WHY I AM USING WINDOWS 7 MACHINE AS A DAILY DRIVER IN 2024?

WHY I AM USING WINDOWS 7 MACHINE AS A DAILY DRIVER IN 2024?
Page content

UPDATED ON: 2024-02-16
Added some links and fixed typos here and there.
VERSION: beta 01

First of all, short congrats regarding happy New Year!
It looks like that we made another one.

In this long read you will find subjective rant towards to “obsolete” Windows 7 and comparisons with “modern” windows 10/11.
This rant is the longest post i ever done on the pages of current website.
Degradation of windows operating system is well underway and it looks like process can’t be stopped by any means.
Modern windows become very inconvenient and overloaded with telemetry and spying stuff.


▒ DISCLAIMER

  • You don’t need to read this posting if you are fond of all those new & shiny tech stuff.
  • You don’t need to read this posting if you don’t like to read rant of oldschool user, who began his windows career back in Windows 3.0 times.
  • You don’t need to read this posting if you don’t like to read more than 20Kb of retrograde text, filled with obsolete things.
  • You don’t need to read this posting if you don’t like random flow of thoughts, which drived the process of article creation and was also used to accomplish this reading to finished state.

Any other persons are resolutely welcomed.


▒ PREFACE & MOTIVATION

Bored with long, 10 hour train ride i’ve decided to fill the gap in unavailability of quality explanation: “Why are you still using Windows 7?”
The other thing, which forced me to write this note was quite sufficient amount of couch-experts with definitely wrong statements in mind, like
“Windows 7 is obsolete and insecure” or “you can’t run this or that software on Windows 7”. Here is a [neat example] .
So i’ve decided to accumulate relevant knowledge in one single long read, mostly to satisfy inner cravings of my own.
Besides above mentioned things i hope that my accumulation will be helpful at least to anybody.

Software support will be covered in the end of the document.


▒ I AM NOT A GAMER

First things first i’d like to note that i’m not a gamer, at least not a modern one, so i pretty much don’t care about recent blockbusters.
Although i would like to mention that DirectX 12 in Windows 7 is possible, but only if game developer introduce such support by it’s own efforts.
However, not many companies tried these adventurous waters out.
That is why the most popular opinion in masses is like: “Windows 7 can’t run DirectX 12 API”.

And yeah, i agree to the fact that housewives and non-tech people should run modern operating systems, so they can protect themselves from hypothetical dumb actions of their own, which can be born only in non-tech head, without solid understanding how computer works.
Enough of that mambo-jambo and let’s get started.


▒ WINDOWS 7? WHY NOT WINDOWS XP THEN?

Frankly speaking if it will be possible i’ve stayed even on Windows XP. But 4Gb memory limit is a real downside for me.
I know that it is possible to configure PAE memory management to workaround memory limitation, but such approach will introduce performance latencies, compatibility problems or even BSODs, especially for badly written drivers or software. Windows XP x64 is a solution to memory shortcomings, but unfortunately this version introduce a couple of other important problems, which are absent in 32-bit version of Windows XP. Life is balanced for sure.

Practically x64 version means: less compatible software, lack of audio drivers for quality sound cards, absence of DOS mode (not so really essential, but worth to notice) and so on.

Just for your information, Windows XP x86 supports up to 32 logical cores and Windows XP x64 up to 64. So, as you can see quite powerful configuration can be built if you’re up to it and accepting mentioned limitations.

As for software, there are two really major issues here. And they can’t be solved in an easy way.
First, there is no DirectX 11 and it’s a real downside even for such retrograde as myself.
In majority of cases modern video editing and music creation software require DirectX 11 support.
Second, the most recent web browsers are quite old enough: Firefox 68 (with some patches from 78 code base,
i’m talking about [myPal] ) and [Chinese fork of chrome 89] . Firefox 68 will become unusable in about two or three years,
Chome 89 is a little bit better, but not substantially. So, future web under Windows Xp is quite vaporous.

By the way, i’ve seen that Skulltrail92 on github have managed to run [latest Chrome 121 on Windows XP] .
That’s quite nice and interesting news, but i’m sure that there will be significant quirks and limitations in usage.
So, not much hopes on this one.

Software to recreate or extend existing API functions, like [One-Core] for Windows XP or [VxKex] for Windows 7 projects are not bringing much hopes either because they are developed by small group of enthusiasts. But it’s better than nothing and i’m very grateful to those people for their huge efforts.


▒ CURRENT/FUTURE HARDWARE STATE

Currently i’m running 44-thread Broadwell paired with 64Gb of ram, fast nvme and 3090Ti video card.
Quite a machine, especially if we consider official recommended Windows 7 requirements.

In distant future i’m planing to switch to AMD-based platform because they are more effective in terms of CPU performance in Windows 7 environment and don’t have these small-big cores, which are not supported by Windows 7.
In addition to that greedy intel do not like when hackers [improving their drivers] in regards to “obsolete” operating systems.
In 2021 i’ve already checked that 5950X Ryzen is [perfectly working solution] .
New Ryzen 7950X is confirmed to work flawlessly too and is a recommended CPU by Winraid enthusiast CanonKong,
author of [modern Ryzen-based drivers] .

Future 8950X will work also, because it is inserted in the same AM5 socket as 7950X.
Moreover, CanonKong confirmed that Threadripper 5995WX, which is working in conjunction with WRX80 is also fully compatible with Windows 7.
128 cores of Zen power! How about this? And this doesn’t even reach Windows 7 x64 limitation of 256 logical cores.

In graphics field we have nice 3090Ti, which covers all future needs in that area, without any compromises.
Drivers for 3000 series will be updated [till October of 2024] . So, in terms of hardware we are substantially future proofed here.


▒ SECURITY TUNING

I often see recommendations not to use Windows 7 in internet environment.
I simply do not agree on that statement because of daily Windows 7 usage as a main operating system.
So, the fundamental motivation here is to share my personal experience with Windows 7 in reality of 2023.

Properly patched and configured system is fully capable of modern internet surfing without any workarounds.
Advanced users almost never run antivirus bloatware because they are simply a waste of CPU cycles plus a big privacy black hole.
Such software is intended and trained to dial back home after some period of time to drop collected information regarding your private life.
Better to install good software and hardware firewalls.

Configure them correctly:

  • close dangerous ports like:
389, 445, 111, 135, 137, 138, 139, 161

If you want to talk about security first check latest ms security bulletin and see how many bugs were squashed in Windows 7 category
and how many in windows 10/11. I’m repeating this phrase for years and nothing changes.

For those of you who are mumbling about Windows 7 EOL in terms of security patches:
extended ESU-enabled machines will receive updates right [till October 2024] , so OS is STILL supported.
It will be relevant to note here about extended paid [0patch] support also. So we have options here.

As for me, i’m using [Outpost Pro] software firewall in conjunction with hardware one from [Zyxel] .
Also i have personal DNS/AD blocking service based around [PiHole] , which is running on Raspberry Pi 4.

Speaking of UEFI support, it is not present in default Windows 7 distribution, but was introduced later on by [UEFI Seven hack] .
Useful feature if you need to boot from drives larger than 2TB. I’m not among those people.
Note that recent news regarding native Windows 7 support of UEFI was a complete fake.

One more really important thing to mention, is that most of the recent hacks are in a form of data breaches, which has nothing to do with OS security.
Moreover, current market share of Windows 7 is around 3%. After complete decline of ESU patching total share will surely fall below 1.5% or something. Hackers will definitely do not target attacks against such small target group and will prefer to spent their time on more popular operating systems.
Such approach will bring more successful hacks to them.
Wise usage of head allows you to construct such no-so complex logical conclusions and turn reality to your own good.


