General discussion

What are your plans when Windows 7 support ends?

How about a discussion on what to do ahead of the Windows 7 end-of-life that is coming next year? What are readers doing or suggesting to get ready or to make changes in their systems? I have 2 Win 7 Home computers that I would love to keep and have been looking for safe ways to do that - along with other alternatives if I need to think about replacing them such as Linux, Apple, or even not using an administrator account - just a regular account - so that a possible hacker or malware can't install anything without permission.

I've searched the forums but haven't found a discussion on that topic, so it would be great to get one started now - while there is still a lot of time to plan. Thank you.

--Submitted by Irene

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Same here

Under Linux I have VirtualBox with machines for Win98se, 2k, XP, 7 and 10. VB is the closest Win10 will get to my computer. I downloaded an iso during the free upgrade period, installed it in a 30gb disk image, but it has been stuck on the original installed version because it doesn't have enough free space to upgrade.

For DOS, Win3.1, and OS/2, I prefer PCem. It is a more accurate emulator because it lets you configure very specific hardware and even motherboard bios up to i430VX and 233MHz MMX. I configured a vm that is 95% identical to my real circa 1997 box. Therefore, I can keep a raw image of the hdd from that box and boot it in PCem. If I make additions or improvements I can write the image back to the disk.

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Hey James !

Your'e our Linux Guru Wink Why not tell all of these folks that there is no need for Dual Booting these days .

Remember all the time you spent teaching me how to create a Persistent Linux Flash drive ?
It's a keeper with Mint Mate Cool

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"all the time you spent teaching me how to create a Persistent Linux Flash drive ? "

As you noted "all the time...." and it can be more complicated now, unless the more common programs have caught up. The one I use now is MKUSB. One of best sites to explain and guide a newbie is PendriveLinux site.

If you have a link to our earlier discussion, that might help too.

After Mint 17 version, something changed where instead of having the casper-rw file in the root folder, it was put into a subfolder, a mistake in my opinion. That made Unetbootin and UUI from pendrivelinux both fail in ability to create and use a casper-rw EXT2 file system partition.

After some trials, I discovered that MKUSB worked with the newer versions of linux Mint.

It's possible that pendrivelinux and Unetbootin have adjusted for the change and work to do the same again, I've not tested them yet.

The advantage of MKUSB is there's an added TORAM option, which will allow the entire system to load into RAM, where it runs much faster than taking reads from slower flash memory. It also allows the replacement of a casper-rw FILE with a casper-rw PARTITION which then allows entire remaining space on flashdrive to be used for added programs, updates, etc, and not limited to 4GB size FILE, nor use NTFS formatting instead of FAT32 to install the Live Linux to.

I'm hoping the newest distro versions have changed the LIVE method back to casper-rw file being in root folder instead of some subfolder. It's been a year or two since I've checked on it to see, gotten lazy.

Post was last edited on December 3, 2018 1:05 PM PST

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Cool , if a Mod wants to delete my post it's ok with me as James found the link before me

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I had to do some digging
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At least...

Post was last edited on December 3, 2018 2:45 PM PST

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That's the real deal though

isn't it ? Having a blazing fast , portable OS that's on a big fast flash drive ?
Having the TORAM option sounds like this OS would be blazind fast as well.

Hmmm ! I wonder if I could try this on an external HDD Mischief
It might be time to play again James Cool

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HOW to do it Easily

New to MINT. Yes/No answers to 1 and 2 is all I need, I think. Windows 7 Home laptop
1. download/obtain iso copy of LINUX MINT specially burned as .ISO copy on regular CD yes/No
2. jigger BIOS routine so it tries to boot from CD and not HDD C: Yes/No
3. if 1. and 2. are YES then how does it stay on C: drive? or How do I put Dual boot on C: or ???

Pointing me to a beginners website is useful as well. Can't wait to try Dual Boot if possible. Thanks Ahead of time.

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#1, will need a DVD due to size of the ISO and the limit on CD size.

#2 Follow directions after booting, it will guide you on dual boot if that's what you wish.

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RE: HOW to do it Easily

1.) Yes. But you will need a DVD. The Mint iso is at least 1.4 GB. USB is faster and smoother, but either will work.

2.) Yes. While you're at it, put both CD/DVD and USB above HDD so either will boot. Caveat: if you leave certain USB storage devices inserted in the drive, your system may fail to boot until removed.

3.) When you run through the installation menu, you will eventually end up in a window that offers you an option to either install Mint alongside Windows (what you want) or erase the entire drive and install Mint alone (what you don't want). There's also an option for "something else" but that's best left for another day. Choose wisely Grasshopper! When you reboot, you will be first greeted by a GRUB (Grand Unified Boot ) menu. Mint will always be your first choice and if nothing is done it will automatically boot into Mint in a few seconds. But if you scroll down, you'll have an option to boot Windows. Press Enter and you're off to the races. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

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Migrating to Linux

If you have a large hard drive with a lot of space you can install Linux mint and at boot up it gives the option of running Mint or Windows on that hard drive. I use three separate hard drives and setting SATA to use my Mint hard drive first it still gives me a header to select the OS of either drive. Next worrying about running Windows programs in Linux just get Crossover They have built and tested the libraries needed to cross run many Windows programs in a Linux environment.

