Upgrade from Windows 7
Britain's cyber-plod have warned people not to use Windows 7 machines for online banking, nor emails, nor any other services that contain sensitive information – which rules out pretty much everything except reading The Register. Support for the Microsoft operating system officially ends on Tuesday January 14, give or take …
If that's a work requirement and an environment with real threat (capable of breaching the hypervisor), maybe run on dedicated machines on an air gapped LAN or talk to your supplier about Win10 support.
If it's an old game you want to play at home, take your chances.
I use similar logic for my wheezy old Netbook which runs XP and sits in the living room. plugged into my stereo system. All it does is act as a means of getting music from Spotify/wherever to listen through a good amp & speakers. It accesses the Internet, but it's through a NAT-ing router and still functional.
I get quite annoyed by folk who go an as if the machine will disappear in a puff of smoke the minute that an OS goes out of support.
To be honest, the days of direct connection from a modem are quite a way behind us. How many people have machines that are genuinely "on the Internet"? They might be able to access the Internet through a router, but so long as you set things up sensibly they're not going to be visible on public Internet for all and sundry to see.
I've got a Vista box I'm in the process of migrating away from. Once I clean most of it out, I'm wondering if I should repurpose it as a streaming video client. I'd need to run Ethernet to the living room (biggest screen), and--
--nevermind. I just remembered it doesn't play nice with screens that aren't actual computer monitors. I tried with a cheap LCD TV -- both VGA and HDMI -- and it wouldn't boot. Better just nuke and recycle it after all.
The missus' laptop running Win 8.1 (and has Wi-Fi) on the other hand...
Screens and monitors are simply output devices and have no effect on bootability.
Not quite 100% true, but I have given you an upvote.
Although it's been a while since I've seen this, some machines want to output an error message when they dislike the screen only the screen won't show it. And many screens I've known - while they have a or DVI input, they won't do text mode in any form and very rare graphical modes, thus you cannot see a boot menu or other such things (eg the WIndows installers IIRC all the way to Win7 and many *nix installers start in text mode till you do some of the installation or select a waiting menu option).
In short - yes the machine could probably boot happily as you say (but a few won't), but you may not be able to use it.
> As long as no one e.g. uses a browser with security defects
Find me such a browser.
However, how are you going to ensure that the font renderer is also free of defects? And the libraries that decode jpg's. What about the sound subsystem?
And then you have the TCP/IP stack itself, although that would require another machine to be attacked or maybe the router that hasnt been updated for years.
Fair call - I did mean ‘browser that has security defects or exposes them in the platform it sits on’.
Right now - depending on whether not being able to validate crypto signatures indirectly enables any browsable remote exploits (haven’t thought about it, but it sounds a bit worrying) - that could potentially be any of them that use crypto32.dll.
any of them that use crypto32.dll
If you're referring to CVE-2020-0601, that's crypt32.dll (no "o"), and it only applies to Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2019. At least as far as all the published information goes, it's not relevant to Win7 or earlier.
Also, it only applies to ECC signatures. While ECDSA certificates are becoming more common, RSA is still widely used. So while this is an important vulnerability, it's not universal.
As long as no one e.g. uses a browser with security defects
As long as no one e.g. uses a browser with security defects and accesses sites with malicious content
I would argue that you could surf away on a lot of mainstream websites and come to no harm.
From experience I would say this works, Since my Windows 95 machine I've operated a policy of no antivirus software and no browser plugins, coupled with keeping away from dodgy websites, not clicking on links in emails, the usual sensible behaviour, all behind a router with NAT.
Oh, and I never, ever update Windows. If it ain't broke, don;t give M$ the opportunity to install an update which breaks it.
Unless you surf to such malicious sites as the BBC, The New York Times Online, The London Stock Exchange, Spotify and The Atlantic. All of which have in the past served up malware in the ads they display to their viewers. Just because it's a reputable company doesn't mean that crooks haven't found a way to inject malware into their site.
> To be honest, the days of direct connection from a modem are quite a way behind us. How many people have machines that are genuinely "on the Internet"? They might be able to access the Internet through a router, but so long as you set things up sensibly they're not going to be visible on public Internet for all and sundry to see.
Its important to make sure that the machine does not pull down random data from the net, like while you are browsing in a browser.
Just take the device off the internet. It's not like software stops working after support ends. If it doesn't work without internet... throw the device yourself into the bin and reconsider your software choice.
