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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You are right, but so am I

When it comes to the consumer end of things, every person I knew who bought a computer wanted a PC because they were not locked into a closed system. They wanted options and they wanted control. In fact, even businesses had this end in sight. The fact that PCs are NOT controlled by any one company and that they are modular is the vast majority of why the everyday user chooses them. There is no reason to suppose that consumers would have chosen a computer simply because the businesses were using them, even if they worked for those businesses. Those who wanted Macs still bought them. Consumers want an open system. That is what drove the demand for PCs in homes, not businesses. Do you think that we did not know that Apple's products were nicer? We chose not to buy them. Business did not choose for us.

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I Partially Disagree, Denise

As with my own experience, sometimes businesses DO dictate what you buy. I was not allowed to work from home at 2-3 AM unless I had a Windows systems as Macs and LINUX were blocked. Enterprises try to be VERY careful as to what is allowed to hook up to that network and, oddly enough, the home computer connecting into the office via VPN was a lot more tightly controlled than what a user brought (physically) into the office. It's not like when I had to service machines at Rockwell that time where I had even pieces of paper examined by security. No camera phones (then), no CDs or DVD's. No jump drives and no laptops. Each business has their own rules. I know of some guy who bragged that he NEVER used malware protection because it slows down his computer. Couldn't VPN when they set that rule and he brought in his laptop and caused an estimated $10 million in damage as 100,000 users mostly got to go home for a couple of days as nobody could work even if they were not infected. Enterprises can and do dictate rules.

On the other hand, if your home computer was not compliant or even if you had no home computer, you were given one that was tightly controlled. Seemed odd with those without a computer because they wouldn't have internet access. My girlfriend was given DSL by her company and not permitted to use my household internet connection. A lot of government work and government contractor work is tightly controlled.

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You are in a tiny minority

The vast majority of people do not work from home or have a job that requires that they use their home computers that way. Consumers do not care what their employers are using. They care about what they want. Very few people are concerned about such matters. As for those who are, many of them own a computer that they can use for work and another (one or more) that they can use as they like. The markets are two completely different ones, and they do not cross. What business does simply does not matter to the vast majority of consumers and business software is not what most people run, so how can business choices have any effect?

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I Agree With That

What I think I was trying to say is that, unless all you are doing is the web and email, there are people who have to make decisions on what they use based on external criteria. For example, if you have a specialty scanner (like many people on the forums have said they have -- not necessarily in this discussion), there may not be LINUX drivers. Or Apple. It's not just what the employer requires (or you get into your car and drive into the office in the wee hours). In IT, most of my work had to be done with other users OFFLINE. There are ways around that on the Enterprise part, like hot/warm standby systems but, If you are doing maintenance on a huge storage array or on specialty servers, you have to go with the flow. So, my point being is that not everyone has a choice. For the casual home user, I agree with you completely. So, how does business choices have an effect? It depends on the business and your being OK with multiple systems at your house (business/personal). If we are talking "most people", then I completely agree with you.

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Now you are using stereotypes.

Believe me, you do not have to be in IT (or any other tech job) to be doing a whole lot more on a computer than web and email. I am a writer. Believe me, I am using my computer for things that have nothing to do with casual use. In fact, that stereotype is the reason that Microsoft is such a dismal failure at listening to customers. They will eventually pay for it. No, many of us are not the casual users you refer to. Many of us use our computers for important work, not for fun. Many of us do want our computers to run efficiently and make sense to us. We want control. Those who just want to stream movies, steal music, and get on Facebook don't care about switching from Windows to another OS.

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If you want it to work, so you can do your work, try a Mac. If you have a program that’s not compatible , I believe Mac has a workaround for it.
Funny, I’ve read creative types love their Macs.
And for me , I want my computer to work. I don’t have time anymore to work on getting it to work.
I would guess you’ve read about the latest Win 10 update , and it destroying user files?

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Sorry but there you lost me. I would guess you've read about Apple's new Amazon agreement that is going to destroy some businesses?

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Amazon is not the US market

Sorry . The video went to a rusty vice. Last I heard , Amazon didn’t rule American commerce’. As to Apple and refurbished , in general, Apple , like others ( Microsoft comes to mind ) , consider some older products obsolete, and no longer supports them , refurbished or not. I went looking for older iPhones for family , who don’t really need the newest or best . Found plenty of “ obsolete “ iPhones to choose from , from many refurbishers. So, any “deal” between amazon & Apple doesn’t really apply , does it ? In fact , bought my Grandson an old Apple notebook , and he’s happy as can be with it.

