Let's run Win10 on really really old hardware

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  1. Fafhrd's Avatar
    Posts : 1,944
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240
       #371

    Until a couple of hours ago, I was liking 1903 on this old system. Then along came "Windows Hello"!

    After logging on, blue windows setup screen with "Please wait ..." below the circle of rotating dots, then the graphics switched off, upsetting the TV monitor it was connected to, which switched off the display then Windows switched on the graphics again and the monitor displayed the source device that was playing - PC, then Please wait etc...It also intermittently switched off the USB connections to keyboard, mouse and the WiFi dongle I use.

    After returning from the dog's walk, I entered Safe Mode (I use the legacy text only boot menu especially for this purpose) with F8 and 4, and ran " netplwiz" from the Safe mode command prompt to exclude password being asked for on startup.

    And after a few burps in the graphics stability, everything went back to normal.

    Now how will I explain this in Feedback Hub?
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  2. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,821
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1803 (April 2018 build 17134.706)
       #372

    To Fafhrd: Your method (install on another computer first) is a bit of cheating and doesn't count as a true Windows 10 installation on this old hardware. As we are talking about cheating, there is a method to create a USB installation of Windows 10. Normally one should run Windows 10 Enterprise and use a USB Flash drive (at least 32GB) to create a Windows-to-Go installation on it. This flash drive can then be connected to another PC and after installing some basic drivers let you use Windows 10 without installing them (like a Live DVD). Unofficially there is a method to extract the files from install.wim into a USB Flash drive, make the partition bootable and add some other stuff to make it a valid Windows-to-Go installation. I cannot say more because I am not sure if the tools used are legit. So in theory, you could create such a USB using the latest Windows 10 build and then plug it in any old computer and test compatibility. Upon first restart it will install any missing drivers and take you through the OOBE (user creation etc). If you have already done this, in any new computer will install some basic drivers. restart and then show you the Login screen (or login automatically if no password is defined). If it does login to the desktop, then this computer is compatible (assuming you can find drivers for all missing devices). Then you can simply clone the installation to the hard disk and install any applications you need. There is one major disadvantage though, a Windows-to-Go installation cannot be upgraded to a future built, it can install only updates of the same build.
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  3. Fafhrd's Avatar
    Posts : 1,944
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240
       #373

    Unofficially there is a method to extract the files from install.wim into a USB Flash drive, make the partition bootable and add some other stuff to make it a valid Windows-to-Go installation.
    No It's not Unofficial and is legit, it's documented on Technet:
    https://social.technet.microsoft.com...p-by-step.aspx

    2. Next you need to apply the operating system image that you want to use with Windows To Go on the operating system partition you just created on the disk (this will take up to 30 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the image and the speed of your USB connection). The following command shows how this can be accomplished using the Deployment Image Servicing and Management command-line tool (DISM), note that the index number must be set correctly to a valid Enterprise image in the .WIM file:

    dism /apply-image /imagefile:n:\imagefolder\deploymentimages\mywtgimage.WIM /index:1 /applydir:W:\
    Be sure to specify a WIM file that contains a sysprep generalized image.

    3. Now use the bcdboot command line tool to move the necessary boot components to the system partition on the disk. This helps ensure that the boot components, operating system versions, and architectures match. The /f ALL parameter indicates that boot components for UEFI and BIOS should be placed on the system partition of the disk. The following example illustrates this step:

    W:\Windows\System32\bcdboot W:\Windows /f ALL /s S:
    Tenforums' predecessor and sister site Eightforums has a tutorial for Window 8 To Go on similar lines, and Wolfgang has a tutorial here on tenforums:
    Setup and Run Windows 10 on USB Flash Drive
    so it MUST be legit!:)

    "Windows To Go" for Windows 10 on USB 2.0, all that is available on most older laptops, is not feasible because data reads and writes are just too slow in use. I have a windows 8.0 preview release "Windows To Go" on a 16GB Sandisk Cruzer blade which still runs only just usably on the Travelmate and other better specced machines.

    USB 3.0 was not released until November 2008. It is possible to use a USB 3.0 adapter expansion card on a Desktop machine, but that's definitely "Cheating" with newer hardware being added!:)

    In 2006, when the Travelmate was built, the maximum size of USB flash sticks was 2GB, and cost a lot more than pocket money!

