General discussion

What are my choices if I don't want to upgrade to Windows 10

Dec 20, 2019 4:22PM PST

I am using Windows 7 and I don't want to upgrade to Windows 10. What are my choices? Could I go to an Apple Mac [or] tablet to do my banking and other sensitive stuff and keep Windows 7 on my 2-year-old HP computer for doing other things? Any concern or risk for me continuing to use Windows 7? Thank you.

--Submitted by Jack K.

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Folk still use XP.
Dec 20, 2019 5:29PM PST

I don't see the rush. What everyday folk think and do is their choice. I helped with moving our entire office to W10 years ago so we didn't lose the free hundred dollar bills being handed out (free upgrades.)

Today you can use what you have (W7) since all the known issues have to do with users, scams and such and have rarely if ever been because you ran XP or W7.

The thing about Apple is it's on an even faster upgrade path than Windows. Don't look at how many OS upgrades say from W7 to W10's timeframe that Apple rolled out. You would be jumping from one camp to another but same events happen at the Apple camp all the time.

-> If you can handle the Windows to Apple move, why not install Linux and break free from the chains altogether? It's not as if we learn Linux. I wrote about that a few years back at

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Wow, the day is almost here.
Dec 21, 2019 12:21AM PST

Just 3 more weeks, and W7 follows XP into the sunset. Well, for Microsoft fans, there is still W10, W8, and Azure. Being a Linux user, that sure seems like a limited amount of choices for anyone staying with Microsoft.

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I’m probably the most ignorant person here!
Jan 11, 2020 8:32AM PST

I am 72 years old, have been a cnet member for years, and I too have been resistant to upgrading to Windows 10. I have a Dell that is about 8 years old. I’ve had Windows 95, XP, and 7 and whatever came between 95 and XP. I ignored the free W10 upgrade because I thought I would have 7 forever. I have Norton installed and use my pc primarily for email and the internet to pay bills and surf. I use 10 when visiting family and I hate it! So now what do I do? I’m too unsophisticated to understand all of the technical talk here. I have no clue what Linux is. If someone could explain to me how I can proceed (in language a two-year old can understand) I would appreciate it.

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Jan 11, 2020 11:06AM PST
Youtube is the place to check for information on using Linux. Favorites are Mint 19, Zorin OS, MX Linux, and Elementary OS, easiest for beginners and everything can be done graphically if preferred, no need for command line usage. Videos by Spatry, Infinitely Galactic, Chris Were, and others are excellent.

Post was last edited on January 11, 2020 11:16 AM PST

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Windows 10 can be set to look and act like your win 7
Jan 11, 2020 11:26AM PST

If your pc is that old you will want to get an inexpensive windows 10 desktop and simply set it to Desktop mode.
Your current one sounds a bit old to bother with updating it.
Best buy has refurbed win 10 I5 pc's as low as 250 or so ready to order...

Internet banking and Email are the 2 uses most likely to need updated computers and browsers for security if you think about it.

It will look and act like your current win7 desktop for the most part.
Also in all honesty you don't want to use Linux, no matter what folks say it has a steep learning curve to get much done.
If windows 10 is a problem then an OS ,like Linux , that is tech oriented ,and broken into the many distros of Linux is not a solution for most folks.

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Lightweight Linux Distributions
Jan 11, 2020 8:24PM PST

Read up here, then follow the links, at the end of the article, from there.

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Don't compare Windows upgrade to Mac upgrades
Jan 11, 2020 11:20AM PST

Regardless of how many Mac OS X upgrades I had to "endure" over the years, they were totally painless, unlike the brain dead Windows with that insane idea of the Registry where invariably I ended having to reinstall most if not all the apps from scratch. Never had to reinstall one application on either Mac or Linux.

Bah humbug.

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Jan 11, 2020 11:59AM PST

Post was last edited on January 11, 2020 12:03 PM PST

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Windows 7
Dec 20, 2019 6:28PM PST

You could install Linux, I have a laptop that the hard drive crashed and I had win7 on. When I installed a new drive rather than try to install windows I installed a Linux OS (Ubuntu). Even though I couldn't use all the software that can be used with windows I found I actually like Linux. And its more secure, uses all the browsers. Give it a try, it's free to download.

