• Exit ramp from WinX & Glide path to…

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    I’m emotionally exhausted. Intellectually convinced. Financially able.

    I’m leaving Windows. And maybe that means Microsoft altogether.

    I’ve downloaded Open Office. I like it. I use Google Docs. It works for me. At work that is. Maybe it is time to bring it home. Interesting feedback loop there. Reminds me of the mid-90’s when I brought MS from home into the Office. Word Perfect guys hated me.

    Microsoft gives me the creeps. I don’t like the fact that the EULA gives them the right to change my computing experience at their time according to their will.

    Therefore, I see only one way to recharge my psyche. To embark on a new open intellectual path. And to spend a reasonable amount of money on a product that I can control.

    I regretfully conclude that I’m really going to have to move to Linux. Which one? I don’t know. Hope it runs WINE so that I can use the last ‘good’ version of Word, 2003. You know, the one without the Ribbon. The one that worked the way I desired.

    Has anyone thought of a graceful process for exiting Windows and ramping up on Linux? Should I just jump in with both feet? Should I get advice from a divorce lawyer or psychologist? All or any of the above is welcome.

    Join me?


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    • #108664
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    • #108672

      Maybe just buy a Mac and run Office on it if you are financially able? Apple are a lot  less bad than Microsoft on the aspects that seem to bother you.

      Linux Mint should be a good option for you if you prefer Linux, but don’t get your hopes up about Office. If running Office in Wine was working well, I can guarantee people wouldn’t just say they will move to Linux. They would have been running it for a long time. I also hope you don’t expect playing games the same way as on Windows. Same thing for Mac which has never been a gaming platform.

      Sorry but I really don’t understand the big deal about the ribbon.  I am a power user of Office and 2010 and up are so much better than 2003.  Maybe learn the keyboard shortcuts or just get used to the ribbon. I really don’t use it much and don’t find it difficult at all to work with. It is well suited to large screens like we now have. It is visual so easy to see the things you need.  Really, I don’t get it 14 years later, with all respect. Maybe at first it was too different than the menus, but now I really see that as a minor issue at best.

      Running 2003 is not the greatest idea too as it is not patched anymore for security and it is generally a bad idea to run unpatched software, especially those that have been targets of viruses like the Office suite.

      My advice to you is buy a new computer if you want Linux, in addition to the one you currently have. Then, install only Linux Mint on it, Firefox browser, openoffice, gimp if you want a photoshop alternative and start from there. You should be able to feel free from Microsoft for most of your tasks. If you don’t want to buy a new computer, maybe install Mint in a VM and try using it the most you can to see if you still need Windows. I like the new computer idea because you can always fall back to the other one and use it less and less, at your pace and respecting your level of comfort. But from your description, you seem more like a Mac type of person.

      Good luck on your journey.


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    • #108680

      @ RamRod


      In general, for computer dummies, Linux desktop OS is suitable for them to do web-surfing, media-streaming (eg Youtube), emailing, running basic office works and other basic stuffs. To run available advanced, specialized and professional software, the users need to be tech-geeks, eg video/music-editing (eg avidemux), CAD, etc. Many device drivers, online games and business software are not available for Linux because of its very small market share of about 2%.
      Facebook and Google have to hire Linux professionals to run their massive Linux-based data-servers = cheaper than paying for MS Server Volume licenses, etc.

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    • #108744

      Well put, RamRod.

      If only there WERE a smooth path to a computing experience that would equal that which we have already experienced with Windows. I personally tweak every Microsoft OS to the point where it’s back to doing the things I want and NOT doing the things I don’t, and I’ve even even done it with Windows 10, but when the dust settles it’s just not better. Microsoft has abandoned advancing the state of the art in the directions we want to go, I guess. Personally I don’t see all that much merit in Apps and cloud-integration.

