back to article Charity: Ta for the free Win 8.1, Microsoft – we'll use it to install Win 7

In November, Microsoft started offering free copies of Windows 8.1 to non-profits and charities. Redmond called it a "donation"; the more cynical saw it as a handy way to boost deployments of the new OS and migrate desktops away from dead-end Windows XP. Today The Register can reveal Microsoft has struck a deal with members …


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  1. M Gale

    I'm waiting for the commentards asking how a site full of techies can find TIFKAM so hard to learn, while conveniently forgetting that the article has little to do with techies.

    (And conveniently forgetting how shite TIFKAM is in general, but hey..)

    1. Chuunen Baka

      I don't know how hard TIFKAM is to learn because I haven't even tried. I just installed Class Shell and ignored it.

    2. Lee D

      TIFKAM isn't hard to learn. It's just not as productive for me as a piece of freeware.

      Hell, with Classic Shell, I can even remove the side-crap on the Windows menu, change the Start button to the company logo, whatever I like.

      And it works quick, smooth, easy, ADMX-configurable, MSI-deployable... literally in the time it took me to "learn" Metro, I had deployed an alternative that saved myself - and any of my users - from ever needing to.

      New != progress. And I fail to see anything that Metro does "better" than the old-fashioned interface and a properly configured start menu (which we can do now that we can turn every damn option on it off whenever we like, site-wide, in a matter of seconds - even down to the order of things in the menu).

      Even if we're all wrong and it's just a fad and we all end up on Metro - fact is, I've put off that "training" for another year, i.e. another budget, and provided a much smoother transition than MS ever did for my users... and it's under my control and on my schedule.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Firstly I like your solution... it certainly works on many levels.

        But, (there's always a but)... if you're failing to see how TIFKAM is better than the old start menu, you really haven't spent much time with it. The Modern UI has a number of benefits, firstly Live Tiles - updating in real time with information from relevent souces. It will be a while before a significant number of LOB applications offer Live Tiles, but when they do (and they are coming) this will be quite powerful. Secondly, a lot of users don't know how to use the start menu - sad I know, it's only been around since Windows 95, but I still speak to too many people that if they do not have an icon on the desktop they are unable to find their application.

        From a roll-out perspective, I can certainly understand that it would be easier to disable that interface than learn how to manage it, but if it can offer a business benefit maybe it should be investigated - looks like that will come next year hey?

        The Windows 8.1 Update certainly helps make the Windows Apps and TIFKAM more mouse friendly - I recommend you give it a go.

        1. Philip Hodges

          The irony is that even without being asked the live tiles happily show unwanted distracting information in a tiny window surrounded by other unwanted tiny tiles, but when given an explicit request and the run of the full screen with 1024 x 600 pixels it isn't enough for TIFKAM and they refuse to display anything at all. Fortunately, real time updates that I consider irrelevant or distracting can be turned off. I could choose a scaled display resolution, but then the real applications I use all the time look wrong.

        2. Lee D

          Sorry, but everywhere I've worked, the unanimous decision has been to turn off anything even approaching Live Tiles. In fact, we uninstall the apps (which is easier said than done for a lot of them).

          We don't want every desktop running off to download weather updates and animate the desktop - we got rid of that junk back in the days of Active Desktop for the same reason (if you can't see the similarity between Metro and Active Desktop, I suggest you look again).

          Users ask me to turn off tiles. So I turn them all off and the tech ones are free to reinstall / reshow whatever they want. I've yet to see someone with anything but a "quick-launch" desktop of what they deem to be their most used apps, not what Windows Tiles want to throw at you.

          If I were getting complaints from users about WANTING to have this stuff, I'd be forced to change it quite quickly. The opposite is true and workplaces that were putting off 8-deployment because of tests went onto it when they say my "cut-down" version that was still 8, but without all the junk.

          I spend months testing these things before I roll them out. And I'm still yet to see why a Finance app or a Weather widget is at all useful to the average user. Hell, even the Metro "versions" of things like Chrome and IE are pretty inferior to the real product. People, in general, just don't care about Metro. And, so, I'm forced to follow the majority.

          Just be thankful that I do push them by making 8 work rather than letting them linger on 7 or even - in some cases I've seen - XP.

