back to article Business PC sales up as suits flee looming end of support for Windows 7

Retailers and distributors across much of Europe continue to be conservative buyers of consumer PCs, but Microsoft's looming end of support for Windows 7 helped keep orders ticking along for commercial PCs. In July, distributor volumes grew 8 per cent year-on-year to almost 1.657 million boxes across nine European countries, …

  1. JetSetJim Silver badge

    Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

    ..until there is a stable, non-invasive, non-data-slurping, offline only version of Windows to replace it with.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

        What they did was force the removal of USB2 driver support, so Win7 couldnt find any USB devices to boot from; despite the mobo BIOS being able to clearly see all the ports.

        This stops you dead, as very few mobos still ship with a PS2 port for keyboard or mouse; and even then, only a very basic USB mouse will work correctly using a PS2 converter.

        Once past that, you have them blocking/bjorking updates, because you are using Win7 on unauthorised hardware, and delete things like NVME drivers for Win7, claiming they didnt work - even though they were perfectly stable, even on an ancient AM3+ mobo.

        Win7 Pro on a Ryzen5 2600/MSI B450 Bazooka mobo for me.

        1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

          Re: Deleting drivers?

          Or deleting the XboxOne Drivers for Windows 7. Like... that is LOW... LOW!

        2. ivan5

          Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

          What they did was force the removal of USB2 driver support,

          I think you mean USB 3 support. They also made it almost impossible to add it to the install DVD which is why I have been pointing friends to Zorin Linux on their new machines.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

            The Gigabyte USB 3.0 Driver Injector makes it easy to slipstream USB 3 and SSD drivers onto a Windows 7 install image.

            Edit: I didn't see the post by Carl D below until after posting, but the link might be useful.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

            Sorry, yes, my bad.

        3. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

          Some components of newer PCs don't have any working drivers for Windows other than 10. One of my laptops has no I2C drivers for any Windows other than 10, and force installing the Windows 10 ones on pre-10 Windows did not work. If I wanted to use anything on the I2C bus, there was no Windows other than 10. That ruled out using the touchpad in "advanced" mode, but putting it in limited mode worked.

          It was just an experiment, as I had no intention of actually paying for Windows again.

          Another laptop had no working touchpad driver. The Windows 10 driver, once again force-installed, only had basic functionality... none of the customization options in the Synaptics driver options worked. Using a Synaptics driver for the older version of Windows appeared at first to work, but the same thing happened when I tried to change the touchpad options... the touchpad applet accepted the changes, but they didn't actually happen. Unlike with the first example, there was no option in the UEFI to put the touchpad in a legacy mode that would work with older Windows.

          Neither of those laptops had Intel graphics drivers either, but the Windows 10 drivers installed in older Windows (via modified .inf files and disabled driver sign checking) worked perfectly well in that case. The "Windows 10 only" .inf files were lies!

          And, of course, there's the MS sabotage of the installation's ability to get updates once it realizes that the valued customer installed a blacklisted CPU architecture on a version of Windows that was not 10. That one's an easy fix... the lack of drivers is a more serious issue.

          If I had to use Windows, it would be worth going to great lengths to avoid 10. I don't, so I don't.

          1. Carl D

            Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

            With my 2 year old Gigabyte B250M-D3H motherboard and Kaby Lake processor the Windows 7 drivers supplied by Gigabyte are *only supposed* to work with 6th generation processors and not 7th like Kaby Lake.

            Windows 7 will install fine from DVD - SATA connected DVD only, USB external drive won't work (...a required device driver is missing... blah..blah) but W7 won't install from a USB stick - even with the USB2 ports, not just the USB3 ones. Same "error" message about missing driver.

            I recently found a utility for this motherboard on Gigabyte's site that allows USB3 drivers to be included in the W7 image - just copy the W7 DVD contents into a hard drive folder, run the Gigabyte utility to include the USB3 drivers then create an ISO file and copy it to a USB stick with something like Rufus. I'm also guessing that this is only supposed to be used with 6th generation processors but, like the motherboard drivers, it works with my Kaby Lake processor.

