by NoelC
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1 hour ago, NoelC said:

I don't know of any differences in hardware requirements between 8 and 8.1 myself, which is why I posted the link to the Win 8 requirements page.

I've been monitoring this thread in the hopes of learning the difference.

-Noel

That's odd Noel, because you posted in that very thread back at Christmas time.  Let me go find it.  It was well known that many had hardware issues and could not upgrade to Windows 8.1

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Go to page 2 of this thread, and scroll halfway down.  MY CPUs apparently lack the PREFETCHW instruction, and that disallows running the x64 version of Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.  The CPUs were all launched prior to 2008

Plus, if you go to the Windows 8 Forums linked below, you'll see many had issues with the upgrade.  I'm surprised this is news to so many.

http://www.eightforums.com/installation-setup/33167-8-1-upgrades-says-wont-work-pentium-4-prescott-630-a-2.html

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On 12/19/2015 at 0:13 AM, dencorso said:

It seems to me that Intel processors that are unable to run 8.1 and 10 lack PREFETCHW, which all multicore AMD processors do include, whereas most multicore AMDs that are unable to run 8.1 and 10 lack CMPXCHG16b, instead. However, at this point, this is little more than just a guess. I know for sure all Athlon XPs cannot run even 8.0, because they lack SSE2, among other things, but not all Athlon 64 X2 and later AMD processors are able to run 8.1 or 10 but all seem to be able to run 8.0...

It's no guess anymore, but fact. Of course we're talking about processors Intel from Jan 2006 or newer.
Later Addition: It turns out that the 1st Intel processor to support PREFETCHW was Cedar Mill, the 65 nM final revision of the Pentium 4 released on January 5, 2006. And it seems that the 1st AMDs to support CMPXCHG16B were the Bulldozers, from late 2011!!!
Sysinternals' CoreInfo is the right tool to test whether a machine has those requirements or not.

NB: Care when interpreting CoreInfo's results: in them a "*" means "yes" and a "-" means "no", but all the features it tests are alway listed. So, the excerpt below means "YES Supports CMPXCHG16B and NO Support for PREFETCHW":

...
CX16          *    Supports CMPXCHG16B instruction
...
PREFETCHW     -    Supports PREFETCHW instruction
...
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On ‎9‎/‎9‎/‎2016 at 11:42 AM, JodyT said:

That's odd Noel, because you posted in that very thread back at Christmas time.  Let me go find it.  It was well known that many had hardware issues and could not upgrade to Windows 8.1

Tells you how bad my memory is getting (wetware, not hardware).

-Noel

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