Microsoft Retires Windows 7: This Is How You Can Still Get A Copy

Tina Sieber 06-11-2014

Microsoft is slowly decommissioning its former Windows flagship. Since October 31st, the consumer editions of Windows 7 Windows 7 Editions Explained In Simple Terms Read More , as well as Windows 7 Ultimate, have officially been retired. If you don’t want to move on to Windows 8.1 with your next hardware upgrade, we’ve got some options for you.


Buy A Windows 7 License: OEM, Retail, Or Second Hand

In a previous article on how to obtain a legal copy of Windows 7, we recommended you to look into online retailers or second-hand options. Be extra careful with the former. Retailers are no longer permitted to hand out OEM versions What Are OEM Products and Why Are They Cheaper? OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer. Should you buy OEM products, or is there a catch that'll set you up for trouble? Read More for Windows 7 Starter or Home editions. Moreover, if you don’t want to violate the terms of service, OEM licenses are off limits for personal use for all editions of Windows 7!

Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 system builder software does not permit personal use, and is intended only for preinstallation on customer systems that will be sold to end users.

If you do find a cheap and legitimate offer for a standard retail copy, whether it’s a second-hand consumer (Home) or first-hand business (Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate) edition, render yourself lucky.

Boxed Copies of Windows 7

Buy A Computer With Windows 7 Pre-Installed

In the aforementioned article, we also recommended to buy a new computer that comes pre-installed with Windows 7. Since the consumer edition has been retired, you will soon only be able to find computers that come with Windows 7 business editions.

If you cannot or don’t want to afford business grade hardware, we recommend looking into the second hand market for a Windows 7 retail license or computer. Your options include eBay, eBay classifieds, Craigslist and any local classifieds service or paper. You should also look into dedicated online computer auctions Computer Auctions And Why eBay May Not Be Your Only Option For most of us it's the only online auction site that matters, but if you're browsing through ebay to find great deals on computers, you may be better off using an alternative auction platform. Read More for a bargain.


Dell Computer Auction

Transfer Your Current Windows 7 License Or Installation To A New Computer

If you previously bought a Windows 7 retail version, you can use that license to install Windows 7 on a new computer. You can also move your old Windows installation to a new computer Upgrading Hardware? Tips For Moving Your Windows Installation Without Having To Reinstall Cringe at the thought of having to re-install Windows? Upgrading PC hardware is exciting, but dealing with your Windows installation can become an issue. Here are your options for keeping your current Windows setup. Read More , provided you have a proper license. If your computer came with Windows 7 pre-installed, you most likely own an OEM license, which cannot be transferred to new hardware.

Note that if you bought a computer that came with Windows 8 Professional, you can downgrade to Windows 7. That, however, requires that you own Windows 7 installation media When Is It OK To Borrow Or Download A Windows Installation Disk Nowadays, most manufacturers no longer ship their computers with installation discs. Instead they deposit a recovery partition on the hard drive or provide software that allows you to create your own recovery media. Now what... Read More and a valid Windows 7 license.

Get Windows 7 Via Microsoft DreamSpark [No Longer Available]

If you’re a student or work for a university, find out whether your institution has a subscription with Microsoft’s DreamSpark programme (formerly MSDN Academic Alliance Get The Best Retail Software For FREE As A Student Read More ). Students and employees of participating institutions can get Microsoft software for cheap or even free. If you’re lucky, this still includes Windows 7 (it used to).


Microsoft DreamSpark

Alternatives To Windows 7

Microsoft has not yet determined the end of sales for Windows 7 Professional and sales probably won’t end before Windows 10 is released in mid / late 2015. It’s very clear, however, that mainstream support for Windows 7 will end on January 13, 2015. Extended support is expected to last until January 14, 2020. While Windows 7 remains the most popular Windows version, it’s time to let loose.

Since holding on to Windows 7 will become only harder, you’ll have to look for alternatives. This is what we suggest:

How Will You Replace Windows 7?

Many people are excited about Windows 10, but it won’t be released until next year. Meanwhile, you can install the preview versions, but you shouldn’t use a Windows Preview as your main operating system Why The Windows 10 Technical Preview Should Not Be Your Main OS If you think Windows 10 is a keylogger, you know nothing about the purpose of a Technical Preview. That's OK because we're here to explain. Read More . There’s rumors that Windows 8 users will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, but Microsoft hasn’t confirmed anything.


If you’re in the market for a new computer and want to avoid Windows 8, your best bet is to buy a computer that comes with Windows 7 Professional, hold out until Windows 10 is released, or dual boot Linux Tired Of Windows 8? How To Dual Boot Windows & Ubuntu If you discover that Windows 8 isn't quite your cup of tea, and you have no feasible path to downgrade, it may be a good idea to dual boot with Linux to have an alternative... Read More . Keep in mind though that new hardware comes with novel features that won’t immediately be available to Linux and much less to Windows 7 users. Eventually, you’ll want to use that touchscreen and then what?

