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  • Windows 7: Preparing for an uncertain future

    Posted on Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Windows 7: Preparing for an uncertain future

    This topic contains 65 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by

     tonyl 1 week, 3 days ago.

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    • #1863434 Reply

      Tracey Capen
      AskWoody MVP

      ON SECURITY By Susan Bradley By now every Win7 user should know that official support for the venerable OS ends next year. The final updates should go
      [See the full post at: Windows 7: Preparing for an uncertain future]

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1863462 Reply

      Microfix
      Da Boss

      EPOS to 2023, wishful thinking, or a possibility?
      Then there is extended support for Enterprise Editions, could there be workarounds there too?

      ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1864164 Reply

      anonymous

      Realistically, it will be lack of browser support primarily, followed by lack of anti-virus and anti-malware support, that will begrudgingly drive users not fully committed to move from Win 7 to Win 10.

      But I find the tone of this article somewhat confusing.  It sounds like a “hard sell” to get users off Win 7 and onto Win 10.

      For the technically knowledgeable, or even those who have simply read about and understand the “features” built into Win 10, there should be serious doubts about the security of an operating system that spies on its user and has advertising and malware delivery engines BUILT IN by design.  Worse yet is the inability to turn such undesirable “features” off.  This will certainly kill it as a viable alternative in a handful of regulated industries that have SMBs who’s user counts don’t favor the Enterprise edition.

      To date neither I nor any tech person I know has encountered a computer that was compromised by any sort of threat that would have been mitigated by a Microsoft patch.  Zero day threats don’t count, since no patch would have existed, and most security software mitigates the threat long before Microsoft comes out with an update.  Truly serious issues usually get a patch, even if EOL, but as you point out that may not continue.  Unfortunately, we have had to repair, recover, or outright replace computers that were wiped out by Microsoft Updates on a sickeningly regular basis, especially since 2017.

      I’ll likely stick with my safe and dependable copy of Win 7 instead of gleefully moving to a pre-infected version of Win 10 until I have no choice but to move on.

      And this isn’t just uninformed pontificating.  I have quite a few test computers running assorted versions of Win 10 Pro, each modified in some way to test the efficacy of the many Win 10 tweaking and crap-cleaner utilities and scripts.  Aside from the hoops one must jump through to make Win 10 usable, I’m just not sure I can make it secure from advertising and malware like I can with Win 7.

      I have tested both the LTSB and LTSC versions of Win 10 in a live environment, and they go a long way to being a proper OS once something like Classic Shell is installed.  Too bad it isn’t a viable alternative for the consumer and small business market.

      And then there is real life experience.  Neither I nor the the many hundreds of computers and users I directly support run the Enterprise versions of Windows.  So far, the very small group of Win 10 users I support have had the lion share of problems these last few years.  Program incompatibility is still a rampant issue, but the amount of damage caused by Microsoft Updates has me completely on the fence about subjecting more of my users to this abuse.  This includes users waking to find their computers completely wiped out due to an unrequested upgrade issue, users having working software just stop working after updates, data loss (particularly dicey with icloud), and just a general loss of usability compared to their prior version of Windows.  Granted, the last one can often be improved with a proper Start Button replacement and user interface tweaks.

      So I’m not so sure the “cure” isn’t worse than the disease in this case.  Many of us will be forced to Win 10 rather than cheerfully moving to it, but I think the writing’s on the wall for Microsoft and although their earnings may be high now, just the smallest of true alternatives could turn them into another of the major once great corporations that just fall off a cliff.

      12 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1864173 Reply

      anonymous

      Excellent article Susan. I was reluctant to move from XP to 7, and I feel even more reluctant to move from 7 to 10.  Given the number of Win7 units still out there, I am a bit surprised that M$ hasn’t offered some kind of patch subscription program for consumers similar to what they are doing for corps.  I don’t know what the magic $$ number is for me, but I would be tempted to pay a $20 or $25 annual fee to keep my Win7 machine up-to-date instead of having to move to Win10.  Maybe I’m the only one.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1864198 Reply

        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        Excellent article Susan. I was reluctant to move from XP to 7, and I feel even more reluctant to move from 7 to 10.  Given the number of Win7 units still out there, I am a bit surprised that M$ hasn’t offered some kind of patch subscription program for consumers similar to what they are doing for corps.  I don’t know what the magic $$ number is for me, but I would be tempted to pay a $20 or $25 annual fee to keep my Win7 machine up-to-date instead of having to move to Win10.  Maybe I’m the only one.

        You aren’t! I’d be happy to pay for extended support rather than have to buy 2 news Win 10 computers and make a move I am not really ready – or need – to make. I keep hoping that as the year wears on, something will become available when MS realizes that not everyone is jumping right on the Win 10 bandwagon.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1864323 Reply

      abbodi86
      AskWoody_MVP

      It’s interesting to know that half of Windows 7 lifecycle was full of FUD and exaggeration since Windows 10 arrived

      oh telemetry, oh forced upgrades, oh hidden keyloggers, oh bad updates to avoid.. etc

      i guess that will not end with 2020 end 🙂

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1865544 Reply

        Microfix
        Da Boss

        ..and the intention of the GWX campaign on unsuspecting Win7/Win8 home users has nothing to do with that!

        ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1864340 Reply

      anonymous

      Personally, I would say it is Microsoft that has an uncertain future.

      Their continuous disregard for their Win10 users (spyware built into the OS with a EULA authorizing them to spy, pushing untested updates that have caused data loss and downtime) is exactly opposite of the integrity, reliability and security that I demand from an operating system.

      Even my corporate office has recently moved away from Windows to Debian Linux Workstations. We’re no longer buying any Microsoft software or services and things actually seem to be working much better than when we were using Microsoft operating systems.

      Anyways, it’s just a matter of time before the general public realizes how bad things are and jumps ship to Linux/Mac/Chrome/etc.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1864442 Reply

        jabeattyauditor
        AskWoody Lounger

        Anyways, it’s just a matter of time before the general public realizes how bad things are and jumps ship to Linux/Mac/Chrome/etc.

        The same general public that mindlessly gives Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snap/DataFarmerOfTheDay complete access to every aspect of their lives?

        Not likely.

        10 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1864831 Reply

          Susan Bradley
          AskWoody MVP

          On their android phones btw.  That’s what is losing here.. Windows 7 is being replaced by an Android phone or tablet in many a household and only the traditional desktop is used at the office.

          Susan Bradley Patch Lady

          3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1864678 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Personally, I would say it is Microsoft that has an uncertain future.

        That could be true if Microsoft’s most prized product was still Windows, but it’s clear that it is not.  Microsoft is making a ton of money, and it’s not because of Windows.  They’re all about the cloud now, and by any standard, it seems to be working well for them, even if it vexes us Windows users and former Windows users.

         

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16.3).

        • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by
           Ascaris.
        7 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1864443 Reply

      Charlie
      AskWoody Plus

      In the past however many years that Windows 10 has been foisted on the general public, they either knowingly or unknowingly accept it mainly because it’s convenient to do so, trust MS, and or just don’t care as long as they can surf the web and do basic things.

      My own sister falls into this category and has had Win 10 since it downloaded itself on her computer.  If you ask her what operating system she has she can’t tell you, nor does she care.  In the past year or so she has become more reliant on her smartphone to do the things she used to to do on her laptop. This seems to work for the “general public”.

      For businesses it’s a different story and I would say that most of the complaints and tails of woe voiced on this site stem from business people. Win 10 just is not living up to what MS has given us in the past, and they don’t seem to care. That is almost incomprehensible.

      Win 7 Home Premium, x64, Intel i3-2120 3.3GHz, Groups B & L

      • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by
         Charlie.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1864465 Reply

      anonymous

      About antivirus vendors moving away from 7, should note that some still support XP even now, so highly doubt that will happen anytime soon. Browsers are a question, but there may be forks made just for this.

      As for not being so quick to say I’ll hate 10, let’s see, may it, at any point and for any reason, install an update without me specifically telling it to? May it, at any point and for any reason, reboot without me specifically telling it to (including a BSOD, since I always had it set to not automatically reboot then)? May it, at any point and for any reason, use any noticeable system resources for automated activities I can’t readily turn off and keep off if I so wish? May it, at any point and for any reason, require a connection for local functions to work properly? If the answer to any of these (and likely others, but these were unnecessarily many already) is yes, then I can be very sure it’s not an option, period.

      — Cavalary

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1864478 Reply

      Geo
      AskWoody Plus

      Unlike the big box stores we have a local computer business who will set up your home user W10 on your new computer to look and run mostly like W7.  If this is possible then some one on this site might want to do the same with instructions  to  advise home users on how to do this.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1864672 Reply

        The Surfing Pensioner
        AskWoody Plus

        Actually this would be really helpful.

      • #1864829 Reply

        Susan Bradley
        AskWoody MVP

        Cool, that’s another story idea 🙂

        Susan Bradley Patch Lady

      • #1865505 Reply

        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        Um, yeah, and they can make the updates run just like Win 7? That is when you want to download and run them?  How about being able to play movies from DVD’s on Media Player the way you can on Win 7?

        Find out whatever it is that makes Win 10 “more secure” and make it into an update for Win 7. Then they’d really be doing something!  I know, just so much wishful thinking.

        Win 7 Home Premium, x64, Intel i3-2120 3.3GHz, Groups B & L

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1865576 Reply

          LHiggins
          AskWoody Plus

          Um, yeah, and they can make the updates run just like Win 7? That is when you want to download and run them?  How about being able to play movies from DVD’s on Media Player the way you can on Win 7?

          Find out whatever it is that makes Win 10 “more secure” and make it into an update for Win 7. Then they’d really be doing something!  I know, just so much wishful thinking.

          Indeed! But we can always hope, I guess! Thanks!

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1864496 Reply

      MW
      AskWoody Plus

      Anyways, it’s just a matter of time before the general public realizes how bad things are and jumps ship to Linux/Mac/Chrome/etc.

      The same general public that mindlessly gives Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snap/DataFarmerOfTheDay complete access to every aspect of their lives?

      Not likely.

      That always cracks me up.  People kvetching about the lack of privacy in W10, then turn around and fire up Chrome on their W7 machines.

      Then log into Google and start surfing the web.  Then log into Facebook, Twitter etc, and stay logged in, and continue on their way.

