Use Windows 7. Or XP. Vista. 3.1. OSX.

Seven ways to make Windows 10 work better
FlintyMcQwerty asked for tips to fix or avoid problems with the operating system

44 thoughts on “Use Windows 7. Or XP. Vista. 3.1. OSX.”

  1. This isn’t correct, as the underlying code to actually do things has just got better and better with time and version. Some of the things that are irritations to people are just a set of side issues. Take for example the flat icons. I preferred the 3D look, but that’s a combination of fashion and having something that can be rolled out across multiple platforms like PCs, tablets and phones. Also, Windows 10 has those continual updates. You can’t pick and choose like in the past, and if you have a small ssd in your device it may stall, but mostly they don’t make a device unusable any more. And yes, Windows on a tablet doesn’t seem to work so well as Android, but Android on a fully-featured PC isn’t so good as Windows.

  2. Yeaj, well. But here’s something you can’t get around. Machine I’m typing this on. 5 year old laptop but upgraded with an SSD. Reinstalled W7 and it boots in 15 seconds. With W10 it was taking 2-3 minutes to sort itself out. Sometimes it never did & needed a reboot.
    I don’t see why I should be obliged to spend several hundred quid to buy a new machine with capabilities I’ll never need, to run a wanky O/S with features I’ll never use. Windows hasn’t progressed anywhere useful since W2K.

  3. What Excavator Man said. Windows 10 outperforms 7, which outperformed Vista.

    Windows XP you should avoid like the plague now. They aren’t doing security patches.

    And OSX? I don’t know if it performs better, but if you aren’t paying the Apple tax, you can buy a lot more hardware.

  4. Linux for me since forever, though I do run XP in a VM for when I’m forced to use Windows. I even had to run Win3.1 in DosBox a while ago to resurrect some ancient s/w for an old HP instrument.

  5. Similar situation to BiS.
    Old i5 laptop, running win7. First thing I did was whack a ssd in.
    Runs like a charm, boots in around 15 sec to a usable desktop.
    Still using 7 at work although we have a fairly new CAD desktop which uses 10.
    It’s deffo a step backwards with all the useless bells and whistles. It suffers from the same problem as Apple Macs.
    They dont give you an efficient, reliable platform to do what you want, they give you a platform (OS) which isn’t really yours and does what they want.

    Modern Os’s have been around for a long time, yet the likes of Microsoft haven’t innovated in any way.
    Where’s a real time os like Qnix for embedded systems? Or simply the ability to install updates without having to reboot. Hell, even being given the choice about which updates to install (win10).
    I still miss my Amiga…

  6. I still use 7. Excellent stable platform. I tried Win 10. Just didn’t like it as it was obviously designed for a wretched phone not a PC.

  7. I also have a ten year old laptop as backup with new SSD fitted and upgraded to 4 GB memory – it boots W10 in about 20 seconds and runs Office, Skype, Internet browser and some specialist software with no problem. At some point will end up as a Linux machine but while it performs well enough at W10 that it can do almost any task I use my main laptop for, and since having a Windows computer is work-critical for me, I like it to be set up as essentially a clone of the better one for emergency use. I didn’t notice any deterioration when I changed from W7 to 10 fwiw.

  8. ” I tried Win 10. Just didn’t like it as it was obviously designed for a wretched phone not a PC.”

    News to me & I have a Windows phone running 10. First it lunched a perfectly good 128gB memory card by insisting it needed to “fix problems” Wiped all the data & now I can’t even reformat it. Anything I try tells me it’s write protected with no way of removing the write protection.
    And now the piece of shit is getting to point I’m going to have to bin it. Continually crashes or seizes solid. And the performance to migrate my Whatap a/c to the new Android* Put the fone in development mode & download software to create back-up. Buy an ap for the Android so it can read the back-up. And from what I can see from people who’ve tried, success rate’s minus 50%

    *Another piece of shit. An advertising platform & involuntary, intrusive surveillance service masquerading as an O/S. Someone should nuke google to the bedrock. (And do Apple whilst they’re about it) But what happens when you build O/S’s for illiterate third-world peasants..

  9. Dennis the Peasant

    I liked Windows Vista because of the floaty bubbles.

    Windows 10 has floaty bubbles too.

    So does my bathtub. Not really a selling point.