What will you do once you need to replace your current Windows 7 device?

Related topics: Buying Tips, Software Licenses, Windows 7.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anonymous
    September 21, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    ALERT, please do not buy anything from This is a fraudulent site with many many reports of being ripped off and illegal charges against customers bank cards.

    • Tina Sieber
      September 21, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Thank you for the heads-up, David. I removed the respective comment.

  2. Nicole
    February 22, 2015 at 4:09 am

    I agree with you @Joe, especially because I don't see myself trading Windows 7 for anything else. I'd stick with Win 7, even if it kills me. So bookmarking this post.

  3. Joe
    December 14, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Stupid. Why phase out Windows 7 before Windows 10 is out for sale. It still won't make people rush out to but Windows 8.

    • Lora
      June 16, 2017 at 8:43 am

      Guys can try to search saveekey on google, it will not let you down.

  4. HWCount
    December 2, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Ubuntu and other packages I've used worked great. The GUI's on par with Win and most of the apps work the same or better. But, and it's a game killer for me, the pro office software. Last time I checked.

    The free software that comes with these packages can't handle the complex formatting, sheer tag volume, and numerous graphics of neither Word nor Framemaker. It's not even up to Word 6 muscle-wise.

    I'd kick Windows in the curb if a decent writing program came along that was designed something other than memos and resumes.

    • Anonymous
      August 30, 2015 at 2:21 am


      This is the best free OpenOffice branch out there and consist of much newer features. I tmight be enough for you.

      CrossOver or Wise
      It is hard to find software that can compare with the software you are used to. Visualizing Windows behavior might be the solution for you. To keep things in a Desktop like environment you might prefer CrossOver/Wine. Wine is the free version of the same software, but might suffer from not being so easy to use (I haven't tried it).

    • Steve
      February 20, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      have you tried I love it.

  5. Bob Forrest
    November 22, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    I'm a part time tech for seniors who are using windows xp to replace it I have been looking at refurbished windows 7 computers , they are great at around $200.00 each ( Montreal Canada prices) they come with a windows refurbished disc from microsoft brown and green and you can get a warranty that beats new machines .
    I install , update then tweak to level two of tweakhound (see his site ) and my clients are in business Bob F.

  6. frank
    November 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Just as a reminder: *DO NOT* use Windows 10 as your regular OS. Being a tech preview (i.e. a *test edition* for tech-savvy people), Microsoft *explicitly* states in the TOS that Win 10 at this stage collects all sorts of usage information and sends it home in order to improve on the OS. That includes *every input you make*. I’m not here to diss Windows, I just want to remind you.

    And while we’re at it: I’m also a Linux dude, been there for 8 years now (Gentoo). I do dual-boot with Win7, but only for gaming. Regarding the confusion thanks to the plethora of Linux distros and which may be best suited for *you*: it comes down to the user interface. The problem nowadays (which kind-a bothers me as a Linux-savvy user) is that a distro is mostly identified by its GUI. What many people don’t see: it doesn’t matter. You can install (almost) every GUI in (almost) every distribution. What runs underneath is for the most part identical – every distro has a package manager, some kind of system service management, network organisation, printing, encryption, and basically the same kernel drivers. The only varying degree of Newbie-friendliness in the installer, e.g. to set up home partition encryption and how much is installed by default.

    • Tina
      November 16, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      Thanks Frank. As I wrote in my previous article on why Windows should not be your main OS, Microsoft is very clear about what they're logging and it's not everything. The Technical Preview comes with a Privacy Statement that reveals exactly what is being monitored:

      When you acquire, install and use the Program, Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage.

      Of course they are recording more data than some people will be comfortable with and that's perfectly fine.

  7. Luis A Ramos Jr
    November 16, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I have using Win 7 since I upgraded from Vista. I have tried to use Linux but find myself going back to 7. I have another laptop that has 8 on it.

    • Tina
      November 17, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      What do you think of Windows 8, Luis?

      Have you tried Windows 10, yet? The Technical Preview is available for free.

    • Luis A Ramos Jr
      November 20, 2014 at 3:56 am

      Hello Tina
      I have only been using Windows 8 for three days now and I like it. I will wait until Microsoft come out with the final version of Windows 10.

  8. Jason Bassett
    November 13, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Well before April 2014 when Microsoft ended product support for Microsoft Windows XP, my company (based in the UK) started offering Ubuntu Linux installations for 'select' home and business clients. We assessed what software and hardware was being used on Microsoft Windows XP and suggested Ubuntu Linux for those clients where we were able to achieve the same or greater productivity. Often leaving Microsoft Windows XP installed as a dual boot option, just in case is was ever required for a quick task.

    We have had nothing but positive comments from the clients, over 6 months on. One household has even had us replace their Microsoft Windows Vista laptop installation taking them to three computers now running Ubuntu. Comments such as "We are no longer scared of using our computer" is just an example of what we are told when we followed up with the clients. The age range of clients is from 40-80.

    We have had some issues with printer/scanner devices not working on Ubuntu Linux, but in most cases clients have opted to just replace their old printer/scanner with a more modern Ubuntu Linux capable model - realising that long term it will be cheaper than having us constantly maintaining and repairing their Microsoft Windows installation.

    Most of the clients use their computers for Internet access, email, managing photos from digital cameras, spreadsheets and word processing. In some cases our business clients have required Microsoft Windows based appointment booking systems etc. which have functioned perfectly fine under Wine with no fuss. In all cases, the computers are functioning a lot faster than they previously did under Microsoft Windows.

    I can't wait for Micrsosoft to release their next iteration of their Operating System, it is great for my business of configuring and supporting Linux systems!

  9. victor
    November 13, 2014 at 9:27 am

    hi fellows. question? i am a 3d artist and use Maya, 3ds max and the pretty lot. i am usually very suspicious of upgrading to a new OS. i was forced to upgrade to win 7 from win xp when i tried to format my pc. i didn't like it initially so i tried to go bac to win xp which it couldn't let me. i tried my hand at windows 8 and i think it may as well be the worst os in pc history. if i switch to linux mint as recommended can i still run those software's on it? thanks in advance

  10. Mel Milner
    November 12, 2014 at 12:42 am

    I've been using Linux for 14 years. It has come on in leaps and bounds in recents years and I hate going back to windoze. I rarely use the command line, but it's there if I need to use it. (Used to do a lot of Unix tech support.)

    It is fast, user friendly and doesn't interfere with your workflow like windoze insists on doing all the time.

    Oh, and like has been stated you can do a full Linux install with all of it's supporting software (drivers, office software, web browsers, email clients, etc.) in 20-30 minutes on decent modern hardware.

    Oh, and it's free and regularly updated!

  11. michael clyde
    November 11, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    @ lott,
    Should have gone with your first instinct.

    michael clyde

  12. lott
    November 10, 2014 at 3:50 am

    i was going to bypass this post, but then i sayed to my self what the heck.
    So here is my 2 cents wurth.
    i don't know how people say that windows is simple to use and install.
    You have to spend at list 20 minutes booting on and off to install windows then installing drivers for another 20 to 40 minutes.
    2 hours to install all the other software, now all of the windows updates for at least 3 hours more.
    The most you would need in a linux install is 20 minutes, and that includes updates if you inable updates at install.
    The thing to remenber with linux is to plug every thing at install, for the drivers that are needed to be install.
    Just use a simple application call cheese that will enable any camera USB or with USB interface.
    Most linux out of the box, will install most things that you may need for aevery day use.
    Like office suite , media players, burning software, tar / zip, photo / audio edditting software, &on & on on.
    All of this in one shot, can you say the same for windows & or OSX .
    Sorry for the OSX fan boys, but you are limitted to the only software the apple tells you can be installed.
    Windows tell you that you can use any software as long as they have drivers and controlers.
    But windows does the same as OSX.
    how many times does your new audio card come with some fun software, to find that windows disables it.
    The excuse is of comparability with windows, so forget using that cool software.
    And on that bit of software for linux, for most applications there are at leasdt 3 vercions.
    And what distro to use just go to distrowatch or linux org, and find what is more likely to your needs.
    There is something for everyone, with the others its there way or the highway.
    To day we can say, soon we will not even need windows for gaming thanks to steam.
    And on to the last bit hard to use, so you are not a geek well most user are not geeks.
    The common user that took the time to read and ask for help on the forrums.
    Them started to experiment and to go be on user to developers.
    I have set up linux PC'S for students from 4 to 18 years old.
    Do know witch were the ones that complaint the older ones.
    And the funniest thing is i have done the same from 30 to 92 years old.
    And the ones that complaint are the ones 30 to 47 years old, it is allways the the ones on the comfort zone that have viccared.
    And on to the last 2 points, does linux get virus yes.
    But unlike windows that depends for patches and anti malware, anti virus, and on & on.
    Linux get patch with in days not months, all software has weak points but some more than others.
    And last but not least can you try a live version of windows or OSX no.
    Most Linux can be use in a live vercion with out installing, if you do not like it just download another one.

  13. Rocky
    November 9, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    For years I built my own home PC's, went to local computer shows bought all the parts, assembled then installed a windows OS.

    I made the mistake of buying a off the shelf PC with win8 reinstalled HATE IT!

    If I had it to do over again I would have boxed up the store bought PC and returned it for a full refund then built my own and installed Windows 7 I could have had 2x the PC for the same cost, lesson learned cooler heads always prevail and impulse buys are not always the way too go.

