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Does anyone else find they keep using their old desktop because it has all the things locally?


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So, it's been about 2 months since I bought my new laptop.  It's great!  Twice as many CPU cores (and probably close to twice as fast per core), twice the GPU power, DDR4 instead of DDR3, NVME storage instead of SATA SSDs.  Some of my games play much more smoothly on it.

 

And yet when I'm not gaming, or am gaming on a game that runs fine on the old system, I've found I often am still using my old desktop.

 

Why?  It has all my stuff on it.  All my programs installed, all my data local, everything configured exactly how I like it over the past 5-6 years since I last installed Windows (it's really nice not having to reinstall Windows every few years to keep it working well like in the old days).

 

I plan to add some more storage to my laptop (512 GB isn't enough, even if it's fast), and eventually I can probably fit enough of my stuff on it that the rest can live on network storage.  But I'm wondering if anyone else has found the same thing with a laptop that doesn't have terabytes of storage and everything set up - the old workstation with things tweaked just so still gets a fair amount of use?

 

Maybe it just means I need a good KVM?  I've thought about getting one for audio (3.5mm) + two USB ports, but have had a hard time finding one for that niche (without a monitor but with audio).  Or is there something about being used to having 6 TB of storage and then having 0.5 TB and missing having all those hundreds of programs installed locally?

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Desktop: Core i5 2500k "Sandy Bridge" | RX 480 8 GB | 32 GB DDR3 | 850 Evo + HDDs | Seasonic Prime Titanium 650W | 8.1 Pro

Laptop: MSI Alpha 15 | Ryzen 5800H | Radeon 6600M | 16 GB DDR4 | 512 GB SSD | 10 Home

Laptop history: MSI GL63 (2018) | HP EliteBook 8740w (acq. 2014) | Dell Inspiron 1520 (2007)

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Not a desktop, but for a while, I was still mainly using my Alienware 17 over my Clevo X170 most of the time for the same reason: everything was set up on the Alienware 17. It took a while until everything was set up exactly the way I wanted on my new laptop. Once I got everything set up, I've been exclusively using my X170.

 

I haven't really used desktops for a while, but will probably go back to them for my next main system given the way laptops are going. My needs have also changed. I don't have to take my computers everywhere with me every day now since I've been working from home ever since I started my first full time job. Moving around a desktop wouldn't be much of a hassle since I wouldn't do it very often.

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AlienyHackbook: Alienware M17X R5 | i7-4930MX | GTX 1060 | 32GB DDR3L Kingston HyperX @ 2133 MHz | MacOS Sierra 10.12.5 | Windows 10 LTSC | Hackintoshes Rule!

Desktop Killer: Clevo X170SM-G | i9-10900K | RTX 2080 Super | 32GB DDR4 Crucial Ballistix @ 3200 MHz | Windows 10 LTSC | Slayer Of Desktops

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In the old days, I'd just RDP to my desktop whenever I was using my laptop, because that's where all of my stuff was.  I actually still do that to access my personal laptop from my work laptop.  The RDP experience is pretty slick if you don't need to run full-motion video or games, you could give it a try instead of buying a KVM.

 

More recently, since I moved to a laptop as my primary daily driver, I have taken to migrating my entire Windows install every time I get a new system pretty much for this reason...  My Windows install is highly tailored to me with many years of history and I don't want to set everything up again; I simply do not have time for that.  I just did such a migration when I got the Precision 7770 this past summer.  There's a little bit of work to get driver issues sorted out and cruft to clear out with this approach, but it takes way less time than getting everything configured all over again.

 

Migrating your whole Windows install used to be a pain, but it is easy nowadays, since Windows 8 came out.  Just clone your drive, throw it in the new system, and boot it.  Windows will recognize that it is in a new system and do a pre-boot device discovery.  Afterwards, you will just be left to install whatever drivers it couldn't find on its own, just as if you had done a clean Windows install, but all of your old programs and files will be present.

 

I've done a number of migrations for other people (friends & family) as well, including desktop-to-laptop migrations and vice-versa.  Rarely is there an issue that takes longer than a few minutes to work through (assuming that you are generally comfortable working with Windows configuration + drivers + Googling + etc.).

 

...I guess in your case, this might not be easily possible because of the space crunch of just having a 512GB SSD.  Really, you'd just have to clone your base OS drive (after upgrading it to a version of Windows supported on your new system); data drives could be mapped for use over the network?  ...I don't have such a storage issue on my system, but those 8 TB drives that I threw in admittedly weren't exactly cheap.

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Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Storage Spaces)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Previous

  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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  • 2 weeks later...

RDP is pretty good nowadays, I'm on my laptop now but am actually RDP'ed into my desktop since I've already logged into NotebookTalk on the desktop, and I had to check whether I was native or RDP since I've been browsing for a while tonight.  A lot of what I find myself switching between systems for, though, is games.  Play a new game on the new system.  Play an old game where all my saves and config is set up on the old system.  That game with an 80 GB install?  It's staying on the old one until I upgrade to more storage.  We'll see, maybe I'll do that in February.

 

 

Migrating Windows installs sounds interesting.  You're probably on 10 everywhere?  I don't think I'd want to clone my 8.1 desktop to my new laptop.  Cloning my 2018 laptop is a somewhat interesting idea that I hadn't thought of.