It's hard to do online banking or emails with a device disconnected from the Internet, although I had a boss once who managed half the trick.
He would get his secretary to print out the emails he got, write his answer on the printout and have her return it to the sender in the internal post.
I'm going VM... as the learning curve seams easier. I loaded up WINE and even using the seemingly automated stuff... nothing happened. I know I can program my own everything in machine code from LINUX, but I generally use a computer because 99% of the tasks/software is already there and ready. So VM is much much easier for me than trying to figure out what tree to dance around to get WINE working.
(I know, poor joke, but it's not really that simple getting any emulation/compatibility layer working)
"So VM is much much easier for me than trying to figure out what tree to dance around to get WINE working."
WINE can be quite a buttpain, and often the amount of time spent is less than just rebooting and doing what you need to do in Windows and booting back to Linux, the exception being some games you play in small bouts of an hour or two at a time.
If Windows "loves Linux" so gosh-darned much, maybe help get WINE compatability up and running at the standard modern users expect. They're going to have to do it eventually anyways, it's pretty obvious the next major release of Windows after 10 (regardless of their continued insistence that 10 is forever) is going to be a Linux spin.
Yeah, sadly even Steam and it's experimental releases had trouble running some (IIRC automated) WINE scripts, so most stuff has defaulted back to native Linux support only. I might see if they have anything back in the beta/alpha to test again in their compatibility layers (as suppose to native Linux games that do already run fine... I just miss some older games and some GameMaker Win only distributed Indie games).
@Charles 9 "Does that include their new Proton library? I'm tempted as it is, but running my library through their database still yields too many Borked ratings. Plus there's the matter of hardware support, especially for more esoteric things like label printers."
The Steam database only lists what has been tested by them as working, but that doesn't mean that is all that does work. Having enabled Proton for all titles (an option in the preferences) I can tell you that I have yet to find one that doesn't work. In fact, out of the approx. 500 games I have, the only problem I have ever encountered with Proton was with Civ 4 which was missing a few MS libraries, but that was fixed some time ago and now 'just works out of the box'. You should try it, it works better than you think.
If your favourite games requires label printers you must be having lots and lots of fun.... :¬|
The Steam database only lists what has been tested by them as working, but that doesn't mean that is all that does work.
Thanks for the headsup - I'll try it out this weekend if I can find the time. Would be cool to move the last few windowsy things I do that like better HW access to Linux and be able to star the counter on the Windows partition :)
 I am more and more working to the basis of "If you haven't used it in X months, you don't need it". Some paritions/VMs get 1 or 2 months, some get hours, some get years. Photos, code, HW designs and some email folders get life. And a few VMs (like my base ones for older Windows/DOS versions in case I ever need them) Once stuff is outside of its time it's deleted. Any precious data that I didn't move to an appropriate spot is forever lost and that actually saves me time hunting for it in desperation :)
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"And for those of us who REQUIRE a certain Windows software to run that's not WINE-friendly (and don't memention VMs--there's the possibility of a hypervisor attack)?"
Maybe you should have thought of that before you started/got hired at a business that requires a certain Windows-only software, dummy! (sarcasm)
If you require win 7 to run some software that wont run on win 8, 8.1 or 10 the the answer is keep your win 7 box on a separate network and off the internet.
There are no updates coming, no need for the internet. Software updates you need installing can be transferred over via USB from a safe machine. Run the win 7 machine as a VM preferably so you can snapshot and recover should you have an infected usb stick or image it regularly using cloezilla.
Basically get it off the net and any network connected to the net and enjoy.
In my case there's a W7 Starter edition on a little dual boot net-top. As of yesterday it had 4 updates that failed to install (5 really but one seems to be the one that warns of doom and EoL so I hid that). I'm not really persuaded that, even with best efforts to keep it updated, a current Windows box can be kept secure. Fortunately neither that nor the W2K VM are going to be used on the net.
Well, yes. Ignoring the snarkiness, I'd go Linux if I could, but as a freelance editor I sadly need the full version of Office 365 to run smoothly and integrate with OneDrive (the browser-based version just doesn't cut it, I'm afraid - I tried - and no, the compatibility of LibreOffice is not anywhere close to 100%, which I need). Yes, it hurts, but I have little choice.
However, grey-market OEM Windows 10 Pro licences can be had on eBay for only a few quid, and appear to work without any hitches (over many months for me so far). Now, as for their strict adherence to the licence text, I'm not so sure (hence AC)...