            Hey, presto - W7 now installs perfectly from a USB stick. I used a USB3 stick and plugged it into a USB3 port. And, W7 installs "lightning fast" compared to DVD.

            As for MS's "Unsupported Hardware" Windows Update sabotage - there are a couple of ways of getting around that, as has already been mentioned.

        4. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

          wufuc is your friend.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

      ACK on the title. "upgrading" (to Win-10-nic) is HIGHLY overrated.

      Worst Win-10-nic story evar: Today, my supervisor with a semi-on-site contract couldn't use his computer today. WHY? Win-10-nic "updating". For 6 HOURS. Finally at 2Pm it was "usable" again, but still doing 100% disk access and 25% to 100% CPU while scanning things.

      "Oh but all you had to do" is what you Win-10-nic FANBOIS are saying, right?

      Tell that to people who USE COMPUTERS TO DO WORK, where the OS is not the "End All" "Be All" TARGET of their daily activities!!!

      Basically THAT machine was DEAD between 7AM and 1PM. It was "sort of usable" after 1 PM, when the updates were done and it actually LOGGED IN. That's 6 HOURS of NON-USABLE TIME. The 1 hour between 1PM and 2PM was SO full of maxed-out CPU and disk activity, though, that it was STILL unusable for any practical purpose...

      There is _NO_ excuse for Micro-shat's "operating system" for ANYTHING LIKE THAT to EVAR HAPPEN!

      And we ALL know it.

      Got, Linux? [I _did_ offer to install it]

      1. G2

        Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

        @ 6+ hours update....

        that was not a normal update, it was most likely an 'edition' upgrade.

        Visually there's not much difference between these two, but the upgrade is actually a full Win10 reinstall that migrates all applications and user data to the newly installed OS.

        That slow 6+ hours surprise upgrade time is what happens when you install Win10 (and keep it unmanaged with WSUS) on a mechanical slow-as-molasses 5400rpm HDD in a computer that's really designed only for home use, or at best as an office typewriter.

        if your time is so critical then please ask your company to at least consider replacing those mechanical HDDs with SSDs.

        For replacements, I usually prefer to use 5-year+ warranty SSDs even if the 2-year ones are cheaper. In the long run, it's safer to use higher quality ones.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

          "That slow 6+ hours surprise upgrade time is what happens when you install Win10 (and keep it unmanaged with WSUS) on a mechanical slow-as-molasses 5400rpm HDD in a computer that's really designed only for home use, or at best as an office typewriter."

          So, "you're using it wrong?"

          I expect any modern OS to be able to (a) detect the hardware platform and refuse (or strongly object with a sternly-worded warning window*) to install / upgrade on hardware that can't handle it. (b) allow timing schedules for upgrades**

          * Clearly explained in non-technical terms

          **I'm aware that Win 10 removes or heavily impairs the ability to block downloads or postpone them indefinitely, but at least allow for an overnight upgrade (again with clear messages in plain English / other language of choice)

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

          Visually there's not much difference between these two, but the upgrade is actually a full Win10 reinstall that migrates all applications and user data to the newly installed OS.

          So the thing that happened previously once every 3-6 years under careful supervison now happens every six months with no indication as to what's happening to the user who's eventually going to get pissed off and turn the computer off and on again.

        3. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

          "if your time is so critical then please ask your company to at least consider replacing those mechanical HDDs with SSDs"

          Blah blah blah. It was a VERY NEW Dell "all in one" (where it's a touch screen with wireless kb and mouse etc.) and I'm pretty sure it has an SSD. I'm not responsible for procurement of computer hardware. I _do_ know that Linux works VERY well on a slightly older Dell model where I uninstalled Win-10-nic because I needed a Linux box [and it has an SSD and a regular hard drive in it - hard drive got /home, SSD got the rest of the OS]. So I'd say the hardware is JUST fine. It's the OS - Win-10-nic.

          Strike 1! Strike 2! Strike 3! Yer, OUT! [a little baseball analogy]

          See, I _KNEW_ that Win-10-nic FANBOIS would say things like this!