    Linux Mint will be installed on this store bought machine soon as the new HD arrives, lesson learned is if I have to learn something new like windows 8 I am switching to Linux, this family has been loyal Microsoft customers since DOS and Windows 3.0 Windows 8 was the straw that broke the camels back or in this case drove us away from MS for good.

  14. Bob
    November 9, 2014 at 8:30 am

    I have been using Windows for a long time not a fan but for practical reasons. When my system went on the fritz I installed linux mint on an old box that I had and as others have said it worked straight away. I needed a print in a hurry and hadn't installed the printer - was expecting another 15+ minutes messing around with install disks. Did a quick search and found the solution - about 30 seconds installing drivers!

    I am getting more and more impressed with linux, probably the majority of users who only require internet browsing and office facilities (available with libre office or open office) would find the switch really easy. As others have said there seem to be lots of alternative software for linux that are equivalents for windows programs.

    And linux is free unless you want to buy a disk as are most of the programs I have found.

    For older systems I have been using a linux called MX14 which is very light on resources - the only thing I don't like is the browser but you can change it to firefox.

    Like windows there are many forums relating to linux - you just ask the right question. And as for command line instructions (although I am trying to learn) very often you can cut and paste from advice web pages - problem solved.

  15. michael clyde
    November 9, 2014 at 6:48 am

    If you have to download, then install and then reboot for the av update to be functional you should consider trying a different A/V program. I can't remember the last time I had to do any of that. I've been using Avira Free for probably 7 years or so.
    Don't let yourself be fooled into thinking Linux is not susceptible to malware. Just like Mac's, Linux systems can easily be infected but, at this point in time the profit margin isn't there for the guys writing the code... yet.

    michael clyde

  16. A41202813GMAIL
    November 9, 2014 at 4:37 am

    ( Some Rhetorical Questions )

    Do You Know A Company Called DIGITAL RIVER ? - There Is A WIKIPEDIA Article About Them.

    Anyway, M$ Is Their Client And Uses Them For Software Downloading.

    XP Downloads Were Never Distributed By Them ( ? ).

    VISTA Downloads Were Discontinued A Long Time Ago ( ? ).

    But, W7 Is Still There - I Checked.

    All You Need Is A Valid RETAIL Or VOLUME Key - OEM Keys Do Not Work ( ? ).



    ( Five Years And Counting )


    • s0lj0n
      January 13, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      Hello, "A41202813GMAIL".
      You wrote:
      "OEM Keys Do Not Work ( ? )".
      The last time I reinstalled Windoz 7 HP 64-bit OEM,
      I used a Digital River download, w/ my OEM product key.
      Just sayin'.

      Have a GREAT day, Neighbor!

  17. Gregg
    November 9, 2014 at 2:31 am


    You forgot the most obvious option which is the path I took when my ultrabook wouldn't perform with the WIndows 8 upgrade. I bought a MacBook Air.


  18. analogtek
    November 8, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    A lot of talk of linux here. Is this a windows commantery or a linux advocate commantery. I left ms in 2000, total cold turky change. I never looked back. It has been more happy joy joy using linux that all my year's using dos then moving to windows.

  19. michael clyde
    November 8, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    "second-hand options"

    Did something change¿ It used to be when you fired up a Windows install disk you had to agree to bunch or 'TERMS', some of which were agreeing not to give away, (re)sell, change to make better for yourself, backwards engineer, leave to your grandma etc... before you could proceed with the installation. Has this changed? If not, how do you legally pursue these "second-hand options"?

    michael clyde

  20. bard
    November 8, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    If you already have a hard copy of the install disk, but no more serials (bought the 3-install family pack), there are ways to legally extend the trial period for 180 days plus.

    Useful if you are installing it to play the *one* game that will not work on 8, or test /stress hardware.

    Updates etc will still happen and who knows after the time period you may want to upgrade and you have a Windows install in place.

  21. RealNeil
    November 8, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    All of my PCs have either Win-7 or Zorin Ultimate Linux 64 Bit. (except for one that has the Win-10 preview on it)
    Zorin is a great alternative to Windows software and as others have said, you can do anything with it that you can do with Windows. (except some games)

    As for the Win-10 preview, I like it a lot. If Microsoft makes it free, or very inexpensive, I'll use it on all of the PCs. If they charge a bundle for it, I'll pass on it.
    My Win-10 issues are small. One that bothers me is that when I change the width of the taskbar on the bottom of my 27" screen, (and save it) it's back to stock settings when I reboot the system. So every time I use it, I have to redo the settings I like . It's a PITA.

  22. Charles
    November 8, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Eventually, you'll want to use that touchscreen... then what?
    Ubuntu already supports touch screens.
    Windows 10's major innovation is putting BACK the freaking start menu, touchscreen, and being able to copy and paste into the command line... all of which Linux can do. It took Microsoft 20 years to steal something from Linux, that you could do from the terminal from the get go. Oh my god, now I have to get Windows 10.