I just updated my mother in law and next door neighbour from Win 7 Pro (OEM) to Windows 10 Pro, simply by doing a clean Win10 install and typing in the Win7 Pro product code. Worked like a charm.
I did hit a temporary snag though - one of the motherboards had a USB port failure, so I swapped it out for a replacement. Win10 said "hmm - this looks like a new computer" and de-activated itself, and nothing I could do would convince it to behave - other than "wait a few days". I left if off for four days (didn't have time to deal with it), and when I turned it back on ready to humbly call Microsoft customner serice, cap in hand, it magically reactivated by itself.
Sadly, my Win7 serial was generated by one of those tools that have annoying MIDI music for some reason, back in the days of my (sort of) youthful exuberance, and the activation was bypassed. I suspect Win10 would therefore have raised an eyebrow. I'm not proud of it, and I don't do that sort of thing any more. Largely because I want to keep my business afloat and at least vaguely legit (see earlier comment re grey-market licences) while avoiding the dark and malware-ridden corners of the web that harbour such tools.
I admit, if I saved to ODF, then compatibility would probably be fine. But my clients sadly want their edited manuscripts back in .docx or (heaven help us) .doc format (and in two versions at that - one with full change tracking and one without).
Because Office is not even able to be 100% compatible with itself across different versions, going between two different programs while using MS's cobbled-together half-binary/half XML transitional formats is just asking for trouble. I have enough problems getting tables to stay formatted the way I tell them to as it is.
Not only that, in some cases, if I open the same document on my laptop and my desktop, they're sometimes formatted slightly differently. In the same Office365 subscription. This means I have to remember to edit my invoices on my desktop rather than my laptop or the formatting gets screwed. I think my O365 subscription may be haunted.
It really would be the civilised thing to do for Microsoft to heavily promote in-OS an upgrade to some form of Windows 10, making clear it’s the only safe thing to do. Perhaps with a permanent desktop background suggesting an upgrade to Home, so as not to devalue the free upgrade programme they did up to 2016 and the money people have paid for upgrades since.
I know there are people here who will say “forcing users to upgrade to a privacy-compromising OS is bad”, but Windows 7 has had an excellent innings (much longer than most Linux LTS releases) and realistically most of those in this situation won’t have the expertise to move to Linux or the money to upgrade, and won’t care. Would you rather the Internet was awash with compromised machines that affect everyone?
Some rose tinted glasses there? Three years ago M$ forced an update onto you that basically then bothered you all the time to move to windows 10. Increasingly dubious interventions
To the point the world kicked back and created legal challenges and an app that killed the annoying thing they forced on the user base.
It also started the term "Nagware" which best describes their tactics and stupidity.
Some online articles quote M$ Who have said they are intending to start doing just that.
I'm not particularly a Microsoft fan. Hell, I've contributed patches to the Linux kernel in the dim and distant past. But Linux is unfortunately still not an OS for the average desktop user, if only because it's still a niche concern and therefore not a must-support platform for lots of software that people want to use. So for many people, it's Windows or Mac, and the latter (including hardware) is too expensive for most and actually not supported for as long, as while newer MacOS releases are free, they stop supporting older hardware quite quickly.
I fully agree the methods used to push Windows 10 on people who didn't want it were pretty appalling, and the persistence of nagging and the way Microsoft ramped up were massively annoying. Why shouldn't someone stick with a supported OS if they choose? But for those who did want it - and there will have been plenty - it allowed them to upgrade to an OS with long-term support available without having to pay money to do so. There's clearly some value in it for the latter.
Microsoft obviously benefited by shifting people early too, of course, and that was the quid pro quo - upgrade for free now, or pay later. Although comments further down the thread suggest you can still activate W10 with W7 license keys, so maybe they never really closed the upgrade programme at all.
I don't blame Microsoft for ending support for very old software - it has to happen sometime. Resuming nagging on machines that can see the Internet would actually be proportionate now, with support actually ended. No-one should be running an unsupported OS and be connected to the Internet.
According to Krebs on Security, there's just been a leak that there's a fix for a really serious vulnerability in the Windows core crypto library in next week's Patch Tuesday. Will be interesting to see if Microsoft backport it to Windows 7 or not.
"nagware" long pre-dates the Win10 fiasco. It might even pre-date Windows.
