back to article Food, water, batteries, medical supplies, ammo … and Windows 7 PCs

Microsoft has named the day on which it will force PC-makers to stop shipping PCs with Windows 7 pre-installed. The Windows Lifecycle fact sheet has been updated to record the fact that as of October 31, 2016 no more PCs will be sold with Windows 7 Professional burned onto the boot disk. Retail sales of Windows 7, all …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Step 1 create pristine Win7 VM and patch it while keeping beady eye out for W10 shit

    Step 2 disable internet access to VMs

    Step 3 run these VM(s) on you OS of choice

    Step 4 tell MS to go fsck itself...

    1. mythicalduck

      How well does Steam work in a VM? Though even then Steam requires internet access.

      I really need to try the Win version of Steam in Linux via WINE

  2. lawndart

    I would like to get hold of a couple of copies of Win7u, but even Amazon has people complaining about fake licence keys.

    When's Windows 9 (the proper follow up to Windows 7) coming out?

    1. x 7

      "When's Windows 9 (the proper follow up to Windows 7) coming out?2

      it came out in 1995, with an update in 1998, and another in 2000

  3. msknight

    I was listening to Armouredcockroach (a prepper on YouTube) the other day, and he didn't sound insane at all; and freeze drying Win 7 sounds like a sensible option also.

    Bugger... is social melt down really upon us already?

    1. John Tserkezis

      "Bugger... is social melt down really upon us already?"

      Yes it is. A lot of the boxes aimed at domestic use, simply don't have windows 7 drivers, and conveniently, they all have new hardware that is not automagically recognised by Win7 even if you try it.

      So, stocking up on freeze-dried hardware might not be a bad idea.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Go for VM use. Unless you have specific hardware needs, or are dedicated to gaming on a bare-metal installation of Windows, running in a VM has so many advantages: Never-changing hardware, ease of creating a copy/snapshot if you want to monkey with it, can be moved across hardware and host OS, and often malware won't run under virtualisation to protect its secrets so another bonus!

  4. brainout

    Deja Vue

    Back when Win8 was going to come out, I bought (in pairs) what are now 8 Win7 PCs, and thought that was overkill. Surely, I thought, a later Windows will come out to fix what's wrong with 8.

    Little did I know that my Win7's were the best investment I could make. The real Windows Last is Win7. I prefer XP so surf using Linux so I can keep using XP offline, but Win7 will suffice when my seven XP machines no longer work.

    I'll be dead by then.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you have the Win7 install disks

    Will MS allow you to validate the Win 7 licence for a clean re-install after the cut-off date?

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: If you have the Win7 install disks

      Yes. All this means that OEMs are not allowed to preinstall Win7 anymore.

      Windows XP had a similar cut-off date some years ago but product activation still works.

      1. ITS Retired

        Re: If you have the Win7 install disks

        But you cannot get the service pacs from Microsoft, making XP useless.

        1. Jakester

          Re: If you have the Win7 install disks

          XP not necessarily useless. XP worked before any service packs were released. I have one computer that I keep on the ready for an XP only application. I keep it from the internet by setting the gateway to my home server IP address so I can save/edit files on the server. It is true that there may be some issues by not having any service packs on a new xp install. My XP install was up-to-date with all security patches and service packs when Microsoft pulled the plug on updates.

          The big advantage of an unpatched XP computer - it uses VERY LITTLE memory. When XP came out, I purchased a retail version. As I recall, with a fresh install and now security patches, it used somewhere around 50MB of memory. After all service packs, security patches, and Microsoft Security Essentials, the memory used blossomed to somewhere around 600MB.

          So, no, XP is not useless without service packs. Just keep it off the internet, then compute fast and happy. If your applications allow, I recommend running in a virtual machine (I use Virtualbox in Ubuntu Linux). If you mess-up the machine, it takes just seconds to go back to a previously saved snapshot. It is also easy to move to another computer if you upgrade systems.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news

    The price of Win7 DVD's + License keys on Fleabay has just rocketed.

    I guess it will be the day Hell freeses over before MS head boyos realise that they were just like the Captain of the Titanic and look what happened to her eh?

    I have to run Server 2008 & Server 2012 for work. That's it. When this job is done and dusted I will be free of Windows as an OS for good. Windows 10 is IMHO not fit to be called an Operating System.

    Bring back RT-11 I say.