      I think a lot like Alex above, but I do understand your resistance to wanting to use ribbon-enabled software. I had Office 2003 for a very long time and found it productive, but had to move to 2010 since the older version didn’t integrate well with Windows 8.1. I’ve now been using Office 2010 for some years – to the point where I get along with the ribbons no problem – yet to be honest I still always feel like 2003 was a little better. To this day I occasionally have to Google how to do uncommon things with Office 2010. I’m admittedly a dinosaur, but thankfully one who can still learn, so at the moment Win 8.1 with Office 2010 represent my choices.

      Back onto the subject at hand… A few of my disjointed thoughts:

      • I’ve always been a fan of the Digital Equipment Corporation philosophy, and I was involved with DEC systems until there weren’t any, then was overjoyed when Dave Cutler brought his genius to Microsoft with NT. Look how long that has remained the state of the art. But alas, Microsoft seems to be incapable of taking it further.
      • Since my first exposure to it in the mid 1970s, I’ve never liked Unix. It and its derivatives always seemed undisciplined and unprofessional (with apologies to Unix/Linux fans).
      • It seems that it’ll still be possible to run Windows on a decent computer for some 5ish years yet, even older versions if you want to get geeky. For example, Win 8.1 is going to be supported for quite a while yet, and it IS possible to get Win 8.1 tuned up to be like the Windows 7 that never was.
      • With additional geek chops, it IS possible to tweak up Windows 10 to shun all the cloud-integration, telemetry, and forced updates, as well as to add desktop elegance and usability back in. It’s not really better than what came before and as you point out not what Microsoft wants everyone to agree to, but I have proven that it is still possible, even with Version 1703 “Creator’s”.

        It’s far too late to retain much hope, but something in me still wonders if Microsoft is going to ultimately see the light and pull back from their plunge into dumbing-down and start making operating systems that are worthy of software and content creators again. After all, they really NEED to do it themselves if they expect to continue developing software. Is there a “Windows 10 Ultimate” that they build and run for themselves internally, with which THEY develop future versions I wonder? Visual Studio is admittedly a pretty good package to just sit in all day, but it still doesn’t equal a good, integrated desktop environment with multiple tools working smoothly together.

        Lastly: A glimmer of hope for getting used to a whole different computing universe…


        Get a good virtualization tool – e.g., something like VMware Workstation – and install the operating systems you’re considering in virtual machines. Once you find one you think you might be able to come to grips with, start to customize it and when sufficiently far along, see if you can “go full screen” with it and immerse yourself in the virtual machine.

        Ultimately, you may find your new OS suits you, and you may become comfortable with the idea that IT can be the one you boot up on your hardware, and Windows might become the OS you run in virtual machines to “get by” while you work out the rest of the kinks. At that point, new hardware may be in order.

        There will probably be things you remember from Windows that you’ll never quite equal with Linux or macOS, but then there may be things you find you could never do with Windows that now your new system provides. Virtualization is probably not going to go away any time soon. Just as an example at my company my chief engineer, whom I’ve known for 35 years, currently runs iMac hardware that boots up macOS, and he develops Windows software inside a Windows 7 VM. He’s the smartest, most productive engineer I’ve ever known.


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      • #108817

        Thanks for the replies. This was a rant and I didn’t really expect such thoughtful replies.

        And now let the rant continue.

        I do own a Lenovo Flex 3 with Windows 10-1511. I use WUSHOWHIDE daily to block the updates I don’t want. I use much of Woody’s advice in this strategy. I use Everything instead of windows search, including Cortana. I’ve taken all of the steps I have learned to stop Cortana. I put a piece of tape over my camera. That’s probably a little paranoid but…

        I use Spybot Anti-Beacon to block WinX attempts to phone home with some of my data. Which data? I don’t know. It seems only fair that if I’m going to be forced to share my data in exchange for using Microsoft’s OS I should know which data I’m sharing. MS doesn’t share that POV.

        I use a local account. It surprises me how often MS manages to get me back on to my microsoft account. Yes I have one – I didn’t realize the implications when I first started this new computer and OS. I always switch back to my local account when I realize I’ve been hijacked by the OS vendor.