Yes to the former; I'm dubious about the latter. The earliest use of it I could find in that sense was in an 1991 Computerworld article, which found it necessary to slap scare quotes around it and provide a source and definition. So it looks like "nagware" wasn't in widespread use before the '90s.
On the other hand, "shareware" was used in the '80s, and it's not a great leap from "shareware" to "nagware". So it probably enjoyed some use in enthusiast cant for at least the later years of that decade.
Then again, circa 1991 an outfit named NAG was publishing software (e.g. a Fortran compiler) under the NAGWare brand, which they might have been reluctant to do if that word were recognized as a term of opprobrium.
Would you rather the Internet was awash with compromised machines that affect everyone?
I wouldn't care that much. It will affect mostly Windows users, and is very very unlikely to affect Linux, Apple or BSDs etc.. I'm not even being callous, just realistic.
If they didn't want to get infected they shouldn't have chosen Microsoft.
What if they decide to DoS attack things on which you depend or are used for credential stuffing your mum’s email account?
In the former.. It's our summer so the garden needs weeding, lawns need mowing, vehicles could use a clean or maintenance, several projects not completed and some barely even started, lots of other things that could be done. Since the 90's my nation has seen lots of quake damage, significant volcano-related power grid issues, storms and flooding etc etc - ie lots of stuff happens outside our control that could stop us working - and yes I have worked in factories where a power outage causes issues (as stuff starts to cool down or as chemical reactions go on for longer than is desirable). Sensible people know that if the service is down there's nought more to do but something else (oblig oatmeal)
In the latter, I'd thank them. Seriously. If they could get emails to me mum, I'd love them and be doing anything they wanted no matter how perverse just to talk with her again!
--> Me mum, dammit :(
If you have a valid Windows 7 product code it will still activate Windows 10 - despite the free update officially ending. Get the Media Creation Tool (but be aware you need to reimage the USB device fresh for each install)
However, I took the Linux Mint update route - and I have yet to find a piece of hardware that doesn't work out of the box - even a supposedly unsupported Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.
My Windows 7 is now virtualised.
As unpaid support for various friends and family I have 'upgraded' several W7 computers to W10 over the last six months. I have been using the W10 ESB USB image which I have not needed to reimage at all. A couple of PCs, with no known product code, I have upgraded in situ. For the others I have done a clean install. All have updated fine and I have never been asked to pay.
I hated it when it came out and stuck with XP until 7 appeared. I do have cause to use it now, in a place where I volunteer and, strangely, find it reasonably OK for my purposes.
Vista did provide a positive benefit in that its demands caused a jump in PC capability, particularly to dual-core processors. So now there are a lot of PCs out which will provide a cheap home for Linux Mint.
I never had a problem with Vista, personally. But then I was running high-spec development machines, and the first thing I do with a new Windows installation is tweak the hell out of it (Security Policy, Group Policy, UI settings, etc), so I was never bothered by the default settings. I like UAC in maximally-secure mode (prompt for credentials on the secure desktop), for the same reasons that I like sudo on my Linux and UNIX dev machines.
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I am probably alone (and will probably be heavily downvoted) in saying that I really liked Windows 8 - apart, obviously, from that obscenity that replaced the start menu. With a replacement like StartX, you got Windows 7, but faster, more robust, and with Client HyperV. With TIFKAM, you got a disaster masquerading as an operating system, and then they had the <deleted> cheek to pass that off as a GUI for a server!
If Microsoft had offered a Start Menu (desktop) mode and a tablet (TIFKAM) mode you could freely switch between, everyone would have been raving about how good Win8 was.
(thank you, the asbestos one, please....)
My advice to my clients who ask is that unless they feel they are a high risk target, stick with Windows 7 if they like it. It has been out far longer than Windows 10 and isn't continually being changed, with every change bringing the likelihood of yet more bugs. The only exploits that are being found are so esoteric and difficult to make practical use of that nobody is going to bother unless you are a high value target.
I also advise them to keep their browser(s) updated and use a good, paid-for antivirus and most important of all, use common sense. By far the biggest risk factor is the user, not the OS or the hardware.
When I eventually have to stop using Windows 7 because of lack of browser/e-mail client support, I certainly won't be switching to Windows 10.
If I were a betting person I would put good money on the sky not being about to fall in on Windows 7 users, much as the technical establishment would like us to think so. They have a vested interest in pushing sales of new PCs.
I'm sure some El Reg readers will have differing opinions!
> Keep your browser up to date? Fire up an XP VM and try to install the latest version of Chrome or Firefox.