    • Adrian
      November 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      LOL...well said.

    • Tina
      November 10, 2014 at 10:30 am

      Note how I wrote in the previous sentence: Keep in mind though that new hardware comes with novel features that won’t immediately be available to Linux and much less to Windows 7 users.

      My point was, Linux won't immediately support novel hardware developed for a new version of Windows and old versions of Windows are even less likely to ever support them.

      Admittedly, touchscreens were a bad example. Windows 7 does support multi-touch and previous versions of Windows supported touch.

  23. Taylor
    November 8, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I have windows 10, windows 8.1, and Mac Tri-boot on my laptop.

    With windows 8.1 the problem I have that's the most annoying is the apps won't stay running when I switch apps.

    Windows 10 is awesome as far as a preview goes, but I think they need to step up the notifications and some of the apps have issues with my resizing their windows.

    The only problem I have with Mac (10.8) is my laptop doesn'thave a supported WiFi chip so I have to use a USB stick to go online with my Hackintosh.

  24. tosim
    November 8, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    After playing around, very slightly, for several years with various Linux distros, 5 years ago I made the switch to Linux Mint. I am running it on all my computers, and have installed it on many of my friends' computers. All have been completely satisfied with it. With well over 30000 (yes, thirty thousand), free programs available, you can easily find one to match almost every Windows program, and then some.

  25. Stu Mountjoy
    November 8, 2014 at 6:08 am

    I found it surprising that a computer (given to me) had a Release Candidate of Windows XP on it, for re-install. No activation required. But I thought only BETA testers were given that, not domestic market customers.

    • Tina
      November 8, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      So you're using Windows XP?

    • Stu Mountjoy
      November 8, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      Yes, but I also volunteer in a small computer club (Senior Net, LOL) in Upper Hutt, New Zealand - and they have (so far) half their "shop" running Win 7, and two laptops running Win 8.1 - doing a presentation on "alternatives to Windows XP" on Tuesday afternoon.

  26. Scott Gibboney
    November 8, 2014 at 5:32 am

    Just another ruse to take the money and run :( ,,,,, Seriously ready to make the jump to ubuntu for good :) ( So long blood suckers ! )

  27. CityguyUSA
    November 8, 2014 at 4:13 am

    This is just bullying people into upgrading and I'm just fine using Windows 7. I really don't see the need for a touchscreen desktop. Unless constant screen cleaning is the order of the day.

  28. Col. Panek
    November 8, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Zorin has options to make it look and feel like Windows 7, 8, or XP (or Mac), and it's smooth and polished with all the security advantages over Windows. There are other "easy" distros (Mint, Ubuntu, openSuSE), and there are a half dozen or so desktops so you can get the look you like. Stay away from the geeky distros that are for customizing for speed or utility.

    Don't forget that you can run most Windows programs on Linux using the Wine app.

  29. x64.bits
    November 8, 2014 at 12:44 am

    I been using linux mint 17 for a while and simply love it. All my devices work out of the box such as Webcam, Printer,Wireless mouse etc . i have never had to pop out a driver disk to this date.
    Within practically minutes am off and running.
    No more spinning icon waiting for internet explorer to load or respond, No worries about viruses, and i still able to run some of my favorite Windows program on wine

    Verses In Windows i have to get virus protection,download updates,then wait till updates get install on pc then reboot pc. In Linux i don't have to do all of this crap

  30. John Williams
    November 8, 2014 at 12:07 am

    I recently went to great lengths to get Win 7 Pro for a couple of custom builds. Then I tried a cheap Win 8.1 x64 N key from Reddit and used Classic Shell to get a Start button on another new build.
    It's very easy to make it look like Win 7, or even XP if you want.

    I tried it on the customer to see if he noticed - it hasn't come back yet! He was absolutely livid about Win 8 and the tiles business, but now he is running 8.1 disguised as 7 and seems to be very happy.

    As Win 7 becomes harder to aquire I'm pretty sure I'm going to be doing this trick for a few more folk until 10 comes out. When 10 does appear I think I'll still wait for 10.1 or a service pack - just in case!

    Incidentally, regarding Linux on a laptop, I put Zorin OS on a Dell Vostro and everything worked straight away - sound drivers, WiFi, even the SD card reader. When I came to put Win 7 on it I then spent the rest of the day getting a huge amount of drivers off the Dell website to get all the functions going.
    Zorin is based on the ubiquitous Ubuntu, so I'm pretty sure that would "just work" on most mainstream laptops.

    • Tina
      November 8, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Ha! We have recommended that trick, too and wrote an article on how to make Windows 8 look like Windows 7. Do you also turn off the Charms bar?

      With Windows 10 it will become harder to make folks believe they're using Windows 7. Microsoft is moving more and more functions into modern apps. Fortunately, these apps run on the desktop, so they're less of a nuisance. And the Start Menu is back of course.