      Hello!  McFly…

      I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but as far as I see it, anybody using Chrome on their W7 machines has no right to complain about W10’s lack of privacy.

      Now, lack of quality with too many of the updates, forced updates, that’s a different issue.

      W7 & W8.1 - Group W
      Mac Sierra & Mojave - Group A
      Mint Cinnamon - Group A

      5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1864529 Reply

      deanwmn
      AskWoody Plus

      This subject already has me thinking about my options. Chrome doesn’t seem really feasible as far as any added safety is concerned.  So I’m seriously considering switching from my Win 7 HP PC to a Mac, and probably a laptop of some kind or other. Something more portable, anyway.  Used to be, I had no problem crawling under my desk to do or undo connections, pick up and move the PC around, etc.  Age and accidents have taken their toll and it’s not so easy anymore!  That or a Chromebook? But I don’t like depending on the Cloud as access to all my “stuff”. But the thing that caught my eye in this article was the mention of banking – and yes, I do almost ALL my banking online now!  Win 7 security will be close to non-existent so something’s going to have to change – soon!

      • #1864696 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Woody has gone on record recommending Chromebooks several times.  A lot of people only really need a browser and just enough of a computer/OS to run that browser, and for them, Chromebooks can work… if they don’t mind the whole Google spying on you thing.  Some people don’t care about that stuff, or they do care but tolerate it because of other factors, like the convenience (they boot and update quickly, among other things) and ease of use, which is where I believe Woody comes in on that issue.

        If a laptop that runs a browser is all you need, a Linux laptop running whatever browser you want (just not the actual Chrome, please… there are de-googled Chromium browsers if you like Chrome!) will give you the same utility and keep you up-to-date on security fixes for the OS and browser, but without the data slurping.  It is also a real OS that can run full-fledged programs and keep your photos, videos, etc., stored on the SSD or hard drive rather than in “the cloud.”

        The main issue with this, for people who mainly need a browser, is that it’s easy to go buy a Chromebook that’s already set up and ready to use, but you have to go to one of a few select sources to find a Linux PC that’s preconfigured.  You can go see and try out several Chromebooks at your local Wal-Mart, but to find a non-Chrome Linux PC, you’re going to have to special order one, in all likelihood.

        Most of us who use Linux had to set it up ourselves, and that’s something not everyone is willing or able to do, which is a barrier that a lot of people (including myself) have struggled to recognize at times (for me, it’s a fun and relaxing way to spend an evening).  Others need specific Windows software, so neither ChromeOS or a conventional Linux will work.

        Still, it’s an option to consider, even if you have to find someone to set it up or buy from one of the vendors that sells preconfigured Linux laptops.  For day to day use, doing things like browsing, email, watching videos, etc., any of the major Linux distros have graphical interfaces that are easy to understand and have a lot in common with Windows 7– in some ways more than Windows 10 (such as the start menu).

        I do wish there were more Linux PCs preconfigured and on display at places like Wal-Mart so that people can get a look at it and see that it’s not that different from what they’re used to.  I don’t mean to say it’s just like with Windows… Linux PCs can be more work to get set up correctly (though not always), and adding things like printers and scanners can be dicey, since a lot of makers of hardware don’t provide Linux drivers.  Windows can sometimes be trouble too, but people never see that if they buy a PC whose maker has already done all the hard work of getting it set up!

        Of course, there are also Macs, which I have no experience with in their current form.  The hardware selection is a lot more limited, as you have to pick from the models Apple offers, and their lack of repairability is a big down-side to me.  Apple really wants you to buy another one if something goes wrong after the warranty ends.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16.3).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1864782 Reply

        joep517
        AskWoody MVP

        Unless you have given Windows 10 a fair try do not be so quick to dismiss it. For most people, it is very solid. I am not a fair comparison because I run the latest preview builds on a production machine and have since the Insider Program started. In that time I’ve had one stop (BSOD now GSOD on Insider builds) and that was from a video driver problem which was resolved quickly. The only other persistent problem I had was two or three years ago. That was a problem installing updated sound drivers for several builds.

        Other than that all the programs I used on 7, 8, 8.1 all worked on 10. I quickly got used to the Windows 10 start menu which seems to be a big sticking point for a number of users. If it would be a problem for you there are several third-party programs that will make the start menu look like the Win7 start menu.

        I say give Windows 10 a good shot. Don’t be afraid of it.

        --Joe

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1864811 Reply

          deanwmn
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks to you, joep517! Actually, I’ve been working on word processors and computers since the 1970s.  From one of the OLD Apples that used a floppy disc – and I mean a real floppy, not what they call floppies now which we called diskettes. Went from those to Macs, from version 1 on up. Then switched to computer operations on a HP3000 for 3M Company. They sent me back to St Paul headquarters for a course in operations.  When I left them, I went to work for Technicolor in their then-new video operations as computer operator. Worked with brand new programs that had to be debugged while the real work had to go on.  And a lot of stuff in between, even the old keypunch machines in the ’60s. So yes, I know my way around and I’m not switching because I’m afraid! I want something safe and at least partly proven and I have far more faith in Apple products than I do in Microcrud!  Actually, I have more faith in Amazon products than I do in any of the others and I have a feeling they will someday take over the market. They’re getting there…

        • #1864827 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody_MVP

          Joe, you are right when you say not to dismiss Windows 10 if you haven’t tried it. I was forced not only to try W10, but also to support it, on my 2nd job – I do desktop support part-time at a local credit union. Also, on my regular job we use Windows 10.