  10. Seriously?
    Give Mint a go. Totally free, open source, so loads of people looking for any sneaky tricks being hidden away as per…..
    Anyone who has used Windows for a while will immediately find their way around.
    Most applications have similar replacements as standard, so little relearning required.
    Last time I was in WH Smith I picked up a bumper magaizine on Mint: written for Windoze refugees. With DVD.
    Keep the adware platforms for only when you must.
    If you really insist, you can still keep the MS Windows on the disk too, and choose at boot time.

    Microsoft have had 10 goes at Windows now. You’d have thought they’d have got it to work ages ago 🙂

  11. Windows XP you should avoid like the plague now. They aren’t doing security patches.

    They just released one for Win2003, XP, Vista and up. When it’s in their interest they’ll do it.

  12. As for blokes who put an SSD in a laptop, great. They do boot faster. You can also put an SSD in a desktop and get the same effect. It’s fine on things that are a decade or so old, and it’s like getting a new PC. For most purposes, it is. For anything like engineering software that places big demands on the cpu, it isn’t.

  13. “They just released one for Win2003, XP, Vista and up. When it’s in their interest they’ll do it.”

    You want to use XP, go ahead. Been warned etc.

  14. If you do go to SSD, well worth backing up to a mechanical drive. (although anyone needing to be told to back-up valuable data to a separate drive is no doubt too stupid to pay attention. Like the cretin here). Had one SSD go tits-up already. And they do degrade with heavy use.
    But with USB platter drives going for about 30 quid a TB, it’s hardly a bank breaking experience.

  15. Horses for courses
    My laptop arrived with W8.1
    Upgrade to W10 two and a half years ago

    Constant updates since, not a single issue

  16. ” You want to use XP, go ahead. Been warned etc.”

    Depends what you use it for, though. I’ve a little netbook still running XP. Gets used for Spotify, outputting Netflix video to the projection TV, bit of web browsing. What’s the security problem? There’s nothing there requires security. But I wouldn’t dream of connecting it to anything else or doing home banking or web purchases on it..

  17. @BiS

    It’s the Internet connection that’s the security problem. Even if you’re up to building and maintaining a strong firewall, I wouldn’t feel comfortable connecting an XP system. Download your music and videos on a modern system and transfer them by USB drive, that should be reasonably safe.

  18. You want to use XP, go ahead. Been warned etc.

    Not something I’d do (online) but nevertheless, they did issue a security update. Essentially it was for them, not end users. New malware would turn all those old machines still connected t’web into attack robots.

  19. I’m still using XP (wondering about a shift to Linux but it’s probably too difficult for me).

    But Vista is horrid; the wife had a laptop with it on; higher spec than mine, should have been plenty, but it was like stirring very thick porridge.

  20. @bloke in spain June 14, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Windows hasn’t progressed anywhere useful since W2K

    + 0.5

    imo XPSP3 was/is best Win version – from Vista on it’s been less usable, more restrictive and more bloated.

    @allthegoodnamesaretaken June 14, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Connecting anything other than a fully patched computer to the internet is as risky as shagging broads without a condom.

    Bollocks. Connecting idiots to the internet is the problem.

  21. Someone here will know; is there a version of Linux (or any other operating system) that has an XP-style file manager, complete with a proper, full, visible folder tree on the left hand side? It’s the lack of one of those in later versions of Windows, Android, Linux (so I’m told) and pretty much everything else that is the main reason for me having stuck with XP.

  22. Bloke in North Dorset

    Slightly OT

    I find myself in a position where having a Faceache account would give me some benefits but I also think there the most evil of the big tech companies. What’s the best way to get a one off email address I can use only to create and account a n that site without having to give any personal information which can be tied back to me eg mobile?

  23. You ought to be careful connecting anything to the internet that isn’t completely up to date. That includes routers, web cams, internet capable TVs etc.
    Obviously that’s without worrying about the deliberate flaws and backdoors used by the likes of GCHQ and the NSA (and Huawei!)
    Microsoft still hasn’t nailed down security after decades. Maybe by Windows 20!

  24. My Windows10 has a side window that has the tree structure in the file management (Explorer).

    How could anyone with a large number of files not need one?

    Or am I missing something about the changes from earlier systems? Because they all work remarkably similarly from my point of view.

  25. While I am in claiming free consultancy mode, my slightly pre-7 hardware, running 7, on a 2 year-old SSD, has got quite slow to boot of late. The SSD was magic when I put it in. A read/write test thingy returns sensible numbers, it’s clearly not dying of old age yet.