  7. paulc

    the day when Microsft becomes irrelevant...

    October 31, 2016, and the day we seriously start looking at Linux for our systems and solutions...

    Until then our lot have just been moseying along, only forced to dump XP machines when we were no longer allowed to have them on our secure network

    1. Dave Bell

      Re: the day when Microsft becomes irrelevant...

      There are problems with Linux, but it's certainly a viable choice. Some hardware is very awkward. There's a Via chipset for USB 3.0 which needs some jumping through hoops to set up.

      And there is a huge infrastructure that backs up Windows, or thinks they know about it. Think of all those businesses which still seem to depend on Internet Explorer, sometimes obsolete versions.

      1. DiBosco

        Re: the day when Microsft becomes irrelevant...

        >> There are problems with Linux, but it's certainly a viable choice. <<

        There are FAR more problems with Windows than Linux. Linux is way more than a viable choice.

    2. BobChip
      Linux

      Re: the day when Microsft becomes irrelevant...

      Don't wait until October 2016. Start to implement your Linux solution NOW, and October 31st will pass unnoticed - by you at least.

      Mint 17 does the job perfectly well right now. Add VirtualBox and a valid copy of Win 7 if there is old Win stuff you want to keep running - but keep it off the internet as MS will try to screw with it. Run all internet stuff through the Linux host and keep the virtual system clean.

      We're doing it. It works. Nuff said.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 7

    Could someone rationally explain what's this thing is with windowz users, why all the clinging on to an old dying or unsupported version. You've officially got till 2020 to change your ways, assuming your not reversed by a Win10 upgrade by then. Look at all the emminently sensible people hanging on to XP like grim death, not even a little nuts, obviously? Don't get me started on how bizarre running a windows 7/XP VM from linux, bsd, whatever. You're all certifiable, you're like those idiots proudly plastered with their favourite company logo(free advertising), 30 years down the road you won't have changed one little bit. Except maybe a bit more scary mad. When I see ISL/ISIS and wonder how the fu&@ fundamentalism starts, I think I have an idea now. You worse than fruit lovers, at least they aren't constantly looking to the past.

    1. Your alien overlord - fear me

      Re: Windows 7

      "at least they aren't constantly looking to the past." - no, they deny the past exists and blows up anything that has dust on it. Just like Jesus worriers in the USA who can't comprehend th world is more than 5,000 years old. That's fundamentalism at work.

      And funnily enough, whilst typing this I just realised, both USA and ISIS like arming eveyone. Coinsidence or conspiracy?

    2. Alex Trenchard

      Re: Windows 7

      Why cling to an older version?

      For me, it's two things - control, and appearances. Or possibly, the appearance of control, and control of appearance.

      Because I'm not enough of a fool to think I'm actually in control of my Windows machine, but at least with Win 7 I understand enough of the workings and have enough clout to make changes. I'm nowhere near to being a power user, but at least I know enough to make my own changes to the hosts file, and to set default file behaviours. Everything I've heard about Win 10 suggests that it's less in the hands of the user, and more centrally administered; with some reports suggesting MS have the ability to override local changes in some cases.

      And secondly, Flat Design is - in my opinion - an abomination which should die in a fire. Just my opinion, of course. But I'd like to have a choice of how my desktop looks, rather than having a flat aesthetic forced upon me.

      So what I've got is good enough. To me, the 'newest version at all costs' crowd are equally dogmatic as those resisting change.

      1. MysteryGuy
        Unhappy

        Re: Windows 7

        > Everything I've heard about Win 10 suggests that it's less in the hands of

        > the user, and more centrally administered; with some reports suggesting

        > MS have the ability to override local changes in some cases.

        Windows 10... 'What, you thought you actually owned your 'Personal Computer'? :-)

        Windows 10 seems all about the phone model where the carrier controls your 'device OS'.

        Ironically, before PCs all your data was held centrally on a server. PCs freed you to have local control of your data. In many ways the 'Cloud model' isn't that different from going back to the model that PC's freed us from.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 7

      1800's "We don't need any of that electrickery, our candles will do just fine and in 10 years time the electickery fad will be over"

      1900's "forget that windows 3.11 stuff, Linux is the great desktop OS, MS will be gone and forgotten in a few years

      2000's "the iPod will be gone and forgotten in 2 years time"

      There are still Linux hippies and Free OS followers, yet neither has been the "big change" to the PC that DOS and Windows were, I don't see it changing, maybe Chrome has a chance.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Windows 7

      "Could someone rationally explain what's this thing is with windowz users, why all the clinging on to an old dying or unsupported version."