          Once I was forced to use and support it, I found that it’s not a bad system. In fact, I think it’s an excellent system, if you have modern hardware.

          At home we have a choice, and that choice is Windows 8.1 (with Classic Shell) and Linux Mint. My wife and daughter use Windows 8.1 exclusively, and I am about 65/35 Linux/Windows. On my main computer, Linux Mint is the host OS, and I always have a Windows 8.1 VM open for quick and easy switching back and forth. There are some things that I can’t do in Linux, and for those things I use Windows.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #1864938 Reply

            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            On my main computer, Linux Mint is the host OS, and I always have a Windows 8.1 VM open for quick and easy switching back and forth.

            You were ahead of me in declaring “Group L,” with Linux as primary, but I’m at the point now where I haven’t used my Windows VM in several weeks/ months (it didn’t warrant mention in my sig anymore, heh!), not counting that time I started the VM to shut it down and screencap the shutdown dialog.

            That’s not to say I don’t run Windows programs. I do that all the time… just not in Windows, in a VM or otherwise.  WINE’s gotten a lot better, and things that were hopeless in WINE only a short time ago now install and run as easily and as well as in Windows.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16.3).

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #1864988 Reply

              Alex5723
              AskWoody Plus

              WINE’s gotten a lot better,

              Now that Linux in going deprecate i386 support there is a huge cry from Wine users :

              https://www.winehq.org/pipermail/wine-devel/2019-June/147869.html

            • #1866042 Reply

              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              Now that Linux in going deprecate i386 support there is a huge cry from Wine users :

              That link is not working for me (I am not at home and the hotspot I am using is having DNS issues), but as far as I know, that was just Ubuntu planning on cutting of the 32-bit libraries.  They already walked it back, saying that they will work with WINE devs and others to keep the 32-bit libraries needed by those projects on the repository.

               

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16.3).

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #1866273 Reply

              Alex5723
              AskWoody Plus

              that was just Ubuntu planning on cutting of the 32-bit libraries.  They already walked it back

              Linux Mint 20 will ditch 32-bit architecture following Canonical’s recent announcement

              32-bit support going forward

              The announcement from Canonical that 32-bit support was to be dropped in Ubuntu 20.04 means that the future Linux Mint 20 will only be able to be released in 64-bit. Linux Mint 19.x is already available in 32-bit and it can be used until 2023. I think most people are happy with this and dropping 32-bit releases going forward makes sense in 2020.

              https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3766

      • #1865851 Reply

        1040ST
        AskWoody Lounger

        deanwmn, my opinion based on many years of experience with Macs is to avoid them unless there’s software you need that only runs on Macs. I actually built my own PC to run Windows 7 after being frustrated with Apple, my MacBook Pro, and the Genius Bar. Here’s my post about it.

        Here’s a video from a guy who runs a successful MacBook repair shop in NY and often complains about how poor Apple’s repairs are, while showing how he makes the repairs. (If you prefer to avoid YouTube, you can watch it on Invidio.us and on Vimeo.)

        Here’s a video about Apple’s Genius Bar caught ripping off a customer on camera by CBC News: YouTube, Invidio.us.

        I suggest considering Linux as an option, specifically Linux Mint or Ubuntu because they’re popular, easy to use, and have a lot of good community support. I’m still on Windows 7 for now, but I’m planning to move to either Debian (another popular Linux “distro“) or Linux Mint Debian Edition as soon as possible. I’ve been doing my research and learning about Linux for a while. (I also wrote the post further down this page about online banking security with Windows 7, while not logged in, and thought it might be helpful to respond to your post about Macs and because others might be interested.)

        There’s a Linux for Windows wonks forum here on AskWoody.

        Here’s a big thread about Linux Mint on AskWoody.

        If you’re looking for a good laptop, consider a Dell which can be ordered with Ubuntu (Linux) already installed; scroll down on this page to see “Customizable with Ubuntu OS” and “Ubuntu Linux 18.04” as the installed operating system.

        Canadian Tech and others on here on AskWoody have had good experiences with Dells, and I would buy one if I needed a laptop.

        Here’s a thread on AskWoody about using a Dell Refurbished Laptop for Linux Mint.

        Article from Forbes: “Ditching Windows: 2 Weeks With Ubuntu Linux On The Dell XPS 13”.

        ZDNet, May 31: “Dell releases more high-end Ubuntu Linux laptops – Linux PCs are growing in popularity for professional programmers and Dell continues to back them.”

        “Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Series Laptop Ubuntu Edition”

        Here’s a list of Dell laptops certified for Ubuntu, but you can install Ubuntu, Mint, and other Linux distros on a very wide range of hardware, and I plan to install it on my custom-built computer that’s currently running Windows 7.

        Of course, I have no affiliation with Dell or any of the organizations or companies listed above, or anyone for that matter.

        Good luck!

