Upgrading Dell Dimension 9200 to Windows 10

The Dell Dimension 9200 is an old PC by all measures. I bought mine in January 2007 and it has served me well. The processor is the Intel® CoreTM2 CPU E6400 @ 2.13GHz, which was state-of-the-art at the time of purchase. It came with a 380 GB disk and 2 GB memory, installed with Windows XP and with a free Windows Vista upgrade.

Over time, it has been improved. I opted out on Vista, but immediately had to purchase a Firewire adapter, that I needed for my Canon DV camera (yes, video cameras had tapes back then). In 2010, it was upgraded to Windows 7 Home 64 bit. Now it supported up to 4 GB memory, so it was upgraded to that and the disk was exchanged with a 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.

In that configuration, it laboured on until last year, when my increased use of VirtualBox started to impact performance. I looked around the Net and found that, contrary to Dell’s specifications, it should be able to support even 8 GB memory. So I bought 4 x 2 GB 240-pin DDR2 DIMM modules, with only limited success – it was obviously faster, but started to Blue Screen. The modules where returned to the shop with a full refund and I looked more carefully at what other people had suggested to be safe. I then bought four Corsair XMS2 Xtreme Performance DDR2 2 GB DIMM 240-pin (CM2X2048-6400C5) and everything has worked fine ever since.

Then came along Windows 10 and I registered for my free upgrade, only to be disappointed – the ATI X1300/X1500 graphics adapter is not supported by Windows 10.

Back to Googling and I found that the Radeon HD6450 series should work fine with the Dimension 9200 (and its limited 375 W PSU), so I bought myself a Sapphire Radeon 6450 1 GB DDR3 with support for three monitors and sporting both DVI and DisplayPort connectors. At the same time, I bought a 250 GB Samsung SSD 850 EVO to further enhance the performance.

The current set up is:

  • Dell Dimension 9200 with Intel® CoreTM2 CPU E6400 @ 2.13GHz
  • 8 GB memory (4 x Corsair XMS2 Xtreme Performance DDR2 2 GB DIMM 240-pin (CM2X2048-6400C5))
  • Sapphire Radeon HD6450
  • 250 GB Samsung SSD 850 EVO

I had a Windows 7 Pro product key laying around, so I did a fresh install of that, on the new disk. Then I upgraded to Windows 10 Pro and it went perfectly fine, within a few minutes it had activated itself. Then I chose to re-install Windows 10 Pro from scratch, just to make sure that no Windows 7 leftovers could impede on future performance and/or stability. You may need your Windows 10 Pro product key for that, but it can be found using e.g. ProduKey-64 from nirsoft. Spoiler Alert: All Windows 10 Pro product keys are identical and will be VK7JG-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXX-3V66T (XXXXX is for obfuscation), at least for installations upgraded from Windows 7/8.x Pro.

BitLocker Disk Encryption is available in Windows 10 Pro, but the Dimension 9200 lacks the modern type BIOS that allows secure storage of the encryption key. It can be activated by performing a little operation Windows Registry Keys and then you will have to either enter a password/passphrase at boot time or have dedicated USB key with the encryption key inserted in the computer at boot time. I prefer the passphrase, because USB keys tend to fail over time.


Stolen Canon camera equipment

The following Canon camera equipment was stolen from my house in Værløse, Denmark, on Thursday september 18th 2014:

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II, serial number: 2431424320
  • Battery grip BG-E6
  • Canon Speedlite 580EX II, s/n: 005640
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, s/n: 6500006, with 58 mm Canon UV 1x filter and Lens Hood ES-71II
  • Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, s/n: 929806, with 77 mm Hoya UV filter
  • Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, s/n: 223362, with 77 mm Canon Protection filter
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, s/n: 260053, wtih 67 mm B+W UV 010 MRC filter
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM, s/n: 518947, with 77 mm Rodenstock UV filter
  • Lowepro Pro Runner 350 AW Back pack
  • 32 GB Transcend CF card

All was in mint condition, all lenses with original Lens Hoods and fron and back caps.

What is Electricity?

Hilarious 🙂

Here is a simple experiment that will teach you an important electrical
lesson: On a cool, dry day, scuff your feet along a carpet, then reach
your hand into a friend’s mouth and touch one of his dental fillings.
Did you notice how your friend twitched violently and cried out in
pain?  This teaches us that electricity can be a very powerful force,
but we must never use it to hurt others unless we need to learn an
important electrical lesson.

It also teaches us how an electrical circuit works.  When you scuffed
your feet, you picked up batches of “electrons”, which are very small
objects that carpet manufacturers weave into carpets so they will
attract dirt.  The electrons travel through your bloodstream and
collect in your finger, where they form a spark that leaps to your
friend’s filling, then travels down to his feet and back into the
carpet, thus completing the circuit.

Amazing Electronic Fact: If you scuffed your feet long enough without
touching anything, you would build up so many electrons that your
finger would explode!  But this is nothing to worry about unless you
have carpeting.
— Dave Barry, “What is Electricity?”

It’s how we all lose.

Bruce Schneier has a short notice on some of the more technical issues of the NSA Eavesdropping, as revealed by Edward Snowden, in this blog entry:

How the NSA Eavesdrops on Americans

Unfortunately, the press seems more interested in the whereabouts of Edward Snowden and the US hunt for his person, than for the actual eavesdropping. This is truly worrying and Bruce Schneier express it very clear in this sentence:

I don’t know what there is that can be done about this, but it’s how we all lose.

True enough – it’s how we all loose!

Fra de gode gamle USENET-dage …

Dear Emily:
How can I choose what groups to post in?
— Confused

Dear Confused:
Pick as many as you can, so that you get the widest audience.  After
all, the net exists to give you an audience.  Ignore those who suggest you
should only use groups where you think the article is highly appropriate.
Pick all groups where anybody might even be slightly interested.
Always make sure followups go to all the groups.  In the rare event
that you post a followup which contains something original, make sure you
expand the list of groups.  Never include a “Followup-to:” line in the
header, since some people might miss part of the valuable discussion in
the fringe groups.
— Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette