• Dedoimedo: Straight talk about Windows 7

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    I don’t agree with everything in the article, but @EP just pointed me to a remarkably well-written and, in my opinion, highly accurate guide to the en
    [See the full post at: Dedoimedo: Straight talk about Windows 7]

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    • #1995382

      thanks for posting the link.  I have a dedicated Win 7 machine running Windows Media Center as an alternative to a Verizon Cable Box (my savings are about $15/month).  the only function of this PC for normal television viewing (it has a cable card tuner attached) and streaming certain services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and ESPN+.  There are no other Internet uses for this PC.  I cannot upgrade to Win 10 as MSFT is no longer supporting Windows Media Center on any of its platforms.  I have an OS backup in case there is some kind of failure and because I don’t place too many demands on this PC, the hardware should work for some time to come.


      • #1995428

        I have a dedicated Linux Mint machine that I have connected to my main TV which serves the same purpose.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #1995429

      In the blog post, Woody writes:

      He talks about Linux, but doesn’t touch on the most important Linux implementation for Win7 users — ChromeOS. You’ve heard me say it before, but for most people who aren’t overly concerned about snooping, a Chromebook should be your #1 candidate for a replacement computer.

      He did indeed mention Linux, but he was very negative about it, and while he wasn’t talking about Chromebooks specifically, most or all of the objections apply equally to ChromeOS.  To wit:

      Saying ‘just use Linux’ is a wishful dream. It’s not like that.

      Quite a number of us here at AskWoody.com would find that it is, in fact, “like that.”  It won’t work for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it is accurate to simply say “it’s not like that.”  That’s a very broad brush he’s painting with.

      Most people can’t cope with the switch,

      [Citation needed.]

      We have quite a few non-techie type people here who have had no trouble with the switch.  Coping with the switch to 10 is not always easy either.  In some ways, for normal day-to-day use, Linux desktop environments (excluding GNOME) by default are more Windows-like, relative to milestones like XP and 7, than what is currently being offered by Microsoft. It’s quite different when it comes to administration, but we were talking about the people who can’t cope, and I’d bet people who can do admin work would not have trouble coping.

      hardware question is a gamble,

      It either works or it doesn’t, but why give up on it for that reason before trying?  Hardware is a gamble for older machines running 10 also, and in some instances, you will be better off with Linux (which tends to retain support for a lot of old hardware for a long time) than Windows.  In others, especially with things like scanners and printers, you may have to employ workarounds if the manufacturer of the device was too shortsighted to provide a Linux driver.

      and at the end of the day, there are applications that you don’t get. Compromising for ideology isn’t worth it.

      You don’t get those applications in ChromeOS either, but it remains Woody’s top choice for those who don’t mind the Google spying bit.  And as I’ve said before, if you DO care about Google spying, but all you really want is a browser, setting up the Linux yourself (rather than letting Google do it with ChromeOS) allows you to sidestep the spying and choose whichever  browser you like too.  Not everyone is willing or able to do that, but if you are, you can browse from Linux just the same as in Windows.  You trade the ease of setting up and maintaining ChromeOS for more flexibility and privacy.

      My move to Linux was not ideological… I evaluated Windows 10 and found it to not be fit for purpose, so for me, using it anyway would have been the bigger compromise.  Other versions of Windows are on borrowed time, so while it kicks the can down the road a bit, it doesn’t solve the problem, and I was looking for a solution.  Linux was simply the most logical choice given the circumstances, and it had nothing to do with being part of the free software movement, or any other Stallman-esque objections to commercial software.

      If it is ideological to say that I insist upon being in control of my hardware and not being monetized for software I paid for, then yeah, I am ideological, but it’s dead wrong to say that it is not worth it.  I am quite glad I made the change, and even if MS had an epiphany and suddenly reversed course on 10 and made it into what I wish it had been all along, I still would keep Linux as my primary OS.  That bell cannot be unrung, and too much trust has been lost.

      If you can have your full productivity without any problems using Linux, then by all means, this is a good, smart choice.


      Alas, for most people, this is science fiction.

      [Citation needed].

      I think that most people probably only really need a browser (which is the entire rationale for Chromebooks), and every major browser you can get on Windows (aside from those that come with it) is available in Linux too.  But then, I don’t really know for sure that most people really only need a browser, which is why I used the term “probably.”

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon

      8 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1995468

        I agree that he is a bit too harsh on Linux.

        My mom’s Windows 10 PC kept eating their wireless internet data cap, despite the network being set to metered. After battling the issue for several months unsuccessfully, I determined a reinstall was in order. But why reinstall Windows 10? Instead, I installed Linux Mint and LibreOffice. She is a teacher, and has to deal with Word files from the school, but LibreOffice handles that fine. And she has done their financials with Excel for a decade or more. Those files all worked perfectly in LibreOffice as well! Her students now use Google Docs, which naturally works fine on Linux.

        I would classify her as more of a power user than most home PC users, yet she has adapted to Linux without much fuss. I was impressed to learn she had even set up a scanner and was emailing scanned documents from Linux, without any help! Linux has become far more user-friendly than it was even only 5 years ago.

        5 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1995542

          I have found some incompatibilities between Microsoft Office and Libre Office. Otherwise, I agree with what you have said, other than the part about Google Docs. I’ve never used Google Docs, so I can’t comment on it.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1995446

      This guy purports that he is talking to the ordinary home user. He sure does not understand that user community at all. None of them are sophisticated enough to understand most of what he has written about. Certainly not sophisticated enough to implement the recommended strategy.

      -Most view their computer as not much more than a coffee maker or can opener
      -Most use their computer for email and web browsing.
      -Very few write documents using Word. Documents are now email
      -A tiny percentage even know what Excel is, let alone use it
      -Virtually none have ever or ever will do a PowerPoint presentation, most will see them
      -Few understand what AV is. Many have none. The ones that do, do not realize their subscription ran out years ago
      -Almost none have any idea how to set up a user account and never have
      -Less than half know what Windows Update is. Many have no idea whether it works or not
      -About half of their machines have not had a windows update in years, mainly because it stopped working about 2015 caused by Microsoft
      -most will continue to use their Windows 7 machines until it does not work any more
      -less than half have any idea what operating system is running in their computer
      -most use a smart phone now and the computer is used maybe 20% as much as it was before the smart phone was purchased. Their smart phone does not have AV


      • #1995543

        Thanks for that list, CT, I agree entirely with it – but would add one additional item:-

        – Many users don’t own or manage the computer they’re using.  They may, for example, be youngsters using their parents’ machine. Not only do the youngsters not know anything about the way their computer is managed, but their parents don’t know anything about how their youngsters are using the computer.

      • #1995678

        Hey CT, you just described my sister to a T, and she’s surrounded with computer savvy relatives.

        Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake as soon as you make it again.

    • #1995467

      While I agree, by and large, with the sentiments expressed by Woody and others on this issue, I would like to dissent from those expressed in two quotes that have caught my eye here:

      First, Woody’s: “You’ve heard me say it before, but for most people who aren’t overly concerned about snooping, a Chromebook should be your #1 candidate for a replacement computer.

      I heard that and I have to say that it is only true for people who mostly use their PCs for email, browsing on the Web and, or as a complement to their other high-tech gadgets: pads, smart phones, etc. It does not work for engineers, scientists, accountants, graphic artists and those in other professions that require some considerably more number-crunching power, spacious memory and have more demanding hardware requirements than what Chromebooks have to offer. They don’t fit the demands of heavy gaming aficionados either. Not to mention the stringent IT security in government and academic institutions. So: Chromebooks are not for everyone. Because they are meant to be, not for everybody, but for many.

      CanadianTech: “Most view their computer as not much more than a coffee maker or can opener

      And quite rightly so: for what is needed, using a computer in most people’s lives, if one leaves out those in the above mentioned professions (and it wouldn’t hurt them even there), there is no ultimate reason why it should be any different from using any appliance or electrical fixture. That it is still not so is a testimony of both the complexity of getting them as easy to use as appliances and fixtures, and the failure (or lack of interest) of developers and computer engineers and computer scientists to make it so. It has been decades since Arthur C. Clarke declared this to be how computers should work. And they still don’t.

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1995801

        I think the main point is most home users are not using their computers for professional purposes and this is even true with professionals. Anyone who is not using specific work related programs or certain games can probably use any OS though there will be a learning curve.

    • #1995492

      He mentions moving to Windows 10 Pro because you can set up an offline account “with no tricks”. The only trick needed to set up Windows 10 Home with an offline account is to not connect to Wi-Fi or plug in a LAN cable until you’re past the initial setup. Then plug it in and ignore Microsoft’s lie about the risk of not giving them full access to your stuff. I think you all knew that though.


      • #1995573

        @GreatAndPowerfulTech: Regarding needing to disconnect the Internet to unlock offline account creation as though it is some cheat code in a video game: There shouldn’t be any “trick” user interfaces designed into my computer. Moves like that should be exclusively reserved for sketchy websites on the Internet that I shouldn’t even be visiting to begin with. But my personal machine that I bought, built, and use for all kinds of private business? No way!

        Mostly because, if Microsoft is allowed to get away with this today, then they will inevitably move the goal post even further tomorrow. Also, I have a strong ethical objection when it comes to taking advantage of people because of their technical ignorance. That’s not cool. “Hey grandma, I’ll give you my FX8350 PC at 4GHz if you give me that Ryzen PC at 3.4GHz, because 4 is a bigger number than 3.4, so this FX is obviously faster than your Ryzen.” (even though the Ryzen is about twice as fast as the FX)

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    • #1995518

      Most of the problems with W10 posted here seem to be for enterprise users.  Everything Canadian tech mentions about us home users is true.   The question is what kinds of problems are home users running into with W10.  In the mean time I’ll use a third party updater for the W7 legacy OS.  Until the sites we use no longer work or when you need to buy a new computer.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by Geo.
      • #1995520


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        • #1995523

          I’m really old school probably like many home users.  I don’t  have a router just a modem so I suppose that’s another thing I don”t have to worry about.

        • #1995632

          I’ve been building PCs since the days of the 386 DX40 and supporting friends/businesses for years and years. I’ve no interest in the consumer versions of Win10. I tried Win10 LTSB/LTSC and while they are tolerable there are various issues, such as new AMD video drivers not working correctly in LTSB (esp LTSB 2015).

          Ive tried the Simplix update pack, WSUSOffline updates, and an impressive update script I found on sevenforums.com. No matter what, when you get Windows 7 current on updates, performance and stability really tank. I decided to follow CanadianTech’s article and did an install of Pro on my daily driver machine (Sandy Bridge i5, 8GB, Radeon R7 250 2GB). Been running it a few weeks now, with fantastic performance and stability (no gaming slowdowns either) and absolutely no signs of any security issues (been watching carefully). Granted I do tweak a lot of services and what not as well and I have a good router setup as well.

          But if you follow the CanadianTech instructions, you will end up with a very stable and fast Windows 7 that should last many years yet! Thanks again to CanadianTech and Woody as well!

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #1995641

            Thanks very much for that feedback anonymous. If anyone else would like that detailed installation procedure, just ask. I’ve done hundreds and now have 120 client win7 systems running like tops. Not a single instance of a problem in 29 months now since I stopped Microsoft updating.


