Updating To Windows 10 For Fun And Profit: Make Those OEM Keys Go Further

Microsoft seems to have an every-other-version curse. We’re not sure how much of this is confirmation bias, but consider the track record of releases. Windows 95 was game-changing, Windows 98 famously crashed during live demo. Windows 2000 was amazing, Windows ME has been nicknamed the “Mistake Edition”. XP was the workhorse of the world for years and years, and Vista was… well, it was Vista. Windows 7 is the current reigning champion of desktop installs, and Windows 8 was the version that put a touchscreen interface on desktops. The “curse” is probably an example of finding patterns just because we’re looking for them, but the stats do show a large crowd clinging to Windows 7.

Windows 10 made a name for itself by automatically installing itself on Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers, much to the annoyance of many unexpecting “victims” of that free upgrade. Several years have gone by, Windows 10 has gotten better, and support for Windows 7 ends in January. If you’re tied to the Windows ecosystem, it’s time to upgrade to Windows 10. It’s too bad you missed out on the free upgrade to Windows 10, right?

About that… It’s probably an unintended side effect, but all valid Windows 7 and Windows 8 keys are also valid Windows 10 keys. Activation is potentially another issue, but we’ll get to that later.

What Exactly Do They Mean by OEM License?

Microsoft has finally come to their collective senses: Windows install ISOs are available for download. There are only 2 ISOs, 32 bit and 64 bit. Both images support home and professional versions, and the right version is installed based on the Windows key provided.

Speaking of versions, let’s talk about the different Windows versions. Not the difference between home and professional, but what is meant by an OEM license. Take a look at Windows 10 Pro on Amazon. Right now I see Windows 10 Professional for $184.99, and a Windows 10 Professional OEM for $113. What’s the difference? The packaging may look different, calling Microsoft Support might be a different experience, but the main difference is that an OEM key is locked to the computer it is first installed on.

How do computer upgrades work with an OEM key? The Ship of Theseus is a useful thought experiment. Taken directly from the Wikipedia article:

If it is supposed that the famous ship sailed by the hero Theseus in a great battle has been kept in a harbour as a museum piece, and as the years went by some of the wooden parts began to rot and were replaced by new ones then, after a century or so, all of the parts had been replaced. The question then is if the “restored” ship is still the same object as the original.

If it is then supposed that each of the removed pieces were stored in a warehouse, and after the century, technology developed to cure their rotting and enabled them to be put back together to make a ship, then the question is if this “reconstructed” ship is still the original ship. And if so, then the question also regards the restored ship in the harbour still being the original ship as well.

How much of a computer’s hardware can you upgrade and still consider it the same computer? Rather than wrestle with such a philosophical question for every instance, Microsoft has opted for a simple rule. A new motherboard constitutes a new computer.

So where does that leave us? First, you can go download a Windows 10 ISO, burn it to a DVD, and do a free upgrade right now from Windows 7 or 8. Boot into Windows as normal, and then run the setup executable from the DVD. Follow the prompts to start the upgrade. The installer will copy everything it needs to the hard drive and reboot the machine. After the install finishes, Windows will go through the activation process again, and activation should succeed.

Something about the free upgrade process forces Microsoft to treat this Windows 10 activation as a new computer activation. Because every Windows 7/8 key is eligible for the free upgrade, this means that you can do a full hardware rebuild, motherboard included, and use your Windows 7 OEM key to install Windows 10, and activation should succeed. Do note that this will work only once. Once you’ve used your free upgrade, that Windows key is once again locked, and out of additional activations.

Give Windows The Old Switcheroo

There is one more trick worth mentioning. You may be familiar with the challenge of upgrading hardware on an existing Windows install. It’s not uncommon for booting with the new hardware to trigger a BSOD before the desktop even loads. The Windows 10 upgrade process has the side-effect of re-installing all the hardware drivers, making it a perfect time for that hardware upgrade. The timing on this is a little tricky. You need to run the setup off the Windows 10 disk and wait for the setup files to finish copying over. When the setup program reboots to start the actual installation, pull the power plug before the drive starts to boot again. You may find it useful to first turn off quiet boot in BIOS. The window for interrupting the process is narrow, but success gives you a hard drive with all your existing data and programs, ready to install Windows 10 on next boot. Rebuild the hardware with all the changes you’d like to make, and boot off that hard drive. Windows 10 will install the proper drivers, just like a fresh install, and the Windows 7 key should activate without any issues.

It’s time to face the music, and upgrade from Windows 7. If you just can’t stomach Windows 10, at least there are options. Open Shell is the open source successor to Classic Shell, and many find it to smooth the rough edges. Alternatively, maybe it’s time to look at Linux? We’re still holding out hope that the Year of the Linux Desktop™ is coming. Or for those willing to go over to the dark side, there is that other Unix derived desktop OS you could use. In any case, stay secure out there.

214 thoughts on “Updating To Windows 10 For Fun And Profit: Make Those OEM Keys Go Further

    1. So Windows will damage your BIOS requiring it to be flashed again? Bricked means the device needs firmware intervention. If Windows does not boot your device is not “bricked”.

      1. You could say that a software system is bricked, though. Just like a hardware device, it can become broken to the point that you can’t reasonably fix it. Hope you have a recent backup, or you can repair a filesystem by hand!

      2. I actually had a windows 10 update brick a computer. I bought a refurbished laptop off ebay that came with a BIOS password. When intel released fixes for spectre and meltdown they made a BIOS update a mandatory part of windows update. To update the BIOS required the password we didn’t have. There was no way to get past this. It was booting directly into the password prompt.

          1. I miss the old days of being able to wipe a BIOS via a jumper on the mobo or by taking the CMOS battery out and shorting the terminals together.

            Was so much simpler back then

          2. As Scoldog says, the old days it was easier.
            However, the change was based upon security issues, (Real or imagined)
            Rumors exist about a “Secret” bios password available only by advanced support request from a major commercial client.
            When I get one, I flip it quickly and cheap.

          3. Many of them you still can, I was actually freaking amazed when I found a laptop with that sort of system on of circa 2010 vintage, since they started that crap in the early noughties on laptops.

          4. At least for Dell, there are utilities that recompute a permanently builtin secret password given the service tag. I used one to get back into a mini notebook and fix it for someone ~6 yrs ago.

      1. I’ve been using it on my new home gaming machine this year, and it’s my best W10 experience yet. One monthly update, fast boot and shutdown, no bloat at all. If you just want one copy, a ‘trick’ you can use is to buy LTSC and 4 copies of Microsoft Identity Manager at ~$9 each. That satisfies the 5-license-minimum requirement of LTSC – it just has to be any 5 MS licenses.

        1. I agre. LTSC is best W10. Less anoying but for playing with my toys or legacy HW is W7 still way better. For example unsigned driver. In W7 no problem. I can make exception for that driver. In W10 it works until restart. No pernament exception. So I dissabled driver signature check at boot and that hw worked again. But games with easy anticheat stopped working. So plan is change identifiaction of W7 to recive extended support service packs. But legal way hot to get W10 LTSC is way too complicated. I was thinking about give try to ebay sellers. From my standpoint I would have proof of purchase. So I would be in “safe” zone. Any experience?

  1. Do what I do. Run Windows in a VM. The only safe way to run Windows in inside a VM. It actually runs better, because MSFT software runs better on simpler hardware, and can’t damage your real hardware or files. keep everything on a NAS and only give Windows access to what it really needs.

    Backing up the computer is as simple as copying a single file. Same goes for restoring.

      1. Eh, it’s not so crazy nowadays to use a bare-metal hypervisor and PCI-passthrough to get direct access to the graphics card. Linus Tech Tips somehow managed 10 gamers on a single machine with some crazy hardware.

    1. Thank you “Bill Gates”.

      Agree since yonks with a Virtual Machine for Windows (and everything else really).

      But what do you run as the HOST operating system? Windows? XP? NT? 10? A bit of chicken and egg.

  2. I upgraded to windows 10 and its improved security found a virus that had been evading win7 — and all of the commercial virus scanning tools. (In fact it was a persistent virus in the BIOS) As much as I HATE change for the sake of change, the improved security may be worth it.

      1. the virus is called “Windows”. It can:

        -deauthenticate your license
        -delete your files
        -report/steal data and transmits to third parties.
        -has a known keylogger
        -delete installed software

        there is a cure, it’s called “Linux Mint v19.2” and it’s free!

        unlimited licenses!
        no keys!
        no activation!
        no spyware!
        no telemetry!

  3. Make sure to backup everything; the upgrade fails about twice as often as windows updates fail…and windows updates fail about 25% of the time. At this point I’m wiping my laptop twice a year because that’s the only way to get the updates to install and there’s no good way to stop a failed update from retrying short of just blocking all the Microsoft IP addresses. This is a Dell laptop that came with Windows 10 BTW, so not like it’s some oddball hardware that they wouldn’t think of when testing.

    So yeah, Windows 10 is basically free…and it’s overpriced.

    As for my desktop, it has the fastest CPU ever to support Windows 7 and it will be staying on Windows 7 for a long time because I have some 5-figure software that needs a 5-figure upgrade to work on windows 10, and windows 10 support is really all you get for the money. Plus, Windows 7 just works really well still. I don’t need to reinstall every 6 months!

      1. i think the checkmate is that most people aren’t going to pay through the nose to get the security updates and keep our beloved Win7 past Jan 14 of 2020. shutup10, openshell and some other tools might make this switch more tolerable. any other suggestions of software or tactics anybody?

        1. Linux and wine, as well as VMs, have been helpful for me. When that fails, I have a copy of Windows 10 LTSB with as much disabled as possible (non-security updates, fucking ads in the start menu, etc.) for compatibility.

        1. I’ve spent way more time on Windows problems than I have on Linux problems, and I’ve seen both in gnarly states. The idea that Windows machines are easier to sysadmin doesn’t jive with my experience.

          1. That’s funny, because my experience is pretty much the opposite. 90% of Windows issues can be solved with a mouse, while 90% of Linux issues require the command prompt and the learning of countless obscure and obtuse commands.

          2. I have had some installs of linux that were problematic, not recently though. I had a system that would randomly lock up, the next distribution upgrade fixed that, so I figure it was a buggy driver. OTOH, BSOD right after rebooting after the windows install process completed has wasted incredible amounts of time. Win 10 hasn’t caused me those issues (yet, they’re working on it I’m sure).

          3. Me either. I previously used Windows 8/10 for work because everyone acted like it would be the end of the world for the company if I didn’t.

            Laptop decided to update from 8 to 10 when what I really needed to do was give a conference talk. It also had a nasty habit of deciding to update when what I really needed to do was board a plane. Sure, this probably could have been fixed by spending time configuring different parts of the OS, but if I have to do that, I may as well just use Linux.

            Plus, maintenance usually meant reinstalling instead of opening a command line and actually fixing, which was a bit silly. Sure, I could keep OS images but seemed like a lot of unnecessary work for a company of that size (small).

            Now I have my own company. Installed Linux on all workstations. Have spend 3 hours on system maintenance in as many years (I had to replace a laptop battery). A heartfelt thank you to the open source community (including corporate participants)! You are truly a wonder of the modern world.

          1. Chris: Actual when I first instaled W10pro I have to change some setting. What was easily accesible in W7 was in W10 hidden under chain of 10 windows or only via command line. Instaling a preparing Kubuntu on my laptop was copared to this straight forward and easy.

      1. I did also no extra reinstalls for windows 7 for several years on my machines. Only if I did a major HW upgrade it sometimes (rarely) was necessary. And I am speaking of periods of 5 to 8 years. But I think when I upgraded to an SSD, I could use a special software to transfer the existing installation to the new HD.

    1. Also ITT (and every other T): Windows 10 has telemetry, and I don’t know or care to look up what this means so M$ must be reading my documents! So instead of switching to another OS (because if you don’t trust your OS, you’re PWNed by default) I’m going to refuse to use Windows 10 with telemetry and instead use Windows 7 with telemetry! And make some random changes to the registry that break other things and then blame M$ for those changes I made.

      Seriously, if you don’t trust Microsoft then “stay on Windows 7” is moronic.

          1. I still miss my MS mouse made by Razer. After I wore out the switches on my second warranty replacement, they sent me some crappy MS Gaming moustrosity. I desoldered the switches from it and put them in the old mouse and used it for a couple more years.

  4. I’ve successfully activated W10 on machines that were rebuilt and using OEM licenses. It just takes more verification steps, and really isn’t a big deal.

    And I’m going to say something that’s sure to raise a few eyebrows and maybe generate some hate mail:

    Windows 10 is awesome. It’s got its quirks, but so does every Linux distro out there. I use Linux every single day of my life, but on my desktop, W10 reigns king. It Just Works. Yes, updates can be arduous. Yes, it has weird things about it that are frustrating vs how they were in XP. But is Linux immune to such things? One word: systemd. I’m not saying systemd is horrible or anything, just that the same argument that people who hate W10 over XP or 7 is used for people who hate systemd over sysinit. “change for the sake of change is bad!” while ignoring the growth that’s occurred.

    I tried running my ham shack computer on various Linux distros, and while they worked, I didn’t feel like they worked *well*. And because my distro wasn’t supported well by a software maker (JS8Call) I had to wait a long time for updates, or compile it myself. No thanks. Back to W10. Linux won’t make it to the desktop until somebody can just point click install, and have it work without having to drop to a command line, and that experience is pretty hard to get in Linux.

    1. Thank you for championing the unpopular opinion.

      I’ve been using DOS and Windows since 1991. I have at least done a “test drive” on every major version of Windows since V1.0, with the exception of “ME”. Didn’t need a test drive to know that one was a mess.
      No version of Windows is perfect, but none have driven me away from the OS.

      I’ve tried multiple version of Linux, but never found them to my liking. Why not? For all the reasons you point out and more. Also, Windows is very intuitive, in my opinion, compared to Linux which requires prior knowledge or decent Google foo to perform even simple tasks. I have neither, and don’t care to use my limited brain power to learn a new OS that offers no improvements in my use case, especially when I have no need or desire to do so.

      1. When was the last time you used Linux, as most distros allow you to do everything through the GUI. Often, problem solutions found online use the command line, but that is because that is a consistent interface, and it is easy to describe what to do. How to navigate a GUI has dependencies of the desktop installed etc.

        A simple task is only simple is you understand what you are trying to do, and you know what information you need to enter, and the implications of any choices made. Without that knowledge, all a GUI offers is pretty picture to look at, and an opportunity to break the system by making random changes.

        1. I have my first PC in 2000. So in era of 98, Me and 2000. For me Me was better version of 98 with few extra things from 2000. Actualy Me were more stable on my PC than 98. So no bad memories for me. With Linux I am playig for some time bud I havent switched yet. My favorite distros are Kubuntu, Fedora, Suse. Only thing I have problem to find is how to rotate screen for my verticaly mounted monitor on a pc with old graphic card (no oficial drivers).

          1. At least you’re trying something other than *ubuntu, even if the real Linux distros aren’t at the top of the list.

            I remember those rotating monitors, they probably predate EDID, so whatever method they told their Windows driver that the screen had been rotated is probably not going to work with any old video card or X. When I started using Linux, hand-editing the XF86Config file was almost always needed to get X working on a given computer. X.org is better, but if your video card is rare or oddball, so only generic drivers work with it, then going in and editing the xorg.conf file can help. There’s a “Rotate” option that can be added, along with other monitor data, when there’s no EDID identification. This could get your screen orientation to work easily. Otherwise you may need to create a mode just for the tall orientation.

