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Posted (edited)

I've been a happy Windows 7 user for several years now. However, as a recent e-mail from Microsoft reminded me, support for Windows 7 will end on Jan. 14, 2020. I'm not sure how my ageing PC would handle Windows 10, so I'm toying with the idea of switching to Linux. Is this a good idea? The Linux OS sounds intriguing, but I'm wondering if there might be issues running some of the software that I use. Also, there are a confusing number of versions or "distros" of Linux to choose from.

Edited by John Mitchell
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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

but I'm wondering if there might be issues running some of the software that I use.

 

What software do you want to use?

 

Depending on the software, there are very likely to be issues. So far as I'm aware there's no way to run PS or LR on Linux as there aren't Linux Versions of them. This leaves two alternatives, swap to Linux compatible tools like Darktable and GIMP, or perhaps still run Windows 7 as in a virtual machine hosted by Linux. The Windows 7 VM would run with internet access disabled -to reduce threat of viruses. Any apps requiring internet access would need to be Linux compatible and run on Linux.

 

But both of these are not easy transitions. However there are some really nice Linux distros that are easy to use as they are similar to Windows 7 in terms of UI. Linux Mint Mate is quite light on resources and easy to use. Why not download and try (you can run without installing). Other areas where you may find problems include printer drivers and support for your Wi-Fi hardware, some distros are better than others.

 

If you like Windows 7 (I do, and I still use it every day for running some older software, by running in a Virtual Machine with no internet access on my Mac ) but want to further reduce threat of viruses, then you could try installing Sandboxie (https://www.sandboxie.com/HomeUse) and run any programs with internet access inside Sandboxes. It's still a bit of phaff though.

 

Simplest of all might be to use Windows 7 with the best virus checking installed and use an up to date browser and email client. I've no idea how real the threat of viruses is if you do this. If you don't open email attachments, click on links, or run downloaded .exe files the threat is greatly reduced. Another powerful and simple protection is to use DNS 9.9.9.9 which maintains a list of safe websites and stops your PC accessing fake or spoof ones. See https://www.quad9.net/. It's free, only takes moments to set up, and I've not noticed any hit on performance.

 

Mark

 

Edited by M.Chapman
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I'll be facing the same problem having resisted the temptation to upgrade to windows 10 when it was free, it seems that the global share of Windows 10 users only overtook that of Windows 7 in January of this year so many millions are in the same boat, often in 'corporate' environments as well. This short article has some links:

 

https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/windows-7-users-are-moving-to-windows-10/

 

A quick search for Windows 10 seems to come up with some surprisingly cheap upgrade options but maybe there's a catch. My PC is a floor mounted office style machine so it is easily expandable and I'm not even sure that Windows 10 is that more demanding anyway. With a laptop it gets more complicated expanding of course. In any case eBay seems to be awash with pretty cheap secondhand or even unused surplus office machines with a Windows 10 licence. I think I'll wait until the day comes and see what happens but I imagine software manufacturers might also start to jettison support for Windows 7. If the browsers stop supporting it then that will be tricky.

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9 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

 

What software do you want to use?

 

Yep - this is the question you should ask.  Not whether Linux or Windows.     Define the applications you need and let that determine what operating system they require.

 

Choosing a computer operating system before the applications you need/want to run is letting the tail wag the dog.

 

The simple fact is Windows has by far the widest and deepest selection of application choices available.  

 

The world is awash in choices of Windows PC hardware systems from the big makers (Dell, HP,  etc) to smaller custom builders.  If you don't go overboard with tons of RAM, multiple big SSD and/or hard drives, high-end gaming graphics cards, huge 4/5K displays, etc.  you can get a new Windows 10 system at reasonable cost that will edit images just fine.  

 

  

 

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Thanks for the very helpful responses. It sounds as if I'm probably better off just biting the bullet and buying a new Windows 10 machine. It's something I would have had to do anyway at some point. My current PC is adequate (barely, though) for Windows 10, but it makes more sense to put the money that I'd have to shell out for a new license towards a more powerful computer. I went through this same dilemma with XP,  which I kept using up until the last minute. As it turned out, I ended up liking Windows 7 better. However, I still have an old XP machine running for film scanning.

 

I currently have Windows 7 Pro, which has given me no headaches at all. Is it worth paying extra for the Pro version of Windows 10?

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11 hours ago, M.Chapman said:

 

But both of these are not easy transitions. However there are some really nice Linux distros that are easy to use as they are similar to Windows 7 in terms of UI. Linux Mate is quite light on resources and easy to use. Why not download and try (you can run without installing). Other areas where you may find problems include printer drivers and support for your Wi-Fi hardware, some distros are better than others.

