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Saturday, May 27th, 2017 06:53 am
For a brief time, Micro Soft was allowing people to download ISO images of Windows 7. Since most computers don't come with a separate disc with back up software, they were allowing people to download the operating system so they could have it. At least, I think that was the reasoning.

I grabbed Windows 7 professional both 32 and 64 bit for the two Win 7 machines in the house.... just in case. Of course you need an activation key to make they work. But since I have them with the machines that's not a problem.

Now there are places on line that will sell you activation codes - usually from systems that have been retired or recycled. Usually. I did find a site that posted a whole pile of codes for 'student use'.

I got two computers with dead hard drives. I used some live Linux distros to check the rest of the hardware so I know they both work okay. One worked surprising well with Linux finding the built in WIFI chip and weird AMD graphics set up.

The question is.. could I replace the hard drives and load up Win7 on them with the disks and codes I found on the Internet?

Short answer? Yes. Long answer? Not really. The result is kinda sketchy because they're not Genuine MS products. If you just use the bare ISOs and sketchy activation codes you get basic Windows 7. It takes hours to load up and then you get the barest of drivers. So then you hunt down the drivers... and reboot after each one is installed. More hours of work. Then there's the many many updates and security patches to Windows to download... best done overnight IF you don't have one that asks you questions (and some do). One of the things about the updates is that some of them are designed to find sketchy installs - like the two I did - and let you know that the software is not genuine, registered software and won't you really like to buy the real thing?

There are ways around these notices... for now. I'm sure MS has a few people working to shut down any sketchy operating systems with the next security patch. The machines do work. Sort of. Usually you need to dig into the Registry to make them function. But even after all the work of getting the operating system, the hardware drivers and dodging the notices that say 'hey, this isn't really registered software' ... you have to download Firefox or Chrome and all the other software that make a computer productive.

So after spending days patching together two sketchy Windows 7 machines... the thought occurs to me: do I really want to deal with sketchy Windows machines?

Nope. They're a pain in the ass and who want's pirated software? I did this more out of curiosity than wanting to own a Windows machine. If I really want a Windows 7 machine I'll buy one second hand.

It's a log of work wasted in a sense, but I'll be wiping the hard drives and installing Xbuntu. The installs won't take is long, the updates are quicker, and they come with all the standard software already installed. Web browsers, graphic viewers, media play back _already installed_. It takes less time, less hassle, you get more and it's all legal and nice!

Oh, did I mention that Linux is both more secure and free?

-m
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