      This has been explained before but clearly we need to explain it all again. Let me preface this by saying that not only am I not a Windows fan I'll be abandoning Linux in favour of BSD when my current version falls out of support on the grounds that the next version will be insufficiently Unix-like. But I have a fair degree of experience in the commercial world with both Windows and Unix.

      Firstly you need to understand that system administrators don't like change. Change breaks things. Change brings them problems they don't need, often in return for fixing problems they don't have. This applies as much to Unix as Windows. Old, rusty and working is better than new, shiny and useless. Sysadmins are paid to run things that make money by working.

      Secondly you need to realise that there are often very good* reasons why stuff is running on Windows & maybe specific versions of Windows. At the bottom, however, these reasons come down to money.

      One reason is that the computer is tied to a very expensive piece of machinery. When I retired at the end of 2006 my last client was running a digital print centre on a number of industrial printers. These are not the sort of thing you go down to PC World to replace. They're massive beasts, bigger than some printing presses. The economic lifetime of such beasts would probably demand that they're still working. AFAIK the embedded version of WIndows was 95. That sort of kit doesn't get replaced because MS has decided to EoL W95. Or NT. Or W2K. Or XP.

      Another reason is that the business is running, and depends on running, S/W that is tied to some quirk of Windows. If it was bought-in from an external vendor the vendor might have gone bust or simply stopped developing it and may not have ported it to another version of Windows. Even if it runs on later versions the vendor might not have certified it for those versions which, in highly regulated industries, might be a show-stopper. If the S/W doesn't run on the new version a replacement will have to be bought in - assuming a replacement is available. If there's no replacement on the market commissioning one will be expensive. If the S/W was specially commissioned in the first place it might need work to port it over to the new platform which assumes the source hasn't been lost, that there's anyone available who understands the language it was written in, that there's good enough documentation to rewrite from scratch if the source has gone - you name the problem, someone will be going through it.

      Finally there is an investment in training and accumulated experience of users. To some extent this might be an overrated issue but a big change in interface will require expenditure on training and inevitably set back productivity whilst the users adapt to it. Linked to that is the amount of testing that has to go on to ensure that everything the business needs works on the new system (assuming that it does - see the previous paragraph). There may be other costs associated with migration such as converting data from old versions of S/W to new.

      The bottom line with all this is that users have made investments in good faith only to find that those investments are now dependant on what's become abandonware.

      *For given values of good. What may have appeared a cost-effective decision in the past is no longer such a good decision when seen in the longer term.

    5. Chemist

      Re: Windows 7

      "Could someone rationally explain what's this thing is with windowz users, "

      Simple - in any other area if people didn't like the function, design or cost of something they'd vote with their feet and buy something else. Even with phones there is some choice but MIcrosoft have wormed their way into a position of power where, now, most people don't see another choice. Not just the OS but some of the major applications and file formats Most people are now stuck or think they are. They're frustrated, see a future of jumping through hoops, at greater cost and all the time burying themselves even deeper into this sorry morass.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows 7

        For me, Windows 7 has advantages over later versions.

        1) it is not the abortion called Windows 8

        2) it doesn't have the personal information collection built in like Windows 10

        3) it is easy to pirate, so when I buy a laptop with the OEM version of Windows 7 riddled with bloatware, I can simply install a clean version of Windows 7 on top of it (yeah, that's technically illegal, but Microsoft is still getting their cut when I buy the laptop so I don't care) or if for my use instead of my girlfriend or parents, install Linux on the laptop and install Windows 7 in a VM.

        If Windows 10 didn't try to copy Google in the collection of personal information department, and there was a way I could reset the OEM crapware version back to a clean virgin install (whether via piracy or a built in tool) I'd probably be willing to switch - though still in no hurry since my Windows 7 install does what little I need it to do and I have no incentive to spend a bunch of time getting a Windows 10 install in the same state!

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 7

      Windows 7 is the best, stable and most secure NT based client OS Microsoft has produced so far, even work (a major IT corporation) install this on all new staff machines. Any comparison with XP is ridiculous because it was a lot more primitive and insecure.