Mark

 

 

Mark, do you mean Linux Mint Mate?

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Posted (edited)

In a similar vein, I have an old Acer Aspire One Netbook that will be toast after support for Win 7 ends. I use it only for checking e-mail, Web browsing, and backing up RAW files when travelling. Can anyone recommend an easy-to-use, lightweight Linux distro (with good security) for this machine? I'd hate to have to use it as a paperweight.

 

Here are the specs:

 

Intel Atom 1.67 Ghz processor

1 GB RAM

32-bit OS

170 GB HD

 

Thanks.

 

UPDATE: I found this website. Any of these distros sound good?

Edited by John Mitchell

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1 hour ago, John Mitchell said:

 

I currently have Windows 7 Pro, which has given me no headaches at all. Is it worth paying extra for the Pro version of Windows 10?

 

IMO - probably not - my impression is Pro is more business/enterprise oriented.  The extra $$ maybe better used for a bit more RAM or storage.

 

But a little searching with Google will show the differences then you can decide if right for you.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Mark, do you mean Linux Mint Mate?

 

Oops, yes, Linux Mint Mate. Sorry. I'll update my earlier posting.

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman

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You can probably get at least a couple more years out of Windows 7 after Microsoft stops supporting it. 

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John:   My honest suggestion is to stay away from Windoze as far as you can.  Linux, if this is your alternative, is far better -- but if you can I'd bite the bullet and switch to Mac OS.  It is vastly superior.   As someone said,  you can get bit more time from old PC/Win 7 while making the transition.   It will be like driving BMW after riding a horse for along time. 

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3 hours ago, Autumn Sky said:

John:   My honest suggestion is to stay away from Windoze as far as you can.  Linux, if this is your alternative, is far better -- but if you can I'd bite the bullet and switch to Mac OS.  It is vastly superior.   As someone said,  you can get bit more time from old PC/Win 7 while making the transition.   It will be like driving BMW after riding a horse for along time. 

 

So I've heard, but the Mac world  is too pricey for me. Also, I'm kind of used to the old nag now...

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6 hours ago, Johnnie5 said:

You can probably get at least a couple more years out of Windows 7 after Microsoft stops supporting it. 

 

Yes, but security is a big concern, especially these days.

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John,

 

I'm running an old Windows machine that came with 7 installed, I'm also running several Laptops that

are still running XP, an older OS than some of the contributors......,  I did accidentally upgrade to 10 (not kidding)

and it caused all sorts of problems.  I finally had to replace my Graphics card and do some large upgrades.

I was running Win 7 Pro 64bit.

 

I will say that Microsoft U.S. was very helpful with tech issues.

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12 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

So I've heard, but the Mac world  is too pricey for me. Also, I'm kind of used to the old nag now...

Apple's hardware and MacOS have sleek/slick designs its true.  But that comes at a cost.

 

Both in higher initial cost and if any service of that sleek hardware is needed.  Apple's OS upgrades have obsoleted/crippled some older application software including Adobe's.

 

My wife and I have had 3 iMacs in last 8-9 years.  Both of hers were newer than mine but both hers ate their hard drives prematurely.  The most recent about a month ago.  Apple put lower quality hard drives in those sleek chassis.   iMac cases are difficult to take apart for service due to the integrated display panel.  Removal and reinstallation can be done at home with special tools and parts but it's not something I'd suggest for most.

 

My iMac runs MacOS 10.11  and it crashes for no obvious reasons doing simple tasks and requires rebooting fairly often. Whereas my 2 Windoz 10 systems are trouble free.   Solid as a rock - never crashes and no hardware failures in many years.

 

When our iMacs are done there will not likely be anymore Apple computers here.  Well - my wife might insist on one but I'm done.

 

 

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I've been struggling with the same issue. At this point, I'm leaning toward shopping for a standalone copy of Photoshop CS4 or later to go with my Lightroom CS6 and other software, and unplugging my Windows 7 desktop computer from the router. I've got a tablet that came with Windows 10 which should be enough for upload/download and other online work and play.

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5 hours ago, Autumn Sky said:

John:   My honest suggestion is to stay away from Windoze as far as you can.  Linux, if this is your alternative, is far better -- but if you can I'd bite the bullet and switch to Mac OS.  It is vastly superior.   As someone said,  you can get bit more time from old PC/Win 7 while making the transition.   It will be like driving BMW after riding a horse for along time. 

 

100% agree. A few years back I swapped to a Mac and haven't regretted it for a moment. It just works. The time I've saved through not having to sort out problems with Windows updates that went wrong, or registry files or hard drives getting more and more bloated is considerable. Another thing that seems to work better is the installation and removal of software in MacOS. I've never had a problem that installing or uninstalling something new messing up another part of the system which used to happen all the time under Windows.