        3. Bert 1

          Things are hidden :-(


          I am a "techie", so I do like to tinker with stuff.

          My WiFi is set up with MAC address filtering (so the neighbours can't use it to download pirate grumble flics)

          Problem with Windows 8.1

          A friend came round with a new laptop. After 15 minutes of clicking in likely looking locations to find the MAC addresss, I resorted to ipconfig from a command prompt.

          That can't be a good thing...

          Where have those idiots hidden it please?

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Things are hidden :-(

            @Bert...My WiFi is set up with MAC address filtering (so the neighbours can't use it to download pirate grumble flics).......etc etc...

            The issue isn't Windows, it YOU. If you rely on a MAC filtering, which is SHIT, instead of WPA2, then, trust me, no OS is going to help.


            1. Kit-Fox

              Re: Things are hidden :-(

              The issue isn't Windows, it YOU. If you rely on a MAC filtering, which is SHIT, instead of WPA2, then, trust me, no OS is going to help.

              Hang on, you think MAC filtering is 'SHIT' but that WPA2 which has been shown to be quite crackable with the use of rainbow tables and a lil data capture isnt ??

              You should be using as many levels of security as are effective/possible

              So using MAC filtering is a start and much more than most average users are even aware of, add on a WPA2 radius server (FreeRADIUS anyone?) and you have a good begninning

              1. joeW

                WPA2 crackable with rainbow tables?

                I thought WPA2 incorporated the network SSID into its encryption key to prevent rainbow tables being a viable means of cracking?

            2. AlbertH
              Black Helicopters

              Re: Things are hidden :-(

              Re: Things are hidden :-(

              @Bert...My WiFi is set up with MAC address filtering (so the neighbours can't use it to download pirate grumble flics).......etc etc...

              The issue isn't Windows, it YOU. If you rely on a MAC filtering, which is SHIT, instead of WPA2, then, trust me, no OS is going to help.

              Errrr.... No. WPA2 is trivially crackable - if you know what you're doing - and using MAC filtering is very effective on top of WPA2 - it makes spoofing a legitimate-looking network device more difficult (but not impossible). If you want to sort-of secure your wireless network, you also have to turn off the SSID broadcast and use yet another level of encryption on top of WPA2 - even then it's not totally secure!

              1. jason 7

                Re: Things are hidden :-(

                Turning off the SSID? How very 2003.

              2. Roland6 Silver badge

                Re: Things are hidden :-(

                >WPA2 is trivially crackable

                Interesting use of the word 'trivial'.

                But in any case, a trivial configuration change and WPA2 can be made secure - if you know what yo're doing. FYI, MAC filtering and turning off SSID broadcast don't form part of the solution. For further details I suggest you talk to a CLAS Consultant with experience of WiFi...

              3. djnapkin

                Re: Things are hidden :-(

                WTF? WPA2 is trivially crackable? Reference, please.

                Oh look, he hasn't got one.

            3. djnapkin

              Re: Things are hidden :-(

              That's right - MAC address filtering is a pointless waste of time. Use WPA2 and turn off WPS. That is all.

          2. Western Infidel

            Re: Things are hidden :-(

            Its the same as Windows 7, Vista et all.. ipconfig.

            Alternatively you can install one of several Apps that will display your Ip configuration.

            Have you ever used Windows before?

            1. Bert 1

              Re: Things are hidden :-(

              Well, except in Win7, I can do this:

              Open network and sharing centre

              Click local area connection

              Click on details.

              Note down Physical address.

              And no, I am not SOLELY relying on this.

              1. Bert 1

                Re: Things are hidden :-(

                OK, I googled it.


                On the Start screen, type Network and Sharing

                Under the search box, select Settings

                Click Network and Sharing Center:

                Select Change Adapter Settings from the list on the left hand side

                Right click on the connection you are trying to find the MAC address for and select Properties.

                Hover your mouse over the text box underneath connect using. Your MAC

                address will appear in the tooltip.


                It's in a tooltip behind a change settings button!

                Fuck Me! All it needs is a sign saying "beware of the leopard"

                1. Chika

                  Re: Things are hidden :-(


                  Run --> cmd

                  ipconfig /all

                  Read "Physical Address" for the appropriate NIC.