Why would you do that? Dont browse from these operating systems.
There are more browsers in the world than Chrome or FIrefox. NetSurf will work fine.
Why would you do that? Dont browse from these operating systems.
My advice to your clients is get the advice of a IT professional who takes security more seriously. An exploit will definitely be found at some point in the future that is not esoteric and difficult. It will be automated, requiring no effort on the part of those distributing it. No one will care whether your clients are a high value target or not, they will worry about this after they are infected/compromised/hijacked.
Meanwhile, expect companies to stop releasing Windows 7 compatible software. Expect their Windows 7 applications to stop getting security patches. This includes manufacturers of anti-virus.
The only hope those who want to stick to Windows 7 have is that they become such a small user-base, that virus writers stop bothering with them. That isn't going to happen over-night, and as of tomorrow they'll be making themselves increasingly vulnerable targets.
I agree with some of what you say - eventually support will peter out as it always does, but while there are still several hundred million PCs out there running Windows 7 I don't think it's imminent.
My advice has to be aimed at a level that is appropriate to my clients, most of whom are very low-tech, and mostly hate change. I try to get them to understand the behavioural risks, because that is likely to be a far more effective way of protecting their identity etc than any amount of upgrading.
I think I can truthfully say that every single security incident that I've had to sort out for a client has been basically their own fault, either through ignorance, carelessness or stupidity, in fact often they tell me that themselves. And for proof, just as many have been on Windows 10 as any other - it's not the OS that's the problem.
You may have rather different clients.
I still use a Risc PC for a few things. The ancient software does not rot, although the bits on the ancient drive may do so. The ancient software also does not mutate and gain viral powers, reaching out over my network to find a way to infect my brain and gain sentience...
The solution for ANYONE needing to run an old version of quicken (as an example) is to simply unplug the machine from the network. George R.R Martin happily runs DOS just so he can keep using his fave wordprocessor after all.
I grew up in the 90's and home networks and the internet were novel back then and when you really look at it they are still optional for many tasks.
You should be able to grab a new or recent secondhand machine (which could also open a can of worms but lets ignore that for the sake of the argument) to use for stuff that does need internet access like banking.
If you cant, walk into your branch and bank there. It will stop them closing and keep some people in work ;)
If you cant, walk into your branch and bank there. It will stop them closing and keep some people in work ;)
I had fun pointing that out to a teller once - she told me "oh you can do all of this online" and I replied " Yeah but if we all did that, you'd be out of a job". Wish I had a bodycam for the look on her face..
(Have also pointed that out to checkout operators who point me to the self-service machines etc).
Whatever your clients are paying, they're paying too much.
There are reasons to run Windows 7 now that it's unsupported - when tied down with something a bit more rigorous than antivirus and put on an isolated LAN, but not for the average desktop and certainly not because some obstreperous individual 'doesn't like W10'.
but not for the average desktop and certainly not because some obstreperous individual 'doesn't like W10'.
How about because they value privacy? Don't believe an OS they paid for should be used as an advertising platform? Value relatively stable hardware support and function? Value stable software collection (rather than MS's past performance in deleting software their 'partners' were in competition with or whatever it was)? Value a stable feature set in the OS?
What about those who value a decently designed UI? (come on BB here's an opening for you!)
My former employer stuck with XP as long as they could until they had to roll to 7. I left there almost two years ago; I bet their ripping their hair out trying to get Win10 installed everywhere. At least they have less users to worry about after the Great Engineering Buyout of Summer 2016 and the slow trickle of others leaving that followed (including me after a year and a half of picking up the slack).
My new employer has Win10 running across the board and much better* methods to keep software like browsers up to date, and ways to let users install their own critical items.
* Anything is better than "little-to-none", which is what last employer had.
"Because banks are shit at security and bankers want to maximise the bonuses theynget every year so won’t waste money on upgrading their security or upgrading their windows OS until they absolutely have to."
What would happen if someone sicced compliance officers on these banks...?
I made the switch over the weekend performed an upgrade from 7 ultimate to 10 pro.
before switching I took a complete image of my system drive meaning at any point I can be back on my old win 7 setup within 30 minutes or if needed I can bring my old environment up as a virtual machine.
So far I have only found one issue which is that my old audigy sound card stopped producing sound (easily fixed with a manual driver install), everything else has just worked with no loss of personalised settings
Got 7 at home, was previously XP.
