If I simply changed the windows version numbers, it would be pretty easy to believe this story was from 2003, not 2019. But, alas, the tale of a “simple” Windows upgrade is from this weekend and it is an old-school tale of woe.
It all started...
When my media PC did something weird. Turns out it was because the folks at Mozilla bungled a cert, but either way, it was the straw that broke this camel’s back.
Back in 2016 two things happened: My media PC died and my desktop PC was struggling with an ambitious CAD project. As a result, a new desktop was built and my old one was moved downstairs to be the new media PC. Despite being built in 2010, this computer was still going strong.
Now, three years later, that computer was still mostly OK, but it is running a nine year old install of Windows 7 on a SSD of the same age.
So, when Firefox started acting weird, it was finally enough to make me want to update this PC to Windows 10 and give it a new SSD.
But it wasn’t that easy...
Since I was changing hard drives and doing a clean install, I thought it would make sense to install Windows 7 on the new SSD and then use the update thingy to get Windows 10 for free. Simple enough... right?
The first snag was after Windows 7 was re-installed, it wouldn’t recognize my USB ethernet interface. This computer’s on-motherboard network port was fried by a lightning strike a few years ago (lost most of the network gear in the house, a couple power strips, and a few other odds and ends) so it has been operating on a USB 3.0 ethernet adapter since.
Ok, I’ll just download the drivers on a different computer.
Lol no. Not a chance. The only driver’s available are a .pkg file... for some reason.
Ok... so I don’t have internet. Well I’ll just update to Win 10 and it’ll have the drivers.
Nope. For the free upgrade you have to use the updater thingy that you download, not physical install media.
Ok... so that thing has the option to make install media... maybe that’ll work!?
NOPE! Your copy of windows needs to be activated.
Heh ok. I’ll drive to work, grab a couple of wireless dongles, plug those in and surely one of those will work!
NOPE! Drivers not found.
Ok... maybe I can download the drivers for those and transfer them on a thumb drive?
YES! Ok cool. Working wireless. I’ll just connect to my wifi.
What? How? Why? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING!?
At this point I looked down and by some strange miracle the driver disc for my USB adapter was just... sitting there. Mocking me.
I throw that in, install the drivers... and still... nothing.
The interface isn’t even showing up.
I move the thing from a 3.0 port to a 2.0 port, and suddenly I have internet.
Turns out Windows 7 also didn’t have the drivers from my USB 3.0 controller.
After this, the install went mostly pretty smooth and now I have a newly updated media PC that’ll probably be good for at least a week until the CPU shits the bed of some other calamity.