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1867116 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody_MVP

          I concur with getting a Dell laptop with Linux pre-installed, except for the price – they are very expensive. You could get any Dell computer and install Linux on it and come out far cheaper.

          A few years ago I bought a new Dell desktop with Windows 7 pre-installed. I soon got the Linux bug. I decided to install Linux as the host OS on the computer, so I created a Linux install disk, removed and stored the original Dell hard drive, installed a new hard drive, and installed Linux on the new drive. In this way, I could easily get back to Windows just by swapping hard drives. Also, I could get a really big hard drive to replace the original drive.

          If you do what I did, you can come out a lot cheaper than buying a new Dell laptop with Linux pre-installed.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1867123 Reply

          PKCano
          Da Boss

          Please stay on topic – Win7

          • #1868721 Reply

            Charlie
            AskWoody Plus

            With all due respect, we are.  We Win 7 users are preparing for an uncertain future.

            Win 7 Home Premium, x64, Intel i3-2120 3.3GHz, Groups B & L

    • #1864611 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      I would say that the way to deal with an uncertain future is to make it more certain by deciding on a path to follow and sticking to it. And, in the case of Windows 7 EOL next January, as the clock is ticking, it is high time to get cracking with the preparations, in order to carry them out as soon as possible and have so many more days left to get familiar with the new setup before EOL.

      The possible choices I know something about and that exclude abandoning Windows 7 for Windows 10 (in my case, because I don’t want to have to deal with a system overhaul every several months) are:

      (1) Stick with Windows 7 either for things that do not require connecting to the Internet, following the Patch Lady’s advice, or hope things will be OK if one connects to it, even with no further security patches, as the Group W people here have been telling the rest of us is OK to do, according to their own experience. And also hope that, maybe, there will be a hack that makes possible to use the embedded Win 7 patches that MS is bound to keep providing, although there will be no DEFCON for those…

      (2) Keep Windows 7, but install 10 in dual boot.

      (3) Keep Win 7 but install Linux in dual boot.

      (4) Do as above, but installing Win 7 in a virtual machine or, alternatively, the other system in a VM.

      (5) Buy a Mac.

      (6) Buy a Mac and install Win 7, or W 10, or Linux, or more than one, on VM(s) running on the Mac.

      (7) By a Meerkat PC that runs Linux.

      (8) Buy a Meerkat and do as in (6) with a Mac.

      I have already implemented (3) and (5), (3) for several months already and (5) for almost two years, with no complaints, so far. And the threads posted by knowledgeable people in “Macs for Windows Wonks” and “Linux for Windows Wonks” here at Woody’s, are very valuable resources for those that would make the move to include one of those systems in their future computing.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1864691 Reply

      anonymous

      The idea that Windows 7 becomes unsafe right after the January update is a silly one. It’s a narrative Microsoft likes, but it’s not true. There is no looming deadline.

      I think it’s more useful to look at Windows XP and Vista and how long they were out of support before there was some major issue (i.e. one that could not be worked around or stopped with third party software) that Microsoft did not patch. Unfortunately, I don’t have that sort of data, but I hope someone here does.

      That would give us a much better idea of long we have. As would how long software kept supporting the older OS. (It still surprises me how little Windows-10-only software there seems to be. Even Microsoft is getting in on the act with new Edge.)

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1864748 Reply

        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Anonymous: Behind this statement “I think it’s more useful to look at Windows XP and Vista and how long they were out of support before there was some major issue (i.e. one that could not be worked around or stopped with third party software) that Microsoft did not patch.” there is, implicit, the assumption that the past is prologue. But the world is changing fast, and not always for the better, particularly when threats on the Web are considered. I hope you are right, but have my creeping doubts about this. I think the best chances for Windows 7 being safe to use on the Web, past EOL in January, might be more a matter of lack of interest on an officially defunct system among Internet predators out there. But I wouldn’t count too much on that either.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1865517 Reply

        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        Now that would be a story!

        Win 7 Home Premium, x64, Intel i3-2120 3.3GHz, Groups B & L

    • #1864737 Reply

      anonymous

      Personally, MS seems hell bent on killing off the OS side of their business.  Seriously, they seem to keep (mis)implementing things to drive people away.  Every day I’m greeted with more disappointment in regards to Win10.  The latest:

      Guess what, while you were not watching, MS disabled automatic registry backups.  Did anyone notice?  I didn’t.

      https://www.ghacks.net/2019/06/29/microsoft-explains-the-lack-of-registry-backups-in-windows-10/

      Their reason: to save disk space.  Their published solution: create restore points regularly.  BUT: Each major Win 10 update actually makes sure restore point functionality is disabled & leaves it that way.  WTH?!

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1864750 Reply

      deanwmn
      AskWoody Plus

      Thanks to all those who replied to my post. However, I wouldn’t be worried about it if it wasn’t that I do use it for things that contain sensitive information.  Things that I wouldn’t want to get into the wrong hands. For that reason, yes – it bothers me. I was one of the XP holdouts for a long time, finally switched to 7 and have been there since.  But I didn’t used to use my computer for all the things I do now, either. That makes a difference – at least to me!

