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  • Supported OS for W7?

    Posted on RMeijer Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 7 Questions: Windows 7 Supported OS for W7?

    This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  EP 1 week, 5 days ago.

    • Author
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    • #2087331 Reply

      RMeijer
      AskWoody Plus
    • #2087695 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody_MVP

      Many of us here on askwoody.com have made the jump.  It isn’t something that will work for everyone, but it can be a good solution to the end of the Windows 7 era if you (like me) are in the “Never 10” camp.  Feel free to join us in the Linux forum if you’d like to know more!

      Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.1).

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2087763 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody_MVP

      I went from Windows 7 to Linux Mint a year or two ago. For the most part my experience has been trouble-free; but not entirely. In the beginning there were a handful of tasks I simply couldn’t get done in Linux. Fortunately, I had a retail license for Windows 8, allowing me to install Windows 8.1 in a virtual machine within Linux Mint. This means that I can instantly click over to Windows whenever I need to, so that I can do those things I can’t figure out how to do in Linux.

      My computer had 4 GB of RAM when I first set all of this up, but that simply wasn’t enough memory to support a virtual machine, so I added 8 GB. I have now allocated 4 GB to the virtual machine, leaving me 8 GB for Linux. This arrangement works very well.

      If your computer has at least 8 GB of RAM, and if you have a Retail Windows license, then I suggest that you do what I have done. However, if you don’t have either of these, then you can go the Dual Boot route, which will allow you to continue using Windows 7 as-is on your computer, and which doesn’t require as much memory as the virtual machine route that I have taken.

      But whatever you do, don’t entirely abandon Windows 7 (or its sibling, Windows 8.1), because there will be some things that you simply won’t know how to do in Linux.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2087830 Reply

        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        MrJimPhelps: This is an excellent idea that, although it had occurred to me some time ago, I had not considered any further and actually had forgotten about.

        Right now I have Win 7 and Linux Mint (still 19.1) in dual-boot. I was thinking of upgrading Win 7 to 8.1, as I have both the installer and the key for the latter. But installing 8.1 in a VM on the Linux side might be a better idea. And, if space turns out to be a problem, I wonder if it might be possible, at the end of an 8.1 session, to copy to an external HD the file of that session and whatever else got created during it (I am only guessing that other files might be created, as my experience with VMs is nil) that would not be in that file and that also would be deleted, otherwise, when logging off the VM. So, to continue with whatever I was doing in 8.1, I would first retrieve the files and import them back to the VM and so on and so forth.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

        • #2087996 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody_MVP

          Oscar:

          If you use VMWare Workstation Player as your vm software, you can keep the vm files on a separate drive and just run them directly from there. The only space that would be required on your primary drive would be the installation of VMWare Workstation Player – I recommend that you install it on your primary drive if possible. You can probably do the same with Oracle VirtualBox, but I can’t say for sure, because I haven’t tried it.

          If you have the installer and the activation key for Windows 8.1, if your Windows 8.1 license is a Retail license (not an OEM license), and if your computer has at least 8 GB of RAM, then it would be an excellent idea to install Windows 8.1 in a vm inside of Linux. I click instantaneously between Linux and Windows, and I have set up my data folder to be accessible from the Windows vm, so that all data is available in both Linux and Windows.

          Jim

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2088032 Reply

            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            MrJimPhelps: Thanks for your answer. I did not know that one can use an external HD or SSD as the mass storage device for an OS running on a virtual machine. That opens for me some very interesting possibilities.

            Below is what I understand your answer to imply. Please, comment on any misunderstandings that I might have, as shown by what follows:

            With Windows 8.1 on a VM one can have files created and kept permanently in an external drive, as if 8.1 were running on a real machine and the external drive were this machine’s real HD. One also can keep there the session file, which I understand to be an image of the 8.1 system as it was at the end of a session, so as to be able to continue working from where one was then, at the next session. The VM would run on Linux, but using the external drive as Windows 8.1’s permanent mass storage device. With this setup, there should be, much of the time, no difference between running 8.1 on a VM or on “bare metal.” One difference I can think of is the way one would be accessing the Web when running 8.1 on a VM: not from its virtual ports, but from the real ports handled by Linux, the host OS. Are there others?

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

          • #2088240 Reply

            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            I don’t see why this (running the VM directly from the external drive) could not be done on Virtualbox too.  I have not tried it, but it looks like it should work.

            You can even run a VM inside 4 GB, though it’s not ideal.  I’ve done this in my 4GB (non-upgradeable) Acer Swift,  where I’ve done a bunch of things in its Win7 guest.  I would not want to keep the VM open all the time, as the RAM is in short supply, but for occasional use (which is how it is for me; I only use Windows in the VM every few months now), it can work well enough to get the things I’ve needed done.  Scanning checks for deposit in my bank (which required TWAIN, a Windows standard, which I do not have set up in Linux), programming my Corsair mice and keyboard from the Windows gaming software, etc., are simple things that just take a few minutes, and then I close the VM session and get on with things.  The OS should be able to page the other stuff out to virtual memory to make room for the VM, then bring it back in to RAM when the VM closes.