▒ PRIVACY TUNING

In terms of privacy stock distribution of Windows 7 was pretty neat.
I’m saying was because from 2016 and beyond microsoft injected into Windows 7 many telemetry stuff ported from Windows 8 & 10.
If you are interested i have a [comprehensive article] on this topic on my website.
It is important to note here that Windows 10 violates basic principles of computer networking by ignoring hosts file,
partially ignoring DNS protocol and internal firewall settings.
All of these is done just for the sake of unhampered sending of your private data to third-parties.

Windows 10 also installs software in background mode without asking end user.
I remember how they installed skype and auto-logined it without any questions, super cute. Just don’t know what to say more…complete disrespect.

As for privacy on internet: my recipe is simple.

  • No chrome based stuff [at least for the period when Firefox will be available]
  • No “ok goole”, no “siri”, no “alisa”
    These are 24/7 microphones at your place monitoring your private space without any tiredness,
    after some time they’ll surely dial home back to ditch your private preferences to third-party companies.
    I’m definitely not into this mad scheme.

▒ MEDIOCRE PERFORMANCE [WIN 10]

Ok, this is my favorite part.
Stock Windows 7 delivers [better performance] . WINDOWS 10

WINDOWS 7

NVME readout in Windows 7 is also faster and this is contrary to the fact that
Windows 7 in it’s golden release even don’t have nvme support (it was added later on).

NVME READOUT
IMPORTANT 4K READ/WRITE BETTER IN WINDOWS 7
[PROOF LINK]

WINDOWS 10

WINDOWS 7

If we tweak Windows 7 crone a bit we can get even more speed increase.

Newly created user profile in windows 10 weights almost 400mb, while containing zero information about user.
What are they hiding there? Easter egg with 3D graphics?

I can go on forever, these are just the most obvious things which come to mind instantly.
Windows 7 is faster in archiving or copying files. Blender 3D rendering is also faster in Windows 7. Ah, just though that it will be nice to mention that kernel latency in windows 10/11,
which is called [DPC] , is [not so great] [at all] . Big system latencies can be very irritating especially in music creation.

And finally remember that whole picture of the problem is always consists from little pieces.
So, always care about not obvious and no-so well-visible details here and there.


▒ FORCED RAPID UPDATES [WIN 10]

This thing drives me nuts right from the first start of windows 10! I bet that not only me run into these endless train of updates, which added one thing and immediately broke another (updates installed in the most inappropriate time for user). And how about removal of time tested features and adding random stuff designed by some dope-headed managers on coke? Yeah, that’s the cherry on the cake. Or maybe it is not? I tried to start using windows 10 at least two times.
Of course without any luck. The most atrocious thing in this section is how windows is reseting user settings after another update.
And you can’t fully opt out of updating process.

Windows 10 don’t have any services packs, just forced rapid updates, which means it will always be in non-stop fixing mode and you are signing as permanent non-paid beta-tester, what a load of…

Btw, do you know that your fresh windows 11 copy is already obsolete and the new “king” is coming.
[Meet windows 12!] What a bunch of dumb as##s.


▒ BROKEN DRIVERS [WIN 10]

Windows 7 have more solid driver approach rather than windows 10 with it’s constant hit’n’miss fast injected updates.
During my ten experience i run into broken printer, LAN and WIFI drivers on a constant basis. That’s quite a list i can say.


▒ QUALITY OF SOFTWARE [WIN 10]

I remember excellent article where ex-QA programmer from microsoft, telling the story that they already dropped most of the
human quality assurance around 2015 (that’s the early days of windows 10). So as you can see machine testing only is not so good solution.
Ah, and those multitude of articles saying that [Windows 7 is dead] . How funny, 8 years passed and it is STILL not dead YET.
But despite that fact there are sufficient amount of people mumbling about [Windows 7 obsolesce] .