    Anyway, what's the difference do you think, between using a USB device as a vehicle, which is newer hardware, to add a drive volume to your system, than using a VHD, around since windows 7, which is Microsoft software technology available with Windows 10 natively?

    This thread is called "Let's run Win10 on really really old hardware" not "Let's install Win10 on really really old hardware"!

    If the old hardware runs unmodified Windows 10 code from Microsoft, natively, as on a VHD, but will not install using Windows Setup, then there are errors or intentional barriers, (can I say, "Bugs"?) in the setup software.

    It is not cheating to use workarounds to get Microsoft software to run on any hardware, people have been doing these things since personal computers became available. I can recall a time with MSDOS that you had to buy 3rd-party "memory extenders" to run certain software or "memory expanders" until MS introduced Himem.Sys with MSDOS 5.1 in 1991.

    Native VHDs run with virtually no speed difference than from the disk, and as I mentioned above can be zipped in situ, and expanded either across a network, or from attached external storage in about 30 minutes on old hardware like mine. For me it's the way to go.
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  4. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,821
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1803 (April 2018 build 17134.706)
       #374

    I suspect the errors during standard installation are due to incorrect or missing drivers. As I have recommended in older posts, You have to disable in BIOS all devices (sound, LAN, Wi-Fi, camera etc, if applicable) to prevent Windows Update installing faulty drivers during installation and hang the system. Once you have successfully installed Windows 10 you can download all relevant drivers and then enable each device one-by-one and install the driver for it. Surely for old hardware no Windows 10 driver will be available, but the driver for 8 or 7 or at least Vista should work. In systems with maximum RAM 4GB it is advisable to avoid 64-bit and install Windows 10 32-bit to have much greater chance of finding a driver for the devices. If this for some reason fails, you could create a Windows-to-Go installation on USB Flash drive and see if that works. The USB speed is irrelevant as you only want to test compatibility, not use Windows directly from the USB drive. Once you have verified that the computer can run Windows 10, you clone the USB drive on the hard disk and run Windows 10 from there (after installing all drivers of course). Some newer Windows 10 builds do not provide a WIM file, only an ESD file that you have to convert to WIM to use it in GimageX.

    PS: If you cannot natively install Windows 10 but you can run from a virtual machine, this is proof that installation fails due to drivers (virtual machines share only the CPU, the rest devices are virtual, not the host devices).
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  5. Fafhrd's Avatar
    Posts : 1,944
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240
       #375

    I've been doing this for a long time, before you joined Tenforums, Spapakons, see my other contributions to this thread. I know how to maximise the chances of success with an installation on unsupported old machines by disabling onboard devices. I have even gone to the extent of removing built-in Wifi cards, DVD writer, and all USB devices and disconnecting from the LAN. I bought an IDE SSD to speed up the system and increase the capacity of the main drive from 60GB to 120GB, but the system fails to boot from the device, recognising it in BIOS, but not driving it properly, so I had to revert to an IDE HDD.

    Not a 64-bit processor, 32-bit only., never used Gimagex, no usable drivers for this old hardware to download, maximum 2GB RAM. Flash drive on USB 2.0 too slow to use realistically for Windows 10 to go, life is too short. I have verified that this machine is running the latest version of Windows 10 with good speed on VHD natively booted, with screenshots. Said this all before. I am also perfectly capable of converting ESD to WIM files using DISM etc.

    Installation fails because Setup.exe cannot run on the hardware. Believe me. Windows 10 version 1903 runs fine on it.

    Managing devices in BIOS is extremely hard to do with the sort of very limited BIOS that Acer put on cheap laptops in 2006,and the lack of continuing driver support, since the XP drivers it came with were supported by Vista, and Windows 7 i.e. up to 2009. Why should Acer bother to waste money supporting 4 year old equipment since it had made dozens of newer systems, and sold many millions of them, in the meantime?

    This machine did install Windows 10 up to the anniversary update 1607, after that, not successful. One experiment I have been meaning to do but never got around to it was transplanting a current Windows 10 version install.wim into the sources folder of a 1607, or even a Windows 8 setup ISO contents.

    The drivers that are not being installed or found are old XPDM drivers that Windows 10 does not support, with installation not supported even in compatibility mode. Believe me, I've tried every way I can. Although there is no BSOD during Windows Setup, it fails because it installs Generic Windows drivers that cause memory leaks, or system interrupts that block setup and WinPE progress by using up all CPU capacity causing setup to freeze.