      • #1864810 Reply

        joep517
        AskWoody MVP

        Windows 10 is secure. With the proper hardware, you may use BitLocker to encrypt your disk/ssd. For the Microsoft perspective on security in Windows 10 see What’s new in Windows 10 and the links to each release. The article for each release has a security section containing features and changes

        --Joe

      • #1867018 Reply

        AlexEiffel
        AskWoody_MVP

        If privacy is your concern, it might be reassuring to you to think about how Tim Cook made it a priority for Apple. Running Firefox on a Mac might be a pretty good combo. Lots of Mac users love their expensive device and wonder why Windows users complain and still use Windows.

        As for security, a Mac is simpler and runs on a modified FreeBSD OS which is one of the most secure OS ever made. The OS is also more stable so maybe there are less security issues in general to fix. However, I am not sure Apple are that quick at responding the security issues. They also have a very bad philosophy of “always run the latest version” so on IOS (Ipads and Iphones), if you bought a device that was a bit older, you might not get security updates after a quite short time when Apple decides your device is too old for the latest IOS and they won’t provide any security update to the previous version, which is very bad in my book. With Apple on IOS, it is buy the latest or get a small discount to buy something that will last less long because of shorter support. On the Mac side though, things are better.

        At some point, Apple might have to up their game about security if an important incident happens. Maybe they also never saw the urgency to send security patches on their older devices. I must say I never heard anyone complaining about having malware on their outdated IOS device around me. It might be anecdotal, but I see a lot of malware stories on Windows. Sure, some security issues are more important to patch than others, but I think the current approach is still not the most sensible one in a world that is not going to be less dangerous in the future.

         

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1867045 Reply

          jabeattyauditor
          AskWoody Lounger

          If privacy is your concern, it might be reassuring to you to think about how Tim Cook made it a priority for Apple.

          Some folks seem to disagree…

          https://www.gnu.org/proprietary/malware-apple.html

        • #1867056 Reply

          Alex5723
          AskWoody Plus

          if you bought a device that was a bit older, you might not get security updates after a quite short time when Apple decides your device is too old for the latest IOS and they won’t provide any security update to the previous version

          Wrong. Apple support iOS devices for 5-6 years. Every new iOS updates/versions contains security updates. The current iOS 12 supports iPhone SE and 5S from 2013 and iPads..

          • #1867086 Reply

            jabeattyauditor
            AskWoody Lounger

            if you bought a device that was a bit older, you might not get security updates after a quite short time when Apple decides your device is too old for the latest IOS and they won’t provide any security update to the previous version

            Wrong. Apple support iOS devices for 5-6 years. Every new iOS updates/versions contains security updates. The current iOS 12 supports iPhone SE and 5S from 2013 and iPads..

            But…

            When Microsoft drops support for its 10-year-old OS it’s an issue?

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #1867121 Reply

              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody_MVP

              I always have to laugh when people complain about Microsoft dropping support for Windows 7 after over 12 years of supporting it! No other company in existence will support their products for that length of time.

              The only OS I can recall that Microsoft quit supporting after a very short time was Windows 8.0. 8.0 ran fast on my old lame eMachines computer; 8.1 did not. I hated to see 8.0 be dropped so fast.

              Group "L" (Linux Mint)
              with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            • #1867130 Reply

              Microfix
              Da Boss

              I always have to laugh when people complain about Microsoft dropping support for Windows 7 after over 12 years of supporting it!

              2009 to January 2020 makes it ‘over 12 years’?

              ********** Win7 x64/x86 | Win8.1 x64 | Linux Hybrids x64 **********

            • #1867263 Reply

              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody_MVP

              You’re right – I should have said “over 10 years”. I was thinking that Windows 7 was released in 2007.

              Group "L" (Linux Mint)
              with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            • #1867281 Reply

              Geo
              AskWoody Plus

              Hey, I still own a EMachine from Walmart with W7.  “Takes a lickin and keeps on tickin”.  Maybe I’ll break down and get another Acer cheapo desktop with W10.  Some local tech company said they can make it look like and act pretty much like w7 for home users.

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #1867210 Reply

              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              When Microsoft drops support for its 10-year-old OS it’s an issue?

              Apple fans tolerate a lot of things that I would not.  This is one of them, and is an area where MS has long been well ahead of Apple.  When one version of Windows goes EOL, you can usually use that new version on your older hardware and extend its lease on life.  My Core 2 Duo laptop from 2008 still runs fine with the current version of Windows, approaching or meeting double the 5-6 years of supported OS life that was claimed for Apple Macs, and it’s not done yet.

              It’s not always possible to keep using old hardware with the newest Windows, but it seems to be true more often than not.

              The reason MS ending support on Windows 7 is a problem is that they have not provided a suitable replacement in the minds of a lot of Windows users.  It’s not that 10 years isn’t good enough… it’s that Windows 10 isn’t good enough.

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16.3).

              3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #1867433 Reply

            AlexEiffel
            AskWoody_MVP

            Wrong?

            Yes, in general for the devices that were quite cutting edge when they were out. The SE had a good processor and cut costs where it didn’t matter too much for performance.

            The problem is retailers still sells new devices that won’t last 5 years. What good is having 5 years of support starting when the device was first released in 2015 if you buy it in 2019? You can still buy a new Iphone 6s (out in 2015) at big retailers, will it last 5 years with full support? You think you pay less for a lesser device compared to what is available now, but you also won’t keep the device as long if you want full support. Cost per year might not be that great.