 

Desktop: Core i5 2500k "Sandy Bridge" | RX 480 8 GB | 32 GB DDR3 | 850 Evo + HDDs | Seasonic Prime Titanium 650W | 8.1 Pro

Laptop: MSI Alpha 15 | Ryzen 5800H | Radeon 6600M | 16 GB DDR4 | 512 GB SSD | 10 Home

Laptop history: MSI GL63 (2018) | HP EliteBook 8740w (acq. 2014) | Dell Inspiron 1520 (2007)

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11 hours ago, Sandy Bridge said:

Migrating Windows installs sounds interesting.  You're probably on 10 everywhere?  I don't think I'd want to clone my 8.1 desktop to my new laptop.  Cloning my 2018 laptop is a somewhat interesting idea that I hadn't thought of.

 

Yes, I did migrate to Windows 10 everywhere immediately at release (...looking back, I would not do the same thing again...) and right now all of my PCs are Windows 10 LTSC 2021.

 

Have you used Steam's remote play feature to stream a game from one PC to another?  I've heard that it works well but I have not tried it.  I do know that you don't even have to use it with Steam games.  You can register any application with Steam (on the "server" side), start it remotely to open a remote session, and then just alt+tab out (if it is fullscreen) and fire up a game from another store or just do whatever you want to do on your desktop.

Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Storage Spaces)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Previous

  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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4 hours ago, Aaron44126 said:

 

Yes, I did migrate to Windows 10 everywhere immediately at release (...looking back, I would not do the same thing again...) and right now all of my PCs are Windows 10 LTSC 2021.

 

Have you used Steam's remote play feature to stream a game from one PC to another?  I've heard that it works well but I have not tried it.  I do know that you don't even have to use it with Steam games.  You can register any application with Steam (on the "server" side), start it remotely to open a remote session, and then just alt+tab out (if it is fullscreen) and fire up a game from another store or just do whatever you want to do on your desktop.

I have tried it once or twice but it has been awhile.  I recall it working fairly well, and come to think of it, it would solve the "saves are remote" issue too.  Yeah, I'll have to give it another go.  I did not realize that it could work even with non-Steam games.  That is a nice bonus since I do play some Good Old Games occasionally.

Desktop: Core i5 2500k "Sandy Bridge" | RX 480 8 GB | 32 GB DDR3 | 850 Evo + HDDs | Seasonic Prime Titanium 650W | 8.1 Pro

Laptop: MSI Alpha 15 | Ryzen 5800H | Radeon 6600M | 16 GB DDR4 | 512 GB SSD | 10 Home

Laptop history: MSI GL63 (2018) | HP EliteBook 8740w (acq. 2014) | Dell Inspiron 1520 (2007)

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3 minutes ago, Sandy Bridge said:

it would solve the "saves are remote" issue too.

 

I think most Steam games support Steam's cloud saving...  And in any case, PC Gaming Wiki is great for pointing you to exactly where the save files are for a particular game.

Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Storage Spaces)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Previous

  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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1 minute ago, Aaron44126 said:

 

I think most Steam games support Steam's cloud saving...  And in any case, PC Gaming Wiki is great for pointing you to exactly where the save files are for a particular game.

I play a lot of older games that don't support cloud saving.  This XKCD very much describes me:

 

cutting_edge.png

 

That PC Gaming Wiki site does look familiar from my various searches for save game locations.  I've had good luck finding the locations I need via DuckDuckGo, it's just the actual synchronization that can be mildly annoying.  In other words I see the appeal in Steam's cloud save feature, I just don't choose what I play based on whether the game supports it.

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Desktop: Core i5 2500k "Sandy Bridge" | RX 480 8 GB | 32 GB DDR3 | 850 Evo + HDDs | Seasonic Prime Titanium 650W | 8.1 Pro

Laptop: MSI Alpha 15 | Ryzen 5800H | Radeon 6600M | 16 GB DDR4 | 512 GB SSD | 10 Home

Laptop history: MSI GL63 (2018) | HP EliteBook 8740w (acq. 2014) | Dell Inspiron 1520 (2007)

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Besides the form factor, both my systems are setup exactly the same. I have all the same software on my desktop and laptop, and I also have dual monitors for my laptop for editing video on the road! I have dual SSD in an enclosure as well for scratch and project drives while using resolve. It's a neat thing to sit at a desk or table while mobile, and have the exact same (albeit a little slower,) experience with my notebook as I do with my workstation at home.

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I think we all have this same issue when we buy a new machine, and I certainly have to go back to my old laptop once in a while because it has some obscure app I thought I'd never use again, but I'm slowly trying to minimize the impact by using OneDrive (with 1 TB storage), and a 5 TB NAS on my network. Between these two tools, I can pretty much get at any file I need on the new machine. I've also reluctantly started using Google Photos more and more, which means more and more of my photos are now available on the new machine.  An added bonus of all this is that more and more of my stuff is now available on my phone when I'm out and about, since OneDrive and Google Photos have good Android clients. I'm also taking advantage of Chrome's 'user profile' feature, which means all my browser sessions, history, bookmarks, etc are universally available on any device (including my phone). 

 

Yes, this means I'm giving in to Google and Microsoft's evil scheme to take over the world, but ... it's working for me. 

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