            It takes a bit of study and trial-and-error to get the exact configuration that you want, but you can’t beat the satisfaction you get from being able to do more than hand money to vendors to get your system o work how you want it to work. That’s what hacking is all about, learning how to do things for yourself. It’s the difference between being the owner of your system, and being owned by it.

    2. It’s a PTIA now. We have a machine that was upgraded from 7 to 10. During that you get the updated W10 style of key that programs like Belarc Advisor will find. We upgraded the MB, RAM and CPU in that machine.

      Now you have to have the ORIGINAL W7 key to reactivate. We’re still trying to find the damn boxes from when we built the PC’s with all the W7 keys in them. What a PITA

        1. There are at least some cases where that doesn’t work. I worked on one machine that had a weird upgrade/update history. It ended up with a “generic” Windows 10 key, which was useless when trying to activate.

      1. There is a free bit of software called Magical Jelly Bean that will look at your activated keys in the registry, and returns the original keys, saving having to track down the original packaging.

    3. Same.

      Step 1. add your windows licence to a Microsoft account (i attached mine to a old hotmail account, you can use any email provider these days however).
      Step 2. Reinstall windows 10 fresh.
      Step 3. Sign into Microsoft account, windows 10 activates perfectly fine.
      Step 4. If you hate the fact you now have to sign into windows using your very long secure password. Either disassociate with your Microsoft account, or setup a pin.

      I hated on windows and microsoft for a long while but when the next common system (Ubuntu is my guess but maybe Mint*) also possibly involves reinstalling twice a year because of terrible kernel decisions or unsupported hardware/random new display systems you didn’t want then I can’t really see many people moving away. I actually find it works well enough for the Mrs (and the few times I use it to fire up putty to login to my system) browsing the web that I don’t need to ‘support it’ anymore. Which is awesome.

      1. “Microsoft account” is actually my biggest gripe about the current MS ecosystem. Why in the blue blazes do I have to connect my 11-year old’s Xbox to the same account that I use to manage OSs? And how in the $%$% do I keep work/company stuff separate from personal stuff? And the “Microsoft Store?” Don’t _ever_ put a credit card in one of them or instantly they’re all billing against it.

        1. Oh yeah. And they don’t respect when you’ve “signed out” of the account either.

          This nearly doxed one of my favorite streamers, who had taken pains to sign out of everything and sign into a DIFFERENT microsoft account, but no, the first one still showed up when launching a game. Luckily the caster wasn’t capturing that window at that moment, but it was way too close for comfort.

    4. I would feel the same way about windows’ quirks, except for one major deal-breaker.
      On windows, when an update breaks something, past a certain point you just CAN’T fix it. No hope, and windows support’s solution is going to be “reinstall”.
      On linux, the whole system is laid bare and well-documented (compared to windows– I have a friend who works at M$ and even they have issues finding complete windows internal documentation sometimes). You can pretty transparently make changes to the system and still expect it to work, and you can expect the changes made by updates to be reversible by hand or with package managers.

        1. For somebody with developer-level understanding of Linux, it still can end up being easier to just reinstall than unfuck whatever stupid thing decided to vomit all over the system, especially if an update decides to install a new dependency you were not expecting that doesn’t work with what you already have set up.

      1. Yea, because getting up to speed on my kernel development skills, downloading Linux source code, finding the issue in how many millions of lines of code, fixing it, recompiling the needed files and then patching my install is WAY faster than simply reinstalling.

        I’m sorry, but the (attempted) argument that Linux can’t get so hosed that a reinstall is the best route is absurd. To a hardcore Linux user, maybe that’s technically true, but by the very same token, to a hardcore Windows user, the same is true of Windows. In both cases, for most “normal” users, reinstalls can often be the easiest/fastest fix.

        1. It’s certainly the case that a Linux system can get so hosed you just start over. It’s just rare to get to that point.

          My experience is that it’s way more common to reach that point on a Windows box, particularly due to Windows Updates problems.

        2. Look bud, I’m no genius, and I have been using Linux for more than 10 years.

          Everyone can do it, you just have to be prepared to learn a little bit. It won’t kill you.

          Just take Mint or Lubuntu or Debian. It’s easy …

          Why pay to be spied on? It’s just absurd.

    5. Agree totally. I have serious issues with Windows 10, namely the forced, unprompted updates which have killed overnight 3D renders more times than I care to admit, but 1, that seems to have been largely addressed in the past year, and 2, even with those setbacks, I’m still far, far ahead in terms of lost time than my attempts to use Linux. I’m sorry, I have work to get done, and having to configure shit through editing conf files in vim… jesus, it’s not 1976 anymore for crying out loud.

      I’m not all down on Linux, and I love how easy it is to run it in Windows Subsystem for Linux now. There are a few tasks that are just way easier in Linux (building Micronucleus firmwares for AT Tinys for example), but I don’t foresee being able to use Linux as a primary OS anytime soon. The Linux community just doesn’t seem interested in acknowledging, much less addressing, it’s usability shortcomings. They instead roll out one distro after another differentiated by nothing more than UI skin and default set of pre-installed apps. Visually, it’s become really attractive, but it seems more lipstick on a pig than anything else.

      All just my 2c of course, as opposing comments are the same of their authors. Just thought I’d contribute to the minority opinion here!

      1. Your idea of a usability shortcoming is a feature to us, that’s why no one is acknowledging or addressing it. Config files are easily backed up, diffed, and copied to another machine while settings that are hidden in a nested mess of graphical user interfaces and proprietary databases are none of those. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve had to do a breadth-first traversal of GUI elements to find the magic configuration option to fix whatever option I had to fix on another machine months ago.

        You don’t have to use vim as your editor, either. That is what is great about config files, you can use any text editor of your own preference, even a GUI such as anuta/geany/kate.

        1. worst such issue I ever had to deal with was some windows hardware driver that interjected itself between the system and any removable disk on the system. I never did fix that after many hours of trying, and it rendered the dvd drives unusable. Far too painful to reinstall, so we just lived with it. Fortunately that was before our IT guys got hacked so they locked down everyone’s computer and you can no longer use network file access or remote desktop.

    6. Hackaday could add a private upvote feature just for comments like this. I also use linux frequently, though not every day as I’m not currently paid to use it. But there are some very real reasons to switch to w10. I recently encouraged a friend of mine and long time linux user to try a w10 laptop (a lenovo carbon x1) just for his laptop needs and use visual studio community for his c++ linux development (using remote gdb), he very quickly switched his entire workflow around citing huge productivity gains. Hate windows all you want but their development experience with visual studio is bar none the best. The next time you want to develop a c++ solution on a raspberry pi give visual studio a try.

      1. One problem with that: The “visual studio community” != Windows 10. If your secondhand testimonial really is true (the “huge productivity gains” claim comes off as very contrived), then it’s a testimonial for the visual studio community and “[switching] his entire workflow around”. Your claim says nothing about the relative merits of Windows or Linux.

        By the same token, merely claiming “Windows 10 is awesome” is a far cry from proving that claim to be factual. Needless to say, breaking the law and using OEM licenses illegally is not “awesome” at all.

  5. I would agree with the most sound reasons for not using linux in the desktop, mainly because many people forget we want to work with the computer, not work *on* the computer.

    But the most annoying and problem-causing defect of win10 is being unable to turn of the updates. One can learn to use the limited Start Menu, or the other configuration changes, but having the machine killed every now and them due to untested updates, or rebooting in the middle of some important work because windows “decided you need this update NOW”, is not good.

      1. > I haven’t used the start menu since 7 came out I just hit the windows key and type in a few letters

        So we’ve gone to having to remember commands like in CP/M and DOS, to fancy menu systems like QuickMenu, to having a WIMP-style GUI coupled with a co-operative multi-tasking event loop called Windows… now we’re singing the praises of having to remember the first few letters of the program we want to use next so we can type them into a glorified command box.