            2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #1995689

              I am a single user consumer win7 home premium. Last update install was fall 2017. Last check listed in history before today was 2018-05. I am not tech, but I had “disabled” update in services and set control panel box to “NEVER” check.  TODAY, 2019-10-30, my computer did a restart and TRIED to update!!! After it rebooted I checked update history and thankfully the update had “failed”. I had to go back to processes/services to TURN OFF update service, it was RUNNING!!! I do not know how MS did it but things were turned back ON… so, beware, apparently they can override your “Admin” settings…. I have screenshots of most of what happened, but don’t know how to attach them here. Maybe you’re supposed to link them, but have no social media site to link you to! Anyway, watch out…

              2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #1995702

              Chances are, some software in your computer turned it on. I have 120 client systems in which Windows Update is set to Never update. Never have seen a problem in 29 months.

              There some “security” systems that think it is alright to switch it back on, but otherwise, you must have done it inadvertently.


              3 users thanked author for this post.
            • #2012387

              Canadian Tech –

              Do you take a similar approach to Win 10 systems as you employ with Win 7 ?

              Just curious if it would be a viable strategy for me.


              ASUS GL702VS 24GB RAM Intel Core i7 64 bit Win 10 Home 21H2 OS Build 19044.2486 Windows Feature Experience Pack 120.2212.4190.0. Not Win 11 eligible.

            • #1995754

              anonymous, this once happened to me as well, even though I had set updates to ‘Never’ for years.  Here’s what triggered it: I had just installed MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials), and eventually shutdown my computer later that evening.  All of a sudden I see that my computer is being updated!  After stopping it, I was able to do a restore to an earlier date, luckily.  I still periodically check that my setting is at ‘Never’ . . .

              Win 7 SP1 Home Premium 64-bit; Office 2010; Group B (SaS); Former 'Tech Weenie'
            • #1996393

              Thanks all. I have not installed any MS updates, definitions, etc for 1.5 years and have been running only ‘malwarebytes’ free. I had however just deleted 19Gb of “temp” files…. Other than that little scare, everything I use it for has been running fast, quiet, and glitch free. Noticeably quicker in reading audio, video, photo & document files than my win10 machine!

          • #1995720

            The biggest problem for Windows 7/8/8.1 PC and Laptops(Poorest OEM Firmware support) is getting the latest Intel Spectre/Meltdown/Other vulnerabilities either included in via a firmware/microcode update or Intel microcode updates that are shimmed  into the processor at OS startup on Windows 7/8/8.1.

            Windows 10 allows for that Intel microcode to be OS pushed out in place of there being an Laptop/MB OEM provided dedicated firmware patch available but that’s not as easy on 7/8/8.1. Linux is better in that respect if the MB’s maker/Laptop OEM has not been very forthcoming with the needed Intel Microcode patches for all the vulnerabilities in Intel’s CPU hardware that can be mitigated with a firmware patch.

            Performance is sure to be affected on Intel’s older, and some newer hardware, with AMD not as vulnerable  and AMD having the least performance hits relative to Intel. But every maker’s older hardware is going to bog down as one moves from Windows 7 to 8/8.1(More Bloat) on to Windows 10(The Most Bloat and all that Cloud/Telemetry subsystems that stress older processors).


            • #1995926

              The biggest problem for Windows 7/8/8.1 PC and Laptops(Poorest OEM Firmware support) is getting the latest Intel Spectre/Meltdown/Other vulnerabilities either included in via a firmware/microcode update or Intel microcode updates that are shimmed into the processor at OS startup on Windows 7/8/8.1.

              I can see why one would think so amid the hype over those exploits (complete with their own logos, none less), but I don’t think that’s a problem at all until there is a credible report of such a thing being exploited in the wild.  I had to go out of my way to revert/disable the updates (on Linux), as I don’t see slowing down my system to protect against threats that don’t exist as a reasonable thing.  Fortunately, Linux allows a great deal of granularity in disabling any combination of mitigations.

              It it should ever come to pass that the threat becomes actual instead of hypothetical, I’ll deal with it at that time.  Until then, if I were using Windows 7, I wouldn’t give it another thought.  I’d be more concerned about the actual threats out there rather than the potential ones.

              Windows 10 allows for that Intel microcode to be OS pushed out in place of there being an Laptop/MB OEM provided dedicated firmware patch available but that’s not as easy on 7/8/8.1.