          A big fat thumbs DOWN for the "did not ask" and "made an ass out of U and ME" and got it WRONG [of course] which was predictable but still...

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

      "...until there is a stable, non-invasive, non-data-slurping, offline only version of Windows to replace it with"

      So, that'll be never, then!

    4. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

      According to Microsoft, your proposal is acceptable.

    5. herman Silver badge

      Re: Keeping Win7, can pry it out of my cold dead hands...

      "a stable, non-invasive, non-data-slurping, offline only version of Windows"

      That is easy, make a virtual machine with Win7 on your Mac and use Host Only networking.

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Big Brother

    How strange...

    When I'm told that to keep on using Windows 7 exposes me to security and privacy threats when the largest threat comes from...

    Microsoft itself in Windows 10

  3. ecofeco Silver badge

    Always the last minute with the suits

    I am having to turn down upgrade jobs. First reason is it doesn't pay for shit. Second reason is of course PHBs and inadequate resources. Third reason is very, very short projects times.

    4th reason? Combine all the above.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Always the last minute with the suits

      In this case you can't really blame them for holding out as long as possible.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Always the last minute with the suits

        Good point.

  4. Blackjack

    Home users might still be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free

    With their Windows 7 licence code, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

    I am still going to keep my laptop with Windows 7 until next year because I only use it for videogames.

    Wanna know how to upgrade? Go to the Guardian website to the "Ask Jack" section. There are two or three articles about what to do.

    Unfortunately if you want more control over the spyware and updates, you are going to have to pay for the Enterprise version of Windows 10.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Home users might still be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free

      For some meaning of "upgrade".

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Home users might still be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free

        and for some meaning of "home user".

        I don't see your average "home user" upgrading, far easier to talk to those "highly knowledgeable" people in well know high street retailers and walk out with a brand new box...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Home users might still be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free

      In my enterprise version of Windows 10, the lowest telemetry level is still basic, and it still comes with XBox and Candy Crush apps and still has advertising in the Start Menu and lock screen unless you disable the options buried in settings.

      But LTSC isn't an option as the company has swallowed the O365 kool aid so there's no version of Windows you can use now if you want more control.

    3. Sureo

      Re: Home users might still be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free

      I was able to use two retail box Windows 7 license keys on clean Windows 10 installs. These were from the earliest days of Windows 7 when Amazon had a 2 for 1 sale. Otherwise I'd still be running Win7.Thank goodness for Start10 and the old quick launch toolbar.

  5. BGatez Bronze badge

    "Pro" for business? Hardly

    In what way can Windows Pro 10 be described as business ready? Aside from the slew of trash game crap there is, as always, the unwanted "update" that cripples your machine (especially amusing on those business trips), and the unavoidable spying. When you're say, testing a new software and have had to sign an NDA forbidding even the mention of it's name, but your OS cheerfully uploads info about all your installations, could this be a problem? To say nothing about passwords, SS numbers, credit cards, banking info... exactly how much of your data is being uploaded? No way to know.

    1. Blackjack

      Re: "Pro" for business? Hardly

      Windows 10 Enterprise is the one you want... if you have to use windows 10.

      1. Ramis101

        Re: "Pro" for business? Hardly

        No, Enterprise isn't Enterprise any more. the only one really it LTSB. I would say LTSC but its support for older (like 2yrs) hardware is in my experience iffy.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: "Pro" for business? Hardly

        for anything else, where Win-10-nic is not needed, but WINDOWS is needed, find an old 7 machine and build a VM of the OS, then run the VM in virtualbox (or whatever) hosted by a LINUX OS.

        Windows 7 in a VM o a Linux host works prettry well. Also FreeBSD host. But *NOT* the other way around...

        (and you don't do your web surfing on the windows VM)

    2. pavel.petrman

      Re: "Pro" for business? Hardly

      re "no way to know" - yes there is. But you don't want to as it is bad news in every single case.