            The Apple mini 4 that was still selling not so long ago wasn’t cutting edge and probably wasn’t a good deal. I also doubt if you bought the mini 2  at the end of the time it was available, you will have support for 5 years.

            If you bought the original Ipad the day it was released, support lasted about two years. If you bought it later than the first day, too bad, early adopter.

            Maybe as mobile matures, we will get more out of older devices that are more powerful than before and if they are a bit more careful when implementing new OS features (they were more careful for IOS 12), but I think it is good to keep in mind what happened previously.

    • #1864738 Reply

      anonymous

      From the article:

      If the Win7 machine is your only PC, at a minimum, stay away from sensitive sites. You certainly won’t want to use it for online banking after January 2020.

      Actually, you can still safely use Windows 7 for online banking after January 2020, but you need to follow the best practices that you should have been following already.

      These best practices also apply to Windows 10, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android:

      1. Keep your web browser up to date and use a JavaScript blocker like uBlock Origin or NoScript.
      2. Download only reputable software and files from reputable websites.
      3. Check all downloaded files with a virus scanner and VirusTotal before installing or opening them.
      4. Don’t click on unknown and unfamiliar links sent to you via email.
      5. Don’t plug unknown USB drives and devices into your computer.
      6. Keep your router firmware updated.

      Then you shouldn’t have a problem accessing your bank’s website and running Windows 7 after January 2020.  But you should still move away from Windows 7 as soon as possible.

      But Windows 10 and any other operating system isn’t going to protect you if you don’t follow the best practices listed above.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1864757 Reply

      deanwmn
      AskWoody Plus

      Thnak you. I don’t plan on migrating to Win 10, either. I have lost whatever little faith I ever had in Microsoft to begin with. At this point, I believe I’d be better off with an Apple product.  That or just stick with my Fire HD 10.  If Amazon ever comes out with a laptop, I’m getting one!

    • #1864820 Reply

      Geo
      AskWoody Plus

      You can turn off JavaScript.

    • #1865567 Reply

      Alex5723
      AskWoody Plus

      Windows 10 is secure. With the proper hardware, you may use BitLocker to encrypt your disk/ssd. For the Microsoft perspective on security in Windows 10 see What’s new in Windows 10 and the links to each release. The article for each release has a security section containing features and changes

      Windows 10 is no more secure than Windows 7 is, and every new version of Windows 10 is less secure than the previous version. Just count the number of security patches each month for each version. The latest has higher number of security bugs.
      Regarding encryption, there are better 3rd party encryption tools for any version of Windows.

      • #1867050 Reply

        joep517
        AskWoody MVP

        See Windows 10 vs Windows 7: Microsoft’s newer OS is almost ‘twice as secure’.

        By what measure do you say that each version of Windows is less secure than the prior version? Where is a table/document enumerating your conclusion? Besides, the number of patches is not an indication of how dangerous or severe problems are. How many of the problems are actively being exploited? How many be exploited remotely versus having to have physical control of a machine?

        --Joe

      • #1867124 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        Windows 10 is actually a lot more secure than previous versions of Windows. One of the key reasons that Microsoft collect telemetry information is so that they can deal with security threats. With tons of up-to-the-minute real-time information, they can deal with threats fast.

        If you have a modern computer, chances are you won’t have problems caused by Windows updates. If you do have any such problems, it is likely because Microsoft decided to tighten up on some rule in order to make things more secure, and software vendors didn’t keep up with them on it. An example of this is SMB1 – it is insecure, and so Microsoft turned off support for it in Windows 10-1809. But it is an easy matter to turn it on if needed. The only fault I would assign Microsoft on that issue is that perhaps they didn’t give adequate warning on the possible effects of not allowing SMB1; then again, maybe they did.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1865920 Reply

      tonyl
      AskWoody Lounger

      All this gives me some amusement, I have to confess. We had all this hoo-hah with the demise of Windows XP and nothing really happened; I’m using two XP machines and one Windows 10 here, and the only one that gives me problems is the Win 10 one.

      One of the old machines (the one I’m using right now) doesn’t even have SSE2 so can’t even have late-version browsers; I built it when XP was new and in all that time it hasn’t missed a beat. I do practise “safe hex” and follow the procedures alluded to above. My AV provider still releases definitions for Windows 9x, so they won’t be pulling the plug on XP any time soon; in addition, there’s still quite a fan base out there and there’s plenty of support. XP is still my favourite, though I’m no fanboy; I just refuse to play the game, that’s all.

      So, to Win 7 users, I say “Don’t sweat”, you’ve a long way to go yet.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1867432 Reply

        1040ST
        AskWoody Lounger

        Great post! Classic. Thank you for sharing your remarkable experience using an unsupported operating system.

        There’s certainly a lot of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) thrown around to encourage people to upgrade. I would say most of it is warranted, especially for people who don’t practice “safe hex” (which is a great term, BTW; thanks for sharing it because I’ve never heard it before, even though I wrote the “best practices” post above while not logged in.)

        My AV provider still releases definitions for Windows 9x, so they won’t be pulling the plug on XP any time soon;

        Who’s your AV provider? Sounds like a good one.