        I use Office 2003 because I like the UI. No one asked me if I thought a ribbon would be better. It is my money – if I thought a ribbon or a monkey would be better for my workflow I’d pay for it. Why can’t MS program multiple UI’s and allow the user to select their preference? That goes for OS’s as well as Office suites. The underlying code doesn’t care what button the user pushes, only the user cares. I don’t like being told that my choice is obsolete when it doesn’t have to be. As far as security, well, I’m not that worried. What’s the worst that can happen – someone gets access to my computer and sees all of my data, tracks my usage, and does something with it like downloading portions of it for their own advantage? Wait, MS already does that.

        As far as Apple, Linux, or any other OS maker, will they follow MS’s lead? I’d rather pay a reasonable number of $ every year or two to acquire the OS and associated software of my choice, and not be forced to upgrade via SAAS or forced obsolescence. What’s the saying, ‘If it’s free, you’re the product’. I don’t care to sell myself. That’s for another group of people in our society.

        So what about Google, and specifically Chrome? I use Chrome. Why? It shares data. Lots. All. Why then do I use it? Am I a hypocrite? I like the way it works. I like the UI. I understand all of the data it captures – I know every keystroke I enter into it. So how is that different than MS? Google made the rules clear from the beginning and hasn’t changed those rules. MS formerly sold me a permanent license. Then it decided that it could legally bully me into changing the programs I use by SAAS or forced obsolescence, with a healthy dose of fear mongering via the security arguments. MS uses the bad guys to their advantage. And none of it, IMHO, helps me. I reserve the right to decide what helps me.

        I was a MS evangelist in the late 80’s and 90’s. I installed 3.1 on my work computer almost getting fired for it. I did the same with Word 1.1a. The WP guys hated me. But I saw something that helped me work better, faster, smarter. MS helped me for a long time. No longer. I regret that. I did my part. I didn’t leave MS – they left me. And they don’t care. If they did, IMHO, they’d give me choices, not dictates. That was the rallying cry for Windows in the early, rich days – There’s more than one way to do things. You don’t have to do it IBM’s way. Now MS is IBM.

        End of Rant. Until next time. Thank you.

        ‘A fanatic is someone who won’t change his mind and can’t change the subject.’
        — Winston Churchill

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        • #108845

          Whoops, a couple of omissions that don’t really change my rant. I run Classic Shell on my WinX Lenovo. I also run Office 2003 along with Visio 2003 under WinX on that machine. I never use IE. I still don’t know or care what .Net is. Why should I ever upgrade that?

          I don’t do much gaming, especially since MS Solitaire went somewhere. Did I understand right that it now includes advertisement? Ha!

          And I meant Libre Office, not Open Office.

          And it really angers me that MS is retrofitting Win7 & Win8.1 with spyware. Ughhhh!!!

          Ok, no fanaticism here. Oh well, who am I kidding. I need a MS 12-step program.

          • #108852

            Interesting that you edited from Open Office to LibreOffice. The newest version of LIbreOffice (5.3) has an advanced setting that enables a beta Ribbon-like toolbar. I have not tried it yet on the Linux laptops, but definitely will on the new Linux desktop box I am building. I am only a begrudging user of the MS Ribbon, but since Officer 2010 is the last decent office and I did get used to the Ribbon I can live with it.

            That said, I was and still am one of the Wordperfect fans. I loved WP5.1 and WP6.1 for DOS and the Version 7 for Windows. But when they sold out to Novell and then Corel, I figured enough is enough, plus my employer had made the leap to MSOffice. Going from WP5.1 DOS to Office for Windows in the mid-1990s was truly a trying time as opening a WP5.1 file needed a lot of reformatting in MS Word. The single tool of WP I used the most was reveal codes and I loved the keyboard shortcuts.