    Caveat: I am running Adobe Whatevertheycallitthisweek Classic CC CC Classic Creative Cloud Sky Original New Thing, which seems to hog most processor usage for checking the license is up to date every 15 femtoseconds.

    Any thoughts?

  26. @BiG
    Acrobat is a pile of shite and always has been, not only is it a dreadful resource hog, but it has more security holes than a very holey thing. If you just want to read PDFs there are many alternatives* available (indeed, most modern browsers can display most PDFs). If you need to compose your own, complex** PDF documents, I think you’re stuck with Adobe.

    * I use Foxit.
    ** All Office software can save in PDF format, but I’m sure you knew that.

  27. The Meissen Bison

    Steve: TMB – sold!

    Hooray! That’s another 17p from the Gates Foundation for my favourite good cause which is to keep Droitwich free of Ebola virus and to keep listeria out of NHS hospital sandwiches.

  28. The SSD was magic when I put it in. A read/write test thingy returns sensible numbers, it’s clearly not dying of old age yet.

    If the hardware performance is fine then it’s probably just the usual crap and bloat that forms around a Windows installation over time. If it seems slow on an SSD, imagine waiting for an older 2.5″ laptop HDD to grind into action.

    If your hardware is pre Win7 then it might not be fully compatible with SSDs, at least not without some care during setup. This guide gives pointers:

    There are links there to getting the best out of SSDs with different chip sets, making sure the TRIM command is enabled, disabling disk defragmenting – all sorts of sad things.

    Don’t forget to back up your data before (if) you start twatting about with things.

  29. What’s the best way to get a one off email address I can use only to create and account a n that site without having to give any personal information which can be tied back to me eg mobile?

    Get a new gmail, hotmail, yahoo etc account just for Faecesbook. Last time I created a new gmail address, I don’t remember having to give any other details.

    For throwaway addresses that I never want to read, I use mailinator. Doubt fb would let you sign up with one of those though.

  30. I use Lightroom/Photoshop (at home), proper Acrobat only at work, and only occasionally. I agree it’s a terrible resource hog, and it took me ages to get used to the fact that it demands to manage my files its way. I still have to refer to a self-written (and still developing) workflow because I don’t use it all that often and it’s totally unintuitive. I probably “update” (redownload the entire package) asoften as I actually use it. I hate being a permanent beta tester for software that makes major changes to its interface just as you got used to the last iteration, but everything is like that now.

    Its attitude problem in those respects (interface and file management) is close to my similar gripe with scarepoint. But Lightroom/Photoshop does do its main job very well.

  31. Rent your own email server. 1and1 throw in an obscurely-named subdomain for free and you can create, destroy, change email addresses as often as you like. I’m sure law enforcement can find who runs it (and assume the owner is also the user of the address), but it would be a challenge for anyone else.

  32. “making sure the TRIM command is enabled, disabling disk defragmenting – all sorts of sad things.”

    Pretty sure I did that, but I don’t trust Windoze not to have come in and reset to default.

    My data, with a few exceptions, lives on a separate HDD from the system drive, and is automatically backed up continuously to an online data store, and hourly to an FTP server on my router. I did a clean install of Win7 when I got the SSD, to kill all said bloat. It took about a week after that to get all the SPs and updates downloaded. It would just sit for hours/days trying to work out what it should grab.

  33. Hmm. That dithering with updates immediately after a fresh install would make me look for a problem. Mine was very quick to catch up at the start. After 18 months it’s a bit picky and sulky.

    Your backup regime is admirable but is it vulnerable to an encryption attack?

  34. It’s certainly not 100% immune. The online backup (Carbonite, in the absence of anything better/rightpondian) purportedly is incremental for 30 days, though I think it does special things with .pst and other database files. I haven’t checked to see what it does if the file changes but the timestamp doesn’t. If it works properly, the attack would have to wait that long between encryption and demand, which seems unlikely.

    I used to keep annual backups on DVD as well, but since getting back into photography a few years ago, it’s become impractical to do that with the vast amounts of data generated.

  35. @Allthegoodnamesaretaken June 14, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    XP SP3 is fine on internet; one “infection” in >10 years and that was a DNS hijack easily fixed.

    @RichardT June 14, 2019 at 8:35 pm

    File Manager/Explorer is one of many reasons why I prefer XP


    Acrobat 6 is where I’ve stayed. Tried later versions: bloatware.

    Slow: try Piriform’s Ccleaner etc

    and USBOblivian

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