Dell Dimension 3100 BSOD - XP upgrade to Windows 10 with an XP look

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[Successful Repair: WEEE waste avoided: 11.5 kg; GHG CO2 displaced: 310kg; 'Customer' Saved: £400; Repair Cost: £20]

Colin's computer was suffering from the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

Our first course of action was to try to repair the disk but this didn't work.

So we replaced the hard disk with an 80GB disk that had been donated to Makerlab by a local firm.

We installed 32-Bit Windows 7 on the machine and purchased a legitimate licence from eBay from a machine that was being scrapped (£10).

We upgraded to 32-Bit Windows 10 for free using Microsoft's free upgrade for people using assistive technologies (in this case enlarged fonts and NVDA) - and received some hours of excellent support from Microsoft via their chat here

Purchased 2 x 1GByte RAM (was 512MB) in order to run Windows 10 for around £10 to improve performance.

Made tweaks to improve the performance of Windows 10 including reducing the size of the page file and turning off visual effects as described here.

To improve accessibility the Display was set to 'change size of text, apps, and other items' to 125%. ClearType was switched on to make text appear clearer on screen.

Since the user is not a computer expert we wanted to minimise the change in visual appearance of the UI and make it look as much like XP as possible so we followed some guidance here.

  • Installed Classic Shell
  • Turned off all of the modern big icons on the start menu to make it look more normal
  • Added a Start menu graphic; put back the old Windows wallpaper
  • Turned off Cortana.

Windows 10 looking like Windows XP to avoid confusing the customer

I've personally been very surprised at how well this has worked. The machine is suitably quick and has been salvaged from the grave!

QUICK RETROSPECTIVE NOTE FROM RYAN - See how it says 32-Bit Operating System ; x64-based processor in the picture in the System Profile? This means it could have accepted 64-Bit Windows and likely been a little bit more future-compatible as 32-bit support may end in the future. If it's a desktop or full-sized laptop and newer than 2007, it's going to be a 64-bit capable machine. 64-bit or bust in the future!