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BIG X

Microsoft - 'home screen' - 'log in screen'

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On 8/27/2019 at 6:09 PM, Mike said:

I wonder whether that might change... they extended XP IIRC, or was that just for corporates? I forget :blink: If I have to consider W10, I think I'll also consider Linux at the same time, and consider moving over.  I've just read an article that MS are incorporating a Linux Kernel in W10 soon, so that's a bit of a shock.  As some bright spark said in the comments, just remove the NT Kernel and everything will be cool :lol:  There's also Zorin OS, which endeavours to be as close to Windows in functionality as possible, while running on the Linux kernel.  I've been meaning to have a look over that, but never seem to have time :shrug:cs

I moved to Linux about 10 years ago, as I saw the way Windows was going. I've never regretted it. I still have Windows 7 installed in some of my PCs* in a dual-boot configuration, as there are still times when it comes in handy for certain old games, troubleshooting, etc. But once I get a copy of Windows 7 installed, activated and patched, it's generally kept off the internet.

 

That Linux sub-system on Windows 10 is an interesting concept, but it's really pitched more at developers as far as I know. It's not currently able to run graphical Linux programs, and may never be. Things are much better the other way round, as lots of Windows programs will run on Linux with little or no tweaking, using WINE. Then there are also the options of dual boot (already mentioned), and virtual machines (e.g. VirtualBox - or even DosBox, which I have configured with a copy of Windows 3.1, just for old times' sake). And so much software is cross-platform nowadays (much of it open source), and so much more is web-based, that moving from Windows to Linux is eminently feasible for most people, if only they are prepared to take the plunge.

 

Linux Mint w/Mate desktop is my preferred Linux setup. It's much easier to install, configure and keep updated than Windows 7 or 10 IMHO. But there are any number of distributions that a Windows user should feel comfortable with.

 

*Yes, some of my PCs. I seem to accumulate them like pairs of old socks 🧦

Edited by klr

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Blimey I am glad my home screen doesn't do that

 

I certainly don''t want my gaffer watching for whatever the Amazonian brings, unless it's for her

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I'm becoming increasingly peeved with Microsoft. My PC came home about ten days ago after a spell in hospital to deal with a crashed internal hard drive - the one with all my pictures on it (which it looks like I've lost, because the back-up didn't work ...). Earlier this week I got a message as I was shutting it down that the latest Windows 10 upgrade was available and would be installed during the shut down. The next morning I wasn't even able to log in. The machine has gone back to hospital; so far it's taken two days to  fix what the techno hoped would take no more than half an hour. When I dropped the machine off he apologised "on behalf of the industry" for the mess Microsoft is making with its W10 upgrades - apparently this sort of problem has been commonplace with them. Why couldn't we have stayed with W7??!

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On the news yesterday they were saying that Windows7 is around 10 years old,because it's basically past it's use buy date and no longer supported it's security isn't as good as it used to be....

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10 hours ago, Admiral Puff said:

Why couldn't we have stayed with W7??!

If Windows 10 was as good as Windows 7, I'd still be using Microsoft products. When I was still on W7, Mrs Gorby 'upgraded' to a laptop (not a cheap one at that) running W10 and it was horrendous. She had no idea when the updates would happen and they would often take hours. On more than one occasion the update failed (or just stopped) and it would take me hours to sort out the problem. After each update she had to change stuff back again because of Microsoft deciding that the user is much too stupid to know what they wanted on their own computer. I eventually put Linux on the laptop and she's been much happier with it, as causes significantly fewer problems. My step-son has said that W10 has improved compared to what it was like, but I don't intend to go back.

 

I find it incredible that a company with the experience and finances of Microsoft could release such a duff product.

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8 hours ago, Gorby said:

 find it incredible that a company with the experience and finances of Microsoft could release such a duff product.

I suspect that it's because of a perceived need (no doubt generated by the Sales department) to have something "new" to peddle every year, and to change things that are working perfectly well just for the sake of being able to say that it's different from what was there last time. The message that "if it's not broken, it doesn't need fixing" doesn't seem to have sunk in.

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5 minutes ago, Admiral Puff said:

I suspect that it's because of a perceived need (no doubt generated by the Sales department) to have something "new" to peddle every year, and to change things that are working perfectly well just for the sake of being able to say that it's different from what was there last time. The message that "if it's not broken, it doesn't need fixing" doesn't seem to have sunk in.

There's an element of that (and that's nothing new), but I think they also wanted an OS that had data mining "baked in" at the factory, rather than tacked on like they'd done with W7.  W7 was fairly well stocked with data mining as I found when I installed Spybot Anti Beacon on it.  Sure, there's more on W10, and it's always being changed so you can't keep track of what is and isn't permitted, and the settings are also scattered here and there to make it even more difficult.  That's why Anti Beacon is so useful as it monitors them, notifies you on the home screen if any more have popped up, and shuts off their "telemetry" as they call it.  You'd be surprised at what's being harvested from your PC if you leave it as it comes out of the box.