      Windows 8/8.1 is a crap skinned Windows 7 with spyware in the boot and OS so is /not/ secure, Windows 10 looks less crap by even worse for spyware and I don't trust that all of the spyware can be disabled! They even back-ported some spyware to Windows 7, but I killed it off, even the sneaky CEIP DLLs, exe, and registry settings, and blocked some Microsoft spy servers in my router.

      I'd be jumping to Mint if GPSoft provided Directory Opus for Unbuntu (annoying they still don't), it had better hardware support, and didn't have this crap design idea that you need to su and manually edit an obscure root file to upgrade stupidly insecure default CIFS settings to work with the more secure CIFS security used by Windows 7 and my NAS, and the rest, whereas windows has a simple UIs for this kind of stuff.

      I'd prefer PCBSD for its default ZFS booting, but the hardware and software support looks even worse.

      Running Windows 7 in a VM on Linux or FreeBSD is not stupid if you need a more stable base OS, but can't do everything in WINE and don't need as much hardware access; it's something I was considering, given I already run a Windows 7 instance in VirtualBox on a Windows 7 machine for an isolated server application, for security reasons.

    7. x 7

      Re: Windows 7

      AC

      part of the fun of being a troll is that you gain the kudos when people start ranting at your posts, but trolling as an AC is a total waste of time because nobody knows its you!

      Next time post with your user name so we can applaud with the credit you deserve. Or don't........

    8. Jakester

      Re: Windows 7

      If I had my way, I would have abandoned Windows years ago. However, many people don't think they can write letters or make spreadsheets if it isn't done in Microsoft Office. Also, many businesses have locked themselves into Windows-only solutions for things like databases and accounting software.

      The problem with some of these Windows solutions is they are very complex and take years to gear-up and certify a new operating system. This past weekend I was attempting to move a workgroup accounting system (where one of the workstations acts as the server) to a dedicated Windows 10 Pro computer to avoid issues such as having to shut-down accounting activities to install software on that users computer or fix hardware or software problems.

      While the software was declared 'fully compliant with Windows 10', the software disagreed. When attempting to run the program, a message box came up with a very specific error message. I found the message in a knowledge base article on the manufacturer's website. They did not know the cause or solution, but suggested a reinstallation of the software. That didn't work. I wasted a few hours on that mess, then just blew out Win 10, and put Windows 7 Pro back on the computer (dual licensed). The software installed correctly into Windows 7, activated as expected, downloaded updates, restored a backup set of data and ran as it should.

      So, the reason to cling to an old dying operating system is that you just are forced into it. One company I assist has 45 computers that run a rather expensive piece of software that will not run on Windows 10. As soon as all the software they use will work with Windows 10, then and only then will the transition begin.

  9. keithpeter Silver badge
    Windows

    1990s

    "1900's "forget that windows 3.11 stuff, Linux is the great desktop OS, MS will be gone and forgotten in a few years"

    Servers. That Internet thingy. HPC for people with budgets that precluded the purchase of IBM mainframes. That's what got Linux (and *.BSDs) a start, a window(sic) of opportunity, in the mid to late 90s. The then new markets Not the desktop, then a pretty saturated old market. Same story now isn't it?

    Seriously, I can remember a conversation with an IT manager in mid 90s or so about running my then College's Web site on the Microsoft Web server. He was worried about licensing costs because we didn't know how many 'users' there would be. So the network techie moved the Web site to a Linux box. Then they moved the College firewall over to another Linux box. Then later people started using Web Course in a Box and Moodle...

    The Tramp: I use Windows at work (they pay me to do stuff and provide me with a computer to do some of the stuff on). We have half a dozen Windows 10 machines in one area of my current College. I quite like the look and they seem quite responsive on not the highest end hardware. They authenticate to a domain &c so none of the consumer rubbish.

  10. Primus Secundus Tertius

    Upgrade to XP

    Upgrade to XP if you don't want MSFT corrupting your windows 7 with the ten commandment.

    1. Martin-73

      Re: Upgrade to XP

      Is it not possible to utterly sh*tcan the ms update servers at the firewall or for individual users with SOHO style 'black box' routers, the hosts file level?

      *Disclosure, I am one of them still running xp, albeit in a VM

      1. CAPS LOCK

        Re: Upgrade to XP

        Yes, but some IP addresses are in absolute form (dot quad form) so you can't block them at the hosts file, you have to use a firewall of some kind. The Addresses CURRENTLY in use are well known, just Google them, but don't be caught out when they change.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Just disable Windows Update

          That was my fix. I don't use my Windows install for much and I can always reset it back to a previous known good state if I got infected.