            When considering a potential Linux migration, I once posted about doing an audit of all the software and peripherals to ensure there is a Linux program with the same functionality or a driver for your device. Older (but not too old) is usually supported. Real bleeding edge may not be (yet). Once you do that, it will guide your steps. I have a few applications and devices where key tools are not supported under Linux (35nn Camera interface, and GPS software tools.) I will always need to have a Windows machine operational, if only for those limited uses (but it will not be a Win10 machine).

            However the nice feature of Linux distros is most support the live media concept where you boot off a Linux Distro USB stick or DVD and test it on your hardware. I have yet to have a major issue in my tests except for some older AMD (ATI) graphics chipsets. They can be made to work, but it requires tweaking. See my post at July 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm #38604 for more.

            Linux is great to rescuing older machines is you use a lightweight distro. I have bought refurbished off lease laptops and have successfully converted them to general travel laptops for myself and some colleagues..

            Also check out this section of this website if you have not already, https://www.askwoody.com/forums/forum/askwoody-support/other-platforms-for-windows-wonks/linus-for-windows-wonks/

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          • #108887

            RamRod, I have a possible suggestion…

            If you want to do some learning, and “get geeky” as I have mentioned above, you COULD visit sites that cater to those who tweak Windows (e.g., msfn.org) and learn how to bend Windows to your will.

            Consider this Windows 10 setup that I’ve developed, for example:


            In addition to what you see in the screenshot, I have:

            • The ability to run the old Task Manager (circa Win 7).
            • The ability to run the old Solitaire and other games.
            • Secure, ad-free browsing.
            • A desktop more reminiscent of Win 7 than Win 10.

            I have an old license for Office 2003 I’m going to try to install, just to see how compatible it is. I have a suspicion it will run just fine under Win 10.


            By the way, that’s the old NT CLOCK32.EXE you see running in the upper-right corner.

            Note that this is just a test system, though; my main hardware system runs Win 8.1 still because there are a few subtle things I can’t yet get through Win 10.

            Call me a “have your cake and eat it too” kind of guy. 🙂


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            • #108914

              I realize that we are both pursuing the same strategy – trying to adapt new software to our preferred work methods. I will enjoy learning some tricks from your suggestions. I guess I’m fine with Classic Shell. It’s functional. I didn’t really like WinX Start. It was nice to have a choice. Truth is I don’t spend much time in either. I like my programs on the Taskbar. I prefer Everything to every other search I’ve ever used.

              Be careful installing Office 2003 in addition to other versions of Office. I haven’t experienced it myself, but the web is full of complicated instructions on how to install more than one version of Office at a time. Apparently they each try to take over storage locations and file associations.

              I’ve had no problem with Office 2003 by itself on WinX. Visio 2003 has a problem shutting down – it always tries to restart. It has something to do with connecting to some internal database. Or something like that. It works – it just shuts down weird. And neither has a ribbon! 🙂

              I do use ‘modern’ versions of Word and Office at work. I’m just not as productive on them. I’m also often frustrated. I use many keyboard shortcuts. It still amazes me how good MS was at hiding many of the Word options I use the most. The ribbon’s inability to be customized must certainly be a feature many current users adore.

    • #108850

      Step One:
      Get a router capable of DDWRT – blocking ActiveX (via the Security Firewall SPI Filter ActiveX) and be done with MS forcing updates, and you having to run/maintain WUSHOWHIDE.

      I have no affiliation to the following review/er. But I would suggest this be the first router connected to the Modem/IPS provided appliance.

      Mark Hepburn’s Review March 24, 2017 Linksys WRT54GL

      • #108853

        Those routers were absolutely indestructible and reliable. I had one for years using it as a wired router until my ISP greatly increased their speed and the router became a bottle neck. I also wanted dual AC bands for wireless. I still have it for some older machines.

        Thanks for the link top the DDWRT. I will have to do some research on that.

      • #108886

        I’d be interested in seeing more technical info on blocking ActiveX through a router. ActiveX isn’t a protocol; it’s a form of augmenting a browser with executable code. That code could use any protocol – e.g., TCP, which is what almost all browsing operations use. I see no way to block ActiveX based on protocol considerations.