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You'll have to watch the entire video

So Apple has effectively banished any company that doen't tow the company line from Amazon. Rossmann avoided this because he owns his own platform but Apple continues to battle those that dare repair Apple products.

My iPhone 6 was from Amazon, and the company won't be on Amazon soon. It's a shame. In fact my bet there will be lawsuits over this action.

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I have a suspicion on why this may be happening

As you know, ordering an OS disc for Mac isn't much of a problem, or expense. I wonder if Apple is concerned about someone making "Hackintosh" machines?

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That Has Always Been the Case

If we zoom back to the 1980's and early 90's, the letters "PC" (or the words, "Personal Computer") had different meaning than they do today. Remember Steve Jobs? He was the one who said that Apple products would NEVER be called PCs. The definition (back then) was a PC conforming to the Intel/IBM architecture. Apple went a totally different route, going with Motorola which had ZERO compatibility with all the PC clone manufacturers and Apple didn't want any competition so there were few people making MAC clones. And, while PC makers allowed you to open the case and replace/upgrade physical components (RAM, boards, etc.), Apple maintained the attitude that your warranty would end if you tried that on their boxes and continued to solder (remember soldering tools/guns?) components to the boards. The kind of do the same with iPhones today. You can't have a third-party component like the fingerprint sensor because it is (really) a security issue needed for Apple Pay with banks. But can you buy the Apple made components? (I don't really know).

Post was last edited on November 18, 2018 6:52 PM PST

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I cannot afford their bloated prices and I will not be confined to a single manufacturer for all my devices. You obviously did not read what I wrote anyway. I am migrating to Linux. There is no "getting it to work." It works beautifully. However, it runs on industry standard (PC) hardware and it is infinitely customizable. As for workarounds, they are of limited value. You are speaking in general terms, not my personal specifics.

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Sorry . I took time to read it , the first time. Then I read it again , just now . Nothing about Linux mentioned. As to tied to a single manufacturer, I know what you mean , as I used to build custom computers for friends , back when I had time for it. ( New Egg was my friend ) but my new Mac runs my Old Kodak 6150 printer just fine , thank you. And , price was just as important to me when I bought the Mac last year as it is to you today. As to your specific situation, you didn’t detail it . But, I’m more than happy to leave this discussion. Bye.

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Just for Clarity

It didn't "destroy" user files. But you are right in that the files were moved and were recoverable. It's just someone at MS is very sloppy. If that happened where I worked, MS would have been onsite fixing it, due to our contracts with them. But they would not have gone the LINUX route. They had too many home-grown apps (without source code) that kept some computers on Win NT up to the day I left in 2014.

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That is My Point Exactly

I wasn't equating all home users with people who just use web and email. I was saying that users who don't have a need for specific Windows features can more easily switch to something else than people who may be locked into a specific piece of (Windows) software. Not every Windows app has a completely compatible version running under LINUX. In fact, we were trying to use OpenOffice and found discrepancies with MS Office. It all depends. And switching OS systems seems to always have a learning curve. My case of having 100K users was a special thing, as was pointed out. But there has to be other situations where people are not 100% to just move to another OS because of a glitch in current software. Now if this becomes a worsening trend, then someone needs to grab the reigns at Microsoft.

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According to a Gallup Poll conducted in 2017, 43% of employed respondents in the US work remotely, meaning "out of the office". According to the US BLS, in 2015 10% of employed individuals were self-employed. That percentage is expected to increase. So, not sure that 4Denise is correct in saying that the "vast majority" of people do not work from home or have a job that requires that they use home computers. Source?

As someone who works from home, in a professional capacity, there are two issues that affect me. The first is that possible downtime stemming from random Microsoft update mischief is really inconvenient. With a few exceptions, Win7 has behaved well. Win10, which I've held off migrating to, appears to have some serious issues. Obvs, that would be solved in part by using iOS and a Mac. I use an iPhone, and some of my clients have expected me to work onsite using their Macs, so iOS isn't completely foreign to me.

However, the second issue is that I still need Excel and Word for my work. The Apple-compatible versions seem to be at least a half-generation behind the Windows versions, and the Mac-generated files sometimes don't render well when opened with the Windows version. Mac Excel is the worst. Yes, there are Windows emulators, but it is a hassle keeping track of files and updates in two different areas, and it just adds another layer of complexity that I'd prefer to avoid.