I think that stability questions can be glued to this section also. Some “experts” constantly talking about Windows 7 random crashes.
I don’t know what they are talking about, because i don’t have any BSODs right from the last installation around 2020.
Despite the fact that i’m doing plenty of multimedia workloads in various applications: Affinity Photo, Renoise, Blender.
So it is quite stressful use of computer and it goes without visible stability problems at all.


▒ TROUBLESHOOTING & DOCUMENTATION [WIN 10]

Safe mode of windows 10 become impossible to access unless you are booted into WORKING operating system,
such position totally eliminates advantages of safe mode.
Moreover, it is hidden in so distant place, just to be absolutely sure that you’ll never access it.

One of the most important advantages of Windows 7 operating system is availability of rich documentation.
If you run into a problem in your workflow it is most likely that issue is already documented and solved using multiple ways.
All you need to do is to select the most appropriate method for you.
[Stackoverflow] and [superuser] are nice places to look, but for the most part generic internet search will show you the way out.
Such disposition of things can be compared with super friendly-Linux community, like [Endavour OS]
(they helped me with so much stuff, no even asking why or sending me to rhetorical google search).


▒ OVERALL ERGONOMICS [WIN 10]

My second favorite topic is convenience of use.
I’m not saying that Windows 7 is perfect gem, but in comparison to [Windows 10/11 abominations] it is surely is.
I like how windows 10 has two control panels with cross-referencing settings.
Absolutely dissimilar to each other, as if they are control panels of separate independent products. That’s surely coke or maybe shrooms?
One panel for touch-based devices and the other for desktop ones.
They never finished settings transfer from old classic panel to new one. So you’ll need both of them to setup system in a proper way.
It looks like dope managers don’t understand basics of simple rule: You can’t sit on two chairs at the same time.
And in the end of the day they simply decided to make new version of windows. How quaint!
Of course it’s easier to develop new os from ground up than fix control panels bifurcation.


▒ DESIGN & AESTHETICS [WIN 10]

I’ll begin this section with a real life example of how one colleague on my job have seen [WIN]+[TAB] tilted animation
when i cycled through opened windows with Aero enabled and said “WOW! i don’t have that on my new Windows 11, is it early alpha of Windows 12?” See? People from 2023 are impressed with aesthetics of 2009? How cool is that?
Most of Windows 7 redditors like the looks of Aero-enabled desktop.
As for me, i’ve enabled Aero very late, around 2019, if i remember correctly.
Before that date i ran Windows 7 strictly in a classic mode to save memory and CPU cycles.

Interface of Windows 7 is clean, graphically pleasant and less cartoonish than WindowsXP. What else do we need?

And what’s with those gigantic close, minimize, restore buttons in windows 10, which eating height screen resolution.
I know that it can be customized from registry, but what the?

The whole concept of messed up design comes purely from the fact to satisfy mobile users at any cost.
This story dates back to Windows 8 days around 2013 or something.
I will repeat myself here: You can’t sit on two chairs at the same time.
Aesthetics of modern windows is screwed up on design level and this can’t be fixed in a simple way.

One more thing: pale, unimpressive, muddy icon set. Oh, God who hired those boring designers?
Windows 2000 icons dated back to 1999 looked way better than “modern” set in window 10.
Windows 11 fixed that issue, but who really cares now?
What’s the point of round corners and neat icons if technically under the hood system is a complete mess glued with telemetry platform.


▒ SOFTWARE SUPPORT

I feel that at this point i should cover software side of the article.
Here are some sections regarding latest software, which can be executed on our old Windows 7 crone.


░ MODERN WEB

No problem here, we have plethora of choices. Here are the most important ones:

Some words regarding browser configuration. Mandatory plugins to keep you safe. From the most important to less important.

For detailed Firefox addons guide make sure to [check this link] .


░ PROGRAMMING

We have almost a full set here:


░ GRAPHICS SOFTWARE

I’m running latest Affinity Photo 1.x and Designer 1.x, which cover my graphical needs in 2023 fully.
Blender 4.0 is [already hacked] .
Original version stopped Windows 7 support at 2.92.