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I checked out Crossover

You are right, they do work for many programs. The exact ones I need are not there, though. I am still investigating the possibilities. However, I can always continue to dual boot and just keep Windows from accessing the internet.

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Linux - OpenSuse Leap with KDE

There is a simple answer to the question and an alternative.

The simple answer is that if you want to stay with Windows, eventually you will move to Windows 10. There is no long term alternative, hardware will break, with no source of replacement except 10 and those replacements will not have driver and third party software support for earlier versions of Windows. If the hardware doesn't kill you, the software will, unless you are prepared to run obsolete versions with no support other than yourself.

If you don't want to migrate to 10, for whatever reason, you need to make plans other than Windows. The problem with running Windows 7 after the end of Microsoft support, will, if anything be worse than the XP to 7 conversion. 7 is still very popular across the Windows install base, by some reckoning, it's still the most prolific - but you know what they say about statistics! There are more similarities in the code base between 7 and 10 than there were between XP and 7. The reality is, that when Microsoft describe the vulnerabilities patched in the latest 10 update, they are also giving a very strong clue to the bad guys where to look in 7. And with 7's expected remaining base, that is still a better (bigger) target than MacOS or Linux.

I'm not intending to migrate to 10 for my own use. I will maintain a 10 machine for "Family Support" - yes, I know - but some of those won't make a change.

I will keep a Windows 7 machine for those things that Linux doesn't (and won't) support. Presently, that is my Canon Scanner, with positive/negative film capability in the lid and my trusty Adobe Acrobat Pro (Version Cool end of life long ago but still capable of all I need, like generating fillable forms. This machine will not connect to the internet, those two functions don't need it.

I switched my daily use machine over to OpenSuse Leap Linux, with the KDE desktop, about three years ago and I'm very happy with it. Why that particular Distribution? I toyed with SuSE Linux 7.2 Pro some 15+ years ago, when Linux was far less user friendly than it is today (think dependencies and drivers) and since my then employer was mainframe and Windows based, I just didn't have the time to get into Linux but the distribution stick with me. It's now very user friendly, just boot the distro DVD, answer a couple of questions, let it do its thing and 20 minutes later, you have a fully working system, with all internal hardware recognised. There a re other distributions and desktops just as easy too use but I'll leave it to their fans to advocate their benefits.

OpenSuse Leap is not a bleeding edge distribution, if you want that kind of thing, go for OpenSuse Tumbleweed. Leap is based on the codebase from Suse Linux Enterprise, SLE, the commercial enterprise grade version and is extremely stable, you ISP probably uses that or Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for their web servers.

The biggest difference you will see from Windows is in the update process (I'm speaking about Leap here). It uses a continuous upgrade model, with only a "MS Feature style" update once a year. You can decide whether to take the upgrades of not, I'm comfortable with taking them all. The vast majority do not need a reboot after installation, Kernel updates do but there is no pressure to do them until your next planned reboot and they never forced on you. Why Microsoft don't adopt a similar strategy, only they know! Any security exposures identified are usually fixed within hours or days, rather than weeks or months. Linux is inherently more stable because it was always designed as a multiuser online system, normally run in non-elevated status.

BUT and istn't there always a "But", it isn't Windows; the interface while similar is not identical. That is enough to deter some people and that's fine but really, any of the popular distributions require only a small learning curve to get started and you build as you go along. If you made the transition from Win95 to XP, you'll be fine.

There are open source applications equivalent to most of those in Windows but again, equivalent, not identical. For example, while LibreOffice provides all the functionality of Office Professional, plus a bit more, the interface is more akin to pre-ribbon days and the Macros, while similar, are not compatible and will likely need rewriting. Again a small learning curve. Some applications are compatible between Linux and Windows, for example, Firefox, Thunderbird, VLC Player, Audacity, etc, though some may use a different internal file structure, Thunderbird, for instance.

If you have Windows only applications, there is WINE that provides a Windows-like environment to allow them to run, for example, Irfanview or Lotus Smartsuite (don't ask!). There is a commercial version, CrossOver Office, that will run MS Office and installed versions of Photoshop among others. Note that you still need licenses for them to comply with their EULAs. Note also these products do not work for drivers.

One of Linux's strengths is the range of fora, where people are always willing to help and the historical questions and answers can get you going if you get stuck. Google is your friend in finding answers.

Is Linux an adequate replacement for Windows? My experience says yes but remember what the "P" stands for in PC.

What about other alternatives? Obviously, there is Apple, with their Macbooks and Mac Pros. Their infrastructure is more tightly controlled than Microsoft. Personally, I'm not prepared to pay the premium prices for essentially similar hardware but if you want to move to MacOS, that's the entrance fee. I'll leave it to others to explain why they are the best thing since sliced bread.