        Now, blacklisting a large list of specific sites can be a Very Good Idea. If site blocking is what this is about, but it’s gotten somehow misnamed as “blocking ActiveX”, then there is definitely good in it.

        Personally I use a DNS proxy – i.e., a program running on a machine I have on 24/7 that accepts DNS requests and either fails them locally (per a blacklist), resolves them locally (per local configuration settings), or forwards them to an online DNS server. My server name blacklist has about 60,000 specific entries in it, and my wildcard/domain blacklist has about 30,000. That latter one is significant, in that it blocks things like ad.* and track*. My blacklists are automatically compiled daily by a script I’ve written, using data from a number of online sources.


        • #108902

          Ha!  One cheep router for ActiveX filter, one cheaper downstream router for 0.0.0[.]0 drop.   I’m always impressed at your LAN and due vigilance.  But I’m on a budget.

          All I can tell you is that since applying the filter on my router, Windows 10 Home will error out, Windows 8 will find and display the monthly updates but will error out attempting to install them.

          This DuckDuch search. Modify as you see fit to investigate.

          Example: Windows 8.1 Pro
          April, 2017 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 3.5, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2 on Windows 8.1 (KB4014983)
          Installation date: ?4/?14/?2017 8:04 PM
          Installation status: Failed
          Error details: Code 80072EFE
          Update type: Important
          A security issue has been identified in a Microsoft software product that could affect your system. You can help protect your system by installing this update from Microsoft. For a complete listing of the issues that are included in this update, see the associated Microsoft Knowledge Base article. After you install this update, you may have to restart your system.

          More information:

          Help and Support:


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          • #109006

            Thanks, I did a bit of searching. The router-offered [ ] Filter ActiveX setting is becoming clearer…

            One site states:

            Filter ActiveX
            Blocks HTTP requests containing a URL ending in “.ocx” or “.cab”.

            If that’s all it’s doing, honestly that’s a pretty ham-handed way to do it. For one thing, .cab files are just containers that can contain any number of legitimate or useful things.

            It occurs to me to ask: Why not just change the Internet Explorer settings to block ActiveX from running from sites in the Internet Zone? That’s what I do, and it’s fully effective.

            By the way, the DNS proxy software I run (Dual DHCP DNS Server, open source) can actually protect the system on which it’s running. One need only set the DNS server address to the be the machine’s own IP address.


            • #109007

              Don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater Noel.. (ham-handed) lol.

              I don’t know what Internet Explorer is! jk,  So my ActiveX filtering experiment had nothing to do with whatever IE is, just wanted to block my Win 10 from CU for the time being and see how this setting affects daily use elsewhere.

              Like you, or others, I was able to obtain the updates via the Windows Catalog and self medicate, so life is good and granular to my ability.  Suck to hear Cisco burned down your ability to micromanage your system with firmware updated.

              I wiresharked the connection and bless me could not see (did not find reason)  the cause for the RST (Reset) and error message.  But then again I can barely read one of your post without GOOGLE TRANSLATE.. so I imagine the code is way beyond my pay grade.

              The GET command is sent and is followed by a RST (reset) and rinse repeat. One radio button and Apply and back to ‘business as usual’.  However, I do enjoy having some sense of control back for the Win 10 Home.

              I’ve followed up on your How to links and have seen your post comments to the forums on the firewall/DNS sites.
              Was tempted, yet I have the bases covered on a modest budget without adding more CPU’s/pwr supply/backups running, to support blocking or filtering.  The firewall is really tempting as it just sits over the Windows version.  May go there one day.

              Back to ActiveX filtering: Remember when we just kept downloading the latest Java or Flash? I can not remember the last time I need the standalone version of those programs. Got rid of them and didn’t look back. If a page complains, I move on… bye bye.. web’s too immense to fiddle with proven vectors of attack.

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