Thank you very, very much to everybody who threw data at me during the XP-to-Windows 8.1 migration, particularly dw:dreamatdrew for all the back-and-forth on Dreamwidth, which was critical. Thank you.

A few impressions about the process:

  1. Win8.1 handles multimonitor really pretty well. It has bad data about one of my cards or monitors (not sure) which means I can’t run one at best resolution yet. I’m hoping to find a way to override that. But otherwise, it’s really good, and the whole weird-tiles-UI thing works a lot better when you have one monitor where you’re actually working, and another where you’re sometimes desktop-working and sometimes letting the tiles live there. It’s much less crazy that way.
     
  2. There are no circumstances under which software on the compatible list should require this kind of misadventure to install. I should not be downloading hax0r toys from GitHub to make it work. One of the other commenters on the thread called the process “Linux-like” which … is about right.
  3. Awwww, QBASIC doesn’t work anymore! XD
     
  4. 8.1 is convinced nothing is plugged into my front sound output jacks, so won’t play to them. I eventually figured out it would let me use the back sound output jacks, even though it specifically said to use the front ones. WHY ARE THEY EVEN DIFFERENT?
  5. Adventures in Open Source Documentation: the official support docs told me to install a package which no longer exists, and the live discs for which it does exist don’t start correctly on my machine, because who even knows. Something about my graphics cards and startx buggering off, it’s ugly. But I managed to manually boot via the grub command line and get enough installed under 12.04 LTS on my hard drive that boot-repair could run and FWOOM! We’re off.

That wasn’t so bad, now, was it? Well, okay, it was. But everything survived, and I didn’t even have to use the backup images I made earlier in the day! Any landing you can walk away from is better than an OS upgrade.

Anyway, I did indeed get it done, a new backup is running now, which means making it just under the wire for another hammer dulcimer recording session. Not the last day of that; there’ll be one more brief session in early June. Talking of, got to go get ready for that.

Don’t forget to stop running XP! Even if it leads to adventures like this, it’s better than what’ll happen with XP on the net after support ends.