Posts Tagged ‘windows 10’

Rebuilding the Shack PC

My ham shack PC is an older Dell desktop PC.  It’s not fancy, but it does the job I need it to do.  I’m pretty sure this PC and its present Windows installation date back to 2011 or 2012.  Initially it was built with Windows 7 and then I applied the free Windows 10 upgrade whenever that came out.  With exception to just general sluggishness which one can expect from a machine of this age…the machine still works fine.  It’s just slower than molasses on a cold winter day.  This slow/sluggishness can be eliminated by reformatting the HDD and reloading the OS and all the software. 

Sticking with Windows

While I’ve certainly dabbled in Linux, I’m a Windows guy by profession.  Plus my main ham radio software is Ham Radio Deluxe.  I’ve been running HRD since I was first licensed back in 2007.  It’s what I like, it’s what I’m used to and it does everything I need it to do.  I use HRD for all my general logging and use DM-780 for PSK, RTTY etc. and it seamlessly works well with WSJT apps for all things JT/FT.  For contesting, I generally stick with either N1MM Logger or the N3FJP logging software.  While I realize there are Linux solutions available, I’m just not interested in taking the plunge.

Taking Backups

The first order of business for this project is backup.  Backup everything.  Of course the most important thing to backup is my HRD Logbook.  It is automagically backed up each time I exit the logbook to my Dropbox folder.  But I wanted to make sure I had a good backup.  Done!

Ham Radio Deluxe also has a feature to archive/export all HRD settings.  I’ve never actually tried this feature, so this will be the first attempt.  Hopefully this works and will help speed up the process of getting HRD running again after the rebuild. 

The next important item to backup is my TQSL file.  You can easily export your TQSL file by launching the TQSL app and exporting your station data.  this makes getting this app set back up a breeze.  Again…Dropbox comes to the rescue. 

As I’m running a few USB to Serial dongles, I wanted to make sure I had the driver software stored safely somewhere I could find it.  Once again Dropbox is the answer.   I also verified I had a few other misc. files that I may or may not need readily available and saved on my Dropbox (Just in Case).

Finally, I’ve backed up all the other files/folders of the machine just to make sure I have everything I might need.  I don’t anticipate I’ll need anything other than the items I’ve moved over to Dropbox, but you never know.

Reset Windows

Windows 10 has option to perform a full reset of the OS which removes all applications, settings, configurations and files/folders on the machine.  Essentially this is a fresh install of the OS and is the option I opted to go with.  I could have performed a partial reset which keeps the files/folders…but as this machine had 8-9 years of clutter on it…I wanted to completely start over. 

The process of resetting Windows 10 took about 30 minutes or so.  I was doing a few other things in my office at the time.  But in the end, I was left with a fresh install of Windows 10 and a much faster performing PC. 

After reconnecting Dropbox, I proceeded to reinstall Ham Radio Deluxe, WSJT etc.  The HRD settings saved me a lot of time and by mid-morning, I had the PC connected to both my Yaesu FT-897 which I use for digital modes and my FTDX 1200.  I made a few FT-8 QSO’s on 20 meters and tested to make sure I could upload both to ARRL LoTW and eQSL.  My callsign lookup is functional with QRZ and my QSO’s get updated to HRDLOG.net so they are visible on my blog site.  I still need to reinstall a few additional items such as N1MM Logger and N3FJP Logging Software.  I’ll get these done before the next contest. 

For now, I feel this old Dell will last me at least another year or perhaps more.  I really don’t need it to do anything other than serve as my ham shack PC and it works very well in this function.  Even better now.

I certainly hope all who are reading this are safe, healthy and weathering the quarantine as well as can be expected.  Of course our hobby is perfect for times like this and I hope you are getting some quality on-air time. 

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK (Jerry)

Windows 10

I’ve earned my living in the fascinating world of information technology for many years.  The first Microsoft OS which I remember using was Windows 3.0 and since Windows 3.1 I’ve professional supported just about each version published.

My main shack PC is a 3 years old desktop PC and it’s been running Windows 7 since I built it.  Before that I had been running Windows XP on an even older machine.  While both OS versions supported my enjoyment of the amateur radio hobby, I’ve been very pleased with what Windows 7 had become.  Even at the professional level, I find Windows 7 to be a very stable and easy to support OS in the corporate arena.

Like most everyone else, I had been carefully watching the news regarding Windows 10.  Back to my professional experience, we moved away from Windows XP as a standard about 3 years ago and have been deploying all employee PC’s (mostly laptops) with Windows 7.  We skipped Windows 8 (just as we did with Vista) and our long term plan will be to begin moving to Windows 10 at some point in the future. 

Anyway, as I stated….Windows 7 is what I use for all my home PC’s and it’s worked out very well.  My main shack PC which I use to perform all logging (contest and otherwise) along with digital modes and rig control works great.  This machine logged a QSO for each and every day in 2012 and half of 2014.  It’s just a solid machine.  However, I must admit that I found myself a bit intrigued by what other hams had been posting about their Windows 10 upgrade experience.

However, I must admit that other than testing new software in my professional role….I have tried to get out of the business of living on the bleeding/cutting edge of technology.  Meaning, while I very much consider myself a geek and I truly love to have the latest and greatest gadgets…I’ve generally followed the rule of never upgrading to a new Operating System until the first service pack has been released.  Even then I proceed with caution.

But as Microsoft tends to put out a great OS every other version and a not so great OS the other times (Great OS = Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 7) (Not so great OS = Windows ME, Vista, Windows 8.x) I knew Windows 10 was going to be in the great category and as I said I had been hearing good things from other hams.  So I decided to take the plunge.

After spending time backing up my important files (HRD logbook, all application source files, documents, pictures etc.) I started the upgrade process.    Now I must admit that I really don’t like the upgrade from one OS to another process.  Additionally, I’ve never had good luck with it.  Generally it is almost always better to do a clean install of an OS on a freshly formatted hard drive.  But I figure I didn’t have anything to lose.  So upgrade we go….

After about 30 minutes my system restarted and I said goodbye to Windows 7 and hello to Windows 10.  Of course my main areas of concern was whether my amateur radio apps would all work.  I wanted to make sure my log was working and that I could upload to LoTW, eQSL and Club Log.  I also checked to make sure rig control worked across all my connected rigs via their USB Serial Cables.  All check and good to go.   I also quickly checked to make sure other contest logging software worked. 

I have nothing negative to report about my Windows 10 upgrade experience.  From what I can see (and this is my non-professional opinion as I’ve not spent enough time testing in the corporate environment) but Windows 10 might very well be the absolute best OS Microsoft has developed and best of all….It’s Free!

Just for the record.  While I said I had nothing to lose by trying the upgrade, this machine has been progressively getting slower and slower over the past few months.  So much so that I had actually planned on performing a rebuild.   The upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 did slightly improve my sluggish performance, but I think I’ll most likely do a complete rebuild in the coming weeks.

So should you upgrade to Windows 10?  I believe only you can really answer that question.  If you are eligible and you have hardware that will run it…I would say go for it.  If you don’t see the option to do the upgrade in your system tray you can go to this Microsoft page and start the process. 

I’ll be sure to provide additional updates on my Windows 10 experience, but for now I’m pleased (really pleased) with what I see. 

Until next time…

73 de KD0BIK

P.S.  I’m having a blast easing back into the hobby.  I am wrapping my content for the next PARP episode and looking forward to recording it and getting it out to all of you.  Thank you for your continued friendship. 


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