Really disappointed in MS, because it seems like OS development is out of control and haphazard, and the result is an unreliable computing environment for small business users (not to mention the privacy issues).

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What does recent history have to do with it?

When the market was deciding between Windows and Macs, very few people worked at home or had home offices. Even to this day, people choose their personal computers (the ones they use for things other than work) based upon their own preferences, not their employer's. It is no longer true that each household is lucky to have one computer. Multiple computers are now the rule. The market for home users is not driven by business, and it never has been. It is driven by the choices of consumers, just as in other consumer markets. The business market and the consumer market are two entirely different things, like it or not.

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Business and Consumer Markets are Blended

I must strongly disagree. The business and consumer markets are not separate--they overlap and are blended. Employees work from home, small businesses owners are consumers, too, and may work out of their homes as do many professionals. Do you really think they want to use different computer types for their business vs. home use??? Non-techies want to use the computer as an appliance with as little effort as possible. Remember the VCRs? It was a big joke back then about how few people ever learned how to program them (to record future TV shows). People want to simplify their lives. They do not want to have to learn multiple operating systems; they do not want complexity. Ask your friends if they really know how to operate their cell phones beyond the basics. That is why Apple is ascending--they provide simplicity and reliability.

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I strongly disagree with you

I know enough people to know what I am seeing around me. People like what they like. They choose based on their own wants or needs. Everyone also seems to forget that the vast majority of the workforce still does not work in jobs that involve using computers at home, no matter what the supposed numbers say. Most people work at minimum wage (or nearly minimum wage) jobs. You cannot cut those people out of the numbers and then call the numbers accurate.

Those who want plain simplicity tend to go for Chromebooks or tablets. Those who want more will get a real computer. Among those, they generally select their first computer based on what is available to them and what software they want to run on it.

People who use computers for business use are often issued computers by the company. Those computers are not intended for household use. They are for work. No, the markets are not blended.

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Which is why more and more just use their smart phones and some don't even have a laptop or desktop for internet use anymore.

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MS OS development

"out of control" you said. Maybe. Consider this: Windows no longer is MS's "cash cow." They finally have the ideal business model for creating income from the corporate market - the cloud services on Azure (and, to an extent, the subscription model for Office.) Plus, they now seem to embrace Linux as a server OS - much more than they let the general public know.

Windows, it seems, is on its way to a free utility that is fineced by the insights they gather into their users' behaviour - similar to Facebook and Google. Of course they are laggards in that field, but they have the capitalisation to afford playing in catch-up mode for quite a while. The problem seems to come in with the cost of maintaining Windows, which no longer is covered by the income from sales (rather will be fianced from selling the user data.) In the interim they seem to be keeping cost down, which results in the shoddy support we currently see.

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That may be because Windows has an end
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Change in strategy

So, no longer "Windows everywhere" - now it is "Microsoft everywhere."

Or: "If you can't lick them, join them."

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I Completely Agree With You

If you are in the business end of MS and you look at all of the billions Google and Facebook make without really charging the consumer much, you'd definitely want a piece of that action. That's why they have gone into "advertising" (as those of us who visit the Microsoft Store know) and advertising has to be monitored so that the companies advertising their products pay the proper amount and then there is the way to increase revenue by showing "relevant" ads which gets pushed in the user's face as "spying". That is why Europe now has laws against some of that, and then HIPAA data and CJIS and PCI-DSS. So, the advertising concept not only takes up a lot of a compay's time but the rewards can be large as well. Then the other part of MS is going to be the large services they provide. enterprise contracts for their software (Windows desktop, server, Azure,...). I still think they make a ton of money off of Windows but not really in the home computer market. It's the large scale business contracts and their server software still is mostly windows-related. But you are right. We have to look at their direction. It's like what happened to "mainframe" companies when the PC market exploded. That had to twist and adopt. Maybe even change the name "mainframe" to "super server".