          That's not what Microsoft's intent was, but that's what they forced since I can't be bothered to figure out how to defend myself against an unwilling install of Windows 10 - especially since they are reportedly going to force that out as an update early next year. The actual installation of Windows 10, not just an updater. I can't believe they'd really do that but I hope it is true and I hope it bricks millions of PCs and Microsoft is hit with a class action lawsuit the likes of which have never been seen before!

  11. PapaD

    Linux

    Well, with everything going on with Microsoft, I've been given serious consideration to switching to Linux

    Mostly what's been slowing me down is trying to decide what to go with - currently considering Zorin OS

    It's not just the design choices, and the data slurping - its everything that Microsoft is pushing towards with their overall business decisions.

    1. Chemist

      Re: Linux

      "Mostly what's been slowing me down is trying to decide what to go with - currently considering Zorin OS"

      It is difficult having so much choice. If you're happy running a VM like Virtualbox then try a few in that firstly, otherwise a LiveCD or USB will let you check your hardware without committing to installation although it will be a slow-ish system. I've installed OpenSUSE 13.1KDE on quite a range of desktops, laptops and netbooks without any hardware issues so I'd suggest that - it is fairly heavyweight so 2GB+ memory helps keep it snappy although I do have it on a 1GB celeron laptop and a 1GB netbook but both are sluggish with more than a few programs open. The consensus seems to be that Mint is also an easy distro to install but I've not used it.

    2. Jim-234

      Re: Linux

      I've used the Zorin OS and it is a great distribution if you would like something that as closely matches windows 7 in look / feel as is just about possible in Linux. If you spring for the "Ultimate" edition (basically giving them $12 for a donation / support), it comes packaged with just about everything you could want to get up & running & they do respond relatively promptly to tech support questions.

      That being said, I currently prefer Mint 17.2 Cinnamon as it's a bit easier to do upgrades, has better driver support & a more active support community.

      The down side for the 17.2 is it is fiendishly difficult to upgrade the included LibreOffice to the latest version as they pinned it into the release in such a way it's not easily upgraded. You can upgrade it, but just be prepared to do lots of typing. I think the soon to come 17.3 which should be an inplace upgrade should work very well.

      Puppy Linux is great if you have older hardware and want something super light weight that can boot off a USB key & run in memory, however it does not have drivers for all the latest & greatest wireless and video devices.

      A great resource is: http://distrowatch.com/

      They keep up with all the latest updates and have a pretty comprehensive list of distros & what does what.

      If you want to really go rebel whitebeard and want init freedom then head over to https://devuan.org

      and learn to love the command line as you build what you want from scratch.

    3. tony2heads
      Trollface

      Re: Linux

      To the True Believer there are only 2 possible choices

      Debian or Arch; with maybe Yocto on an embedded system.

      1. Anonymous C0ward

        Re: Linux

        Slackware ftw.

        1. tony2heads

          Re: Linux

          HERETIC!

          1. Anonymous C0ward

            Re: Linux

            I'm actually thinking of changing to FreeBSD for the lulz.

  12. Dave McKewan

    Linux, still not the way

    So I loved W7 when it first came out. So much so that all the PCs that I support (think family) quite quickly moved over to it. Then along comes 10, so I give it a download and install. OMFG, what a piece of junk. I skipped 8 and 8.1 because of the nightmare that it was. W10 just seemed to keep the nightmare going. It lasted 3 months on my machine and then a clean install of W7 fixed that issue.

    So I started looking at Linux as a way of moving on, something that I do from time to time. I went to linuxmint, did a dual boot install on a spare laptop and then tried to get it to work.

    And there's the kicker. Windows, pretty much most of the recent flavours, just seem to work right out of the box*. LM just didn't work right out of the box. It required extra bits to see the network, extra setup to share folders with the Windows network. Extra, Extra....

    So I went through some forums and all I could seem to find was variations on the following:

    1. This isn't Windows, so learn it.

    2. You have to know stuff to get stuff to work, see above...

    My answer was that it lasted the weekend before I removed it.