        How far we’ve come!

        https://stuartl.longlandclan.id.au/blog/2014/04/12/user-interfaces/

        See, if I need an application on Linux, I don’t need to search for it… the desktop menus neatly lay it out in logical order. I haven’t yet coded up that launcher featured in that article, but even in Fluxbox on Debian 10 just now, top-level menu items are things like “Accessories”, “Development”, “Education”, “Games”, “Graphics”… etc, and the applications are logically categorised.

        Contrast this to the wild west approach of Windows where it tends to be a top-level menu called “${COMPANYNAME} ${PRODUCTNAME}”.

        1. The top-level categories only make sense if whoever is assigning them is using the same logic as you. Otherwise you have to hunt through a couple of menus instead of one.

          Windows alphabetical approach makes more sense (to me), because you don’t think “I want to open photo editor”, you think “I want to open Gimp”. Having to drill down through multiple layers of menus is IMO a waste of time.

          1. “Having to drill down through multiple layers of menus is IMO a waste of time.”

            Having to scroll down to “Windows Accessories” just to get a simple text editor is absolutely a waste of time. Alphabetical order can be useful for many things, but because the alphabetical name of a program has no bearing on importance. If your go-to programs have names that begin with “Z” it really is horribly inefficient to have to scroll through a long alphabetical menu just to get to it.

            The original Windows 95 / NT4 start menu worked quite well. Making arbitrary changes that work less well is the worst possible justification for getting me to shell out hundreds of dollars for “new, not better”.

        2. since we have like 3 decades of shit in windows being called the same thing its not that big of a deal to type in dev … and have device manager pop up in the results

          unlike fucktarnix where we give programs names like gimpped lame lama and next version call it barfed yack poop for the same function

    1. in my work my machines run linux and host windows vm’s which are never allowed internet access. and on them I do my work happily. I lost too many good jobs to a failed windows update when i came in in the morning I just put a stop to it, now I can get on with my work.

      my work (as an auto-spark) requires all sorts of ancient quirky programs to code/replace/alter the various ecus in cars.

      so I use linux so i can use the computer for work, windows caused me to work on the computer.

      not looking to argue obv, just presenting another point of view :)

    2. I hear that. Linux updates are quick, easy, fast, and infinitely delayable. I update when I want, and the process takes all of 10 minutes, tops.

      Windows, though…
      “Oh, you wanted to turn off your laptop because your battery is running low? Well I hope you brought a charger, because I’m going to be performing system updates for the next half-hour.”
      “You wanted to turn on your laptop and use it to take notes in class? Better whip out a pencil and paper, because I’m installing update 3 of 157 and I don’t intend to stop any time soon.”
      “Gosh, you sure are working hard. I know your paper is due in about four hours, but it’s time to take a break on your all-nighter because IT’S UPDATE TIME YEEEEAAAAH!”

  6. Actually, Win10 can be downloaded from Microsoft, and placed on a thumb drive.
    It will boot, and perform a clean install, only requiring you to enter the CD Key, to select the correct version.
    If you wish to upgrade, without losing data, first (Back-up) and then boot 7 or 8, (Whatever you have) and run the setup file on the same thumb drive. It will see the correct version you have, install, and after a few re-boots, you have Windows 10

    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/install-windows-from-a-usb-flash-drive

    The only issue I’ve seen is when Windows 7 is not up to date. (And needs SP1)

    Have fun..

    1. The latest issue I had was yesterday.
      HP EliteBook, 8460, the drivers were not 100% up to date. (My Bad)
      Both the Broadcom WiFi and the Intel HD3000 drivers spit out an error, so I attempted to obtain the right ones.
      No Joy.
      I rolled back the Windows 10 install, nuked the Windows 7 Pro, performed a complete install, updated all, (1.7 TB) and then used the thumb drive again.
      After some re-boots, Windows 10 is performing as expected.
      There are a few updates needed after the desktop appears.
      So far, all is well..

  7. It’s strange, my computer is a home-built mess of different parts, and my windows install has been upgraded via every Windows version since Vista, and despite having a hardware configuration that’s about as far away from supported as possible, I’ve yet to have any problems with updates.

    1. I am no Windows lover, but I have to say this has been my experience also. On my machine (which was 7 and then bumped to 10 a year or two ago) I have never had one single problem. It may be annoying when it up and decides to do updates (at least linux updates let the machine remain useful). It’s been a long long time since I had a serious problem on Linux also. So, “it works for me” is all I can say. Ha ha ha.

      1. Same here, aside from tablets, I haven’t bought an OEM desktop/workstation in 15 years. Most of my systems have been obscure dual CPU server boards, and I’ve literally never had an update hose a system.

        I currently have 10 active Windows 10 systems in the family, and none has had an issue with updates. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but I suspect more people jump on the bandwaggon of criticizing Windows than actually experience issue.

      2. I get the impression that most of the negative comments about linux are not from anyone that gave linux a real chance. I used to be a linux expert, but I don’t need to be any more and if I had to be an expert, I wouldn’t use it. But nowadays it’s just as easy to deal with issues on a linux install as it is to deal with issues on windows. And I haven’t had any issues with either in a long time. OTOH, I understand why people have to use windows, that’s why I use it. Too much specialized hardware that only has windows drivers and software I need to use that only runs on windows.

  8. Just a heads up, but Microsoft has been implementing a lot of core changes to newer Win 10 builds that are pretty nasty and effectively allow Microsoft to dictate what can or cannot be loaded on your computer. For example, later Win 10 builds force device driver manufactures to use a new signing protocol that includes a hardware token and requires all device drivers to be “approved” by Microsoft. In earlier Win 10 and previous Windows releases Windows would warn you and the user could do as they see fit… not anymore. Rumor has it that Microsoft would like to move towards a subscription based service for the O/S and if this comes to pass, one would need to pay yearly or your Win 10+ box may not boot. I guess this is the only way Microsoft can make any $ these days given their total lack of innovative products or technologies.

        1. Both Links Old News, circa 2015. It’s common knowledge Windows 10 will be the “Last” named version.
          As to SaaS, most vendors are attempting to nudge customers that way. A re-occurring cash stream seems like a good idea to me.
          However, Linux and Libre Office is also a good idea.

    1. I can see no reason why MS would want a subscription model for windows. It would be counter productive. They need you to be on Windows so they can sell you Office 365 and the rest. Nope, Windows is the razor which they virtually give away for free and the services, cloud, office, etc, are the blades that they charge you through the nose for. Windows itself will never be a subscription service for that would drive users onto other platforms. It’s the rest of their products that will be subscription

      1. “I can see no reason why MS would want a subscription model for windows. It would be counter productive. ”

        Your statement doesn’t make much sense, Counter-productive and MS is an agreement, not an argument!
        B^)

  9. another advantage of virtualization. You can give Windows an IP address that works inside the LAN, but has no internet access, so it can’t brick itself with updates. Although, running on virtual hardware, there is a very slim chance of that. and if you keep all your files on a NAS, where ideally windows only sees what it needs, there is nothing to back up.

    1. Sorry but Windows can’t “brick” your computer. Having a broken operating system does not mean it’s bricked. Can you power it on and access the BIOS? Yeah not bricked.

        1. If you can wipe it and start again it is not bricked. The term literally means this device is as useless as a brick. It was often used for phones/tablets where it was impossible to access it to reinstall it after a failure. That’s not to say that a failed firmware update to the BIOS of a PC couldn’t brick the computer. But even then you could probably repair it by other means.

          1. > If you can wipe it and start again it is not bricked.