              Only because Microsoft refuses to provide it.  Older versions of Windows also have that ability and used to get microcode updates fairly regularly… I remember okaying several of them for Windows 7 on my system just a few years ago.  Now, if you want these updates to a version of Windows that’s only getting security updates, Microsoft won’t provide them. Apparently those security updates were not the ones Microsoft was talking about.

              Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
              XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon

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    • #1995517

      I for one love this guy. He tells it like it is and he doesn’t sugar coat things or play favorites, frequently bashing problems with Linux too. We need more journalists like that.

      7 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1995574

      With the addition of a modest amount of inconvenience, utilizing the venerable Sandboxie (currently owned by Sophos and now completely free) adds a significant additional layer of security (XP through Win 10) – https://www.sandboxie.com/.


      Please also see:

      Sandbox program Sandboxie is now freeware (soon open source)



      How to use Sandboxie for browsing, downloading and installing programs



      Sandboxie review – Application isolation for experts


      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1995700

        I can’t exaggerate how happy I am to hear about this! I’ve used Sandboxie for a long time, and I long thought of using it to help secure my Windows 7 box. I even planned to finally pay for it so I could get the full features, only to find out that the licensing had changed to a subscription model.

        My plan is this: any program that touches the Internet will be sandboxed separately, so that any exploit can only mess with that sandbox. And I will continue my current practice of running any suspicious software in a sandbox–but now I can also make that a separate sandbox.

        I’ll also be able to force software to always run in a sandbox, so that I don’t have to worry about someone else activating the unsandboxed version.

        I don’t even actually plan on staying on Windows 7 forever on this machine. I just know that the process I would need to do to upgrade properly will take some time, including buying a new drive, cloning the old drive twice, going through multiple feature updates, etc. I do want to get ahead of when companies actually start deprecating Windows 7 support, but there’s no reason to even begin the process until after support ends.

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    • #1995581

      If you think before you click and don’t install crapware, then you don’t even need a patched OS when it comes to security. All the security frenzy is just that. Of course, if you run an online business, your Web servers should get some more attention.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1995721

      I don’t understand how Microsoft Office is connected in any way to Windows 7 end of support – unless the concern is a non-updating Windows 7 will not update Office.  There’s an easy workaround to that. Belarc Advisor.


      If that’s all too much,  there is a free version of Office 365 . Simply log into you Office Live account and open the app launcher.  Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc, etc. However, no Access and no VBA (‘Macros’ to those who only use the recorder).

    • #1995736

      Just wondering about the snooping comment regarding W7.

      W7 snoops more than Chrome or W10?

      Umm… OK.

      • #1995739

        alkhall, Nobody knows exactly what Microsoft draws out of Win7 installations. I do know that if you very deliberately and carefully re-install and not use the non-security so-called windows updates that were issued after December 2014, you are likely to avoid most snooping from MS. Also set “Customer experience” to NO.

        In fact, once that is done, you will find your computer runs a lot better and faster.

        That performance is also improved by not allowing Microsoft updates of any kind — security, not-security, optional, and Office that were issued after May 2017.

        Another responder on this post describe his experience already.


        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1995762

      I’d move to a Chromebook in a heartbeat if Adobe would support Creative Cloud (photography app subscription) on it.

      (Yes, I know there’s a way to run Android apps on ChromeOS, and there’s Lightroom and Photoshop Android apps, but it’s too much trouble.)

      • #1995799

        Look a Joe Christina’s ‘Life after Abode’ series on Youtube for some alternatives. Not sure what will work with a Chromebook.

    • #1995783

      I would love to simplify my life with something like a Chromebook, but that ain’t going to happen.  Even ignoring potential privacy issues, I cannot run the standalone programs I require, such as TurboTax (No, I do not want to use the on-line version), Family Tree Maker and a couple others.  I have tinkered with various linux distrbutions and the problem is the same with applications.