                  Didn't they do this in Windows 2000?

                  1. Daniel B.

                    Re: Things are hidden :-(

                    Run --> cmd

                    ipconfig /all

                    Read "Physical Address" for the appropriate NIC.

                    That's exactly what he said he did. But you shouldn't need to do that if the info is also accessible from the Control Panel, and it isn't easy to relay these instructions to a regular user over the phone.

                2. Fuzzysteve

                  Re: Things are hidden :-(


                  hit the start button.

                  type 'network'

                  select 'view network connections'

                  double click the one you want.

                  hit details.

                  tada.(I'd still use ipconfig)

    3. keithpeter Silver badge

      Two weeks

      Two weeks training for 1000 people, oh, lets see, that is about £600,000 woth of lost time. In practice it won't be as people will learn on their own time and management will put a couple of sessions on...

      Information needed: UK specific, charity registered organisation, small, about half a dozen boxes and a domestic style Internet connection. Can they get MS freebies? Free Win upgrade and freebie Office would be good.

      The tramp: I'll be a charity case soon the way the pensions are going...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Two weeks

        Two weeks training? I don't believe that.

        I switched the company secretary (60+ years old, basically technically illiterate) from XP and Office 2003 to Windows 8.1 and Office 2013. She needed about 45 minutes of support for Windows and another couple of hours for Office, the Office move was more of a problem for her than the OS. Most of the niggles with the OS were the default programs being Metro apps (Photos instead of Picture Viewer, Reader instead of another PDF reader), which I could've fixed with a deployment script before hand if I had realised.

        There will of course be people who struggle more and some who struggle less, but if a practically technically illiterate secretary can handle the move that easily, I find it hard to believe that anyone else will struggle to the extent of requiring 2 weeks of training.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Two weeks

          Yes, but you said it yourself... Company secretary.

          It's to be expected that she will have a higher aptitude with the general desktop environment and should be expected to be able to cope with change in GUI, yadda, yadda.

          Some random in an organisation though that only knows a few basic key shortcuts and only uses the same two programs day in, day out? It will take longer.

          1. wowfood

            Re: Two weeks

            I've actually found that the less techie people seem to adjust to windows 8.1 the best. Personal experience mind you so won't apply to all.

        2. bob, mon!

          Re: Two weeks

          Just a guess - the company secretary barely interacts with the OS at all, she does most everything through Office. If she actually maintains a meaningful directory structure for her files, she's above average (regardless of age)...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Two weeks

            You do realise that a Company Secretary isn't actually a secretary, Don't you? They're normally a member of the board of the company.

      2. El Andy

        Re: Two weeks


    4. Vociferous

      Rage-inducing != hard.

  2. h3

    All they need is someone to right click the taskbar then go to properties -> navigation and tick the suitable boxes to disable most things and prefer the desktop and then they should be fine.

    With the latest update it is basically back to normal then. (Metro apps appear like normal ones on the taskbar). Desktop Apps listed first - Default to the Desktop. Disable the corners for the charms or recent apps.

    Can just add shortcuts to the apps on the Desktop if you want as well.

    You can avoid metro basically entirely now.

    1. jason 7

      Yup, its now pretty much the product it should have been at launch, had Sinofsky not been on such an ego trip.

      Pretty easy.

    2. nematoad Silver badge

      Laugh? I nearly did.

      "You can avoid metro basically entirely now."

      Use what you want but it does give me a little schadenfreude to see the hoops that MS is making people jump through just to use that O/S.

      And they said Linux was hard to set up.


    3. Enrico Vanni

      Irony is pointing out how easy it now is to make Windows 8.1 appear to the end user like Windows 7...

      1. Elmer Phud

        Mine looks more like XP 'cos that's what I was using at the time.

  3. Arctic fox

    I say chaps, I don't think that you understand what you are supposed to do here.

    You are supposed to hooooowwwwwl. Don't you understand that? Making reasonable comments, albeit not especially complimentary to Redmond is definitely not on the agenda. Remember, hoooowwwlllliiiing about the Demons of Redmond is where its at. If you do not do that you are going to lose all your street-cred.

