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Gaming/Free Cell


QUESTION: I copied the following so you might remember our conversation. Now the computer tells me that my game has been installed. Now how do I find it?

The first one is Windows 8; the second is Windows 7.
Under Windows 8 you can actually search for applications directly from the Start Screen (the screen with all of the Tiles), just start typing and it will start searching for whatever you wanted on the computer (for example type in "Control Panel" and it will locate the Control Panel for you). Before you jump in and type "Free Cell" however, Microsoft FreeCell was removed from the mainstream release of Windows 8. However you can download it for free from Microsoft (as part of a package of games), via the Windows Store:

ANSWER: If you downloaded the Solitaire Collection from Microsoft, you should see the app on your Start Screen (press the Windows key to bring this up if you're on the desktop) - it may require scrolling around the screen to find it depending on your monitor's resolution (it may not be able to display every tile at once).Windows may have automatically "filed" the application away under Games as well - that will appear as a green tile with the image of a videogame controller and the text "Games."

Alternately, you should be able to locate it by simply typing "Solitaire" or "Solitaire Collection" while on the Start Screen (and there's nothing wrong with using the search feature to locate the application every time you want to run it - it doesn't harm the machine or Windows in so doing).

Here's a screen-grab from a Windows 8 system that shows both the Solitaire Collection icon and the Games icon:

Opening the Solitaire Collection will give you a menu with access to all of the titles it includes (from the Microsoft Apps page: "5 different Solitaire variations Klondike, FreeCell, Spider, TriPeaks, and Pyramid!") and from there select whichever you'd like to play (Free Cell and Spider Solitaire will be the "standard" variants that have been included in most versions of Windows over the years).


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QUESTION: the computer wants me to download some X-Box thing. If I say I don't want to, it won't let me open the solitaire collection.

I still have my old computer. How hard is it to transfer windows xp to this one? Do I have to have some sort of cords?

ANSWER: By "Xbox thing" I'm guessing it specifically wants the Windows Live extensions for Games in order to enable functionality with the application - I'd recommend just going ahead with the download if it's associated with the Microsoft App Store link that I provided, as it will enable the game to work. Unless storage space is a huge consideration (and with a modern PC I'm guessing it likely isn't; modern hard-drives are generally quite large).

As far as "transferring" Windows XP - it isn't possible as you've described: you cannot generally transfer an installed and mounted operating system from one system to another (and even in circumstances where it is theoretically possible, Microsoft's licencing does not allow this kind of transfer to occur). In principle Windows XP could be installed on any computer that meets its system requirements, if you have installation media, however I cannot suggest that you do this for a few reasons:

1) Windows XP is very old, and is considered End of Life ("EOL") by Microsoft - this means no more updates are offered for it, meaning that it is unsecured (Microsoft no longer provides security patches or updates, and will be discontinuing anti-virus/anti-spyware support relatively soon as well). This is a very large security risk for your personal data and so on.

2) Newer computers/devices tend not to have drivers for Windows XP, which means various devices will either not work at all, or will only be partially functional. Additionally, newer computers tend to have optimizations and functionality that are only available with newer versions of Windows (in general Windows Vista or later, but Windows 8 has much better performance owing to continuous improvements over the last ~7 years).

3) The process of reformatting and installing a new operating system is not something I would suggest for a novice user, as it is a fairly involved process that doesn't "end" once the operating system is initially loaded; device drivers, additional applications, etc must also be re-installed and configured. With a more modern operating system, like Windows 8, this is generally done automatically (at least for the most part) through Windows Update, as long as the machine has access to the Internet during set-up. Windows XP, however, does not afford this level of automation, and requires the user to hand-hold it through ~6 years of updates (remember that even with Service Pack 3 derived install media, the image is many years old - updates released since 2008 will have to be installed after Windows is installed), drivers, application updates, and so forth. This can take many hours depending on the speed of your Internet connection, the number of devices and applications you need to install, and what kinds of problems are encountered during the set-up process.

In general I think it would be much easier and more efficient to let Windows 8 have "Games for Windows Live" installed, even if you end up never enabling the majority of the functionality that application will bring with it.

For more on the Windows Lifecycle:

And about Windows XP EOL specifically: (the "Laplink" feature described on this page would not allow the transfer of the operating system itself from one machine to another).

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask, but do note that the software will eventually hit a "limit" for the number of "Follow-ups" it allows (and I mention this because the limit is fairly low, like 2 or 3). This isn't a limit that I'm imposing on questioners; it's just a limitation of the site software - if you run into this feel free to simply post a "new" question to continue the discussion.


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QUESTION: sorry. I messed up that time. I meant to say windows 7. I cant' figure out why I said xp unless it was one of those senior moments.

What about Windows 8.1? Does that have the 'start' menu that I like? I don't like change. But the computer says I can install it free.
Will it 'take over' windows 8 or will I have to choose which one to run every day?

Windows 8.1 is an update for Windows 8, not an independent operating system. Installing it will bring the system up to that level, and you will use the now-updated 8.1 as your operating system. Windows 8 (or 8.1) does not have the same UI layout as Windows Vista or Windows 7, however with 8.1 there are more options for how the desktop and Start button are treated within the user interface. In general I would suggest installing 8.1 as an update for Windows 8 systems (in keeping with that it's best to keep things updated when possible).

The above response applies similarly for Windows 7 - you cannot transfer an operating system installation from one machine to another. However Windows 7 is certainly not End Of Life, and could be used quite well on a modern computer assuming appropriate drivers exist (which should not be a problem if the machine runs Windows 8). You would, however, still require installation media and a valid licence. As far as complexity, it isn't terribly hard (especially relative to Windows XP or older versions of Windows), however even if you're installing from Service Pack 1 media, you should reasonably expect an afternoon of updating as Windows Update "catches up" to the latest Microsoft updates.

In general I honestly wouldn't suggest reformatting and re-installing a different version of Windows in place of installing Games For Windows Live components for a Microsoft game; this isn't meant to diminish the learning curve associated with Windows 8 or the inconvenience of having to separately download the Solitaire Collection, but more an attempt to put things into perspective. I would say this is especially important to consider if you do not currently have installation media for Windows Vista or Windows 7, or an associated licence.



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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner. I have a personal interest in PC gaming, and can apply my experience to such an end. Questions related to 3D games on OS X or other platforms are less likely to get answered.


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