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Mike

Windows 7 Users - end of support from MS

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Although this isn't a Britmodeller topic, I thought that some of you that use Windows 7 would like to know that Microsoft is officially ending Support for this excellent OS with effect from the new decade.  Specifically 14th January 2020.  You can catch a little bit more information from them here, but what they won't be so keen to tell you is that your Windows 7 key can be used to activate a downloaded version of Windows 10 without any coin of the realm changing hand... so a free upgrade, which is nice.  They'll be mining the heck out of your data of course, which is why the phrase "there's no such thing as a free lunch" holds true.  There are ways around that of course.

 

So if you want to migrate to a supported OS with regular security updates etc., you really do need to make a decision.  Go for Windows 10, or try Linux, or the windows-like ZorinOS that is designed with the Windows user (or Mac user) in mind.  I went to Windows 10 for ease, but took the precaution of getting a license for Spybot Anti Beacon, which blocks off most, if not all of the ways that Microsoft harvest your data either due to your ignorance of their doing it (who reads these T&Cs?), or relying on you not noticing that they're doing it. 

 

MS have gone to great lengths to hide this, and where they have to ask your permission, they spin it so that it seems like they're doing you a big favour.  They have also scattered the settings far and wide to prevent you from going down a single list and unchecking all the boxes.  You can fix it all manually if you know where to look, but they have a habit of adding new things with updates, resetting some of the settings you have selected or changing them subtly to ensure that have the excuse if called on it, and of course they're relying primarily that people just want to use their PCs, not have to faff about all the time checking settings.  Anti Beacon does all that for you if you pay the small license fee, or it will do a lot of it if you use the free version.  They're the same people that have the Spybot SD product to keep malware and adware off your PC, so they have a track record of decent products.

 

No affiliations here, just offering y'all some information in case you weren't aware on the basis that if you screw it up you can't blame me, so there! :)

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1 hour ago, Mike said:

Go for Windows 10, or try Linux, or the windows-like ZorinOS that is designed with the Windows user (or Mac user) in mind. 

Trying to find the right distribution of Linux can be a bit of a pain. I tried several before I read that Linux Mint (Cinnamon) was designed for the Windows user. I've been using it now for three years and found it very easy to get used to. Bear in mind that any specialist software that you currently run isn't likely to work on Linux, but generally Linux distributions include a package that will include most of the software the average user will ever need – completely free.

 

If you are interested:

https://www.linuxmint.com/

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30 minutes ago, Gorby said:

but generally Linux distributions include a package that will include most of the software the average user will ever need – completely free.

That's Wine, isn't it?  I don't know much about Linux, and I don't know how well apps run in this virtual environment, but I'm told they do well :)

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Great! What's an old git like me, with no real computer skills, to do? I may have to bring in my oldest daughter to help. She knows way more that I about 'puters.

 

 

Chris

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Shame, Windows 7 is far better than 10, even though I use 10 because we all knew this was going to happen eventually.

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1 minute ago, dogsbody said:

Great! What's an old git like me, with no real computer skills, to do? I may have to bring in my oldest daughter to help. She knows way more that I about 'puters.

It's probably easier to just go the W10 route, which should migrate all your software & data (do backup though), and IIRC there's a compatibility checker you can run to see if your hardware is ok.  I had to retire a USB3 card from my old workshop PC, as the chipset it was based on is no-longer supported, but as those things are pretty cheap and the new Mobo had more ports anyway, it's a non-issue.  Definitely consider the Anti Beacon software.  It's a slice of gateaux to install and sits there in the background checking everything when you boot or update, keeping up with the devs at MS constantly changing everything.  it's also so cheap as to be less than a packet of fags/cigarettes in Blighty :yes:

 

Incidentally, although it wasn't of interest to me at the time as I had no XP installs, I believe you can also use your Key Code from XP to go to W10.  That's what I understand, but you may wish to double-check before proceeding.

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Just now, Adam Poultney said:

Shame, Windows 7 is far better than 10, even though I use 10 because we all knew this was going to happen eventually.

