gasmeter

Windows 7 End Of Support January 14 2020

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At the moment I run Windows 7 Pro on my workstation, but as the title of this post says Microsoft are ending support for Win 7 on January 14 2020 and there is no way I am going to run Win 10 I have dealt with too many of my clients machines after they had a sneaky upgrade forced on them, the OS is rubbish I would not describe it as stable.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/windows/end-of-windows-7-support

I am not going to buy a Mac they are not designed to be upgraded or repaired especially the laptops, I can buy a high specification X86 box at less than half the cost of a Mac the same specification and easily repair the damn thing and source parts to upgrade or repair at afforable prices.

I like Win 7 it has been a great operating system I will miss it, Win 8 was another pile of crap and Win 10 just stinks, so if like me you have resisted upgrading Win 7, but your wondering do you bite the bullet and upgrade to Win 10 or buy a new device running Win 10 or even buy a Mac, don't fear you have an alternative Linux there are lots of distributions or distros as they are known and they are free to download and install and importantly they are supported so security issues and bugs get fixed.

Another great thing about Linux is if you still have an older machine that can only run a 32bit OS but cannot run a newer OS you can grab a Linux distro and install it and continue to use the device and extend its useful life time by a few years instead of throwing it away. There are some very light weight distros for things like old netbooks with very low specifications.

So at the moment I am quietly migrating to Ubuntu so far I have migrated my dads latop from Win 7 to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS the build name is Bionic Beaver, the LTS part means long term support this build will be supported for 10 years, the support period is usually only a couple of years for each build before they end support and move onwards.

If your new to Linux the operating system Ubuntu provides an easy way to get started you can find more information about Ubuntu here https://ubuntu.com/

You can download an image or ISO and then burn it to a DVD to make a boot disk or to a USB thumb drive with software like Rufus to make the USB drive bootable so you can try the OS before you install it, many people use the USB drive like a portable computer. Oh yeah and there is shit loads of free application software for anything you need software for.

For your average user the transition is going to be pretty smooth, most people only use a browser to view web pages and login to a webmail interface to manage an email account on some free service like GMail, for them the transition is smooth, if you use an email client then you have Mozilla Thunderbird its not Outlook (which I am going to miss) but it does the job, there are no tools in the software for backing up like in Outlook but doing it manually is trivial for those with minimal computing skills.

The only problem for me is that I use the Adobe Creative Suite a lot, so I do need a Windows box, so I have an old desktop which is running Ubuntu 14.04-lts at the moment, but I am going to install XP Pro on it and then I can install the MS Office 2007 suite and Adobe CS3 suite on there, the down side is the machine cannot be connected to the network it will be a threat, so I will have to move files via USB drives to the machine and away from the machine, which is an inconvenience I am willing to accept.

There is the Gimp which is software for photo editing and creating graphics, but it is not Photoshop, it is OK for cropping and resizing images and doing basic stuff, but if I need to create some rasta or vector graphics Photoshop is always going to be my first choice to do the job, so this will allow me to continue working with the same tools.

Also I have a few Netgear smart network switches the problem is they use a piece of software to configure and manage them and it only runs on Windows, so I will have to take the switches offline to connect them to the XP Pro box to manage them, again it is an inconvenience I am will to endure to keep doing things.

It is a myth that it is a Windows world you do have alternatives remember the networks we rely on today and the web runs on Linux not Windows operating systems.

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It is now over 6 months since I migrated to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) and started this thread I think it is time for a quick update.

Migrating from Windows 7 Pro to Ubuntu has gone pretty smoothly and so far the only real problem I have experienced was an issue with the graphics card driver.

Issues with drivers is normal with any Linux distro, especially with high specification graphics cards.

In my case I have an Nvidia Quadro graphics card as I installed Ubuntu it detected and correctly identified the graphics card and there was a driver provided by Nvidia for the card which was recommended so I selected and installed the Nvidia driver instead of the Open Source driver.

I had cool runnings for a few months then one morning when I powered on my workstation and it started to boot it just froze and never got to the login screen.

So I did some research online and found it was the Nvidia graphics card driver causing the problem, so I purged driver via the console or command line then rebooted and the system then used the Open Source driver, once I logged in the OS displayed an option to choose either the Open Source or the Nvidia driver.

I left it running on the Open Source driver and everything was fine until about a month ago when I came to boot my workstation if froze before it booted to the login screen.

So I used the power button to power off and shut down, this is safe because your only running on the BIOS which are stored in ROM so your not going to break anything.

Then I powered on again but as soon as I see a splash screen as it enters the BIOS I press the shift key this loads grub the boot loader and you can then select Advanced boot options and select which build to boot, usually the one at the top of the list and the system boots without issues.