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Not a Tiny Minority

The computers used at work STRONGLY influence the computers purchased for home use, especially in the early years. The older generations did not grow up using computers--they were mostly computer illiterate. When businesses and government began using personal computers (as opposed to minis and mainframes), the employees had to learn to use the computers in order to keep their jobs. They endured a steep, stressful learning curve. When the time came to buy a computer for home use, they did not want to have to learn another type of computer--they wanted to leverage their hard-earned work knowledge to use on their home computer. Since the businesses standardized on IBM PCs, so did their employees for their home machines.
The PCs also had a growing number of businesses specializing in providing support for PCs. No other machine had that level of support and we computer Gurus were few and far between. The PC was the easiest and safest choice for serious home users (not gamers) as well as businesses. Apple was selling the 8-bit Apple II and the Apple Mac was years in the future. The IBM PC was considered The Business Computer and for serious home users, and all others were considered enhanced game machines.
Apple almost went out of business before Motorola developed the 16/32 bit MC68000 processor that spawned the Apple Lisa, Apple Mac, Commodore Amiga and an Atari machine (forgot the name, "ST" maybe). Microsoft had to invest money in Apple to keep them in business. (Ironic, yes?)
Even today, when I build a machine, I ask the new owner what Windows version they use at work. I then install the same version on their home machine because few non-techies want to have to learn different operating systems.
So, yes, the computer type used by employers has, and has had, a PROFOUND influence on people's choices of home computers. The Tiny Minority is those of us who like to tinker and customize our systems. Most people want to use the computer as an appliance, like a modern-day typewriter, with no muss or fuss. That is why Apple has been increasing its market share.

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Computer illiterate?

You are aware that those you are calling "computer illiterate" are the ones who invented and designed your precious machines, aren't you? No, you kids did not invent them and in my experience, you are more computer illiterate than we are. At least we know how to maintain them. That is why everyone around me who is younger than I am come to me to fix their machines and to learn how to actually use them.

I will say it again: most people in the workforce are doing things like construction, retail, fast food, and factory work. They do not use computers at work. If they do, then the computers do not use a system available for home use. However, even those who do need a work computer still choose their home computers according to their own needs and the needs of their families. What good would it do to buy a computer based on what mom uses at work if dad uses a different one at work and the kids cannot do their homework on it?

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Let's not forget, though ...

... that from its inception in 1981 to the introduction of Windows 95 (at the end of 1995 - so we are looking at more than 14 years) the IBM PC was a command line driven MS-DOS or PC-DOS based system, which - for most users - had a monchrome (mostly "green") screen. IBM's monochrome adapter didn't even have a graphics option - a compatible "Hercules" card with graphics capabilities was available from third parties. Alternatively you could use a "Color Graphics Adapter" that sported 16 colours at 640 x 200 pixels - Whoa!

Windows 3.1 and below only played a marginal role in most businesses and the support for home users was not much to write home about, either. Indeed, people that wanted what we now know as a "GUI" were flocking to the other machines you mentioned (early Apples, Amigas and Ataris.)

In a way I find it amazing from today's perspective that that machine was so popular in the home market. As you say, it was strictly designed to be an office tool, not intended to play games or consume audio and/or video contents. I recall seeing photos in decent quality on a Mac Pro around 1990. What a revelation - and what a surprise that a few years later you could do similar things on a PC. By that time, of course, you had the 386 processor that in protected mode could run with a linear address space, theoretically across the full 4GB memory space. That changed a lot. And then the world wide web was invented and browsers supported the graphics capabilities and then business discovered visuals as a productivity tool (and a marketing device as well.)

I suppose from then on (around the turn of the century ) we could finally see convergence between office and home computers. And it would be from then on that users could and would run the same platform at home and at work. Which created its own set of problems for businesses and their system administrators ...

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What 386 motherboard ever had 4GB? They were limited to much less due to BIOS and controller chips. They used 30 pin SIMMs and those maxed at 16MB as largest size and some motherboards could put in 8 of them, which limited RAM usage to max of 128MB.

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I still miss CompUSA

I used to browse that Mac section, but never was impressed enough to go that way. As for the older DOS based systems, one thing they had in their favor was each program came with it's own necessary files that weren't in DOS (disk operating system) and could "stand alone", no shared .dll files creating 'dll hell' as in earlier windows systems. I remember having to find and place the correct comctl.dll file in the same folder as a program I used, simply because the latest comctl.dll file wouldn't allow the program to work anymore. Since a program looks first in it's own folder for the file, that was workable, but a pain at times. What I like in Linux now is they have the same sort of ability added back into the system with Flatpaks, where programs that won't work in updated linux systems, can still be installed with all the older necessary OS files to run them, and they just work. So, there might be a program that worked in a version 10 and then won't after version 15, but in a flatpak will work in all versions SINCE version 10 etc.

Post was last edited on November 18, 2018 2:41 AM PST

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Easier DLL Hell Explanation

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