How Many Mints?

In my household I have four computers for various purposes plus another one out the back. I have been thinking a lot about which computers will run which OSs. The main issue is I still need a Windows 7 system for some stuff that is easier to do on a physical computer than by running something in a Wine layer or virtual machine. But there only needs to be one single computer in the whole house that does this. I also need a Windows 10 system for testing some stuff out but not for day to day use and that is the one out the back, but getting the right balance for the house computers has been tricky.
The main killer apps are things like IrfanView and Office plus the backup system but that isn’t to say it would be impossible to run some of that stuff in a virtual machine and store the files on a virtual hard disk necessarily so it could be feasible to run things in a Windows VM hosted on a Linux desktop, or the photos could be on a Linux host system served by Samba. The key issue is I want to be able to do most of my stuff in one location and the second location essentially be no more than a backup. Perhaps it is a kind of server or live backup. I am sort of working towards a future understanding that living in a smaller premises than the previous one guarantees that that fourth computer could be using up valuable space where it is. However it is the newest of my computers and it won’t be let go of in a hurry. Running it on Linux and having it as some kind of storage location or server seems to be the best use of it right now.

I have had a lot of fun with VMWare on Linux of late with silly error messages stopping it from running which is why I am taking a serious look at VirtualBox as of now. VB won’t run on the AMD E350 computers that I have apparently because the Gigabyte Mini-ITX motherboards in these PCs don’t support it. Although I was sure I had had VMWare Player running under Lubuntu on one of these systems, I am not so confident now but I seem to recall that was the case because it was quite apparent that the system struggled with low resources to run a virtual machine. Since I have got VB ready to set up a Win7 VM on my main computer then I will see if it works better in this system than VMware, which tended to freeze the system. If all else fails I have got a Windows 7 system next to the main PC that can be used as an actual physical computer to do some stuff. I also need to rearrange the networking here so that the computers are all running across gigabit as at the moment some of them are connected through a fast ethernet switch so they don’t all have the full speed capability.

The spare PC cum server is going to be set up as a RAID-1 system just like my main PC which means I will be applying my newfound skills with MDADM having completed the commissioning of the RAID-1 array on the latter in the last week. In this case the data to be migrated has been backed up through the Cobian Backup software I used on the computer when it was running Windows, and it will be migrated back to the array once it has been set up. Due to finding that it is not possible to connect a camera via USB to the VirtualBox VM on the main PC, the third computer in the living room (one of the AMD E350s) is being reinstalled to Windows. This turned out to be surprisingly difficult to do with the installation of Windows 7 SP1 being unable to install updates, or Windows 7 without SP1 able to install updates fine until SP1 was installed, when the VM using the same ISO image had no such difficulties. Being unable to find any solution to the problem, including flashing a BIOS update, I have had to install Windows 8.1 instead. It is very difficult to understand what the problem could be as this computer has had Windows 7 on it before. However with 7 now out of mainstream support it is going to be more and more difficult to resolve problems with it and eventually MS will force everyone onto 10 as the only supported version.