 

Back to the update part, yes.  They're handling it badly because they assume everyone throws away their hardware on a regular basis and gets the newest tech.  This patently isn't true, and I stumbled across a guy like this on Reddit the other day, scoffing that "who uses W7 these days?".  I politely told him that loads of people are on W7 as it's a good OS, and many more are still on XP, which is so unsupported it's painful.  If any of you reading this are still on XP, please at least move up to W7 or some Linux flavour, as you're just not safe online with XP anymore.  Too many vulnerabilities have gone un-patched by now.  W7 is just starting that process, but at least it's still up-to-date this month!

 

I made the move to W10 before Chrimbo when I made some hardware changes.  With Anti Beacon installed, I'm reasonably happy and am starting to adjust to the changes.  Most of the good stuff from W7 is still there, but you have to work hard to find it, especially if it's stuff they don't want you to fiddle with.  I've been using it now for 2 months, and it's ok.  The updates are a bit of pain, but so far (touch wood) it's not managed to break anything.

 

With regards to backup, as @Admiral Puff found out to his cost recently, backup, backup, backup, and occasionally test those backups.  With us all using digital cameras these days, there's such a lot of memories on our devices that we owe it to ourselves to back up.  At worst case, invest in an external drive and run some backup software.  Use RAID to mirror your data, but still back it up, or just plain-old mirror all your data between two NAS boxes, and take one of them offsite if you go away for longer than a couple of days.  The latter is my preferred route, and if my folks had fibre there would be another one at their house for that offsite backup goodness ;)

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My pictures might not be lost yet. The dead hard drive has been sent to some wizards in Sydney to see what, if anything, can be recovered. It will be at a cost, though - the minimum quote is $AUS1500, with no guarantee of any success. Only confirms what @Mike said above ...

 

I have now adopted my own backup system, which involves an external hard drive. As soon as I've finished and saved any work I save it a second time to that drive. The plan is, when/if my computer ever comes home, to copy the contents of that to a second external hard drive about once a week. The second drive will not be connected to the computer other than during that process, to minimise the risk of unforseen interference or contamination. That should help ... 

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I have been backing up to two external HDs on a weekly basis - or sooner if I have been busy - for years, alternating them so that the maximum loss is a week's worth. My software allows selection of what needs backing up and can be set to only back up "new" stuff added since the last time the HD was used. Quick, simple and hopefully (given my lack of tech skills) foolproof.

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22 hours ago, Gorby said:

If Windows 10 was as good as Windows 7, I'd still be using Microsoft products. When I was still on W7, Mrs Gorby 'upgraded' to a laptop (not a cheap one at that) running W10 and it was horrendous. She had no idea when the updates would happen and they would often take hours. On more than one occasion the update failed (or just stopped) and it would take me hours to sort out the problem. After each update she had to change stuff back again because of Microsoft deciding that the user is much too stupid to know what they wanted on their own computer. I eventually put Linux on the laptop and she's been much happier with it, as causes significantly fewer problems. My step-son has said that W10 has improved compared to what it was like, but I don't intend to go back.

 

I find it incredible that a company with the experience and finances of Microsoft could release such a duff product.

Oh, I don't know ... Windows ME, Windows Vista and Windows 8 comes to mind. It used be a running joke that Windows releases were like Star Trek movies: Every second one was a turkey. However, that streak has been broken, and not in a good way. While Windows 10 is "better" than Windows 8, it's all relative. As people here have testified, it can still be a royal pain in so many ways.

 

14 hours ago, Admiral Puff said:

I suspect that it's because of a perceived need (no doubt generated by the Sales department) to have something "new" to peddle every year, and to change things that are working perfectly well just for the sake of being able to say that it's different from what was there last time. The message that "if it's not broken, it doesn't need fixing" doesn't seem to have sunk in.

The thing is, Microsoft has moved away from the model of new versions of Windows every couple of years that people need to go out and pay for. Windows 10 is just being continually updated via those rolling updates. Microsoft will still get paid for a new licence every time someone buys a new PC, and there are all those lucrative corporate contracts as well. In theory, there is nothing wrong with the rolling update model, but the way it works in Windows 10 is a nightmare: Updates are bloated, take forever to download and install, you have no idea what they are about, and they can break the system, sometimes irretrievably*.

 

*Although that can happen with Windows 7 as well. I spent a couple of days of my Christmas break resurrecting a Windows 7 laptop that had been put into an unrecoverable state, by doing nothing more than applying available security updates.