 

Mark

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

So I've heard, but the Mac world  is too pricey for me. Also, I'm kind of used to the old nag now...

 

If money is tight, and you want a laptop but feel you can't afford Apple, take a look at secondhand Mid 2012 MacBook Pros. These are excellent machines which can easily be opened and upgraded to increase RAM (to 16GB) or replace the HDD. They also have USB and SD card sockets. There's plenty of them on eBay.

 

These are the 13"

https://www.ebay.ca/sch/Apple-Laptops/111422/i.html?_sop=12&_nkw=macbook pro 13 mid 2012&_dcat=111422&rt=nc&_trksid=p2045573.m1684

 

Mark

Edited by M.Chapman

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

If money is tight, and you want a laptop but feel you can't afford Apple, take a look at secondhand Mid 2012 MacBook Pros. These are excellent machines which can easily be opened and upgraded to increase RAM (to 16GB) or replace the HDD. They also have USB and SD card sockets. There's plenty of them on eBay.

 

https://www.ebay.ca/sch/Apple-Laptops/111422/i.html?_sop=12&_nkw=macbook pro 13 mid 2012&_dcat=111422&rt=nc&_trksid=p2045573.m1684

 

Mark

 

If budget permits, the 15" model with the hi-res AR display is very nice. The display calibrates very well, unlike many cheap Windows laptops. I use one with memory upgraded to 16GB and a 1TB SSD fitted. Too heavy to carry around all the time though.

Edited by sb photos

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20 minutes ago, sb photos said:

 

If money is tight, and you want a laptop but feel you can't afford Apple, take a look at secondhand Mid 2012 MacBook Pros

They do indeed look enticing, thanks for the tip - and the 15" also. I see that they have USB3 and run the current OS, I suppose the only question mark is the battery - do Apple have to replace that if it needs it?

 

Everymac entry here:

https://everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/macbook-pro-core-i5-2.5-13-mid-2012-unibody-usb3-specs.html

 

and UK prices here

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1 minute ago, Harry Harrison said:

do Apple have to replace that if it needs it?

 

You can do it yourself. Plenty of videos on Youtube covering how to upgrade RAM, Memory and replace battery. You can even remove the CD drive and fit a second HDD or SSD of money permits. I run a 13" MacBook Pro mid 2012 Core i5 upgraded to 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD. But I suggest an external monitor for image editing work. Although the 13" display is really good quality and calibrates well, it's too small for serious editing. The 15" MacBook Pro mid-2012 maybe OK for editing, but it's quite a heavy brute to travel with.

 

Mark

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29 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

They do indeed look enticing, thanks for the tip - and the 15" also. I see that they have USB3 and run the current OS, I suppose the only question mark is the battery - do Apple have to replace that if it needs it?

 

Everymac entry here:

https://everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/macbook-pro-core-i5-2.5-13-mid-2012-unibody-usb3-specs.html

 

and UK prices here

 

Apple batteries are the best, but the quality of third party batteries is very variable. There are many 'genuine Apple batteries' available on eBay that are fakes. They fail Apple's battery tests and their serial numbers don't scan as Apple serials. On the Mac's referenced, they are only held in by 2 or 3 tri wing screws, many batteries ship with a suitable screwdriver. Additional to Mark's comments, the 13" is also available as a 2.9GHz dual core i7, and the 15" are all quad core i7 processor based and have dedicated GPU's with their own VRAM unlike the 13". If required they will both run Catalina when available later in the year. 

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20 minutes ago, sb photos said:

Apple batteries are the best

Thanks, can I deduce then that the only way to get a genuine Apple battery fitted is to get them to do it. Actually a friend is in that situation and it's pretty straightforward if you're near an Apple store as I am, and not horrendously expensive though I can't quite remember what he was quoted.

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12 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

Thanks, can I deduce then that the only way to get a genuine Apple battery fitted is to get them to do it. Actually a friend is in that situation and it's pretty straightforward if you're near an Apple store as I am, and not horrendously expensive though I can't quite remember what he was quoted.

 

Check out Mac Upgrades - company near Cambridge specialising in  all things Mac. I have never had a battery replaced yet but I have used them for various things (RAM, replacement MBP 13" retina screen, power supply) and find them totally reliable with excellent customer service. 

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John, no matter what route you take, some sort of hardware upgrade will almost certainly be part of the equation. There are several ways to test Linux distros on your current computer. Give a couple a try and see how you feel.

 

BTW ... the most complete Linux image processing package is Darktable. You might want to try it on Windows first before you make the move.

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