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: I say chaps, I don't think that you understand what you are supposed to do here.

      Never forget the real comedy aspect of the damage Windows 8.1 is doing to Microsoft: it's all self-inflicted.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why Windows in the first place?

    A non-profit organisation; IMO a wrongly used term from the get-go, because a lot of these organisations do keep employee's on the payroll. Ergo; they'll need money in order to survive themselves, and something tells me that will go before their ideals.

    Even so; it would be my impression that one of the main aspects of such organisations would be to reduce your own costs in order to get even more revenue for the help you want to provide.

    So why isn't open source software much more widespread within these organisations I wonder?

    I'm running a business myself and yes, I also rely on Windows and MS Office (2010) to keep up with my administration. But part of the decision to do so is also based on my profession: ICT. I actually use Office as a development platform to build other (VBA powered) applications which then help my own environment but which can then also be implemented on customer sites. And having to deal with customers which run Windows themselves also helps here. Even so; it goes beyond your average "write a report, send a bill, do your bookkeeping".

    Recently I've started experimenting with Xorg, Xfce4 and LibreOffice on my laptop and I have to say that there's tons of options there as well. More than enough to run your entire administration on it, especially if it's mainly aimed at writing reports, keeping track of finance and all the extra stuff (Thunderbird on Linux/BSD really isn't that much different than Thunderbird on Windows).

    SO yeah; why Windows and why haven't these organisations experimented (and embraced) open source software I wonder? I can't help think that it should fit in just fine.

    My cynical opinion on that? Because there's plenty of money to be made in this field and so these kind of cost reductions are the least of their worries.

    In my (very biased) opinion a real non-profit organisation would be mostly run by volunteers which may indeed have some costs to deal with (I could imagine that you prefer an accountant to handle your financial administration) but not in the likes of what we see happening right now. Where the whole "charity organisation" is actually a company of its own.

    The reality however is that such organisations are usually run by people who get their full incoming out of it and supported by volunteers which try to do the right thing and help other people out.

    And in case you're wondering; yes, I don't like most of these "charity organisations" at all.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Why Windows in the first place?

      Giving it to charities is like giving it to schools: it encourages dependency. And as you yourself admit, you've only just started to explore the alternatives, why should other businesses be any different?

      1. ben_myers

        Re: Why Windows in the first place?

        Right, Microsoft is your corner drug dealer giving away a little taste here or there to get you hooked. Of course, Apple has had discount deals for educational institutions for a long time... Ben Myers

    2. Roger Greenwood

      Re: Why Windows in the first place?

      "why Windows"

      Because like most businesses they have other priorities, are not techies and the free/cheap alternatives are not advertised.

    3. Chas

      Re: Why Windows in the first place?

      You might not like charity organisations but there are many who provide a valuable contribution to local communities. Indulge me whilst I Illustrate with an example:

      I volunteer at a local community centre, itself a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. It is located in the North East of England in an area the government acknowledge as suffering from a high level of social deprivation and unemployment. There are two full-time employees whose salaries are paid for through funding raised from other organisations who finance a variety of community projects. Two other people, the building's caretakers, are employed by the local council from whom we lease the building. We also have an Ofsted-registered nursery catering for 0-5 year old children.

      As well as a wide variety of social and leisure activities for all age groups, we also have two IT suites which are heavily used for a variety of purposes, not the least of which is catering for unemployed people fulfilling their obligations under Job Search and a myriad of other things like applying for benefits of all kinds which the government now require to be done online—over 40% of the local population do not have access to the internet of a computer at home, so we provide a vital service in that regard.

      We also provide IT services for vision and hearing-impaired people, those with low literacy skills and those for whom English is not their first language. As a charity, we have received our Windows licences free and we make use of many other open-source packages. We are also looking to move to a more heterogeneous computing environment incorporating Macs and Linux in the future.

      In short, the cost of maintaining our IT systems pales into insignificance compared to the cost of maintaining the infrastructure: gas and electricity bills,insurance, interior fabric maintenance, yada, yada, yada. Every single penny of profit is ploughed back into serving the community's needs: last year, nearly 5000 people benefited from the centre. Put another way, over 60% of the local population directly benefited from the centre's activities. Therefore, the idea that such services can be created and run by an organisation staffed entirely by volunteers is both ludicrous and jejune: you need highly-skilled people in order to drive this forward and for that, you need to pay them.