I stayed on W7 as long as I could, but the dropping of support coincided nicely with me changing my gaming PC's innards with the inevitable trickle-down of tech into the workshop :)

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44 minutes ago, Mike said:

It's probably easier to just go the W10 route, which should migrate all your software & data (do backup though), and IIRC there's a compatibility checker you can run to see if your hardware is ok.  I had to retire a USB3 card from my old workshop PC, as the chipset it was based on is no-longer supported, but as those things are pretty cheap and the new Mobo had more ports anyway, it's a non-issue.  Definitely consider the Anti Beacon software.  It's a slice of gateaux to install and sits there in the background checking everything when you boot or update, keeping up with the devs at MS constantly changing everything.  it's also so cheap as to be less than a packet of fags/cigarettes in Blighty :yes:

 

Incidentally, although it wasn't of interest to me at the time as I had no XP installs, I believe you can also use your Key Code from XP to go to W10.  That's what I understand, but you may wish to double-check before proceeding.

 

You might as well have typed that in Klingon, for all that I understood it. Thanks for your help, though, Mike.

 

 

Chris

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18 minutes ago, dogsbody said:

You might as well have typed that in Klingon, for all that I understood it. Thanks for your help, though, Mike.

I do all my typing in Klingon and use a Klingon to English translator.  Must have forgotten that last step :doh:

1 hour ago, Mike said:

jIchegh Dov'agh vay' neH w10 He, baS vaj Hoch software je De' (Qu' chach pagh), 'ej tu'lu' compatibility checker laH qet lulegh tlhoy luq hardware iirc migrate.  usb3 chaw' retire vo' ngo' workshop pc, law' chipset waw' 'oH ghobe'-nI'qu' ngaq, 'ach Doch pretty qutlh 'ej rut mutlha'taH latlh ghaj anyway chu' mobo, QI'yaH-wanI'vammo' tlha'.  definitely Anti Beacon software qel.  wa' ra'wI' porgh luSIjchu' gateaux jom 'ej ba' pa' qaStaHvIS Hoch checking HeghDI' DaS pagh update pol DeSDu' ms constantly Hoch choH devs SoH patmey lulo'ta' 'oH.  je vaj qutlh pe'vIl Heghbogh vajpu''e' ghaH nay'ngaqbe' packet fags ghap cigarettes yo'a'neS Hajmo' neH blighty: HIja':

 

Je, naH jajmeymaj wasn't 'oH jIHvaD Daj legh poH pagh xp jom SoSloDnI'Daj, ngaQHa'moHwI'mey ngoq vo' xp laH je lo' SoHvaD vay' w10 'e' luHar jIH.  vaj nuq jIyaj, 'ach double-check pa' 'a qaSpa' Sanmaj chaq DaneHchugh.

If you print it out in a large font and run your finger under each word spelling it out slowly to yourself (get an adult/your daughter to help with the difficult words), you should be ok :wicked:

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1 hour ago, Mike said:

That's Wine, isn't it?  I don't know much about Linux, and I don't know how well apps run in this virtual environment, but I'm told they do well :)

Sorry I didn't explain myself well (not a good brain day).

Wine allows you to run Windows programs on Linux, but I read that if you run wine it makes your computer at risk of Windows viruses, so I don't use it.

 

When I mentioned the 'package' I was referring to the suite of software that is usually included with the Linux operating system download – all the office software, graphics etc. that most people will need. The only additional software I've needed to download separately was 'Inkscape'.

As I said before, all the software is free. This doesn't mean that they are amateurish or poor quality, LibreOffice is excellent and is compatible with the Microsoft offering and 'Gimp', the graphics package, is in my opinion better than Coral Draw that I used on Windows. The only thing to look out for is that some peripherals (scanners, printers, cameras etc.) may not have Linux drivers included. Very often these can be found online.

 

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18 hours ago, Gorby said:

Sorry I didn't explain myself well (not a good brain day).