            Bricked can mean there’s smoke being emitted.
            Bricked can mean the machine won’t turn on.
            Bricked can mean that it powers on but sits there beeping.
            Bricked can mean it powers on then announces “No operating system found”
            Bricked can mean it shows “Starting Windows” for about 3 seconds, blinks blue for a split second then reboots… repeatedly.
            Bricked can mean that some program has moved to a new location and they can’t find it without technical assistance NOW!!!

            It all depends on the skill of the user in front of it. Many who buy computers cannot “wipe it” because they don’t know how and aren’t interested in learning.

      1. All of that circular logic ignores the fact that most contemporary computers’ BIOS/UEFI are only updateable by Windows programs. Before, BIOS updates were done using clean, single-tasking boot media, specifically so a Windows problem would not cause the update to fail and the computer to become bricked. The ironically-named “Secure Boot” is part of Windows, designed to prevent (a la Apple) other operating systems to run on UEFI computers. Secure Boot is Windows, and therefore liable to be updated via Windows Update. Because Windows Update is no longer under user (or administrator) control, it can run at all the wrong times, cause Windows to hang, leaving unsuspecting users with no other option but to hard reboot the machine. Doing this in the middle of a BIOS or UEFI install results in an incomplete BIOS or UEFI, and the machine is indeed bricked in every sense of the word.

  10. That’s better than to lose customers to other OS’s. There’s a huge barrier of convenience too, the majority of humans don’t want to learn another OS once they already learned to work on one.

    1. Microsoft is happy to sell you a copy of Office for macOS, so they have no problem with you switching.

      Indeed the barrier of inconvenience steers many folks away from Windows 10 and onto some other platform when they realize that their Windows 7 training is now useless.

  11. I cursed my share of W95’s, XP’s and W7’s, but with W10 it’s all roses for me. I’m at version 10.0.18363.476 right now; used a key off e-bay ($25), clean install (new SSD+HD, install; add old disk as 3rd one), got through 4th or 5th major update and not one single problem ever; have yet to see BSOD, virus/trojan or find hardware that doesn’t work out of the box. More than I can say for my Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, it even boots faster.

      1. I prefer clean installs by creating USB disk just before install, it usualy puts the latest stuff on the USB key so you don’t have to go through shitload of updates & restarts after the install. For example, if you clicked ‘Download tool now’ today it would save as MediaCreationTool1909.exe, hinting you’ll end up with Version 1909 (November 12, 2019 release). Mount the old disk as O: or put it into the USB enclosure and you’re done. This way also forces you to update the software you’re using (KiCad 5.4 instead of 4.x on drive O: etc) and gets rid of the stuff you installed and never used.
        https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

        1. Now that Windows 7 is past the drop dead date of the 14th,
          the media creation tool offers three options.
          1 ) Update this computer
          2 ) Burn bootable DVD
          3 ) Create USB bootable thumb drive.

    1. I’m in the same boat. I hear people crying about updates and stuff but I’ve never once had a problem on the MANY machines I’ve built and used over the years. Not a single one.

      1. You would change your tune pretty quick if you were administrating 50+ identical workstations that suddenly had a BSOD moment at 8:00am because of a windows update that broke your video drivers. Negative reinforcement works wonders on your trust of automatic anything updates….

        1. Dude, that just shitty administration. Identical workstations and major fuckups, just doesn’t compute. Our admin is managing some 200+ machines in Mexico, Spain and Slovenia (not even similar machines, much less identical); local non-critical guinea pigs on variety of hardware & software (sales, QA, etc) get the updates first, if they survive a week or so it’s released to next batch and so on. I usually get the update about a month after I updated at home.

        1. Microsoft : spend millions (billions) on Windows R&D since MSDOS days, and the master boot record of each and every windows formatted USB stick and SD card still shows “MSDOS5.0” at byte offset 4. Go figure.

          1. Even if that claim was true, it’s not proof that “millions (billions) on Windows R&D” was wasted. Of course it’s not true, and that’s the problem here–people who little to nothing about what they’re posting about. The OEM ID will be “MSWIN4.0” and “MSWIN4.1” with Windows 95 and 98, respectively. And because it only applies to the FAT file system, the OEM ID for NTFS formatted partitions will say “NTFS “. So much for “each and every”.

          2. Speed Daemon : Go check a Windows 7 formatted fat/fat32 USB stick / sd-card memory card / floppy disk, go look at the boot sector, and get back to me then. My point was, millions of dollars in each new Windows release (win 95, 98, NT, 2000, me, xp, vista, 7) , and they couldn’t even be bothered (or noone picked up the fact of) updating the MSDOS5 label. Sure, they’ve finally fixed it with win10 – so you can win this round since your so smart. Have a nice day.

          3. Just fire up your favorite disk sector editor and change it to something else if it bugs you that much, just don’t complain when a load of devices like digital cameras and tablets barf on it and tell you the disk isn’t formatted.

          4. I’m smart enough to know the difference between “your” and you’re”, not exactly brag-worthy because everyone should know that. The truth won; I’m only speaking the truth. You lost because you decided to tell lies.

            As for your latest attempt to save face, it’s too late, I already proved your sweeping generalization wrong. A sweeping generalization is not proved by one isolated instance, but one instance is enough to disprove it. I provided 3.

            Now you’re trying to conflate filesystem formatting with the MBR, and that’s not going to fly either. You can format a USB or SD card with a new filesystem all day long, and Windows will not change the MBR. So you’re trying to blame Windows 7 for the OEM ID that came from the factory on the “USB stick and SD card”. Not smarter than the average bear by a long shot.

            Those who do have a clue will by now realize that NT-based Windows includes MS-DOS 5.0 for use with the NTVDM, for the sake of compatibility with old DOS programs. That’s a Good Thing, not the alleged epic fail. OTOH it would be an epic fail for someone to buy a 64-bit UEFI computer, and put the wrong version operating system on it. 64-bit Windows does not have an NTVDM or MS-DOS 5.0.

  12. You can take an existing Windows install and convert it to a virtual machine image. I’m in the process of doing that right now. Going to run Slackware and only use the Windows VM when needed (for engineering software). You can even get fancy and do a hypervisor setup and enable GPU passthrough so you can switch between operating systems without rebooting.

  13. Is there a public list of the actual telemetry that windows 10 actually collects yet ?

    Or do I need to use the SSLKEYLOGFILE environmental variable to record temporary SSL keys, use tcpdump to capture traffic to all the currently known microsoft data harvesting servers https://gist.github.com/tildebyte/b70ea62e38832197c07ac046899f25c8 and finally use wireshark with the saved temporary SSL keys to try and decipher what is actually collected.

    There are a lot of claims on dubious websites, which I take with a grain of salt, about lists of media files on computers being uploaded, to everything typed on the keyboard, samples from web cameras when activated, all data from any enabled microphone. Sounds a bit paranoid but …. what is actually being collected ?

      1. Oh that is bad, and their lawyers have placed them exactly the legal side of surveillance abuse – “The collection process is tailored so that the telemetry component avoids gathering information that could directly identify a person or an organization.” But if the telemetry collected can indirectly identify a person or an organization, it was just an accident. I can picture it now “It is not our fault, they should have used random strings of characters for everything – usernames, domain names, filenames, directory names.”

    1. >>Is there a public list of the actual telemetry that windows 10 actually collects<<

      What's funny, (As IF) during a reboot while installing Win10, (Last week) the "Telemetry App" hung, allowing the screen to show the app working, but not shutting down like a nice app.

      I've said this before, Windows 10 may not be as ready for prime time as some believe.

      The sad news is, in order to sell these systems, everyone wants Win10.

      Carpet Damn as they say.

    2. I believe it searches your media files to provide cover art and additional data on each piece, it’s disabled inside media player or groove music. If you never launch the MS apps for first time and use VLC player or something instead it shouldn’t happen. Or launch them and tell it no, no, no in the prefs/config.

    1. Will she also chop her leg off, after she hurt her feet by stepping on a thorn? Windows is not great, but that is no reason to accept the limitations and loss of control over your stuff you get when you do the mistake of turning over to apple.