      We also are having to contend with the government's Community Asset Transfer program—an accounting con-job of monstrous proportions—which will mean us becoming responsible for everything while the council keeps the building as an asset on their books without having any responsibility for it. Many centres in the surrounding area will not be able to cope with the financial responsibility and will undoubtedly fold thus further disenfranchising people who can ill afford further social isolation.

      So, before you decide to repeat your importunate and ill-advised commentary, I urge you to spare a thought for those less well-off than yourself and for those organisations who struggle daily against a sea of government iniquity to make a genuine difference in people's lives. To quote Whoopi Goldberg: "…he who is without shit on their shoe, take the first step on the white rug!"


      1. AlbertH

        Re: Why Windows in the first place?

        So, before you decide to repeat your importunate and ill-advised commentary, I urge you to spare a thought for those less well-off than yourself and for those organisations who struggle daily against a sea of government iniquity to make a genuine difference in people's lives.

        Why? I have yet to see any charity that does not have some ulterior motive lurking behind the do-gooding. It's usually religious and therefore to be avoided at all costs.

        Oxfam proudly announce that they've reduced infant mortality in Sierra Leone to <5%, but entirely fail to broadcast the fact that mortality between 2 and 10 years old approaches 60% - they "save the babies" just to have them starve later.....

        They cannot see the fundamental flaw in their meddling.

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Why Windows in the first place?

      >"it would be my impression that one of the main aspects of such organisations would be to reduce your own costs in order to get even more revenue for the help you want to provide."

      One of the weird things I've encountered with for profit/charities is their cash flow. Because of the way grants and gifts (such as MS licenses) are offered, it is relatively easy to get monies to finance capital expenditure, but more problematic to generate income to cover normal day-tpo-day operating costs. So one of things I've had to learn is how to structure, what would be T&M work package in a commercial environment, into a capital expenditure work package that they can use in a grant application. For example, installing additional disks will solve a server problem, however, it is easier to get funding for a totally new server...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why Windows in the first place?

      Up til recently I used to do the IT thing for an all-volnteer organisation (even better, one that doesn't do fund-raising - will accept donations but doesn't go round asking for them).

      I would have loved to make full use of open source software, but the volunteer character of the organisation meant that there was a lowest-common-denominator effect with technology. i.e. most people know Word, there is no training programme, so it is just easier for everyone if Academic MOLP MS Office is deployed (at least then everyone is using the same version - we hope!).

      Also, volunteers have a nasty tendency to opt out of any standardisation effort.

      But that said, even after 10 years helping this organisation I absolutely agree with you - better the all-volunteer craziness than charities that are indistinguishable from corporations even down to the tricks they use to get people to part with their money.

    6. jtaylor

      Re: Why Windows in the first place?

      Why use Windows at a charity?

      First, the computer probably came with Windows. Don't fix it if it's not broken.

      Second, just let people use what's familiar and efficient. Many people can use a Mac. Almost everyone can use Windows.

      Third, most other organizations (including donors and foundations) use MS Office. Therefore, we use MS Office to exchange documents.

      I'm involved with 2 charities. If you "don't like" them, then you aren't our audience anyway. We have a mission to achieve, and it's not "evangelize open source."

    7. Ronny Cook

      Re: Why Windows in the first place?

      I think non-profit does not mean what you think it means.

      Non-profit means that the company does not make a profit. Profit is revenue minus expenses. It's actually possible to have a non-profit company which isn't a charity at all (in fact I do some work for one).

      Then there are charities, which are a particular large subset of non-profit organisations. Most charities depend on volunteers, but to depend solely on volunteers is risky, because you're giving your volunteers an incentive to rort the charity. Most charities have an administrative core or permanent payrolled staff, which they supplement with volunteers when they can get them.

      Having an ALL-volunteer staff isn't particularly practical for any charity of significant size. You need to be able to rely on somebody to handle the books, to organise donations, to answer the phones. Often the people who do this work will do so at a discount to regular wages, but they too need to keep a roof over their heads.

