Notes on upgrading observatory computer to Windows 10, Summer 2020
Just as we did for the upgrade of the computer from Windows XP to Windows 7 in 2012, this page is to document the process of installing a new computer in the observatory, and noting any steps we need to take or problems we encountered. It is mostly for our own internal records, but perhaps it could help someone else installing observatory software as well.
- Installed UltraVNC on both old and new computers so we can transfer files easily via VNC.
- Installed ASCOM platform 6.5 from here.
- As part of that installation, I found that the system required me to enable Microsoft .NET 3.5. Ultimately that only worked when logged in to my normal user account, not the telescope account; probably related to trying to contact the local Windows Update server, but not being logged into the Swarthmore domain.
- Installed the ASCOM 2X mount adapter for TheSky (used to be called "TheSky-controlled telescope driver") from the Software Bisque site, linked from the ASCOM page.
- Now working on the RCOS TCC. This could be exciting as they went out of business and the software is so old. Fortunately we have good notes from the previous update.
- Download the full installation package (1.5.17) and the update (1.5.26) from the archived RCOS support site. I'm going to keep local copies of these installers this time, in case they disappear off the web.
- The last full installer there is 1.5.17, so download and install that first.
- Then download and copy over just the 1.5.26 RCOS-ae.exe file into the Program Files (x86) -> RCOS TCC folder, replacing the copy of RCOS-ae.exe in that folder.
- To get the presets from the old install, copy over the file RCOS.dat from the old installation. This has those values saved. There is also a file named RCOS-rotator.dat that I copied over, though I don't think we have saved much in the way of rotator settings.
- Based on last time, these programs can run into problems with Windows User Account Control, and need to be run as Administrator (at least some of the time?). This sequence worked:
- Right-click and then choose "Properties", and in that dialog, select "Run as administrator."
- Before the TCC starts up, you will then always be asked if it's OK to run a program from an unknown publisher - just click "Yes".
- In order for the TCC to run under Windows 10, the executable RCOS-ae has to be run first (just once per reboot). When you run this, nothing appears to happen, but if you don't the TCC won't work - you'll just get "unable to connect to RCOS COM object". To make this simple:
- Move the shortcut for RCOS-ae (created in the step above) into the "Startup" folder in the Start menu (under the "All Programs" listing).
- RCOS-ae will then run at startup without any user intervention, and so starting the TCC is just as simple as before - just double-click the file.
Hardware / system settings
- Formatted D: drive as NTFS, named as "Telescope data".
- The Edgeport/4 (USB-serial converter) - plug and play. Windows recognized it right away and set it up automatically. COM ports showed up in Device Manager as COM3, COM4, COM5, COM6.
To consider for later
- Windows subsystem for Linux (enable via Control Panel - turn on features
- Anaconda Python distribution