      (The last one I remember is uploading chunks of memory to MS base star regardless of content, be it your confidential documents, browser cache or private keys. Of course when done properly your private keys should be kept safe by the OS but who does security properly nowadays?).

  6. intrigid

    Not only am I going to continue using Windows 7 on my main PC...

    I haven't downloaded or installed any Windows updates since 2016. Everything seems to run stable and quiet, CPU idles at 0-1%, and I haven't had any mysterious logins, or unexplained charges to my credit or bank accounts.

    Why exactly should I change anything?

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Not only am I going to continue using Windows 7 on my main PC...

      Boredom, maybe...

    2. Carl D

      Re: Not only am I going to continue using Windows 7 on my main PC...

      Funny about that.

      On another forum, a member looks after about 130 client computers with Windows 7. They will not "upgrade" to Windows 10 under any circumstances.

      None of the 130 client PC's have had a single Windows update installed since May, 2017, nearly two and a half years ago. They all also use a top rated antivirus product.

      Not one of the 130 computers have had a single security issue since May, 2017.

      I've always said that these so called security companies have been in cahoots with MS for quite some time now... finding every little *alleged* flaw in Windows (and, profiting handsomely from finding these "issues" - most of which never see the outside of the security companies' offices).

      And, MS love it as it enables them to keep a 'leash' on customers' computers with the never ending so called security updates.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Not only am I going to continue using Windows 7 on my main PC...

        This is where the easy answers stop. Of course Windows updates are annoying, and they can really mess things up. But it's also true that some of them have useful security patches in them. You've mentioned that the last update applied was in May of 2017; I'm guessing it was the EternalBlue patch, released in March of that year but pushed out with extreme force in May because it was being actively and very successfully exploited by malware. And although I'm sure you're competent enough to prevent most attacks from getting into your systems or damaging things if they managed it, there are other places out there who lack that. For them, the advice to always install security updates is well-founded, because they will at least be able to prevent certain types of malware which could impact their processes or cause data loss.

        It's useful to think how easily malware can be installed. If one person using one of your machines is tricked into launching a binary, whether that's by social engineering, a redirection of a download, or something else, security patches are designed to prevent that binary from getting to all the things it's probably after. They're not guaranteed to have discovered the vulnerability the malware is using, but they do patch several each month. If you have enough confidence in your security that you'll catch the binary without needing that, you may be right. Unfortunately, many have had that idea and found out that they were wrong only after seeing the damage wrought by a successful infection.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Not only am I going to continue using Windows 7 on my main PC...

      "I haven't downloaded or installed any Windows updates since 2016."

      The last time I did 'windows update' was when I installed 7 on a reconditioned machine that I'd just bought on E-bay, while I still could... and I ran all of the updates through my manual "do not install these" list and left out a BUNCH of them (GWX was still a problem then), and after that, I've left it 'as-is'. NO updates.

      Why do I need them when they ATTEMPT TO INSTALL WIN-10-NIC? Why do I need them WHEN THEY INSTALL SPYWARE? And so on.

      If I don't surf the web from a windows box, I doubt I even EVAR need updates, unless there's some REAL problem to solve.

      And I'm very much considering putting all of that into a VM, and running it with LINUX AS THE HOST, for whenever I need anything that requires windows...

  7. G R Goslin

    Oddly

    Oddly, I received a pop-up page informing me that support would be removed from my copy of Win 7. I dismissed it, as unwanted, and went on to open the application I'd booted the thing up for, when the whole thing died on me. Nothing would bring it back. It's not the machine, which is dual bootable into my normal OS, Mageia Linux, which works, as usual perfectly. Trying to log into Windows, hower, always throws up the repair option, of which nothing works. It either sits there showing the BSOD, or it will, eventually, re-boot into Linux. I'm tempted to consider that MS have set a bomb to blow the system up, as perhaps a warning to others. Being Windows from way back, it did not come with an install disk and I've no idea how to re-install, in it's absence

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oddly

      Some box makers have a "Rescue Disk" available to download, that is basically an auto-install of Win7 with all the correct drivers, plus whatever useful/useless stuff the makers have created to thrill/annoy you.