      As for Windows vs. Open Source, the market is flooded with entry-level MCSEs. Finding somebody competent to run a Windows network is much easier than finding somebody to run a Linux network, and your staff are probably more familiar with Windows, and your vendors probably want their files in Office formats. Given the PC probably comes with Windows already, the time saved in training and file conversions will generally cover the licence costs.

      It would be *nice* if charities stuck to Open Source, but that's not the world we live in.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows Explorer in Win 7 (file manager)

    Using/Upgrading to Windows 8 file manager is reason enough not to stick with Windows 7's Windows Explorer (file manager). Windows Explorer (file manager) is by far the biggest weak point in sticking with Windows 7.

    Not that it affects me much, most of my work is done in iOS and Mac OS X. Mac OS X/Linux are the only file managers I use now, though Mac OS X isn't exactly full proof when it comes to networks.

    1. Anonymous IV

      Re: Windows Explorer in Win 7 (file manager)

      "Windows Explorer (file manager) is by far the biggest weak point in sticking with Windows 7."

      Which is why many people install a third-party file manager, like xplorer2. I know I did.

    2. joed

      Re: Windows Explorer in Win 7 (file manager)

      But not having "previous version option" when you really needed (Windows 8) sucks even more. Not that explorer improved much anyway (ribbon - ?, copy/pause - sure). Overall upgrading to 8 because of improvements in explorer is more justified than upgrading to 8 because of improvements in the task manager (I know, but some would seriously use that argument), but only barely.

    3. Vociferous

      Re: Windows Explorer in Win 7 (file manager)

      >Upgrading to Windows 8 file manager is reason enough not to stick with Windows 7

      Total Commander.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder what the tax advantages are to giving away free software to charities? Some sort of write-off? Not forgetting it is one way to boost numbers of people using it.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      They need to write something off for sure. The development costs for TIFKAM for one...

  7. Rick Giles

    Isn't this the group...

    that was going to distribute solar/crank powered laptops with Ubuntu linux on them and Microsoft about had a fit over and squashed them like a bug? Or was that someone else?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How many non-profits and charities have computers with the horsepower to run Windows 8.1? I can see these free copies being used elsewhere.

    1. jason 7

      It will run fine on anything with a dual core and 2GB of ram basically. Any PC pretty much since say 2005 really.

      1. Kit-Fox

        It will run fine on anything with a dual core and 2GB of ram basically. Any PC pretty much since say 2005 really.

        You really dont spend much time around charities do you ?? If (and its a big IF) you are lucky you might find some cheap dual-cored celeron in a machine, probably just about struggling along with maybe 1Gb of ram and probably a 60Gb hdd to boot.

        In fact the machines at the charities i've been involved in have all been much older. I see ancient SECC P3 machines & P4 powered rigs in these places just about managing to run XP & if you are even luckier office 2003 but more often than not its the previous office version (XP/2000 wasnt it?) on a daily basis in these places

        So yeah a lot of places simply wont have the gunt or space in their machines to run win8(.1) and a modern version of office without hardware upgrades at the same time & a lot of charities cant afford that

        1. jason 7

          Erm I do actually. Most of them are far better equipped than you state. Maybe you didn't try hard enough to find better value and powered kit?

          Most of the charities I've worked for are running ex. corp Dell Optiplexes circa 2007. Dual core with 2-4 GB of ram, Win 7 etc. etc. I can pick them up for around £100 a go. Most of the ones I do support for are running a decent Dell or HP Xeon server or two.

          Need to try harder for them. Good stuff is out there if you look. So yes, Windows 8 will work fine for charities.

          1. Kit-Fox

            Interesting that you make the assumption that I'm invovled in the kit buying process, I'm sure nowhere did I actually state I was.

            Also the last few places I've been at hadn't actually bought any of their computer equipment, having it all donated to them from various places looking for a quick pr score/tax write-off or whatever brownie points they were trying to earn

            So yes I stand by my statement that you arent all that aware of computing in most charities ( unless of course you just hide out at the national head offices of larger charities where stupid amounts of money are spunked on vanity projects and equipment that has no real application ) , as from what I've learnt from others my experiences down in the trenches are in no way unique

  9. Herby


    How can I become a "charity"? I have more outgo then ingo. Does this mean I am a public service?