So what can I use?
Mint, nice but unfortunately WIN32 needed (already have a boot).
8 or 8.1 they are both horrid, had to use a 8 PC for a week recently, the centred titles screwed me over.
10 I have great difficulty with it, I cannot find some screens such as the scren design tools, XP and 7 were fine, 10 cannot see them. No easy way of working out which screen is which.
So stuck on 7, unless I go XP.
If you get a new hard drive because your old one died, or you just want a bigger / faster one; you are entitled to reinstall Windows 10 on it. That presumably applies even if you only have a Windows 7 key because you took advantage of the upgrade offer when it was running.
Suddenly I've realized that IF the banks follow the cops, by "warning", and then, by actually blocking access from W7 machines, I'll be fucked. Is it possible? Do they actually block people accessing their accouts via Windows XP or Vista? Something tells me Microsoft would be DELIGHTED to discuss this issue with banks :(
Just use a modern browser and an add-on to spoof the user agent to W10.
Banks have ploughed ahead with SMS one-time codes and 1FA banking apps dressed up as 2FA instead of using card readers so I guess the changes of them cutting off Windows 7 computers are between null and 0 anyway.
What are the attack surfaces here, even assuming that some zero-day CVEs popped up out of nowhere today that'd even allow for any attack to be meaningful?
My laptop (which does see strange networks in hotels and airports, etc.) does run Windows 10. We'll see which of these two will get pwned first the coming years, I guess.
To be quite honest, I'm rather curious to see what will happen in the 2020s given that most people here seem rather admant on staying on Win7 because of a lack of a better option unlike XP where the main concern was compatibility.
Microsoft couldn't care less because they are just waiting at this point until Windows 8 hits EOL so the vast majority are consolidated into Windows 10 where they can slurp data.
Most software companies are probably going to phase out support eventually because of their reliance on Visual Studio (by Microsoft) and/or related frameworks/API.
Hardware requiring drivers (GPUs etc) are likely to require driver signing so that means following Microsoft.
Will this result in people eventually staying on a static version of software in the foreseeable future or will people eventually give up because they have no choice?
Win7 running out of support is not a serious problem. They'll be a lot of businesses that won't have hit the replacement target, who'll be able to point to these sort of articles to get some more money for replacement programmes. Otherwise, meh.
The middle of Jan 2038 is likely going to be a serious IT problem. This? Not so much.
Will this result in people eventually staying on a static version of software in the foreseeable future or will people eventually give up because they have no choice?
Next week I start migrating the few family/friends I still support off of 7 most likely on to Zorin. Some are getting completely clean MS-free systems, others are getting dual-boot and/or Lin+VM-Win (their old machine copied to a Virtualbox or other virtual disk - really should look at the other offerings esp one I believe Ubuntu fairly natively supports (and as Zorin is Ubu-derived, probably does too).
A couple have wanted W10. I don't support that and won't install it. I explain to them my concerns, and simply tell them that I cannot in good conscience allow them to do that or do that to their machines. They're going elsewhere for support, which is their choice.
Me? While I have some games that play better on 7 I'll use 7. If for some reason that had to stop then I would no longer play those games. Most of what I like runs happily under Linux and Wine or other systems so I am fine with that. And I have a lot of stuff I can do elsewhere (like getting off my arse and out of the house) which I probably should appreciate a lot more while I can. It has been some years since I have climbed a mountain, and I am not getting younger nor am I getting fitter by playing games.
 Anything under 2,000 metres is a hill, not a mountain. Anything over 3,000 metres is too much effort, I don't need to prove myself that much!.
So as it stands , according to December 2019 stats from Netmarketshare which is who Microsoft favours. Windows 7 has around 25% usage share, and Windows 10 around 56% on desktop (non mobile browsing).
So Windows 10 has only managed to double Windows 7 Market Share 5 years after launching, and during those 5 years they disgustingly hammered it down end users throats with the auto upgrade trickery and basically almost all new machines came with it. Wonder what percentage it would be on if Microsoft had not been dirty handed. Feels like Windows 10 is only used when you put a gun to somebody's head. Constantly changing, vile UI, forced updates, telemetrics and step backwards like Settings being worse than Control Panel and you have one disaster of an OS that is being forced on everybody.
If they are home users just tell them to get an iPad and be done, it's just easier that way. Windows 10 is a fine example of why even if you hate Apple you should be pleased they exist and hope their market share increases (along with Linux), because until real competition comes along to threaten Microsoft they will continue to do crap like Windows 10 and you have nowhere else to turn.