      Certainly Lenovo does, as this is what I used to install Win7 on my refurb laptop - which came infested with Win10, but still had a Win7Pro licence sticker on the bottom.

  8. MJI Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Having to have 10 very soon, must be better than 8

    My PC blew up a while ago, Windows 7, with fireworks.

    RIP my Q8300 development machine.

    Currently using a Win hate craptop with one of my monitors plugged in,a mouse and USB keyboard, SLOW SLOW SLOW.

    Got a picture of a shell on the start menu but when it boots it has this weird screen which eventually goes away.

    Title bars are completely broken as the text is not at the left so it can take a few seconds to find out what is what. Rather great when you have 6 or 7 windows open in the dev environment. Already messed up a new executable as I got the wrong window selected as the name was unobvious.

    Getting new PC soon unfortunately with 10.

    OK what will I need to do with it?

    Got my old HDD ready for the desktop background and some development stuff. Oh and Firefox mods and my news group settings.

    1. Blackjack

      Re: Having to have 10 very soon, must be better than 8

      You could try using Linux Mint with "Play On Linux" and Steam if all you want us run games. Unfortunately Play On Linux only works well with stuff that's a decade old or older. If you want modern games and Steam doesn't have a Linux version then is Windows or burst.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Having to have 10 very soon, must be better than 8

        Work not home.

        But I NEED Win32.

        I play my games on a variant of Free BSD.

        Lots of games so no problem.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Having to have 10 very soon, must be better than 8

      I managed to do a lot of dev work in the live build then wonder why the dev build was old!!!!

      Titles on the left!

      Oh and that craptop was lucky it did not meet a hammer. Either that or a long breaker bar.

  9. Missing Semicolon
    Mushroom

    Intel wins again

    And I bet these corporate boxes will all be powered by insecure-by-design Core processors, of course. Not a safer AMD device in sight.

  10. Archtech Silver badge

    The crunch is here at last

    For nearly 20 years I have been meaning to give up Windows and move entirely to Linux. Despite using a number of machines for Linux, I have never managed to make the effort to switch my main working computers from Windows.

    Now, at long last, Microsoft is forcing me to make the change. For which I am profoundly grateful. Objectively, there is nothing to lose and a good deal to gain. No more costs, no more forced reboots, no more BSODs (although of course a number of things can hang or crash Linux too).

    What has kept me so long? Mostly the comfort of familiarity. It took me years to learn enough about Windows and its ecosystem that I could get most things done fairly easily. (And, as a former DECcie, I had a sentimental feeling that I was still using VMS in some shape or form). Now I have to replace Quicken, Lotus Organizer 6 [sic], and a few other things I have grown fond of.

    But once over the hump, I expect life to become a good deal better.

  11. Roland6 Silver badge

    The death of the PC?

    Interesting how the well paid analysts seem to have been quiet about the death of the desktop.

    Looking at these figures it does seem that home/consumer PCs sales are declining faster than business sales. Which would seem to indicate that it is in the consumer market that traditional PC uses are being replaced by smartphones, tablets and games consoles.

    1. Missing Semicolon

      Re: The death of the PC?

      Or just keeping the old one until it dies.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: The death of the PC?

        when it dies you repair it and keep the same OS (7) on it, unless you install something like Linux or FreeBSD.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: The death of the PC?

      desktop isn't dead. "new computer sales" are not the same as "user base". And when Win-10-nic is pretty much 'the only game in town' as far as a LOT of people are concerned, their likelihood to replace working Windows 7 hardware with "functionally not as fast" Win-10-nic is much lower, hence the PERCEPTION that the desktop is dead, when it really isn't.

    3. Blackjack

      Re: The death of the PC?

      Is bull manure.

      People buy their desktops PCs to last, they don't buy a new PC every year.

      Laptops are build to get broken so they rarely last a few years without problems.

      Desktops can be manually upgraded unlike with laptops were you can at most get a new hard disk and more Ram; if you are lucky.

      Smartphones sales are slowing down, but do we see anyone saying smartphones are dying?

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