    2. ROFLOL…now there’s irony! So she’s traded complaining about Windows for complaining about Apple’s truly awful product support…six of one, half a dozen of another. And bragging about putting a perfectly good computer in a drawer just to spite it, that’s priceless!

  14. I am just glad I’ve been able to leave the Win$ system behind for home use (I used them all from VMS, CPM and DOS, Win, OS/2 days). Linux has worked very well for us. Not having to deal with license keys, server user licenses, and OEM stuff for this and that, and having to load drivers for hardware (other than video card or printer), no auto update issues, no having to reboot any time an update is applied, etc. …. Linux just works… From the home server to the desktops, laptops, SBCs, Linux does it all (for are use case). I even get to pick from the many desktop styles and can find one that suits me.., or even none at all with SSH access to some computers. Choices rather than a ‘single’ one that is forced on me. Still getting used to Win10 at work from Win7. Ironically the keyboard ‘search’ is best friend for getting to apps/info ‘quickly’… Command line is live and well :)

    I do have W7 in a VM which rarely gets used, but it is there if ever I need it for something.,, Best place for Windows is a VM.

    No axe to grind, just observation.

  15. While I prefer Linux at home, when I wear the code-monkey hat at job site, Win10 is preferred. Years ago, in a place far away, Win7 was profoundly broken for me (USB and GPIB controller problems), so we put Linux in the ATE computers that were on the factory floor. The IS dept did not like would they had to do to their windoze servers, but they liked that that were about 30 less computers they had to support. Life was good while the test engineering was done by the design engineers.

    After a few years, the plant manager hired his own (internal) test and quality engineering people. And being the brilliant young and brain-washed people that the were, they went with LabView and windoze. When Win 10 came out, some of the machines ‘magically’ updated from 7 to 10 and broke everything and the design engineers were told to stop and go the the factory and fix stuff. I quit not long after that, but heard that the IS people has some server and client logs indicating hanky panky byf M$. And last year, heard that the former client/employer had received a six-digit USD $$$ settlement offer from a company in Redmond, with possibly further claims in the seven-digit $$$ range.

    M$ may be evil but, as an engineer, I use it at place of employment because they got more stuff right than wrong with Win10. But as a Joe Sixpack citizen, Win10 is the public’s gateway to hell.

    1. Windows disk performance is really terrible, the performance hit is maybe 25%. Look at the benchmarks on phoronix if you don’t believe me. Your company is missing the boat as all of you spend time waiting for disk I/O, while your competitors on their Macs are making the sale.

    1. win 2k (Server and desktop) was rock solid on systems made for it and ran fast and smooth on anything you could get it to run on … problem was drivers just simply were not available for a lot of common hardware at the time.. 98 (FE) I remember you lost the connection to any usb devices after it went to sleep and woke up, SE fixed that but not the issue that when the computer was locked and wanted a password just hitting enter on a blank password unlocked it etc, etc.

      1. Buried in ms documentation of that bygone era i recall seeing that the requested password was for networking which virtually nobody used as intended instead assuming it was a system pass. Poor design for the time.

        1. A two field (username, password) prompt was for peer-peer workgroup SMB networking, a three field (username, password, domain) was for logging into a NT domain. A similar three field prompt was provided for NetWare bindery logins, though most NetWare users used the Novell client software, with its own login dialog.

          It wasn’t just for networking, the username would also affect user profiles if enabled. You could escape out of the Win95/98/Me login, and if you did, your directories and environment variables would be slightly different. Roaming profiles were only complete on Windows NT, and even then they weren’t very reliable. Citrix MetaFrame relied on them to allow a user to log onto any host in a Citrix farm and see the same desktop.

      1. NT was a fully 32-bit Windows OS separate from 16-bit Windows (up to 3.11) and Windows 95/98/Me. Windows 2000 was Windows NT with different branding. Windows 2000 Pro was what had been called Windows NT Workstation. Different naming scheme, same underlying technology.

  16. I have a dual boot laptop with lubuntu and windows 10 and a udoo x86 with windows 10 on.
    The X86 I never turn off it updates itself and I have had no problems with it.
    The laptop I occasionally boot into windows 10 has given no end of problems when windows updates most recently trashing both the OS’s and meaning i had to install both of them again.
    The laptop is a DELL so nothing obscure the udoo x86 is something that is really not standard at all, out of both of them I would of expected the udoo to cause me the most problems with regards to windows 10 updates.
    No idea what this proves.

    PS
    I have not connection to the people who make the udoo but it is really great (even with win10) and if someone from there wants to send me a free one that would be great!

    1. Microsoft’s Windows update didn’t trash you Linux system when it’s update ran, It probably just removed your ability to boot it by removing the GRUB bootloader. There was a oneline fix if your Windows system could boot and is listed on this page( ie I helped someone get their Linux system bootable just last week using this ).

      https://itsfoss.com/no-grub-windows-linux/

      If Windows was also unbootable, then there are ways to boot into the Linux partition to rerun the GRUB2 installer. Like booting a USB thumb drive with Ubuntu( Lubuntu preferred ) and chroot into your installed Linux partition to run grub. Not a button click solution but a little Linux commandline fu goes a long way.

  17. My Windows Installation on “bare hardware”

    10: Install Windows
    -Unsupported NIC, Unsupported BT, Unsupported WiFi, Unsupported Video — out of box install with Windows DVD
    -Get Vendor CDs, and install GBs of bloatware
    -Authenticate With product Key via telephone – due to no networking
    -Update
    -Update bloatware
    -Uninstall bloatware
    -Decrapify
    -Crash
    -Update
    -Crash
    -Update…GOTO 10

    Total: 3 hrs, 4 vendor DVDs/CDs, GBs of crapware, lots and lots of patience

    My Linux Mint Installation:

    -Install Linux Mint
    -Unsupported: nill
    -Vendor CDs/DVDs : 0
    -Skipped: Decrapification, Debloatification
    -Installed: VLC and other nicieities
    -Skipped: Telemetry
    -Skipped: Authentication

    Total: ~30 mins, “it just worked”
    -Vendor DVDs: 0
    -Crashes : 0

    -Install Windows in Virtual Machine
    Total Time: ~30 mins

    1. Yep. Exactly my experience too.

      And today, I already spent hours trying to get Microsoft media creation tool to create usable bootable USB stick in their own frigin Windows 10 machine … for work. Always errors. Tried Rufus, errors again. I never had that experience with Linux boot images. Even OpenBSD just worked …

      God, MS is so incompetent.

  18. As someone who has to support a few hundred desktops running Windows 10, and working through the backlog of Win7 & Win8 machines getting them updated before the end of the year, I’d say 10 ain’t bad.
    In the good list I’d put 3.1, NT4, 95 SR2, 98 SE, 2000, XP, Win7, Win 10 (1803 or later), and reluctantly 8.1.
    On the naughty list I’d put NT 3.5, 95 Gold, 98 Gold, ME, Vista, 8, and Win 10 before 1803.
    The every other version curse extends to most major point releases but not service packs. Thus why 95 SR2 & 98SE are on the good list. Things got murkey with win 10 because there are no more service packs, and major build updates are actually full OS upgrades disguised as updates.

    1. Notably absent are Windows 3.11 and Windows for Workgroups, as well as WNT 3.51. Windows 3.11 was a minor bug fix for 3.1, but Windows for Workgroups 3.11 included a few 32-bit additions from “Chicago” that enhanced performance. With Win32s, WfWG offered the most 32-bit application compatibility before Windows 95 was released, without resorting to Windows NT. For those of us running Windows NT 3.51 there was the shell preview that showed us what the Windows 95 and NT4 desktop looked like in early 1995.