    To the Linux crowd. No, just plain no. People are used to it just plain working, finding stuff and doing stuff. If you want to become a credible alternative to Windows, to those of us who are finally through with M$ and their 'ways', then you have to become like Windows.

    And by that I mean it just needs to work...

    * This does depend on your definition of work. We're home users, so all that we wanted/needed just worked....

    1. PapaD

      Re: Linux, still not the way

      I kind of agree with this - there needs to be a version of a Linux OS that just works out of the box - with all of the standard pc things

      It needs to be plug and play, and point and click - because any requirement to learn command line instructions is going to put of almost every home user.

      Since I mostly use my pc for gaming and browsing the internet, that's essentially what I need an OS to do, without too much faffing about.

      1. Chemist

        Re: Linux, still not the way

        "It needs to be plug and play, and point and click "

        I can confirm that OpenSUSE install is just point and click

        BTW have you ever installed Windows onto fresh hardware i.e. not a re-install ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Linux, still not the way

          I can confirm that OpenSUSE install is just point and click

          Honest question: Really, really point and click? Or mostly point and click but then needing a couple of obscure console entries using a command line interface last fashionable in 1986?

          1. Chemist

            Re: Linux, still not the way

            "Honest question: Really, really point and click?"

            Absolutely yes. Never even open a terminal window.

            Set to boot from USB, plug-in liveUSB, reboot, Several pages of options like locale, passwords, choices on partitions, etc, finally press the go button.

            It's been like that for years.

          2. Chemist

            Re: Linux, still not the way

            A link to the installation screenshots

            https://en.opensuse.org/Portal:Installation/Screenshots

          3. Baskitcaise

            Re: Linux, still not the way

            I will confirm that there are no obscure commands needed on an install of "OpenSUSE Leap" and I should know I have been installing since the original SuSE in the 90`s. I have not "had" to use one command since install on my test box I do use them though because I can sometimes get results quicker.

            I am using Tumbleweed at the moment which is a rolling release and does get a bit hairy sometimes but it is very, very bleeding edge for OpenSUSE.

            Leap is a stable mix of SUSE, and OpenSUSE.

            Just my 2 pennyworth.

          4. DiBosco

            Re: Linux, still not the way

            Yes, REALLY point and click. Windows is *WAY* more difficult to install than Windows. the fact you think otherwise means you've either never installed Windows, not installed Linux in the last ten years or both. All this poking around in the command line fear that people come up with is SO out of date it's not true.

            Linux has all the drivers you need on the install DVD or the repository. Windows you have to search all over the web to find drivers, which if you're lucky you'll eventually get your hands on. Also, Linux installs in a about a third of the time that Windows does AND has most of the apps one needs already installed.

            If you don't believe me, get hold of Mageia and try it. You'll soon see for yourself just how easy Linux can be.

        2. Tom 13

          Re: BTW have you ever installed Windows onto fresh hardware

          Yes, quite often. On systems bought piece by piece and hand assembled by me. There were a few inflection points where the install was quirky, but mostly if you weren't installing 5 year old software on current hardware it just worked.

          No, I haven't tried OpenSUSE recently, it may be just as easy. But some of the reasons people like Windows are things the Linux community doesn't want. To be honest, most home users a looking to have at least flash and possibly java installed so they can play their simple but entertaining internet games.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux, still not the way

      Well I don't know which version of Mint you tried because my 17.2 Cinnamon install did work 'out of the box'. Network shares on Windows 7 machines available without any extras.

      I'm dual booting with Win 7 but Mint is so good I hardly ever use Windows now. it's just there for some games and additional plugins for Photoshop that so far won't install on the Photoshop I have installed under Mint.

      As for 'working out of the box'. Windows has never done so and has always needed its own extras and additional work to get it to work as you need. Just like any other OS.

      All I know, based on my own practical experience, is that Mint has needed a lot less work than Windows ever did from a clean install.

      I wouldn't even be posting this if Win 10 hadn't been released. However, I have to thank MSFT for the fact that I'm now a 99.9% of the time LInux user. No Win10 with all the crap they decided to force on us and I'd still be a 100% Win 7 user.

      Thanks again Microsoft.

      1. bobgameon

        Re: Linux, still not the way

        That might be your experience but it isn't mine.

        After reading people praise Linux again and again I finally decided to give it another try after a 3 year hiatus. Downloaded Linux Mint 17.2 KDE. Put it on a USB and installed it. And guess what? The out of box experience was absolutely shitty.