>because until real competition comes along to threaten Microsoft they will continue to do crap like Windows 10 and you have nowhere else to turn.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple.
Unless this competitor was completely ABI compatible with Windows, you'd have the same chicken-and-the-egg problem Linux (and to a degree, MacOS) has on the desktop that Wine tries to solve: People don't move because there isn't an equivalent or compatible program, companies don't port because there isn't a large demand enough for the platform.
Familiarity is also a factor as the imprinting through OEM bundling also makes switching for the average non-poweruser far more difficult.
I consider myself a power user and switching is really difficult. As a Mac fanboy from 1988 to around 1998, the s/w I needed was Windows only so I moved over.. and recently doing a project requiring a Mac has been a pain. There's nothing I like about the experience. I even asked some Mac experts I know for usability tips but it was "Oh, no, I don't think you can do that."
primarily as last time I looked, the exploits against iOS devices such as iPad were 6-figures $£$£$€$ on the market, whilst Win7/Android exploits seem to start already at around thruppence-ha'penny.
I did research mobile device banking apps about 5-yrs ago, and I do hope they have improved since then....(accepting *any* certificate...etc)
Apple have sadly done away with their 'cheap but good' iPad so entry level is now around £350 both refurb and new, but that's cheaper than a new Win10 PC, and is what I would class as the minimum level of operational security.
Wonder what percentage it would be on if Microsoft had not been dirty handed.
If the UI could be improved, the telemetry completely turned off, and updates/reboots on MY schedule and mine alone I'd probably be using it. Hell, it's a fair certantity I'd use it. I tried Vista for 6 months before reverting to XP (yes the hardware was fine, the OS wasn't), but I started using 7 not too long after it'd come out. Disliked it's UI initially but quickly adapted.
Updates - I could fix that with the "metered connection" setting though I have heard (via these forums) that some still have been forced.
UI - I don't really spend that long with it. Classic Shell would probably help a lot but not necessary, However, the flashing/moving/distracting/annoying 'tiles' and any advertising would be an absolute deal breaker. (you can feed me non-profiled static ads when I am looking for stuff related, like if I am looking for a new Mobo then please also suggest CPUs and other stuff that I could well be interested in, but you must not do it as part of the OS/GUI if you want my custom)
That just leaves the telemetry. And there is the issue - too much damage has been done, too much trust broken for me to use it. I have some quite personal information on some of my hardware that I am not willing to get out. That would be a massive breach of trust I get nervous about often and sometimes have nightmares over (it is exceptionally unlikely it would happen, good physical security plus strong encryption).
I stopped updating 7 when the individual updates stopped, with a few carefully researched "security only" ones in. I think my firewall, NAT router, AV and general practices (I have other devices to surf from) should keep me safe for a while. Then there's unplugging the network when the AV runs out. Assuming I still can be bothered running 7 and keeping backups of it (Linux I just need to back up /home and /etc with a small few other files (including a package list), restoring is easy)
Hate to break it to you, but I doubt either Chrome or Firefox will support Windows 7 forever.
Not forever, but Firefox continued supporting XP up until June 2018. I think there's a good chance they'll continue to support Win7 for a few years yet, especially if Win7 continues in use on a significant number of systems.
education if poss. but will using a paid for VPN service, avoid any of the possibilities of getting hacked due to lack of updates?
They can avoid some, perhaps even quite a few. OpenVPN with PiHole and some other stuff on your own server can also do perhaps as well.
Some of the VPN services block known malicious sites and also block other attacks on your system. It's not a cure but there's a good chance it'll help some.
A whiltelisting firewall (one that requires confirmation on changed code, registry changes etc) can help a hell of a lot but does require some managing. Still, consider this - with W7 you may get hacked and may leak personal information. With W10 the leak of private data is assured, and I believe the EULA can be interpreted that such data may be sold to MS's "advertising partners" - have not read it in a while and happy to be corrected with actual references :)
W7 is a 'maybe'. W10 is a 'it's already done'.
"...nor any other services that contain sensitive information – which rules out pretty much everything except reading The Register."
I consider my Reg Forum credentials as sensitive as everything else. (Which, admittedly, I don't take any of my information as serious as I should.)
Anon: obvious, if ironic.