I know how that feels. :wacko:  It's one of the awesome features of Linux that a lot of the software you'll need is free and a great deal of it is open-source.  I switched to Linux for a while a few years ago and for the most part it was pretty good.  My main issue was replacing Photoshop, and at the time GIMP wasn't as good at RAW processing as the Adobe product.  It was great for processing otherwise, and anyone on Windows or Linux would be well-advised to give it a try if they need a free app to shrink down their photos to fit the forum :yes:

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I've got 10 on the 'main' laptop but hate the fact that you can't stop their damn upgrades (ok you can delay them by saying your on a metered connection but they'll still get you in the end), whereas with my old laptop that the 'main' one 'replaced' I've been running W7 for years without running any of those supposed 'updates'. I have Avast AV and firewall running on it, and despite it's age and the HD being almost full it runs far better than this new thing! I reckon these W10 updates have very little to do with security - other than fixing 'problems' of Microsoft's own making. Cynical? Who me....?!

 

I'll keep running unsupported W7 on my old machine until it dies of natural causes!

 

Keith

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23 minutes ago, keefr22 said:

 

 

I'll keep running unsupported W7 on my old machine until it dies of natural causes!

 

 

That's my plan too. If it ain't broke.......

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My order of preference is 

1. Linux

2. Linux

3. Linux

4. Linux

5. Haiku

 

I have quite a zoo of old machines at home, most running Lubuntu. I also run Lubuntu on my top-of-the-line Dell XPC-15 laptop as I'm completely wee weed off with W10 it is shipped with. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mike said:

My main issue was replacing Photoshop, and at the time GIMP wasn't as good at RAW processing as the Adobe product. 

Do you use UFRaw? How about http://rawtherapee.com/ ? 

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56 minutes ago, keefr22 said:

Cynical? Who me....?!

I can't really blame you when you see big companies being found to have pinched, shared or otherwise misused your data to manipulate you, others or just to sell you stuff.  They're all at it, and we just have to try our best to defend ourselves against it.  We shouldn't have to, but I don't see anyone fighting for our privacy other than these small companies that have identified niches where they can help those that have realised there's an issue.

 

Saying that Keef, when I first installed Anti Beacon on my W7 machine, you'd be surprised how much of my data was already being harvested.  I think once MS realised that this was the new goldrush, they reverse engineered various "updates" to incorporate data harvesting aspects.  So it's not just W10 that's at it, and I imagine W8 and 8.1 are just as bad if not worse. :shrug:

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18 minutes ago, Pin said:

 

Do you use UFRaw? How about http://rawtherapee.com/ ? 

Hi Alexey, I use the latest Adobe RAW app that's a plug-in for Photoshop.  What's the benefit of using others, except they're more likely to keep updating their files to cater for newer cameras? :hmmm:

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55 minutes ago, Mike said:

Hi Alexey, I use the latest Adobe RAW app that's a plug-in for Photoshop.  What's the benefit of using others, except they're more likely to keep updating their files to cater for newer cameras? :hmmm:

I meant "under Linux". You said you were unhappy with GIMP support for RAW, UFRaw is a GIMP plugin, RawTherapee is a standalone multiplatform app

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Re Anti-Beacon - if you install the 'free' version, it'll tell you what's up, but won't block most of the leaks. My new install is saying that it's covered 16 out of 69, and the other 53 (!) will need me to pay to be able to use it fully, even though by their own admission, 13 of their listed leaks aren't installed on my system. Interesting little ransom. :)

 

For those who just want to resize photos for use here, don't faff about with GIMP; try IrfanView instead. Simple and easy to use, and just as free as GIMP.

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I'm getting a bit RAW trying to understand what the H - E - double hockeysticks you guys are talking about!

 

 

 

Chris

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I thought that they had withdrawn support for Windows 7 about four years ago.

 

Massive hardware failure and was needing a new computer but wanted to continue with Windows 7 with which I was comfortable but the guy I dealt with assured me that support was just about to be withdrawn and went into a Music Man routine over the wonders of Windows 10 which I have to say was a bit of a nuisance to begin with but even now can still be a bit of a pain.