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Linux OS with Windows skin
Dec 20, 2019 8:10PM PST

Yes I converted one of my laptop's to a Ubuntu distro.
Now I'm contemplating another Linux OS with a windows skin.
Looking forward to giving it a go.
But same for me re cherished software that won't run on Linux.
That's what makes the changeover so hard.
The convenience of certain software is what often makes life liveable!
Loosing it can be too hard.

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Windows exectutables in Linux
Dec 20, 2019 8:41PM PST

Have you tried the WINE shell to run your programs? If WINE doesn't cut it there is a paid alternative called CrossOver. The developers will work with you to get things running smooth. Another alternative is to install Win-7 as a Virtual Machine within Linux. You can keep Win isolated from the internet or use it on the internet and with the chance of infection you can simply not save or update the VM when you shut it down. That erases all changes made by you or any infections.

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thanks for that info
Dec 20, 2019 9:23PM PST

Yes it will be something along the lines you suggest.
I wanted to try the skin first just because I figured it might be easier.
I'm badly dyslexic and the windows look is so easy to read and work with.
I don't know if MS ever set out to make it that way but it is far easier than any other.
So for me its doubly hard to leave MS.
But should the skin fail, I'll do the W7 virtual inside a Linux distro.
Just heading over to Xorin now for a Lite download to a USB stick as a trial.

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Running Virtual
Jan 11, 2020 12:20PM PST

Something to note is that running ANYTHING in a virtual machine does NOT protect it from the outside world. This is a misconception. The viurtual machine still has direct contact with the outside world and is just as vulnerable as if it was running native on the hardware. That is, if you run Windows in a virtual box, you need an anti-virus for BOTH the host OS as well as the virtual OS. The host does not "protect" the virtual in any way.

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Re:Windows exectutables in Linux
Jan 11, 2020 8:49PM PST

Where you say "......or use it on the internet ................................. you can simply not save or update the VM ..................... That erases all changes..........."; that is simply untrue; if installed in a virtual machine, any (Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, BSD etc.) given OS acts exactly as it would, on physical hardware.

Post was last edited on January 11, 2020 9:16 PM PST

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Re: Windows exectutables in Linux: cntd
Jan 11, 2020 9:13PM PST

I would recommend the latter method, since; seeing as the whole reason Win. 7 is losing official support, is Microsoft came upto the deadline on their Win. 7 copyright license, and rather than paying to renew it, they deemed it cheaper to "let it go", completely; now that it's outside Microsoft's jurisdiction, you can fully install it, like normal, and legally do whatever the heck you want (mods, hacks, and patches, etc.) with it, "no harm, no fowl".

Post was last edited on January 11, 2020 9:17 PM PST

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Linux with Windows
Jan 11, 2020 6:32AM PST

Remember Lindows still have copies.

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Don't even worry about it
Dec 20, 2019 7:03PM PST

I too am using Windows 7 and am quite comfortable with NOT upgrading. I'm confident that my HitmanPro and Malwarebytes as well as my antivirus software will take care of any attacker problems.
The only real problem will be in the future, when new programs will stop bothering to make their updates compatible with Windows 7. That's probably a long way off.

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Rapidity of Disappearing Support
Dec 21, 2019 7:44AM PST

I tried to keep a Windows XP machine alive after the Windows XP EOL as an experiment. It might have been okay if you never updated anything but I was stunned at how fast support for anything XP related vanished after it's EOL. Companies see this as a easy way to reduce their support costs. I don't expect to see a change in that behavior when Windows 7 goes EOL next month. I updated all the machines at our office (I'm a retired design engineer working IT part time) and we've been very happy with Windows 10.

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Kept XP for a while
Jan 11, 2020 11:53AM PST

I kept my XP (2014 EOL) computer running until Sept 2018. McAfee and Malwarebytes had continued support for XP but when Firefox ended extended support in August 2018, I decided that running an unsupported browser was just too risky. I finally purchased a Win10 Pro computer. Biggest problem, getting my 10 year old HP Laserjet to work properly with Win10. I am over the little annoyances of XP vs 10 or changed the configuration but it was nice NOT getting constant updates that usually screw up something.