  31. heywood ja blow me
    November 7, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Lol.. torrent windows 7

  32. Michael Gorman
    November 7, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I recall when windows 7 was released I fought against changing from XP, nothing seemed to work properly with W7 and that easy installation of hardware vanished - but over time they finally got W7 working O.K and I have grown to like it a lot - this false linear progression they foist on us is irritating - unless there are paradigm shifting advances they should develop the kernal as far as possible - as i say Windows8 is not a paradigm shift, it merely introduces touch screen technology, which could be spliced into any OS really.

  33. Chuck
    November 7, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Ubuntu is running just fine on my secondary machine. With Microsoft changing software so frequently I may have to make Ubuntu my only operating system.

  34. Paul
    November 7, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    You've got that backwards... Windows 8.1 is a nightmare on desktops.
    Linux is fine for all the right reasons: first, it's free, and second, if it isn't exactly what you want, try another variant. With so many distros and so many desktops to choose from, you've got to find something to please almost everyone.

    • Mark D
      November 9, 2014 at 5:13 am

      I think that is also the problem with Linux. I want to install a desktop system and get work or play done. On the mainstream OS's you have only one choice and it will get it done. On Linux, you have a multitude of choices. I am a newbie... how do I choose? Which one excels at gaming? Which one allows me to do my chosen task efficiently? Which one has all of the, er, 'grey drivers' needed to watch vids or play/rip music? If I do not have anyone with experience to help guide me, I will invariably choose one of the mainstream OS's and pay for simplicity even if the correct Linux distribution gives everything I need for free.

  35. Craig
    November 7, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Thanks for a very complete guide to the options.

    I hope you don't mind but I am curious about an expressions used. How do you "render yourself lucky"? I think I would say "consider yourself lucky" but I have never seen the verb "to render" used in this way.

    • Tina
      November 8, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Consider that a failure of my language skills. :)

    • Neil Whitelaw
      November 8, 2014 at 6:33 pm

      Yeah your not the only one to use "render" in that way. Trust me, it is perfectly ok and most educated people will completely understand what is meant.

  36. 98 Guy
    November 7, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Still running windows 98, on hardware that's only 5 years old. 2 gb ram, several tb sata hard drives. Works great. reading and posting this on a win-98 system, Opera 12.

    • Michael Gorman
      November 7, 2014 at 11:46 pm

      Absolutely, if something works well and fulfills your needs there is no need to keep going up around the curve!

  37. Tony
    November 7, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I'm starting to wonder if maybe Microsoft did something similar to what the video games company GameFreak did with Pokémon X & Y. (Hear me out) GameFreak released X/Y in a whole new format, but with very few new creatures. The game was for of a testing ground for a new system. Maybe Microsoft did a similar approch with Win8 and Win10 is the real new OS. Or maybe I'm entirely wrong.

    • Tina
      November 8, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      Windows 10 sure looks a lot like Windows 8. Kind of like Windows 7 looks a lot like Windows Vista. It does seem like they throw a concept OS on the market, only to re-release an overhauled and more polished version under a new name.

    • Daniel
      February 27, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Yes Tina, but don't forget the $$ brought in for an "unfinished" product that costs again to get what SHOULD have been the actual release product, while the 1st one should really have been a Beta release without charge. People PAID for Vista, ESPECIALLY the OEM group licenses, only to have "stuck" their customers with a buggy soon to be "re-released" as a new version Polished product that now after hitting the OEM groups for their pre-installed license fees not gets many of those end user upgrade fees as well...meanwhile Microshit rakes in profits using the "silenced" (never admits to) marketing technique in order to recover some of the discounts given to OEM groups, while also getting out of the MAJORITY of support responsibility, as ANY end user calling Microshit for support and reads their serial, and get to the section xxxxx-xxxxx-OEM-etc... they will immediately reply;

      "I'm sorry, but that is NOT OUR PRODUCT, but it was bundled or preinstalled on your computer and ALL SUPPORT must come from that MANUFACTURER."

      And if you are lucky they may provide the phone number to HP, Dell, or other support lines, most of which CHARGE A FEE for SOFTWARE support and only give free HARDWARE support.

      The truth of the matter is, people allowed something to go too long and far before attempting to exercise their as much as, due to the lack of READING TERMS when the change occurred from product manufacturers Warranting their products with pride and integrity, to becoming "NO warranties express or implied that this product will perform to any ....etc." We lost control and every other manufacturer adopted this for most new products and devices...that most Cellphone or handsets DO NOT EVEN MENTION IT IS A PHONE AT ALL and skate around it so that no one could hold them accountable for ANY level of functionality, so WHY WOULD THEY PUT MUCH INTO MAKING THEM WORK?? The moment you USE it you agreed to those terms.