    When BSA comes around asking just say "I'm a charity".

    As the saying goes: "We're a non-profit. We really didn't want to be, but that's how it ended up!".

    I'll leave the OS grumblers to their own devices and argue among themselves.

  10. ben_myers

    Yep, ClassicShell relieves stress, but Windows 8.1 and your privacy?

    Yep, ClassicShell relieves stress. I've installed it a number of times for people who then feel a lot better about using a computer with a more familiar user interface.

    But Windows 8.1 and your privacy? Hah! Do a Windows 8.1 upgrade, and while you are finishing up, it asks you to set some settings. You have a choice, Express or no. I picked no, walked through the settings and imagined my blood pressure sky-rocketing as I saw Microsoft ask for various settings to be "On". Like monitoring your location? And other choice tidbits that could be shared with anyone. Read the Win 8.1 license agreement, which Microsoft can change at any time, and you are giving away your privacy in return for what? Direct monitoring by the NSA or MI6?

    Or is Microsoft simply telling all of us what they have been doing all along? Very unsettling, this privacy thing. Enough for me to think that Windows 7 will be my own very last Microsoft operating system.

    As a good friend of mine observed today, think about the frog placed in a pot of water. A happy frog? A content frog, right? Sure. Now turn on the heat to bring the water to a boil. The poor frog remains clueless while being boiled to death. Well, our personal privacy is being eroded away, same as the poor frog's life.

  11. IT Drone

    Neither up nor down

    "... exploit a clause in the licence to downgrade (or upgrade depending on your point of view) to Windows 7 rather than settle with version 8.1"


  12. NeilPost Silver badge

    Just a little staggered that a charity, even one with a global reach, like Plan has "14,000 PC's and laptops" in the first place. Wondering how much of the generously donated money is swallowed up in 'admin', anddiverted from for their good work. This number is bigger than some medium sized companies.

    From their website

    "What we do

    Plan works for children and their communities to help realise children’s rights. We work across a range of sectors, including education, health, child protection, child participation, economic security and water and sanitation."

    1. plrndl

      "Wondering how much of the generously donated money is swallowed up in 'admin'"

      ALL of it. The only thing you can do with money is pay people. It has no other use. (Buying "things" is an illusion.)

  13. Anonymous Coward

    I love the comment here.

    I you provide real world example how people actually LIKE the new interface, you WILL without fail, get down voted, because as often proven, "techies" are so set in their own bloody mindset, everyone else has to listen to them, as they now best.

    And that ladies and gentlemen, is why IT gets such a bloody bad name.


    In our office of "Techies" of about 80 people, network guys, server guys, programmers, telecoms, support. The VAST majority or people actually prefer Win8 once they have go use to it.

    And in the youth club where we put in some win 8 machines next to some 7 machines, the Win 8's are far more popular.

    So just because YOU don't like change, doesn't mean everyone else doesn't

    And roll in the downvote

    1. No. Really!?

      Re: I love the comment here.

      I will counter your anecdotal findings with my own.

      In the last 3 months of WinXP replacements we had to OK to put in just 2 (two!) Win8 machines, and that was because they wanted lightweight ThinkPad Yogas. They also requested to have them boot to desktop - not the most ringing endorsement of Tiles.

      Win8 may not be as bad people believe, from where I sit however, people are avoiding it.

  14. sjiveson


    Forget Windows versions, why does this charity need 14,000 desktops? Most banks don't have that many.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 14,000

      It's a huge charity - 8000 staff, 90% of whome are outside the UK, and 70000 volunteers. 14000 desktops sounds quite reasonable.

      Some people seem to think to job of charities is simply to hand out money. It isn't. In fact, the job of development charities (of which Plan is one) is to try and end the need for charities than hand out money. "Give a man a fish...,teach him to fish." Who pays the teacher? That's what a development charity does.

  15. Shaha Alam

    wow these charities spend a lot of money on their computers

    as above

  16. Asok Asus

    "Banbury reckoned Windows 8's touchscreen-friendly Metro interface is the hardest thing for users to overcome when using the new OS."

    Does anyone besides myself see that the irony in the above statement is so thick that it needs to be cut with a plasma torch?

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