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Faster Than You Think
Dec 21, 2019 2:07PM PST

Of course, it will depend very much on what, exactly, do you use. Symantec (Norton) announced continued support for XP when XP left. I imagine they might do the same with Win 7. Many other things continued to work. However, one by one, I found I cound NOT update a lot of software. This was especially true of TAX software. I guess the people who made tax software decided they didn't want the risk of running the older OS on their hands. Same with other financial software.

What I wound up doing was just to give up and go to Best Buy and get a $500 computer with a TB HDD, 12 GB ram, I5 CPU. I paid extra to upgrade Win 10 to PRO and also a new copy of OFFICE. Just decided to bite the bullet and move on. But, if you really want to stay with Win 7, here is what I think you'll see.

1. No more updates (without some hack). You may risk some security protection afforded by new OS patching. On the other hand, things written for specific OSes will move on or already have moved on to Win 10. Bad actors don't want to wast time writing stuff for old OSes that hardly anyone uses (included LINUX). If I want to send out ONE piece of malware that is going to have the biggest impact, it won't be designed for older OSes or less common OSes either.

2) If you stay on Win 7, you will start to see software and software updates that will NOT work on Win 7. I already mentioned financial and tax software, as examples.

3) Hardware -- A note that, if your current system was upgraded from Win 95, WIN NT, WIN Xp to Win 7, there may be a limit if you do decide to go with Win 10. Not every processor (e.g., older Pentiums) is supported on Win 10 so evaluate exactly how old your system really is. In addition, finding DRIVERS for older hardware can be problematic. My netbook came with XP and can handle a "sample version" of Win 7 but NOTHING else in terms of drivers is available. So, hardware-wise, it was easier to make the move to buy a new system, then trying to upgrade XP all the way to Win 10 and go through VISTA, Win 7, Win 8,....

3) LINUX, MAC and other alternatives. There is nothing wrong with going to LINUX or MAC. Just remember that those platforms are NOT immune to malware either. We had this arguement once on another forum and someone ended the conversation by pointing out that 8 of the top 10 vulnerabilities that month were LINUX issues. Or was that Apple?? I forget it was a few years ago. They pointed to the NIST website list of vulnerabilities for the month.

The point is that the support for programs went really quickly for the software I was using. I had less than a year to move on.

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I totally agree
Jan 10, 2020 6:32PM PST

This is my plan for my desktop and my laptop. My wife has a Win 10 laptop if we get stuck with some software that absolutely will not work with Win 7, as mentioned, that is probably a long way off.

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New S/W is Not compatable with Windows 7
Jan 11, 2020 10:41AM PST

Unfortunately, the lack of comparability with Win 7 for new software is NOT a long way off. It's already here; if you want to buy tax software to do your 2019 tax return, you will see that all the major software vendors only offer 2019 tax software that runs on Windows 10. They do not have software that will run on Windows 7. So unless you want to pay an accountant big bucks to do your taxes, you're going to have to by tax software that only runs on Windows 10.

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multiple options
Dec 20, 2019 7:19PM PST

Option 1
Go ahead and upgrade to Win10. I have found that the OS works well. It does render some hardware obsolete as upgrades progress. It does have a built in antivirus, but you still need a VPN.

Option 2
Buy a Macbook pro. New it is very expensive for the hardware IMHO. The OS good and as Apple has full control of hardware, everything just works. That being said, they upgrade the OS on a regular basis, and do obsolete older hardware.

Option 3

Chromebooks can be cheap, but the inexpensive ones are slow and a bit limited. With the addition of Android support, programs that are standalone can work OK, sometime clunky, but OK. It also looks like they will be supporting a Linux version at some point (the current support is for a comand line version only.) Google has "cloud" file support allowing you to get to your files from any computing platform. It is easy to learn and use.

Option 4
A linux version. I recomment Linux Mint. It is easy to learn coming from Win7. Programs are available on line. It is free and stand alone. There is a learning curve in searching for the programs you want, but there are programs that do just about anything you would want to do. It does need an antivirus, and a VPN to practice safe computing

I have used all of the above and am not aligned with any one solution for you. To get Linux Mint, I would recommend that you download it and burn it to disk. Replace your existing disk drive with an SSD (even a 128 Gig would work very well). Then install the OS. You can also play with it from the DVD directly to get a look and feel for it.