      It used to be that companies prided their workmanship enough to build consumer confidence through their EXTENSIVE warranties, and now so many products come without or extremely short ones, and most often this applies to the most expensive types of devices or products.

      Hard to find a Fridge with a 10 year any more, they used to be 20 or more. Why? Because NO ONE MADE A STAND TO DEMAND THEY DO SO OR REFUSED TO SUPPORT THE COMPANY!

      There was one a man named Ralph Nader, and he organized boycotts against companies who were found to misrepresent their products and/or services, and literally got truth in advertising laws put on the books, but now because of complacency, there is not even an active agency enforcing these laws, except for when one company goes after another, but consumers have relinquished most of their right to integrity in the consumer markets. People need to remember who REALLY has the power... Companies cannot exist without US, however we can do fine without MOST OF I ASK...WHO HAS THE POWER??? PLEASE PEOPLE USE IT! Use your VOICE, use your RIGHTS and USE THE LAWS IN PLACE TO PROTECT US ALL!

      Thank you!
      Peace, Love, and all!
      P.S. Sorry if it seems like a rant, but so many miss the larger picture. :-)

    • Daniel
      February 27, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Oops Where is says "not gets many of those...." Should be NOW gets...Thanks!

  38. Yield
    November 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Been using OpenSuSE on desktop since 2009 without hassle, openoffice is pretty much compatible and more resource friendly than MSOffice, with more analysis tools on spreadsheets and databases, all the tools are there, all the languages are there (python/php), media libraries, video players, and next sunday i'm upgrading to the new opensuse 13.2 .

  39. z
    November 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I will never pay for Windows again. There is no need to.

  40. John
    November 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    You need DreamSpark Premium to get Windows 7, but you can get Server 2012 or 2008 via a regular account.

  41. Simon
    November 7, 2014 at 10:01 am

    DreamSpark contains ALL the Microsoft OS from MSDOS 3.0 so I don't see why they would remove it from there. DreamSpark is for testing and training purposes and since it's like 75% of enterprise domains use Win7, I don't see a reason to remove it.

  42. Kevin
    November 7, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Glad the aricle mentioned Linux. I'm using Linux Mint and don't use Windows any more except for one or two app that are not available on Mint (iTunes being one). I would highly recommend Mint. Was an easy install, is very fast and no worries about viruses.

    • davek
      November 9, 2014 at 5:51 am

      I also use Mint. My laptop has a touchscreen and Mint 17 works beautifully on it, touchscreen and all.

  43. Mark D
    November 7, 2014 at 12:28 am

    I, so far, like Windows 10 preview. I am a Windows 7 user and had no experience with 8 or metro (which I hate). That said, using Win 10 with the start menu and live tiles is ok. I will probably be upgrading to Win 10. The windows store is pretty nice also. Just select what you want and it installs, sweet. I've also had no problems with GNU tools so far. Win 10 has a few problems that I have found but I have been able to work around them. I am using it in a virtual machine and it runs fine.

    • Tina
      November 7, 2014 at 8:50 am

      I'm curious - what are the problems you found with Windows 10 and what are your workarounds?

    • pmshah
      November 8, 2014 at 3:31 am

      I have been using Win 7 for several years now and runs flawlessly. I have tried all varieties od win 8, 8.1 and now the 10 Preview. For whatever reason none have installed properly. I have original Intel hardware no older than about a year so any kind of upgrade is out of the question.

      Th big problem with Win 10 that I faced is the fact that one of the logical volumes on the internal drives and one on external USB connected drive are totally inaccessible. Until I can overcome this I am afraid to disturb my Win 7 installation. Funny thing is that after a session in Win 10 when I go back to Win 7 it finds some kind of error on lost of the logical volumes and insists on running chkdsk ! BTW both the operating systems are installed on totally independent partitions.

    • Mark D
      November 8, 2014 at 7:45 am

      Some examples that I haven't found work arounds for are getting rid of deleted folders from the frequent folders list in File Explorer or an application's tendency to always open in full screen mode no matter how one configures the application. I will have to find my notes for other issues; most of them are small and are UI issues (except for my hating the current flat window design... I cannot tell one window from the next). At least aero peek works :|

    • Vicky
      November 8, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      Me too Mark. I like it much better than 8.1. It is like a marriage of 7 and 8.1...

    • Mark D
      November 9, 2014 at 5:25 am

      That is why almost everywhere in the preview, MS recommends that Win10 be installed on spare hardware or a virtual machine. This prevents the complications suggested above. I have it running on a virtual machine under Win7 using VirtualBox. It is free, easy to set up, runs fine, and most importantly, sandboxes your hardware so if Win10 has problems it does not propagate the problem to your actual hardware. I have had to reinstall Win10 several times due to various problems. Win10 is still, uh, experimental software with a lot of bugs yet.