    Here's two examples of Windows PE:

    - from Windows 8 reserves 256MB of video memory, and the ramdisk likes to use a similar amount of memory to run the "X: drive" from. Its because of the historical amount of installed RAM in systems that were around in 2012.

    but, WindowsPE 10 reserves 1.0GB of Video memory, and the ramdisk is also about 1 GB, reflecting more recent hardware.

    Note that Windows PE does not use a pagefile or swapdisk.

    That's why Windows 10 will not install on systems with less than 2GB of RAM,without difficulty. Sometimes Windows 10 setup requests spare disk space to hold setup files if it cannot find sufficient free space on the installation drive.

    On a 2 GB maximum installed RAM as in many older systems, during setup, there is very little free memory to cope with buffer overruns due to generic drivers failing to run essential core devices or services correctly. There is no telemetry when you shut down a failed Windows setup session, so Microsoft remains blissfully ignorant of the situation (especially if during setup,
    You have to disable in BIOS all devices (sound, LAN, Wi-Fi, camera etc, if applicable) to prevent Windows Update installing faulty drivers during installation and hang the system.
    you are trying to not let the system screw up!

    This is the challenge!

    Chipset drivers are not supported, and the Intel 915 graphics are not supported, even the USB drivers are not fully supported.

    See - Let's run Win10 on really really old hardware - Page 37 - Windows 10 Forums - then look at the mess in device manager where Windows 10 plug'n'play fails to identify the number of devices, and duplicates many of them - due to chipset drivers not being available to identify the system, yet windows 10 still runs.
    Windows 7 ran fine without any device errors because it could use the XP driver set.

    Setup since 1607 just does not work correctly with this system, yet the current version of Windows 10 will still run on it. Bottom line.
    Last edited by Fafhrd; 4 Weeks Ago at 12:03.
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  6. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,821
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1803 (April 2018 build 17134.706)
       #376

    In that extreme case, your only solution is to preinstall Windows 10 on a similar working hardware, then clone this installation to the laptop's hard disk and update any drivers you can. Next workaround (if not similar computer is available) is using a Windows-to-Go installation and clone that to the disk. For some devices such as LAN you could even install Windows XP drivers if Vista or higher are not available. Do not rely on Acer, run a utility such as Aida64 or Speccy to identify devices and download the driver directly from the manufacturer, not Acer's site. For some hard to find drivers you could use a driver utility such as Snappy Driver Installer. Avoid updating any existing drivers (blue color), install only missing drivers (green color) to avoid BSOD in case a partially compatible driver replaces an older working driver.

    Example of "similar" hardware: My father's old PC was running on a Pentium 4 s478 CPU with Intel i865 chipset and I managed to upgrade to a newer Intel s775 motherboard and Pentium D s775 CPU and use the same hard disk. Windows 7 did load without any issue and I upgraded all the drivers. I then was able to upgrade to Windows 10. In theory any Intel-to-Intel and AMD-to-AMD upgrade should work, provided you are talking for a generation gap or 2-3 generations. Obviously greater than 3 generations apart has even less possibility to work and Intel-to-AMD or vice versa even less. Fortunately Windows 10 are less likely to throw a BSOD than Windows 7 increasing the possibility of success. Needless to say it is preferable to transfer a working Windows 10 installation to another computer than use the Windows-to-Go method.

    PS2: Important I just remembered: When transferring an installation to another hardware it is more likely to work if you set the SATA controller to IDE (compatible) mode. Avoid AHCI mode, unless the original installation was in AHCI mode. And even then, I would try to boot in IDE mode first and if that doesn't work I would switch to AHCI. That is because most IDE drivers are included in Windows 10 while some AHCI drivers might be missing and cause a BSOD.
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  7. Fafhrd's Avatar
    Posts : 1,944
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240
       #377

    Thanks for your reply, Spapakons, it contains some excellent information.

    However, I have a perfectly acceptable solution (in my opinion) that avoids external hardware altogether. I also avoid Setup and OOBE on my old machine both of which do not work correctly.

    You see, many old hardware device manufacturers recognise that the device hardware IDs belong to an ACER OEM laptop, which Acer has licensed for its own OEM product, and they recommend that I go to the Acer Website for drivers, of course, which are for the XP operating system and no later Windows version.