 

At the end of the day there was not much of a financial gain for him in promoting Windows 10 just a 'true believer' I suppose.

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7 minutes ago, dogsbody said:

I'm getting a bit RAW trying to understand what the H - E - double hockeysticks you guys are talking about!

 

 

Confuzzled? This may help.

 

PS - the word that you want is raw, not RAW. It's a description of a file's properties (ie a lack of manipulation), rather than a file type. HTH.

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2 hours ago, Rob G said:

Interesting little ransom.

Not at all.  it's a piece of software that you pay for.  You can elect to use it as a more limited app for free to get a taste of its functionality, but proper software costs money :shrug:

 

2 hours ago, Pin said:

I meant "under Linux". You said you were unhappy with GIMP support for RAW, UFRaw is a GIMP plugin, RawTherapee is a standalone multiplatform app

Understood.  I downloaded the Windows version anyway for a quick look and it does look very powerful.  It kind of integrates Bridge with RAW processing, which is a good thing.  I've put it to one side for now though, as with great power comes great numbers of sliders and buttons.  I need to have a proper play with the software before I do anything with it :)

 

2 hours ago, dogsbody said:

I'm getting a bit RAW trying to understand what the H - E - double hockeysticks you guys are talking about!

It's just another method of saving the pics from your camera but less "lossy" than JPG.  With a RAW file you get no loss of data, and you also get the opportunity to correct things such as exposure, colour and other things that are more difficult to fix and less effective as a JPG.  It's just generally better, but perhaps not for everyone.  Most cameras from Prosumer to DSLR have the option to save the pics as RAW files (of some sort), and now DNG format for HDR (High Dynamic Range - like your telly) pictures.  The professionals use them and so do a lot of us unprofessionals. ^_^

 

For example, if you take a pic in JPG that's massively under-exposed, fixing it in Photoshop will probably ruin it, making it grainy and funny looking.  In RAW it's as simple as moving a slider and then loading it into Photoshop, providing it's not so underexposed that you hit the bump-stops at the end ;)

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15 hours ago, Des said:

I thought that they had withdrawn support for Windows 7 about four years ago.

 

Massive hardware failure and was needing a new computer but wanted to continue with Windows 7 with which I was comfortable but the guy I dealt with assured me that support was just about to be withdrawn and went into a Music Man routine over the wonders of Windows 10 which I have to say was a bit of a nuisance to begin with but even now can still be a bit of a pain.

 

At the end of the day there was not much of a financial gain for him in promoting Windows 10 just a 'true believer' I suppose.

Thee are several stages of software support being withdrawn - it goes in stages like removing enhancements, then improvements, then updates, then security patches.   You are correct that it started years ago but in January there will be no support at all - so if a security vulnerability is found, Microsoft will not do anything to fix it.

 

You can upgrade to Win 10 for free.

 

I actually think windows 10 is fine - it’s nothing like the mess that Windows 8 was.

 

I’ve done around 20 migrations from Win 7 to Win 10 for friends and family members and they have all completed without problem.  I have encountered a handful of applications that would not run after the migration but nothing that could not be resolved (mostly by loading older versions of the C++ redistributable). 

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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15 hours ago, Rob G said:

 

PS - the word that you want is raw, not RAW. It's a description of a file's properties (ie a lack of manipulation), rather than a file type. HTH.

Yes raw can mean that and you are correct it is used to describe unprocessed files.  But in this case RAW is actually a file type - as a Canon camera owner I am only too familiar with it.

 

https://cpn.canon-europe.com/content/education/infobank/image_compression/file_types_raw_sraw_and_jpeg.do

 

And annoyingly Canon do change it - I found this out when I upgraded to a newer Canon camera and found out that its version of RAW could not be handled by my expensive Photoshop Elements software meaning that I had to go away and look at alternatives - I did look at RawTherapee with GIMP, it works but more convoluted and not as neat.  Ended up picking up Corel PaintShop in a humble bundle.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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