      NT 3.51 was the most stable version of Windows, with subsequent versions moving more and more things to kernel code in hopes of attracting more gamers. NT 4.0 was the best compromise Windows, with the smallest concessions to gaming performance, and without the frivolous bloat that overly complicated later editions. Although Windows Update was great for unskilled home users, the IE integration not lovingly known as “Captive Desktop” could remain absent. The NT 4.0 Server CD offered a corporate Windows 95 version free of the garbage software that OEMs typically bundled with retail desktop machines. TSE with Citrix was a solid thin client host, but not by itself w/ RDP.

      I can’t say that I’m favorably impressed enough with later versions of Windows to say much more than Windows 7 was a rare step in the right direction. I still use Windows on occasion because I still have closed, proprietary software not available for any other platform that I must use in my job. For the other 99% of my life I’m happy to use a Chromebook.

    1. The hilarious reason they skipped version 9, as I’ve heard it told: in testing too many applications tested the Windows version string, matched “Windows 9*”, and errored out because they didn’t support 95 or 98.

      1. (Quoting the post I’m replying to, because there’s a good chance WordPress will stick this comment at the bottom instead of beneath the post I’m replying to.)

        > The hilarious reason they skipped version 9, as I’ve heard it told: in testing too many applications tested the Windows version string, matched “Windows 9*”, and errored out because they didn’t support 95 or 98.

        Actually, for the real reason one must look to Germany and the City of Munich. In 2004 they were faced with the problem of replacing an ageing fleet of Windows NT boxes that were now out of support.

        Rather than go for more of the same, they decided to try something new. They developed their own OS, Limux, which would service the needs of local government. Fast forward nearly a decade, they had a very slick and stable OS built on Linux.

        So stable it was, visitors to the city would ask what version of Windows they were running, only to get a quizzical look and the response: “Windows? Nein!”

  19. someone has to say it : Windows XP forever.

    still running it on near new i7 machines with a SSD, and, as an operating system response time is perhaps the most bestest ever that anyone will ever get. Simply rocks. This is how an O/S should run (time-wise); the user not ever having to wait for the O/S.

    Just a shame that this performance wasn’t around 18 years ago.

    …and ditch the interwebs; its just full of viruses, win 10 and Linux people.

      1. Don’t connect to the net if you don’t know how to defend against expected code execution even in the kernel..

        10 fully patched has the same problem though.. You think bounty programs are handing off bugs to the vendors?? Anyone with money can get kernel exec on your fully patched 10 Pro box remotely with no social engineering.. Then you have all the known exfiltration and tracking in 10

        Paying someone who can protect a database from ring 0 RCE is considered a waste of money by everyone from your mom to governments.. Thus why your data is always going to end up on some TOR market…

  20. I think I’ll be running win 7 on my main machine till I’m finally forced to upgrade hardware to something that won’t run it..

    The trouble with win 10 is that a) you can’t turn updates off, and they can happen at the worst time and cause problems.. b) Microsoft appears to be fully monitoring your system…

    So across the house now we have 2 win 7 machines, 1 win 8 machine, 3 win 10 machines (and 3 linux machines) – and the win 10 ones have the most problems because of updates ie one of them went in an infinite loops with updates failing for 6 months (the famous update problem with a microsoft surface pro – yep, they didn’t even test their own hardware..).

    So my view is that Microsoft is pushing people to something else as much as they can…

    1. I dont understand the “worst time” thing, its much less annoying on 10 than 7, 7 pops up a window asking you to restart in which you have the choice of telling it to nag you later, or leaving the damn thing on the screen until you want it to restart.

      10 is a little popup saying updates available and if you click it you have the option to pause for I think up to 7 days, and there’s an option to schedule a restart. Granted this is fairly recent but its a moot point anymore

  21. If you, end user, don’t have the knowledge to re-instate a working OS on that machine and require the expertise of someone else to fix it… the difference is minuscule.

  22. For Windows 10 on older hardware the key thing to remember is 1607. Build 1607 was the last to support installing drivers signed with old methods for Vista and 7. Newer builds can be installed as upgrades over 1607 and they will leave the old drivers installed.

    So get your computer all decked out with Win 10 1607, do a full image backup, then upgrade to the newest Win 10 build. As of build 1903 it still leaves the old drivers alone.

    What happens when attempting to install the old drivers on a newer build is they either act like the installer works, but nothing gets installed, or Win 10 throws up some BS “error” about being unable to find a file.

    What’s especially stupid about this is Microsoft’s own driver library has some Vista drivers signed with the latest method and they’ll install in Win 10, but their Win 7 drivers for the same hardware are signed with the method that was new for Win 7, and rejected by post-1607 Win 10. Highly annoying in that is the driver for older ATi GPUs used in older high end laptops. Win 10 only includes support for those GPUs with the crappy “Basic Display Adapter” driver while all the other components have good drivers in Win 10.

    Next thing, there’s a widely published way to install any version of Win 10 for free, even if the PC never shipped with Win 7 or later. Not posting anything al all new or unknown, just leaving out some of the details so interested persons will have to do some of their own searching. *Do this at your own risk*. I accept no responsibility for any actions you may or may not do with this information, which is available on a large number of websites.

    First thing is to mod the BIOS with SLIC 2.1. Either find one already made by someone else, or learn how to do the mod yourself.
    Second thing is to find (or find how to make) a Multi-OEM Windows 7 ISO. Install that on the computer with the SLIC modded BIOS. It will automatically activate without contacting MS.
    Third thing is use Microsoft’s own utility. It’s on the Win 10 DVD, gatherosstate.exe Copy to the desktop of Win 7 on the target system then doubleclick. In a bit you’ll have an XML file. Copy that to a thumb drive.
    Fourth thing, do a clean install of Win 10, select home or pro, 32 or 64 bit to match which Win 7 was installed. After Win 10 install is done, copy the XML file to the correct place (google for more details) then reboot and you have activated Win 10. The XML file will be deleted. From then on you should be able to do a clean 10 install on the same motherboard or laptop without doing anything else first. I assume that on first contact with the internet, the computer drops a bit in the MS activation database that PC xxxxx1234 has properly activated Win 10.

    Aside from the SLIC mod BIOS, this is essentially what happens with a 7 or 8 to 10 upgrade on an OEM PC – keeping nothing, except for stuffing the old Windows into Windows.old

    Microsoft can’t block this, just like they couldn’t block SLIC + their own tools included with Windows method for Win 7, without blocking all upgrading on OEM systems. You may find Windows Defender and other AV and anti malware software claims some of the tools are “malware” or some BS super horrible virus, but they’re lying.

    1. That’s a lot of “Monkey Motion” for a common install.
      It’s been said, M$ is to lazy or incompetent to increase the space on the activation servers.
      Take note: A Dell OEM Windows 7 Pro SP1 disk ($10 most days) will install on almost any other computer.
      Take you average HP i5 laptop, boot from the Dell disk, full install, three days to enter the HP CD Key.
      Now if you were on Vista, grab any other HP Win 7 CD Key from another computer, tower or laptop, bingo, activated.
      Clearly, M$ uses the same CD Keys for all the OEM Mfg companies.
      That’s right, HP keys will work on Dells and probably all others.
      Dell keys work on HP..
      Same for Windows 10. Windows 7 keys work for 10 installs.
      And just use the M$ installer.. It’s simple. (Internet connected required)
      Now if you have some “Mad Max” custom gamer rig with a China MoBo from Bangladesh, all bets are off.
      Install the Dell on a Dell, (With internet connected) activation is automatic.
      Same for HP.
      Now the big reveal: Is It Legal? It must be, all these installers are from M$.

  23. ive gone through 5 motherboards but ive had the same case for 15 years… same computer microsoft… same person HaD?
    i have my oem vista sticker, i have my vista to 7 upgrade sticker (paid), i used a key extractor and now its win7korean version

  24. Forget all that switch to Ubuntu, I’ve been using linux for years now, so much easier and stable. No more crashes or blue screens of death. No keys to keep track of, oh and live CD/thum drive as a fully functional backup, yes please. No FTDI gate bull excrement, and native 6502 support, oh and wine / virtual machines to run Moto rss.