If you decide to go with the Macbook, get a used one, install an SSD and install the latest OS on it. (Be sure to look at the Macbook hardware that is currently supported and get a couple of years above the last one supported.)

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Sticking with Seven
Dec 20, 2019 8:02PM PST

I'm in the same boat, Jack. I've got legacy software from 2001 that won't run on anything later than Windows 7, and I've tried 8-bit emulation and DOS Box: no soap. The developer is recovering from a stroke, so the code I have is what I must use.

There's nothing that says Windows 7 will stop working at some stated date -- annoyanceware from Microsoft notwithstanding. In fact, the hardware I have can't run Windows 10 at all; I've been bombarded with Surface ads as a result. Not falling for it. Instead, I have a few simple rules that I think will keep me going well into the next decade with Windows 7.

First, keep your antivirus and antimalware up to date. Microsoft may have given up, but not my AV and AMW vendors. There's been a great deal of talk about how your Windows 7 machine will be vulnerable, but 1) Malware is focusing more on networks and organizations, not so much individual or home machines, and 2) You can prevent problems by limiting the time you spend with the machine actually online. I'm fortunate in that the machines I use running my legacy software don't need Web connectivity; I can run them in the dark forever and no one can find them to infect them.

This caveat doesn't work if you plan to use your machine for email or any other connection with the Web; in that case you can still use it, but you better be sure you don't click on any link or image you haven't triple-checked for its legitimacy. You can limit any local infections by keeping the machine off your local network, and I mean permanently. That's my second rule, which I will keep draconian even through I'm not a large organization, nor do I have scads of files to steal/encrypt/mess with. You might pick up a broadcast infection from USB stick or even your AV download, but it won't get to your more-important hardware.

Third rule: Never keep anything on your old hardware that isn't backed up elsewhere on a machine without any connection to your Windows 7 device. I don't create a thing on my old Win7 boxes except what the legacy software knocks off, and those results I move off to separate media as quickly as I can. Not that I expect a thunderbolt to catch me, but if my machine gets infected, I won't have anything there I can't replace from remote backup. Yes, even my legacy code, which can't run on more-modern machines but sits quietly on their hard drives, waiting to be reinstalled as needed. If it takes a bare-metal reformat to recover my older machines, I can do it with a clear conscience.

But I think as long as I keep an eye on network access and don't click the wrong thing, I can avoid such a fate for some time. I'm planning on using my legacy code for the rest of the 21st Century, all other things being equal. I think I can keep the only machines it runs on safe and happy that time with my rules of limiting outside access. You may be so fortunate as well, if you can be as disciplined. Good luck.

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Windows 7 to 10
Dec 20, 2019 11:12PM PST

Hi Jack
I understand the attachment to 7. I do too.
I did do the free upgrade to 10 from 7(16bit) and was able to run all my Legacy programs that still ran on 7. But with MS also ending support for W10 16bit I bought and upgraded to W10 64bit. The legacy stuff still worked but not fully.
I have a lot of computer stuff laying around so I put together some parts and installed the W7 on that with my legacy programs.
I will keep up the security updates till MS stops then turn that off.

If you are concerned about W10 not working like 7don't be. It's like going from XP to 7. A little digging and then you're use to it. The bad part is the annual up dates keep changing things and you have to put it back to the way you like it.

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There is a risk...
Dec 21, 2019 1:28AM PST

...which will increase after January but perhaps more so after the February patches to 8.1 and 10. As part of their service to admins, Microsoft do give technical details of the security holes they are patching and some/many of these exposures also relate to obsolete versions. You might say, telling the "bad actors" where to look.

But that's not primarily what you asked. My one and only desktop, a converted HP Server, will not run any supported version of Windows after the February patches (the Jan 14 patches will apply to 7 for the last time). So this is perhaps an extreme example, exacerbated by being a 32-bit machine and most 32 bit operating systems have given notice of the end of 32 bit support. The machine, however still falls into the category of "too good to throw away".

My plan for this machine is to set up a dual boot, with Linux Mint 19.1 (the possibly last 32 bit Long Term Support release), which will have internet access, with a browser, Firefox and email client, Thunderbird. The other partition will run Windows 7, essentially stabilized with no internet access. The plan will be to migrate applications to Linux as other users of the machine become more comfortable with it.