      If most people only use their computers for e-mail, web browsing and on-line office suites, a Chromebook (except for Chrome’s relatively short eol policies) or linux would be fine.

      My old workhorse Lenovo Ideapad Z580 i5 (circa 2012) is approaching it’s Win 7 eol and if I cannot get Win 10 to work, it’ll go on MX Linux and I’ll use my even older ASUS U56E i3 (circa 2011) that has Windows 10 running on it to run my programs.

    • #1995798

      Agree with your appraisal of EMET. Ran it on the family’s three personal laptops for about 5 years in the late-2000’s and early-2010’s. EMET never stopped anything nasty (though our AV’s caught a number of them during those years). Meanwhile, EMET was constantly throwing up false positives, usually just after every new release of Chrome or Firefox. Got to be too much of a maintenance headache, so I ripped it out.

      Currently using Malwarebytes Pro as our AV and anti-malware tool of choice, with Win7 Defender turned off. Highly recommended.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1995800

      The web site av-comparitives.org is a great source of non-profit info


      You will see some of the ones that people think are good are very good at false positives.


      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1995803

      Igor’s basic point is that most of the breathless commentary about threats and updates ignore the most serious issue: the foibles of the user. Good dose of wariness and avoiding dodgy sites, etc. will do you more good than latest patches for problems that are not in the wild. The most effective way to get into a system is through social engineering and tricking someone to install malware. A good router or router/modem properly set up is more important than the latest patch.

    • #1996064

      The biggest problem for Windows 7/8/8.1 PC and Laptops(Poorest OEM Firmware support) is getting the latest Intel Spectre/Meltdown/Other vulnerabilities either included in via a firmware/microcode update or Intel microcode updates

      I take the exact opposite point of view. That’s the ultimate reason I quit updating all my Win 7 machines in Dec 2017. I could see no justifiable reason to risk potential slowdowns in my computers for the sake of some imagined threat.

      Even prior to that I’d adopted a habit of only installing updates once or twice a year, after waiting for the dust to settle due to Microsoft’s declining patch quality. After Jan 2018, I quit updating altogether because I wasn’t willing to risk the chance that some bundled update would slip in Spectre/Meltdown patches. And I won’t touch any BIOS update because you can never be sure you can back out if it turns out to adversely affect your computer’s performance more than you want.

      Spectre/Meltdown may be theoretical threats (and not even actively exploited, at that) to web servers or enterprise systems, but of no threat to my personal systems. If an intruder were able to get into my system to the point where he’d be able to exploit Spectre/Meltdown, he’d already be where he’d have more direct access and wouldn’t need to bother with Spectre/Meltdown.

      It’s like if someone breaks into your house, why would he go out one window and into another window to get into the next room, when he could just walk down the hall?

      Web servers and enterprises are different. They’re like office buildings, where there are locks on interior doors. Walking down the hall doesn’t necessarily get you into the next suite.

      I don’t have locks on the interior doors of my house.

      The real objective for a home user isn’t to prevent an intruder from going out a window, it’s to prevent him from getting into your house in the first place. Spectre/Meltdown patches don’t prevent that.

      For all the hype churned out over Spectre and Meltdown, there’s been precious little discussion over the actual attack vector for home users. Just because every CPU made in 20 years is flawed doesn’t mean every user is more exposed because of it.


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    • #1996188

      My problem with that article is how resigned he is, and far worse, pushes the readers to be, regarding the direction of the change of things. That’s only certain if we do what he says, accept things and give up. Sure, we may, and in fact probably will, lose if we do fight as well, but that difference between maybe (or even probably) and certainly makes it worth it.

      • #1996379

        I agree w/anon above about the his resigned tone despite his well-written insights about updates. Encouraging defeatism isn’t healthy. Linux as a desktop OS may be far from ideal (getting some hardware to run on some distros can be a pain), but anyone wanting a viable alternative to Windows to ever exist should avoid asserting doom and gloom about Linux.

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    Reply To: Dedoimedo: Straight talk about Windows 7

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