The server was getting very unstable recently; it would drop the WiFi connection frequently and boot-loop and was just getting overloaded (it’s not just Windows that gets “Winrot”).
I was worried it was a hardware problem, but before getting a replacement, I held out hope that it was just software. I figured I’d “kill three birds” with one install, and both stabilize it and upgrade to Buster by starting over from scratch. That meant getting a list of installed packages, and compiling a list of configuration files and settings to be reset, which was a pain, but still easier than the daunting, Herculean task of reinstalling Windows 7 (or *bite my tongue!* upgrading to Windows 10). The third bird was to swap out the microSD card the Orange Pi was running from with a new higher-speed class A1 card which was conveniently on sale at Best Buy at the time.
Burning a copy of Armbian Buster to the card was quick (the card was rated for 130MBps read, but didn’t mention its write speed, but it must be at least decent 🤷). The Pi booted from it just fine and the WiFi connection was stable. I began installing the packages, but decided to keep it lean and install only the ones necessary to run the server; all the other stuff was ditched since I wouldn’t be using them anyway.
Unfortunately, things started going south. The WiFi connection started having problems, the packages started getting messed up, and migrating the settings wasn’t going smoothly.
I started over again. (And wasted a bunch of write-cycles on the memory-card. :-\)
I re-burned the Armbian image to the card, then took it slow. I tried to reboot after each step and leave it for a bit and check if things fail. I also trimmed down what I migrated from the backed-up installation, and minimized the changes from the base install.
It took the entire weekend (according to my daily log, about 25.5 hours!), but in the end, the server was up and running on Buster, smaller, faster, and more stable than before. 👍
Now I only need to wait for a while until I can convince myself to delete the backup and free up a few gigabytes.