            When exiting the VM session, you can choose to restore the VM guest to the state it was in when you started the session, or you could save the state and be able to pick up where you left off next time.  Rolling it back would discard any malware it may have picked up, possibly before its presence was known.  Doing that provides an extra layer of safety compared to using it on bare metal.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.18.1).

            • #2088246 Reply

              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              Thank you, Ascaris, for your very relevant reply to my question. I see using a VM with an external disk as its dedicated mass storage device, as one way of being able to run on my PC three systems that I might need to have available there in the future: Win 7 running on bare metal and in dual boot with Linux, also on bare metal, plus Windows 8.1, that will remain supported by MS for three more years, running on the VM. And also as a way of having all this without a need for tampering with the PC’s own HD, where both Win 7 and Linux are already installed and have their partitions all set up and I much prefer not to fiddle with any of that.

              I am going to have a different use for each of these systems and that might very well change over time, as I gain experience and get to understand better in which way each of these systems can be most useful to me.

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W + Mac&Lx

    • #2087829 Reply

      DrBonzo
      AskWoody Plus

      Make sure you try a few different distros from a usb stick before you install to a hard drive. That way you’ll get some hands on experience to see whether you like a particular distro. I first ran Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for a couple years and didn’t particularly like it. I kept it just as a rainy day computer if my other machines went south. Then I updated to 18.04 LTS and liked it even less (in fact I really don’t like it at all!). The I installed Mint 19.2 on a different computer. Even though Mint is a downstream fork of Ubuntu, IMHO the difference between the two is amazing. I really like Mint and felt right at home using it. So, try a few distros to see what you like.

      Also when you do install, install on an old computer that’s just sitting around (if you have one) and keep your Win 7 machine. Some folks will suggest a dual boot, but I’ve never had much luck with that (I admit that I haven’t pursued it much since I’m happy with what I’ve got)

    • #2137707 Reply

      Thomas
      AskWoody Plus

      I use win 10 /  1909 where I do a lot of my things. I also got Linux Mint on a different SSD just to plug in and boot up, the same with Linux Zorin. Internally I have Linux Solaris and Clear Linux on different SSD’s all this works well for me. Everything got the-yer plus and minus sides.

      At some point I also had Fedora however I did not like it at all, as for Ubuntu I quite like it, just have no system installed at the moment.

      As for Win 10 it started to behave badly, so I decide to clean install to 1909 from 1903 works fantastic with my configuration, I think a lot of problems come from all the different programs we install and uninstall.

    • #2137790 Reply

      Slowpoke47
      AskWoody Plus

      As a non-tech-oriented user, I have not ventured into VM’s or the like.  At our house, we had been with Win7 since it was released, and that OS met all of our needs.  With help from AskWoody and the more experienced users here, Win7 was the only system we needed.  But now, Microsoft, even though 7 wasn’t “broken,” has made yet another attempt to “fix” it, releasing the rolling train wreck known as W10.

      Our response has been to move to Linux, specifically Mint Mate 19.2, which we now dual boot on two machines which both run W7.  There has been a learning curve, but not all  that daunting, and the process has been peppered with pleasant surprises.  With this configuration, Mint has access to the entire Win7 system, so you can move your 7 files into Mint or leave them in 7 and access them via Mint as needed, using 7 as merely additional storage without booting into it.

      One concern was that a couple of Windows programs we use are not available in Mint.  For example, Canon doesn’t provide Linux software for our camera.  But at the suggestion of Ascaris, I plugged the camera into Mint anyway, where not only was it immediately recognized, but the Mint app is much better than the proprietary Canon product.

      Our “conversion” to Mint is only a few months on at present, but our comfort factor has advanced to the point that we rarely open Windows.  Mint is better supported, faster, and an all around better system.  If we as non-tech types can make this change, anyone can.  Highly recommended!

      And, to the OP- welcome to the forum!

      Linux Mint Mate 19.2 and Win7 HP

      • #2137884 Reply

        Elrod
        AskWoody Plus

        I was never overwhelmed by Canon’s software anyway when I was on Windows 7.  When I moved to Linux, I just removed the SD card from my Canon camera and plugged it into the machine (it has a slot for SD cards on the front).  Linux Mint mounted it as an external device, easy peasy.  Then I copied my photos off the card.

        Once I have the photos on my machine, I put the card back in the camera and use the camera to erase the card, so it’s empty for the next photo outing.

        I understand that not everyone will have a handy slot for SD cards, but Linux Mint has had no problem with any external memory storage device that I’ve introduced so far; they just get recognized and mounted.

        Group "L": Linux Mint

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2137950 Reply

          EP
          AskWoody_MVP

          what is the size of the SD card for your Canon camera, Elrod?
          can it handle a high capacity SD card like a 16Gb or 32Gb variety

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