        First of all the display resolution was wrong. My monitor is a 1440x900 but for some reason Linux didnt go above 1024x768. Finally read a few forums. Mucked about with xrandr and created a script to run at start up to fix the resolution. Thought it to be an in efficient method so generated a new xorg.conf then added the modeline for the new resolution and put it in the X11 folder.

        With the display fixed i decided to watch a movie before installing other tools i need but behold. No sound in the headphones while the rear speakers worked. After mucking about with alsamixer and some other config files finally got that to work.

        Then went onto install the tools i need. First up Oracle database. After searching across the internet and finding multiple 10 to 15 step tutorials on how to install it each step requiring multiple commands and scripts to be run i finally decided life is too short for this and installed windows 10 back.

        If that's your definition of "works out of the box" i definitely don’t want to find out what you think doesn't work out of the box.

    3. Jim-234

      Re: Linux, still not the way

      It's kind of a 2 part issue:

      Right out of the box, Windows 7 on most modern hardware is unusable as it comes on the original Install media.

      However you can usually go gather up the 5 to 15 driver files you need and run them pretty easily, to get all your hardware to work.

      Then you can go do the 1GB+ of Microsoft updates and install a modern browser (either a new version of IE, or Firefox / Chrome etc).

      Then you can load an AV program of sorts so you are not instantly infected the moment you get online, then load up any other programs you need.

      Then your system works quite well, (at least till something happens).

      Linux Mint 17.2 Cinnamon

      Right out of the box just works fine with most devices I have tried it on & comes with a lot of what you need ready to roll & then you can do updates if you wish.

      Huge time savings over the full list of what you have to do with windows 7 from original installation media, to get to the same point.

      The part where Linux falls down is in those cases where it doesn't all just work and you have to load device drivers, that can be a long slog, of search google and then type in long command strings, see if it works, try something else etc... Also if you truly stuff up your video drivers & configuration files, you might be quicker to just re-install. Then installing or upgrading software may go smoothly if an upgrade package is in the distro's repository, or it may be hugely difficult. If your computer builder used hardware that pretty much only has windows drivers, you may be stuck.

      1. Jakester

        Re: Linux, still not the way

        To add to Jim-234 comment - I was planning a Windows 7 install on a laptop that came with Windows 8.1. The manufacturer's website had downloadable drivers for Windows 7. I opted to not go through with that project because there was a total of 35 driver packages that I would had to download and install. Solution: Linux with a Windows 7 VM.

        While I am a great proponent of VMs, they may not talk to some types of hardware. Because of that I have to have a physical XP computer with a IEEE1394 port to talk with some audio hardware that will not work on any other OS.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Linux, still not the way

      > I mean it just needs to work...

      My experience of Mint 16 & 17 on standard hardware (Z87 chipset) is that "it just works" - all I did was run the installer, and hey presto, a fully working box with all the hardware (sound/graphics/network/USB) set up correctly, etc. Honestly, the sum total of configuration I did was user account creation, firewall tweaking, and UI tweaking (make recycle bin appear on desktop, set wallpaper, etc)...and I've had no cause to resort to the terminal, either...

      1. Martin-73

        Re: Linux, still not the way

        I find with linux, as a 'kinda power user' on windows, I like to rename stuff, tweak various weird bits of the UI, etc etc. SOME of these things ain't quite so simple on linux (I suspect permissions as I wasn't root, but didn't get deep enough into it to find out).

        Example, linux mint, I couldn't rename the recycle bin on the desktop. It would accept renaming, then revert back to what it was previously when the 'ok' was clicked

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Linux, still not the way

          "... but didn't get deep enough into it to find out"

          You make an extremely powerful case for not using LInux

      2. Steve 114

        Re: Linux, still not the way

        I don't 'Game', so Linux Mint is entirely satisfactory. Except that it only prints on one of my 3 printers (and then doesn't offer the options available with Windows drivers), and no scanners of any generation work at all. Hardly Linux's fault if mfgrs don't bother much with drivers, and there's probably a kludge if I looked, but... 'work must go on'.

    5. DiBosco

      Re: Linux, still not the way

      >> To the Linux crowd. No, just plain no. People are used to it just plain working, finding stuff and doing stuff. If you want to become a credible alternative to Windows, to those of us who are finally through with M$ and their 'ways', then you have to become like Windows. <<

      I use Linux apart from an odd occasion when a customer demands I have to do something for them on Windows and I can tell you that Linux "just works" FAR more often than Windows.