Had this machine been 64 bit, I would have installed VirtualBox under Linux and run Windows 7 as a virtual machine but the 32 bit system doesn't have enough memory to do that sensibly.

A couple of options if you are concerned about running 7 online. As Bob said in the first post, your system, your choice.

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Dec 21, 2019 10:38AM PST

Good news about Linux is it's completely free. You can also test drive it on your HP without messing up Windows using a live CD/live DVD/bootable flash drive (that you can create from Windows). If it doesn't work for you, literally no harm/no foul.

Linux may work without a hitch or it might not work at all. It depends a lot on the kind of hardware you have, and peripherals and software you use. Linux is very high quality software, but, it is written largely by volunteers. Whether or not your ethernet port, Wi-Fi card, video card, audio, etc. work depends on someone having written a driver for it. There is some great software native to Linux. "Wine" is an emulator that can run some Windows-only software with varying levels of success.

Confusing thing about Linux is there isn't just "Linux". There are a lot of "distributions" of Linux. Each of them packages Linux in a slightly different way. So one may work with your hardware, where another may not. Distributions also make different choices in the base software they include and the desktop environments they provide. If you don't like the desktop, you can install a different on or switch to a different distribution. Everybody brags about choice, but sometimes, too much of a good thing isn't as good as it sounds (think all-you-can-eat buffet). Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, Linux Mint have good reputations.

I ran Linux on a computer for about 2 years, but ultimately switched back to Windows. It came down to two issues. First, my scanner was un-supported. I could have bought a different scanner, but didn't want to make another hardware purchase. Second, I couldn't get iTunes to run stably or sync music with iPods or iPhones. I installed Linux with the dual boot option, so I could switch back and forth between Windows and Linux. But, ultimately, it got to where I didn't feel like putting up with it any more.

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Your Choices Are Few, and NONE of Them Good
Dec 21, 2019 11:31AM PST

Here are your choices:

1. Stick with Windows 7. This seems to be a very popular choice among denizens of these forums, but it makes no sense. You will soon find yourself no longer supported by Microsoft, and you will become increasingly vulnerable to attacks and find that software is no longer developed to accommodate your luddism.

2. Turn to Apple. This is a choice if you use your computer mainly as a toy, lock yourself into a proprietary universe where you no longer have any choices, and like to pay twice as much for any given level of performance. Also Apple sometimes uses their proprietary leverage to play little tricks, knowing its customers cult-like loyalty will let them get away with it. One such recent tricks was in its most recent O/S update which made it no longer able to run 32-bit applications. How would you like THAT?

3. Take the leap into Linux. I am an old Unix guy (Linux is one of several "flavors" of Unix, and itself has numerous flavors to choose from) dating back to its forerunner Multics in the early '60s, and I have a couple of formerly Windows machines in my home that now run Linux. This is fun for experts but is laden with headaches for people who are not actual computer nerds, and if you are daunted by the learning curve you'll experience from a switch to Windows 10, you ain't seen nuthin' yet like you will see after trying to switch to Linux.

4. Go with an Android Chromebook. If a smartphone's capabilities are all you need, this might work for you. It wouldn't work for me.

I really don't see any other choices. Every one of them will create headaches for you far more severe than going with Windows 10, which is an excellent, ultra-stable, versatile, and highly secure operating system that there really is no good reason to resist.

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All good choices
Jan 10, 2020 6:15PM PST

...just not for you. Lots of people will choose one of these 4 options and be perfectly happy to have done so. And they'll be the people who would die before using Windows 10 so that's obviously not you. Yes, there are plenty of reasons to resist, just not ones YOU justify.
One you didn't mention is the complexity of Win 10, and how, since it IS Windows it isn't secure at all. It's also not versatile enough, it's NOT excellent, and it's not stable.

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How absurd!
Jan 11, 2020 6:16AM PST

Windows 10 is as complex or as simple as you wish it to be. It is almost infinitely configurable. And it is very secure and issues fairly frequent and painless updates to ensure that it remains secure. But of course there is no operating system that can protect you from your own stupidity.

And yes, in these forums I have noticed that there are some people so confused, so deceived, so resistant to change and so prejudiced that they would "die before using Windows 10," but these people need to seek help to overcome their very low regard for human life.

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