        Are your XP machines connected to the internet? If so, what web browser do you use if any?

        What do you use your XP machines for primarily?

        • #1873499 Reply

          tonyl
          AskWoody Lounger

          Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been helping to organise a wedding so I’ve been kinda busy. I use Avast and Firefox exclusively. I’m retired now so it’s just the usual personal stuff, surfing, emailing, and…well, this. And I also bank online, sometimes on the computer but on my phone more these days as it’s handier.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1866177 Reply

      anonymous

      Susan:
      This long-time fan, thank you for a great article.

      My wife and I each enjoy W7 machines and have no real desire to go to W10.  Plus, we have a collection of peripherals and apps that have no W10 counterparts or support.

      Our plan is to install Chromeboxes on each PC via KVM switches.  We will continue to operate the W7 machines, but offline, and use the Chromeboxes for email and internet access, relying on Google to protect us from the bad stuff.

      We’ll figure out a way to get our backups and other stuff to the cloud, probably via some sort of one-way batch connection.  All of our printing/scanning is directly done via our in-home local wi-fi printers/scanners.  Any specialized tasks will be done via (disposable, if need be) Chromebooks.

      What flaws do you see in any of this?

      Your comments will be appreciated.
      Jerry

    • #1866349 Reply

      MrChaz
      AskWoody Lounger

      I’m actually looking forward to the challenges of keeping my Windows 7 32bit OS going beyond EOL. I’ll be keeping a keen eye on this section

      Win7 beyond End-of-life


      Interesting times ahead for all

      illegitimi Non Carborundum
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      Geo
      • #1869888 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        If your computer has at least 8 GB of RAM (more is better), and if you have a retail license for Windows 7, you could install Linux Mint as the main OS on the computer, install some virtual machine software, then install Windows 7 in a virtual machine. Once January comes, do one final update of Windows 7, then block Windows 7 from being able to access the internet. As long as it is blocked from accessing the internet, you can use it forever.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #1866976 Reply

      agoldhammer
      AskWoody Plus

      There are a small number of us who run Win7 for Windows Media Center so that we can configure our televisions in a manner to avoid the high costs of traditional cable providers.  I have a cable card tuner with a rented card from Verizon that is 1/4 the cost of their traditional DVR cable box.  Windows Media Center is stable and I’ve been running it for six years now without a hiccup.  I plan on keeping this PC on Win7 as there is no other option right now.  I don’t do any other tasks with it other than to stream Amazon Prime, Netflix and ESPN.  If any of those sites become malware delivery platforms we are in deep doo doo.

    • #1867117 Reply

      alQamar
      AskWoody_MVP

      Hi recently a friend of mine bought a used Win7 laptop including all data from previous owner and the Win7 password. No words about this.

      The laptop was in a desolate state took about 4 minutes to start up – having 3 antivirus programs install etc.

      After a short look we decided to not take the free Win10 upgrade which is still possible via an older Windows Upgrade assistant.

      Rather we dumped HDD and replaced it with a fresh SSD.

      We booted from a May 2019 1903 USB key created with Rufus from the official ISO – downloaded by the lastest Media Creator Tool and entered the Win7 OEM key from the back of the Laptop

       

      Windows 10 activated as fine as with the in-place upgrade – we logged into a MS account to save this key into the account automatically.

      So anyone who still is on Win7 consider an upgrade first.
      or start fresh using your Win7 key during a USB key Win 10 as described.

      Have fun. Together with this SSD this old laptop boots up in 4 seconds, took 1-2 hours to get it to the shape we needed (apps / settings).

      Make yourself happy with Win10 – it is not anymore as worse at it was in the earlier years, especially with 1903.

      And be excited about so many settings for people with restrictions and apps that keep you productive like MS To-Do. There is a bunch to explore.

      the MS team is doing long lists of what has changed for each release – this is since 1809 – they aren’t even complete.
      https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-insider/at-home/whats-new-wip-at-home

      https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-insider/at-home/whats-new-apps-19h1

      https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Windows-IT-Pro-Blog/What-s-new-for-IT-pros-in-Windows-10-version-1903/ba-p/622024

      Edit to remove HTML

      • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by
         alQamar.
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         alQamar.
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         PKCano.
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         PKCano.
    • #1867286 Reply

      Geo
      AskWoody Plus

      I have a W7 desktop with separate big monitor .  I don’t need touch screen.  I wonder if W10 can be set up without  touch screen mode?

      • #1867353 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        I use Windows 10 all the time without a touch screen – I use my keyboard and mouse. Everything works fine like that.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #1867619 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody_MVP

      Hey, I still own a EMachine from Walmart with W7.  “Takes a lickin and keeps on tickin”.  Maybe I’ll break down and get another Acer cheapo desktop with W10.  Some local tech company said they can make it look like and act pretty much like w7 for home users.

      The problem with my eMachines computer is that it tops out at 2GB of RAM. The only OSs which run decently on it are Windows 8.0 32-bit and Elementary OS (a very light version of Linux). I tried Pixel OS (Linux for the Raspberry Pi), but the computer kept crashing. If it wouldn’t crash, I’ll bet Pixel OS would run well on that computer.

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

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: Windows 7: Preparing for an uncertain future

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