  44. likefunbutnot
    November 6, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    If your hardware is relatively in line with what the TonyMacx86 people are/were doing, OS X might also be an option. Hackintoshes are a PITA to get running on arbitrary hardware and I'd argue the benefits over and above something like Mint or OpenSuSE are dubious, but it might be an option. A retail copy of Snow Leopard on DVD costs all of $30 and will allow an upgrade to Yosemite once it's up and running.

    Also, don't count OEM re-installs out entirely. It's my experience that Microsoft usually allows "vanilla" OEM licenses, those not specifically sold to a tier-1 vendor like Dell, HP or Acer, to be re-activated at least one time. I've never been refused an activation by phone, either.

    • Tina
      November 7, 2014 at 8:49 am

      Good to know that an OEM license can theoretically be reactivated. Should be possible anyway because a hard drive, including the recovery partition, can die and then what? You're lucky if you have recovery media.

      I wonder whether Microsoft knows which hardware part was replaced when you try to reactivate the OS over the phone. Does the code reveal it?

    • likefunbutnot
      November 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      The numeric string generated during product activation includes information about specific hardware:

      Display adapter
      SCSI adapter
      IDE adapter
      Network adapter MAC address
      RAM amount
      Processor type and serial number
      Hard drive device and volume serial number
      Optical drive

      Since disk and network controllers most likely follow motherboard, changing that is normally enough to trigger Activation, even if no other components change. I can also say that multiple changes in the same category, other than motherboard, don't seem to trigger activation, which is why PC hobbyists don't have much to complain about.

  45. firstclass
    November 6, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    I have replaced Windows 7 with Windows 8.1. Linux is a nightmare on desktop.

    • Tina
      November 7, 2014 at 8:44 am

      What makes Linux a nightmare on a desktop computer? Or what makes it better on a laptop?

    • Raider T. Raider
      November 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Linux is only a nightmare if you do not understand it.... I have been using it successfully for over 2 years now, I find it to be more stable than windows and I can obtain software for virtually any task required.

    • Mark D
      November 8, 2014 at 8:10 am

      One good thing about linux is that is tends to use far fewer resources (cpu, mem,etc) than the current 'mainstream' desktop OS. That allows one to run a nice desktop system that performs as well or better on older/lesser machines and makes new hardware scream. It is too bad that more folks won't give it a try (Linux Mint, for example). I think, given the current distributions, you probably will not even have to use the shell, uh command line, anymore. It has come a long way from the '40 diskette' days of my first linux installs :) Also, people tend not to know that Mac OS X is *nix (BSD).

    • Lee
      November 8, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      I have been using Linux more recently, to the point where I would use it as my primary OS except for one program that needs to run on Windows (a camera I have that I use for classes only has Windows drivers).

    • davek
      November 9, 2014 at 5:49 am

      I've been using Linux since I left Windows 98 and haven't looked back. My middle son took 6 months to figure out he wasn't running Windows. What's so hard about Linux? It installs easier than Windows; you don't have to search for drivers; it comes with the best office suite and other productive software; network access is set up automatically in most cases, and the list goes on. Not to mention, it's free, along with 99% of the software it uses. I'm using Linux Mint 17 on all our desktops at home, and on my 15" Asus laptop (and the touchscreen works flawlessly).

    • George Monroe
      November 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Linux is a nightmare?
      Funny, after trying to set up home network printing through windows, I realized how incredibly easy Linux is.
      And after hacking my buddies password protected windows machine in less than 5 minutes I was was glad I started using Linux as my daily driver.

    • Fred
      November 11, 2014 at 12:25 am

      Linux is not a nightmare. It's easier to install, uses far less resources and has most of the software you need free and a couple clicks to install. I've installed in on a number of Windows peoples computers and none has had any serious issues adjusting including my mostly computer illiterate mother.

    • Circlestrafe
      March 12, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Windows isn't a nightmare either. I have over 1,000 games that I've installed and played and/or am currently playing, numerous video, photo, productivity, audio... pretty much anything and everything one uses a computer for, working on my Windows system. Right now I'm watching a movie, listening to a Network+ training video, writing this stupid reply, running a TechNet Virtual lab, and playing one of my games on Steam. I have Origin open, Uplay, Google+, and 42 tabs in Chrome.

      So, why the hell should I switch to Linux?

    • Tina
      March 12, 2015 at 10:42 am

      Not a stupid reply at all! Thanks for sharing how you use your Windows machine and emphasizing how versatile it is. Absolutely no need to switch to Linux if it works for you!

      Of course Linux can do all of the above and game support is steadily increasing as well and some people were badly disappointed by Windows. Just remember, everyone has different experiences and thus preferences. :)

    • phil
      March 14, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      Circlestrafe, No one is telling you to nor cares if you switch to Linux..
      would hate to think what having all that stuff open on windows would look like though, so good to have virtual desktops standard in almost every Linux environment