  25. What about 8.1? I am clinging to 7 until jan, and already have an 8.1 iso ready and waiting, just donno if I’ll need a new key. fwiw I did activate 10 with my 7 key but reinstalled 7 because 10 was annoying.

  26. Piece of crap NSA OS that I will never use. Staying on windows 7 and will migrate completely to linux for PC’s that must remain online at all times. No real control over internet usage, telemetry galore, and all of this has nothing to do with progress – It has to do with a continually increasing revenue path for the corporation. Pushing everyone to subscription-based and cloud-based applications; Removing the individual’s control is the most effective way to continue squeezing money out of them. Windows 7 is perfectly viable for the next decade and all you need to do is suddenly realize that you only need one PC connected to the internet. With this realization, and creation of your own local area network isolated from the internet, you suddenly realize that there are zero security issues with windows 7 and further support in the form of windows updates become unnecessary. Not going to play this game anymore… I’ll die a diehard XP/7+ linux user. Sick of this shit being represented as good for the people when in fact it is the opposite.

  27. FYI to anyone who wants to use this POS operating system, MSFT will give you a win10 key for free. Just call them and tell them you lost your key for your lenovo or dell or other enterprise brand PC and can’t reinstall. They will literally hand you a new key over the phone. Hilarious. Know an IT guy who has called and gotten dozens for hoarding, he is drinking the win10 kool-aid from a fire hose.

  28. My question is, why mess with something that works? Win 7 works for me.
    It gets me on the net, I can play Star Trek Online, and I can do some VB programming if needed.
    So, why would I “upgrade” to an OS with things I don’t need like tiles, and a funky interface?
    Start menu works for me. Is my machine the fastest latest greatest whiz-bang golly gee thing?
    No, it is not. Does it do what I need? Yes it does.
    And that is the bottom line. It does what I need it to do.
    KISS method: Keep it simple stupid.
    Scotty says: the more complicated the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.
    As long as my machine runs, I’m happy with it. And that’s the final word.

    Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
    CPU : AMD FX-8150 Zambezi 32nm Technology
    RAM: 8.00GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 805MHz (11-11-11-28)
    Motherboard: Gigabyte Technology Co. Ltd. GA-970A-D3 (Socket M2)
    Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 430 (MSI)

  29. > 90% of Windows issues can be solved with a mouse,
    > while 90% of Linux issues require the command prompt
    > and the learning of countless obscure and obtuse commands.

    @Chris: yes, as in…
    …where/howto do-mouse changes among each Windows variant at least and recently even within the same Windows;
    …deploy do-mouse among multiple computers with multiple user accounts with different localization settings is fun hobby, support on the phone to obtuse users even more;

    IFF I’d get payd by mouse mileage, I “may” consider becoming Wyndows admin. But I digress.

  30. This is a pile of horse sh@ saying windows 10 bricks your computer or causes problems on update. Yeah sure if you let it update in 2018 you may have lost all your importaant items in your users folder. But then if you weren’t on top of it enough to prevent updates by some of the numerous means then how important was yer data to you. It’s just too bad you didn’t consult the internet.

    Windows is able tp seriously pull down drivers out of the internet in seconds flat that are higher numbered than drivers being listed by some manufacturer websites. Windows cortana can open programs and search the bing browser. Windows worked every day for me because I find ways around updating.

    If you are uaing 7 you should get a new computer or used one. The gamers are selling 1 and 2 year old computers for 1/3 price because the buyers market is at hand. It’s christmas time, and they want something with the max number of cores. 4 core machines are still pretty good though nowhere near as good as my 8 core from AMD. But for sure it’s the time to switch up. My windows 7 experience was only 1 core with 4GB RAM. Which is just awful to remember. No wonder I didn’t know anything then.

    1. “If you are uaing 7 you should get a new computer or used one. ”

      If you can posit a third option THEN AND ONLY THEN will I listen to your advice. Before you get started, I take “get” as including “buy, build, steal, VM, receive as a gift, or find in the trash”.
      I like Windows 7. I do not like Windows 10. That is all.

  31. after updating to windows 10 i started to have big eyes problem. take a look how many people is using dark mode? why? on windows 7 it wasn’t needed. On win10 even installed on same hardware view experience is much worse. If next version will be like this I will swith to other OS.

  32. You may find that the Media Creation Tool is failing due to anti-virus software refusing access to the autoexec.bat file. Try disabling your antivirus before running MCT, or temporarily disable autoexec.bat blocking.

  33. I saw a story someplace that said if you remove all the motherboard drivers from your Windows10 system you can then swap the motherboard out for a newer one and Windows itself will load the correct drivers on a reboot and be happy with the new setup. I have not personally tried this though.

    1. More fake news? More trouble than it’s worth, even if true.
      What I observed, the upgrade to 10 will install correct drivers even if they were not there when you started the upgrade.
      A Dell laptop I upgraded, turns out had a touch screen available.
      Windows update (7Pro) failed to see it.
      Dell driver update failed to see it.
      Windows 10 installed the correct drivers, and it just worked.
      Who knew?

  34. Is HaD doing paid content for Microsoft now?

    This is not a “hack”. This is intended behavior. MS’s business plan with Win10 is not to make money on selling licenses, but to cash in via data collection and ads. The “limited time offer” is a common marketing ploy to force people to buy now, because “if I don’t do it now, I miss out!”. I said it back when the original offer was announced: even after it ended it’d still be possible to get a free win10 downgrade, and just before win7 LTS ends you’d see another push from MS to convert the holdouts, with scare mongering and comments of “but who knows how long activation will still work” to scare people in to making the switch.

    “It’s time to face the music, and upgrade from Windows 7.”

    Or maybe MS should face the music that a large number of people do not want their ad laden spyware platform. Honestly, seeing a site like this post phrases like that, calling out a significant number of community members and praising a commercial product widely viewed as the antithesis of what the community stands for, screams that someone was paid off to post it.

    Is it possible to block all posts by a specific author, or should I completely stop visiting HaD entirely?

    1. Running an operating system than is no longer getting security updates is a terrible idea. I know you find this surprising, but not everyone knows that you can still get a free upgrade.

      I don’t know of a way to block just my articles, so… Bye.

        1. It only takes one unpatched CVE to get your system owned. You have to assume guys have found Windows 7 problems already, and are hanging on to them for after that last update.

          I will amend my statement by saying that if you’re not connected to the internet, then there isn’t near as big a problem.

          1. And a lot of devices with operating systems aren’t connected to the Internet, have no CVE to need patching, and/or have other means of keeping ownership. Saying “everything must be updated” only because that’s how one OS vendor tries to save desktop (l)users with bad Internet habits from the consequences of their own stupidity does not a truism make.

            If you’re looking for a sweeping generalization, why not “don’t do stupid things”? It’s people who keep falling for get-rich-quick schemes, watch porn at work and do the other things that invite trouble. An embedded OS is not tempted by any of that.

          2. Hackers have been holding on to Windows 7 security threats to wait for the end of support?
            Why would they do that? I think you overstate the risk and after all the biggest risk is the user.

    2. “Is it possible to block all posts by a specific author, or should I completely stop visiting HaD entirely?”

      I’ve found that blocking articles by Brian Benchoff has been working lately.
      Although, it appears to have a side effect of blocking Caleb Kraft content.

  35. For me it’s not about the operating system being windows or linux; it’s about the software that you want to use (I use both platforms). But Windows 10 represents a drastic change in ownership of your computer as far as I see it. I want to be in control, not Microsoft. I don’t want a computer-as-a-service, I want a computer, that I control, not Microsoft.

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