 

As for backups: Backup frequently, and have at least two sets of backups. Every hard drive you have is going to eventually fail at some point. If you have important files that don't take up too much space, consider using online storage as part of your backup strategy for them.

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Back when I was mangling data rather than plastic, in every company I worked at we used to have a backup system called 'Grandfather, father, son'. The first backup would be done on the 'grandfather' tape, then the next day/week/month (depending on how important it was) the 'father' tape was used for the next backup, and then the 'son' tape. Then the same tapes would be over-written in the same sequence. That way, if one backup failed you always had two previous ones to fall back on. I use the same system but with three 64GB USB drive pen thingies and as a result, I've never had a problem with loosing data. USB drives are dirt cheap these days and it's worth the cost when the alternative is loosing everything. In addition to that, I also backup to an internal hard drive.

 

What I don't understand is that when Windows does an update it generally only updates the operating system (and maybe a few MS related bits), but it can take hours to complete. When Linux updates it usually does the OS and much of the software that was originally installed, but the update only takes minutes. When I replied to this thread yesterday it reminded me that I hadn't done an update for over five months. The download and install took less than seven minutes.

Linux-or-Windows-F.O.S.S-vs.-Proprietary

 

If anyone is concerned about moving to Windows 10 and think Linux may be an option, this is an interesting article.

 

I'll leave you with this thought (pinched from the article above):

 

What do air-conditioning and computers have in common?

They are both useless when you open Windows.

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25 minutes ago, Gorby said:

...

 

What I don't understand is that when Windows does an update it generally only updates the operating system (and maybe a few MS related bits), but it can take hours to complete. When Linux updates it usually does the OS and much of the software that was originally installed, but the update only takes minutes. When I replied to this thread yesterday it reminded me that I hadn't done an update for over five months. The download and install took less than seven minutes.

Bingo! The difference between updates on Windows and Linux is night and day. Also, Linux updates rarely require a system restart, so they are even less obtrusive.

 

There are some very good backup solutions for Windows, such as Macrium Reflect, for which there is a free version available for home (personal) use. I can strongly recommend this, but keep the application up to date, and also create the rescue CD to boot from: https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree

 

Even with software like this, there is still a problem: Windows insists on keeping user documents and settings on the main system partition, along with all the Windows and application files. System files and user files really need to be managed differently when it comes to backups. On some Linux distributions (such as Mint), you have the option during install of creating a separate partition for user files (AKA the /home folder). This vastly simplifies backup and disaster recovery, at least in my (long and sometimes painful) experience.

Edited by klr

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11 minutes ago, klr said:

Windows insists on keeping user documents and settings on the main system partition, along with all the Windows and application files.

Not quite sure what you mean by this - yes, by default that is the case, but you can change that. I run my OS and key apps off an SSD, but all document files are held on separate disks (backed up onto network drives).

 

1 hour ago, klr said:

If you have important files that don't take up too much space, consider using online storage as part of your backup strategy for them.

Yes, this can be useful - in fact if you don't have too many a Google account will give you 15gb of Google drive for free, with the advantage that those files are always accessible to you from any computer anywhere. Depending on your network connection you may be happy with your files held only on the Google drive.

 

For more serious quantities of data, be careful with cloud solutions ... there are some attractive looking options (in terms of price per megabyte) but restoring from the backup may be difficult or painfully slow!

 

Cjeers,

 

Colin

 

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2 minutes ago, ckw said:

Not quite sure what you mean by this - yes, by default that is the case, but you can change that. I run my OS and key apps off an SSD, but all document files are held on separate disks (backed up onto network drives).

 

Cjeers,

 

Colin

 

Yes, you can do things this way, and whenever I have to use Windows (mostly at work), that's what I try to do myself. But it's certainly not the default, nor even an option presented to users. Also, while it works for application documents, things like browser caches, histories or bookmarks, and other important settings, are still held on the Windows partition. It can be very hard if not impossible to change were these sorts of files are stored.

 

Another approach would be to have a separate backup strategy for your Windows user folders, excluding them from system backups if possible, and using different backup schedules for each. But this would take time and planning, and a level of knowledge and awareness that most users don't have - and really shouldn't need.

 

Agreed on the pitfalls of cloud storage. I certainly would never consider using it for backing up my bulky multimedia content, which runs into the terabytes. It grows over time, but individual files are rarely modified. If there were affordable consumer tape drive solutions, I would seriously consider using them alongside external hard drives for all this multimedia.

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A brief update - my computer is still in bits in hospital. Wasn't able to speak to the techie working on it, because he was out on a job, but whatever the problem is it's obviously much more serious than was first thought. Now awaiting advice on how much longer the repair might take. Linux is looking better by the minute!

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