    6. x 7

      Re: Linux, still not the way

      absolutely correct, Linux isn't suitable for mainstream use.

      For instance, I have a laptop running Mint Debian edition. Wheres the effing Device Manager? Where is the simple interface to make sure the installed hardware has drivers, is configured correctly, and working?

      Where are the control settings for the graphics chip? Why does Google Earth download, install, and then vanish?

      Why is it that when I try to install an antivirus package, the only free one thats actually available on line AND WILL ACTUALLY INSTALL is Comodo?

      It goes on and on......until Linux has decent front-end configuration routines which are easy to use, proper device management, installation routines which work, and a unified standardised interface to optimise the learning curve, its never going to catch on. Until then its going to remain an exercise in willy-waving, with shouts of "my distribution is better than yours" everywhere, with continuous upgrades to irrelevant bollox like new windows managers, but sweet FA being done about easy to use tools which make the system usable by the average home user.

      Face it - most home user have difficulty programming the "record" button on a media centre, getting them to use an unfinished product like Linux is an exercise on the bleeding edge of futility

      1. Chemist

        Re: Linux, still not the way

        "For instance, I have a laptop running Mint Debian edition."

        So run one that does have a Device Manager !

    7. Jakester

      Re: Linux, still not the way

      As others have pointed out Windows doesn't just work right out of the box. Typically 15-40 minute install (possibly more, depending on hardware) then the updates and drivers. With Windows 7, updates can take a couple days (200+ updates on round 1, 50 or so for the next couple rounds, then 60 or so optional updates, then another 50 or so important updates to update the updates, etc). I will concede that Microsoft did massively streamline the update process and does a decent job of finding drivers, including chipset drivers.

      However, I find that a linux reinstall and software reconfiguration is much simpler and takes much less time than any Windows install. My typical Ubuntu installation, update installation, and software installation and configuration takes about 90 minutes total from start to finish.

  13. /dev/null

    What about Windows 7 Enterprise?

    AFAIK, the Enterprise edition is still available to Software Assurance customers, but I haven't seen an End-of-Sales date for that one. Given that Windows 8.1 sales are due to be knocked on the head next October too, I would be surprised if 7 Enterprise survives longer than that.

  14. CAPS LOCK

    Another highly satisfied Mint user here.

    It really is less of a faff than Windows. Everything, including stuff that no longer works in Windows, worked for me. As our 'Merkin cousins would say "It's a no-brainer".

    1. Chemist

      Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here.

      "Another highly satisfied Mint user here. "

      Having said earlier that I'd not installed Mint I thought I should. So i downloaded a KDE .iso and just installed it ( into a VM admittedly) It was almost exactly the same as OpenSUSE, fill in forms, tick boxes and then smooth and fast install.

      1. Fading

        Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here.

        I would normally recommend Mint as a windows alternative - but for older hardware (designed for XP and earlier) I have converted to Lubuntu. My old Dell Latitude laptop (core Duo - 2GB) zips along with this LXDE Ubuntu spin-off.

    2. HAL-9000
      Linux

      Re: Another highly satisfied Mint user here.

      Glad to hear it, did you go for a separate home partition? That way you should never loose personal files ever again, unless you loose your encryption key of course ;). What do you think of the software management (repo), coolest bit there is that evereything updates all at once, not just the systems files, but everything. Beware of Mints' repos though, there are some broken packages buried in the deeper darker corners.

  15. earl grey
    Trollface

    BSD ??

    Blue Screen of Death??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @earl grey - Re: BSD ??

      Erm, no! You conveniently forget that Blue Screen of Death has always been typed as BSoD. See that tiny "o" in there ? Right there, that's it!

      Besides, none of the three major *BSDs display a blue screen unless you configure it.

  16. tsfreeman

    recent upgrade

    Hi, recently I upgraded Windows 7 Home Edition to Windows 10 Home Edition. It was a pleasant surprise to find the Windows media player still intact. After the first update a Windows DVD player was also intalled bringing back most of my Windows 7 features. Lost Titan of Chess app & Hearts Card

    game whitch is unavoidable, but I still think it was a good upgrade. Perhaps others will take a leep of faith as well. Thank you for this blog

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

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