What else? If you love your Android phone, you could consider a Raspberry Pi, build your own machine and run Android on it. It's possible; whether it's wise, I leave up to you!

And finally, for the brave of heart, you might want to take a look at the ReactOS Project. Very much still in development but the general aim is to develop an open source operating system that supports a Windows environment. Google it. Last time I looked, the project documentation looked pretty good. Up to you.

To wrap up, I'm moving to Linux on my remaining Windows machines by end of support date. I'll keep one offline Windows 7 machine for things Linux doesn't support and for translation of any incompatible file formats (via thumb drive). I'll maintain one Windows 10 Pro machine for family support.

Good luck with whatever decision you come to.

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Whew! I'm out of breath.

What a long, tedious and redundant post.

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Some people actually can read

A person should be able to write his or her own way. The preferences of children mean nothing. Many of us grew up when we did not expect everything to be a few sentences.

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Long Posts

Yes, I didn't mind the long post, the more information, the better. As long as the information is useful in deciding what to do when Windows 7 expires, then GOOD...

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Besides ...

... nobody is forced to read anything here - if it is too long for you, netsiu, just leave it and move on to the next one that is short enough for you.

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Great Overview!

Thanks so much for this very detailed and thoughtful reply. It does certainly all make sense.

I too have some hardware - scanner, printers - and software that I know will be affected by any changes. I guess I am trying to find the best solution that will minimize the impact, and your post was very helpful in doing that!

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Win 7 Pro 64 and Win 7 Home 32 on one computer

Used strictly for non internet operations. Both with up to date foulware programs. When support ends will continue until can no longer compatible with internet sites. then unplug from internet. I have legacy programs Win 10 will not work with but Win 7 will.

By the way couple of you are extremely long winded. LOL

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Its depend on your computer configuration

Its depend on your computer configuration. If your computer is much high configure then is ok with win 7 pro high configure like core i3 6th generation motherboard .

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Don't understand.

BTW my main Computer is Win 10 pro. 64

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yup just enough to make you under - lol

i have a few computers - none are win 10 and will never be unless they fix it.
#1 turn off auto updates and let me choose which update might be needed.

as for the win7 support stopping?
that will be a good thing as I can find any driver that might be needed.
still searching for drivers for win 10 [on a customers machine] after 4 years you might think they would fix that, but they are still trying to pass off an old xp driver [it works fine on the xp machines]
[yup got a few dual boot machines]

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I've SAID This Before But Worth Repeating

Because of the way computer software works (ALL computer software), you will NEVER be allowed to pick and choose your updates. Never (well, probably never). Here is the reason:

A computer program (much like a lot of operating systems), is a series of commands plus an area of data. There might be many modules. If you can choose your updates and do NOT put one in, how are you going to put another one in that requires the first one (the one you skipped), to be in first? You can't. Here is what will happen if you pick and choose your updates --

You will have to verify that any update you choose to put in does not REQUIRE a previous update that you might skip. You will need to look up each and every fix you apply. Here:

If you look up ANY fix in the Microsoft Catalog Update Site
then you will see documented all of the REQUIRED fixes for each fix that have to be there first. If you are not prepared to do that, maybe you can take the computer somewhere and let them fix it. Besides, many of Microsoft's updates are CUMULATIVE. That means, if there are any updates that you do want, you will get everything from before that update.

Don't go to LINUX or Apple. All computers are the same. If you write a program and two different fixes are for it, the second will usually require the first to already be there even if you don't want it.

By the way, I've been continuously working on computers since 1967 and they all update that way. In the mainframes, reading the documentation on each and every fix was the only way to apply fixes until they came up with automatic databases that did the job for you. Be thankful you never have to pick and choose your own updates. You will never put another update in again.

Post was last edited on November 17, 2018 7:21 PM PST

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Lee, Why isn't EDITTING Working?

It just sends me to the top of the screen. Not a very good way to re-proof-read your posts. If I keep trying, EVENTUALLY it lets me in. Timing issue?

Post was last edited on November 17, 2018 7:25 PM PST

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Not Lee but I see that from time to time.

It appears that it takes time for the page and scripts to load. Also, if an adblocker is active in a browser you see this "send to the top of the screen" as well.

So for me, similar issues if I don't let the page load completely or my adblocker is on.

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Thanks, Bob

Especially if I say something completely wrong and catch it quickly, this gets frustrating. I personally have to learn to proof-read better BEFORE posting and less time posting then fixing.

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If this worked right....

Then buttons would not show enabled until the code behind them is up and running. To me this is a bug. But it's one that's been here for what? A decade?

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Blame the ads on the page.

Sorry Howie. Sometimes when the ads are slow to load, it holds up the JavaScript on the page and when that happens none of the action buttons (edit, reply, flag etc.) work until the ads are loaded. We are looking into this on how we can resolve this. The tricky part is that it is intermittent depending on the ads and with so many different ads it difficult to nail down. Sorry about that.

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