Open-source enthusiasts can always try actual versions of Gimp and Inkscape.
Despite the fact that official site is saying that Inkscape is not compatible with Windows 7.

Adobe products stopped Windows 7 support super early around 2018 (obviously they was fueled by ms).
Nevertheless of official statements you can go up to 2020 version, which is pretty neat if you ask me.
But i’m not using adobe software anymore, because of extensive telemetry they are collecting.
I was shocked when saw how many network requests their software generate.
It is insane and simply not passing my quality standards.


░ AUDIO SOFTWARE

As for music cooking you have full freedom here too. Want powerful tracker-based DAW? Latest Renoise 3.4.3 is [here] .
Like to do simple chiptunes or prefer more lightweight software here is [latest version of OpenMPT] .
[Foobar 2000] as a modern advanced music player, which covers all needs in playing hi-res lossless music of various audio formats.


░ VIDEO SOFTWARE

Not an expert in video montage, but i’m doing frequent simple footages in Vegas 21 Pro. No problems whatsoever.
Screen grabbing is done via OBS 29, which can be run [via QT hack] , so we are quite modern here too.

Summarizing things up, here is a link to convenient [list of modern Windows 7 applications] , which can be used in 2024 reality.
In addition to that: link to [critical dates in Windows 7 timeline] . Hope that these one will fix you up by a noticeable margin.


▒ AND WHAT ABOUT LINUX? [BONUS PART #1]

Sadly Linux operating system can’t be counted as multipurpose universal daily tool for any tasks even in 2024.
Of course, it can be used quite effectively as a network server, basic office tool, but surely it’s not applicable for serious multimedia works.
Operating system have problems with broad variety of multimedia technologies like deep 30-bit color, HDR, hi-res audio, proper GPU acceleration.
Notice that i’m don’t even mentioning here poor game support or things like that.

Here are some solid quotes from important Unix people.

Linus Torvalds, Linux main core architect said:

I mean, sometimes it's a bit sad that we are definitely not the streamlined, small, hyper-efficient kernel that I envisioned 15 years ago... The kernel is huge and bloated, and our icache footprint is scary. I mean, there is no question about that. And whenever we add a new feature, it only gets worse.

Andrew Morton, one of Linux kernel lead developers, explains that many bugs identified in Linux are never fixed.

Linus Torvalds stated that Linux has become “too complex” and he was concerned that developers would not be able to find their way through the software anymore. He complained that even subsystems have become very complex and he told the publication that he is “afraid of the day” when there will be an error that “cannot be evaluated anymore.”

Andrew Morton, one of Linux kernel lead developers, explains that many bugs identified in Linux are never fixed.

Theo de Raadt, founder of OpenBSD:

Linux has never been about quality. There are so many parts of the system that are just these cheap little hacks, and it happens to run. I don’t know what [Linus's] focus is at all anymore, but it isn’t quality.

▒ ANDROID DEVOLUTION [BONUS PART #2]

Funny thing that Android OS is not much better either and can be represented by the same picture with changed headings.
As you may already know i’m still using Android 8.0 in 2024. No problems at all.

ANDROID DEVOLUTION


▒ SOME AFTER WORDS

If you have any suggestions or would like to correct me in the fact field or appoint some typos please reply below.

Note is written in [EndavourOS] , [Arch-based] Linux fork on [Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen5] maxed out laptop.
By the way, it is a last thin notebook which can run Windows 7 operating system natively, without any hacks.
I’m quite pleased with dual-boot Windows7/Linux coexistence.
As for EndavourOS, it looks like that it will become my future operating system when corps pull the internet plug for Windows 7.
And contrary to this Windows 7 will be my last operating system from microsoft in my optics. That’s how it goes for today.

PS #1 Thanks to everybody who have reached the final chapter of my personal Windows 7 mega rant.
If someone would like to open conversation about things of the past please [drop me a line] .

PS #2 Ufff, isn’t that all? Can i have more coffee??