I had to do this for a few days then one morning I was a bit distracted and forgot and the bugger just booted normally to the login screen, not sure why the Open Source driver was being a dick but it seems to be OK now.

Yes it was annoying but it was not a show stopper and did not stop me working, remember whatever OS you run you will have daft issues along the way.

So all in all it has not been painful migrating away from Windows to Linux Ubuntu

If you are considering migrating away from Windows I would advise plan the migration if possible install Linux on a second computer not your daily driver so you can continue to work.

Then work out what software you need to run on the Linux box to do your work and get comfortable using that software then migrate.

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I run Windows 10 and don't have any regrets. I tried Linux but for me Window is more convenient operating system. Plus I started using vpn to protect my privacy. I found info about best vpn for windows here https://veepn.com/vpn-apps/vpn-for-windows . Works great and now I have access to any blocked content.

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For me the main thing about Windows 10 is the direction of travel Microsoft are taking, this operating system is the last to be designated a number there will not be a Windows 11 or 12 etc, it will just be known as Windows in the future.

Microsoft describe Windows 10 as, "an operating system as a service" over the past few years they have been deliberately blurring the lines between the desktop and the cloud or in plain language online or web services, consider the Office Suite in the past it was just a suite of application software then then developed Office 365 the web service where you can access and use the same application software via a browser.

Adobe have done the same thing with the CS suite of application software you can now pay N amount per month to access the software through a browser you get a copy of the software to install locally on your device and as long as you pay the monthly fee its all good.

They do not want you to own the software because they make more money renting you an instance of the software than they did with upgrades every 5 or 10 years where you pay a discounted amount to upgrade your existing software to the latest version, plus this way they do not have the same support headache supporting old versions of their software, they just support the latest version and just keep tweaking it.

So considering this it is pretty obvious that Microsoft have also taken note of Google and their Chrome books where you do everything through the Chrome browser there is an OS but you never see it, you only see a file system if you plug in external storage devices like a USB thumb drive and you cannot install application software simply because there is no means to access the operating system and this functionality, and the drive space is limited.

When you use a Chrome book the only way to create a document is via the Chrome browser using Google Docs for any task you require a Google service to perform the task.

This is where Microsoft are moving with Windows to where the OS on your device is really just an interface or conduit to their web services, and you will be paying for the privilege, everything you do on the device will depend on a network connection simply because the software will be a cloud service.

Also drive space like the Chrome books will be limited so the file system will be replaced with a cloud storage service, just like with these Chrome books.

Microsoft stooped to some pretty nasty behaviour to "encourage" people to upgrade from Win 7 like breaking the media player so that everything displayed within the media player was "unknown" names of CD's and all tracks.

You cannot create 2 files or folders with the same name within the same folder within any operating systems file system every file needs to be unique within the file systems namespace, so to have the media player render all track names as "unknown" took more heavy lifting than just rendering the file name for each track.

So I am done with Windows I prefer to keep my data on a hard drive within my device under my control I do not want to be part of whatever the future with Microsoft holds.

Be aware that a VPN service does not mean that your activity is secure, because the service is essentially a proxy and all your network activity goes via their server/s even where your browsing sites over https their services has the same privileges so they get the same encryption key and see all the data flowing across their server/s.

Just install some paid security software that provides a suite of anti virus and firewall software I used to run Norton 360 and I ran this along side Malware Bytes free anti malware software, the antivirus sometimes doesn't catch the malware so Malware Bytes is your friend here.

Don't waste time installing free security solutions like AVG Free it will detect an infection, but guess what you have to buy the real software to remove the threat, if I had a quid for every time a client has come to me with an infected machine wondering why the software won't deal with the threat.

To browse the web you need decent antivirus and firewall installed on the device that is up to date and your good.

These VPN services are snake oil they are similar to service to allow people to remotely access their devices like Teamviewer the problem is just the same and they see everything you do, one of my clients was using Teamviewer free to access his desktop while on holiday and check his business emails.

I pointed out to him this would breach the terms for using the software and service, in the terms they clearly state that they will analyze the traffic that has passed over their service to make sure the user is not breaching the terms.

Sure enough within a week or 2 he got an email warning him that using the service to check and reply to business emails was a breach of their terms of use, he was shocked when he realized they had to have read the emails to know they were for business.

As I pointed out to him you gave up your privacy and compromised you security for the convenience of using this FREE service.

From a security perspective anything that you may find convenient will definitely be of convenience to a bad actor, like using shitty weak passwords like password123 then compounding this sin by using it everywhere.

My advice is very simple if you have been chopping firewood in the back yard do not leave the axe outside next to the back door when you go inside take the damn thing with you and lock the door, it may be convenient to leave the axe by the back door, but a robber will also find the axe very convenient as well.

Antivirus and firewall software are a better investment than a snake oil VPN services, to stay secure when your connected to the web.

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