    Often, device drivers from devices made in 2006 or earlier were made for XP as if there were never going to be a successor to that OS, and indeed the unpopularity of Windows Vista, and the continued usage of XP as the most popular version of Windows ever, meant that the XP drivers were mostly usable in Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 until Windows 10, and only then were new drivers needed, since the XP drivers were deprecated in 10, and fail to install. Microsoft had to kill off its most successful offspring one way or another, and of course no-one with Windows 7 or 8.x has ever had to pay for a Windows 10 upgrade.

    Only because of lack of application support for Windows XP, it is dying - few modern browsers support it, for instance, yet now Windows 7 supporters tenaciously cling on, and 7 is Microsoft's next target for termination, and Windows 10 is Microsoft's future pathway, allowing them to progress. Windows 8 was a step too far, and like Vista, was a non-starter.

    I think that they are doing a pretty good job of it! Windows 10 gets leaner and smarter as the versions evolve. Despite the barriers to running old hardware...

    I don't mind if Microsoft continues to try to exclude old hardware from running it by putting barriers in the way, I shall just try to circumvent them! One day they will win, but until then...

    By natively installing Windows 10 on any PC that happily runs Windows 10, on a 40 GB VHD, and allowing it to run thru OOBE personalisations, and making any software installations, and modifications as far as I like to use Windows, I can zip that installation on a VHD file to a zipfile of 3.5 GB approximately. Over my network I can unzip that VHD to storage on disk (takes about 30 minutes) on any old machine on my network with space greater than 40GB available. Once the VHD has finished being unzipped, I can mount the VHD as a drive, use BCDBOOT to add it to the BCD Boot menu, and reboot.



    When the PC boots up to this new bootmenu entry, it first sets itself up then does the best job it can with Generic Microsoft drivers to get all the devices working. Many devices fail, because Windows 10 has no workable drivers for this old chipset, LAN, Wifi, faxmodem etc, but it manages to get an image on screen, and by my one cheat, I admit, a more modern usb wifi dongle, which is supported by Windows 10, I can connect to the internet, and receive cumulative updates, and I can disable all those problem devices...

    Only one more thing... ...activation - if the machine has a digital license, then it activates, but as I already posted here are ways to force this, if the installation has problems.

    ...and I know that soon, I will not be able to do this workaround, because Microsoft will create one final insurmountable barrier. C'est la vie!

    Postscript.

    I would ask anyone who has struggles with hardware that should be able to install and run Windows 10, but cannot, so far, to try this method. Once Windows works on older hardware it shouldn't be able to, then you can post on the feedback hub, and MS will realise that there are devices out there running Windows 10 that deserve their attention and their support.MS needs the telemetry to support their user base, so do not disable these services.
    Last edited by Fafhrd; 4 Weeks Ago at 16:17.
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  8. spapakons's Avatar
    Posts : 2,821
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1803 (April 2018 build 17134.706)
       #378

    I have another idea. Install an older working build of Windows 10 directly on the hard disk of the old machine complete with drivers and applications. Then create a full backup (or clone the installation to a spare disk). Also backup the system files (ntoskrnl.exe, winload.exe, winload.efi, … do not know which else) to a separate place. A new build that fails most likely has modified system files. You could cheat by replacing these files with those of the older build and see if the installation proceeds. If it does and you manage to upgrade to a newer build, backup that and have it as a starting point for the next build. If everything goes bad, just restore the older installation (after taking a backup of your recent data). It is far better to upgrade and preserve your data and applications than start over again.
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  9.    #379

    With the help of Fafhrd's posts I was able to install new versions (1809, 1903) on an old Dell Latitude D610 (with ATI X300). I booted the system with a 1709 USB-Stick (the last working version for this Laptop) and used the dism /Apply-Image... method with newest install.wim from a second USB-Stick. At first reboot I got oobe errors and I used the comands from this post to finish the setup. The system works a lot better than expected.Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by drummachine; 1 Week Ago at 20:20.
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  10. bobjoe's Avatar
    Posts : 257
    Windows 10, 8.1, 7, and Vista
       #380

    drummachine said: View Post
    With the help of Fafhrd's posts I was able to install new versions (1809, 1903) on an old Dell Latitude D610 (with ATI X300). I booted the system with a 1709 USB-Stick (the last working version for this Laptop) and used the dism /Apply-Image... method with newest install.wim from a second USB-Stick. At first reboot I got oobe errors and I used the comands from this post to finish the setup. The system works a lot better than expected.

    Thank you for letting us know. I will try this on my laptop with similar specs and hopefully it'll work.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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