I'd quite happily upgrade my home win7 machine to some flavour of Linux, except pretty much the only thing i use it for these days is managing a music library and syncing that (and OS updates and taking backups) to an iPhone and iPad. If there is someway to do that without windows or MacOS, i'd be happy to know. I had a bit of a google the other day, and found lots of 'alternatives to iTunes' but they all seem to be Win or Mac only, especially the ones that still let you sync devices.
When i can justify the outlay, at the moment my first choice is an Intel NUC of some sort. would be quite happy with a Mac Mini, but not at those prices, hmmm maybe an older one off ebay......
It's a while ago now, but I used to have a 5th gen iPod video (my daughters until it was chewed by the dog, so after replacing hers, I repaired the chewed one and kept it for myself), which I managed to quite successfully manage my music library using Amarok on Linux. Syncing with iTunes was not something I did, but downloading music onto my laptop however I needed to (CD rip, Amazon Music etc) and then re-indexing Amarok and exporting the music to the iPod worked fine.
I still use the same setup with the exception of putting the music onto my Android phone rather than an iPod. I also manage an SD card for the car the same way.
How about a Hackintosh? As long as you follow the hardware guidelines of one of the instructional sites, and you have access to a real Mac (borrow one?) it's not too hard. My Hackintosh is newer and faster than any of my real Macs, for much less ££s than an equivalent, though not as pretty of course.
In the last 30 days, I did a clean install a Windows 7 Pro and activated it (using my XP to 7 upgrade key). I then upgraded it to Windows 10 Pro 1909. I went to the activation page and requested activation. MS promptly activated windows 10 Pro.
Most don't know this, but the activation servers at MS will still gladly activate an upgrade from Windows 7 to 10. Why anyone would want to do this unless coerced (and MS has been trying hard to do that) is beyond my comprehension.
But don't tell anyone...
It's a secret
windows 7 for online banking
Hang on... why dont we just drop the 7 from that
Dont use windows for online banking... there that reads a whole lot better.
Heck I'm so paranoid I dont HAVE online banking.... not until the banks implement 2 factor properly and they dont even do that when phoning up for a friendly chat about your finances
"Hello Boris , this is Sharon at FDUFYU bank, can you answer your security question so we know we are talking to the correct customer."
"Not until I know I'm talking to FDUFYU bank... goodbye"
"Not until I know I'm talking to FDUFYU bank... goodbye"
I've had a few calls like that, often from people who won't even say who they're calling from or why until you give them some deeply personal identifying information. If I am being polite I'll tell them to give me their name and the name of the firm/branch they're calling from. I'll then look them up and call their listed number.
If they haven't agreed, I've told them my only safe assumption is they're scammers trying to get personal information from me and I will now hang up and report their call to the police.
Sorry but there certainly is still a free Windows 10 upgrade from Win 7 / 8.1
About a year ago I found a site that referenced and linked to the official windows 10 upgrade (on MS website). It's not public knowledge but it exists. I managed to create an upgrade CD (or save an iso file or save onto usb stick) and managed to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 (with many, many hitches along the way mind).
For me, if I have to go to 10, I do have a plan B. Back when it was public, I did migrate 10 on my machine (when I originally got it, it had 8--I'm using 7 now for compatibility reasons), THEN did a Clonezilla on it. It's still in my box of USB sticks. If push came to shove, I could probably use it to go back to a perfectly-legal state of 10.
Seems like scaremongering to me.
No OS or browser is assured to be secure for online financial transactions - witness the BA debacle (served up data scraper on the payment page), no OS suddenly becomes more insecure than yesterday when "end of life" comes round, and no replacement OS is guaranteed to be more secure than its predecessor, if for no other reason than it also contains oodles of vulnerabilities that just haven't officially been found yet.
There is no more danger TODAY than yesterday. In fact, no more updates mean no more bugs entered into the system that they will later have to patch. I wonder how many of these security flaws they keep finding and patching are due to Win 10 release day exploits versus exploits introduced during subsequent updates.
I've been running a Mac for years with Win and Linux running with Fusion. I have another Win7 box dedicated to CAD/CAM (and solitaire) that is on SneakerNet as that software bogs down under emulation. I have the same apps on my emulated partitions so I can output files, I just do the work on the other rig. Going to win10 would mean updating a bunch of niche software that works perfectly fine, thank you very much.
The new MacPro is sick amounts of money, but if I can shave time off of jobs, it could pay for itself in a year. Coming up with the dosh up front is the painful part.