back to article Microsoft 365 patches for Windows 7 to end in 2023

Microsoft has warned users clinging to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 that the end really is nigh. Windows 7 went out of support in 2020, but Microsoft recognized that many enterprises were quite happy where they were. For a fee, it made Extended Security Updates (ESU) available, which would at least deal with security patches. …

  1. WolfFan Silver badge

    Ok. I hate to say it, given the problems with round-tripping between MS Office and LibreOffice, but it really might be time to dump MS Office once and for all. We’ve tried before, had problems switched back, but this time we might just stick with LO. We’d still have to work around the problems with complex documents, but that may just be the way things are.

    1. VoiceOfTruth

      The problem with LibreOffice, and before that OpenOffice, has always been the differences in file formats when exchanging documents with MS Office. Simple text documents, e.g. a letter, do not usually present problems as long as you have exactly the same fonts installed. Add a table, and the chances of a good exchange drop by several percent. So although I can work with LibreOffice alone without any problems, when it comes to sharing documents with others I have to start asking is it worth it?

      I recently wrote a comment about my experiences with MS 365 personal edition on a Mac. It's £60 a year including 1TB of space. That is actually not a bad deal. MS 365 business edition, the version comparable to the personal edition, is £7.90 a month and that also includes 1TB of space. Again, that is not a bad deal. If I have to spend more than an hour in a year dealing with the differences between exchanged files, then it is cheaper for me (in round numbers) to just get a MS 365 licence.

      Of course, I'm aware that I don't "own" MS Office, and once the subscription ends so does my ability to edit documents using it. But if the time I spend fixing up broken exchanged documents is actually just wasted time, sometimes paying is cheaper.

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        One of the arguments may well be we still need an offline version and never pure cloud. As what happens in the future when all these documents need to be read by the distant future but Office 365 is long gone. This is one of my pet peeves of cloud based only software. Data preservation then becomes an arse.

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: Data preservation then becomes an arse.

          I had a customer who switched jobs to being manager of an archival facility. All their* data was tagged with notes on how frequently it was to be tested for recovery, and method of recovery so that it can be migrated onto "safer" media ("safer" for the time being, but still part of the monitoring process). Two elements here: first the media that it sits on (floppy, CD, Zip, Syquest, etc.), and then the software encoding. Big problem out there for the future, and is going to balloon in years to come.

          With the cloud presumably there will need to be someone keeping an eye on whether it is still possible to login to your data. If you can't: too late! Backups should therefore be an intrinsic part of that process, but how many non-technical beancounters are happy with that ongoing cost which seems to offer no benefit?

          ===

          On the other side of the coin (and controversially), all that data you've got safely encrypted will become readable in the future. Something to bear in mind...

          *I won't say who, but they operate globally.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

      Also, question complexity - does it have to be so complicated or are you trying to fall into the trap of confusing format with actual content? We found that question to yield interesting answers, and led to coaching every member of staff on the use of styles (which also reduced a lot of time wated on correcting local formatting, and with LO the formatting stays consistent throughout versions).

      We have Affinity Publisher around for when they want to make it complex but manageable - we also ditched Adobe. I'm not sure the sole remaining copy of 365 we have on an isolated box gets any used anymore..

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Certainly with Excel, there are a lot of features that are not present in Libre Calc.

        Tables is one that I use extensively. There doesn't seem to be any obvious way to do this in Libre Calc.

        Spillable functions such as UNIQUE() don't exist in Libre Calc.

        The tools for linking to external data sources are nowhere near as comprehensive, and are not cross-compatible. This is also a problem with the Mac version of Excel.

  2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    "Complex" features in MS Office

    In general terms, aren't they the most vulnerable when MS "upgrades" their product?

    Perhaps that's also the reason LO hasn't ported them?

    1. James O'Shea

      Re: "Complex" features in MS Office

      'Complex' documents would include Word documents with tables, indexes, tables of contents, certain types of borders, certain font styles (including some styles which are in LO, but are implemented differently) and more. Excel documents with tables and using certain functions... and, especially, certain add-ins, have _serious_ problems. Some PowerPoint documents simply choke, and I don't know why. I don't play with Access enough to know (or care) about its troubles.

      Note that these problems are not unique to LO. Many of them apply even to other variants of Office, especially to Office for Mac. Office for Windows 2010 had multiple issues with round-tripping files to Office for Mac 2008. Amazingly all the problems went away on updating to Office for Mac 2011. Who could have imagined _that_? (It was a good thing that Office 2011 fixed problems, as the next version of Office for Mac was 2016...)

  3. Binraider Silver badge

    I’d argue Excel is really the only USP of MS office anymore. For better or worse a lot of business runs on it; often in place of proper databases because their IT provisions are so disorganised, dirty excel “databases” are the quick way to do stuff that don’t involve months of sanctioning IT budgets… recent experience with a particular outsourcing outfit has not exactly gone well. (find me one that has?)

    Although for the love of $deity, IT, please install the damn 64-bit version. 32 bit is so 20th century now.

    Libre has saved many a corrupt excel “database” that office were unable to recover. It’s functionality is probably a few years behind MS in some areas but, it is if we are honest more than adequate for most needs. If you’re in the space of writing complex applications in excel; really, you should be writing them in something else entirely. Good luck to anyone trying to reinvent how business is done!

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