Windows 7 in 2021...

Thread Starter

Externet

Joined Nov 29, 2005
1,667
Hi.
Am being offered to buy what seems a tempting good HP 2016 laptop with Win7 installed, as spare,for very low $.
What are the risks to get malware ? Is it a sure thing waiting to happen ? My intention is to remove its hard drive and archive it unaltered for only IF I need Windows some day. Install a new hard drive with Linux for daily everything.
If I use it some day as Windows; will it get infection trouble ? Do some of you use Win7 daily on the web with some security installed ?

Seems in my Windows ignorance that Win7 can be upgraded free to Win10 at Microsoft website. Never done it. (Not used Win since 2005)
Will it be safer that way to avoid malware ? Am I anyway forced to obtain/install antiviral programs ? My main interest is the hardware itself but could be convenient to have a Win machine by just shoveling in its original drive.

Please move to proper "computing" section if any.
 

sagor

Joined Mar 10, 2019
490
"Malware" usually comes from your browser or browsing habits. With a good anti-virus, and some anti-malware software, you should be good. Most AV vendors still support Win7. So until such time they drop support, WIn7 is still viable for some people. I would also recommend a good third party firewall, not MS products. As long as you protect your Internet access, your Win7 should remain safe. Yes, there are no more "security" updates for Win7 from MS, but then, how many holes still exist and how many attacks are targeted at Win7 now-a-days? Hackers will always target the most popular operating systems. While WIn7 is still popular, hackers want to focus on newer systems to trap "new" unsuspecting users, which usually come with new Win10 systems.
If you use common sense on the Internet and have up to date anti-virus/malware software, you should be good to go....
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
1,937
There is a bonus to having Win7 as an operating system. That is the fact that there are no more updates. You will have a stable platform to work with.
In the past I have had a number of nasty experiences with Windows automatic updates making the operating system and some of my applications unusable until I did a restore and blocked future updates.
 

eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,600
Hi.
Am being offered to buy what seems a tempting good HP 2016 laptop with Win7 installed, as spare,for very low $.
What are the risks to get malware ? Is it a sure thing waiting to happen ? My intention is to remove its hard drive and archive it unaltered for only IF I need Windows some day. Install a new hard drive with Linux for daily everything.
If I use it some day as Windows; will it get infection trouble ? Do some of you use Win7 daily on the web with some security installed ?

Seems in my Windows ignorance that Win7 can be upgraded free to Win10 at Microsoft website. Never done it. (Not used Win since 2005)
Will it be safer that way to avoid malware ? Am I anyway forced to obtain/install antiviral programs ? My main interest is the hardware itself but could be convenient to have a Win machine by just shoveling in its original drive.

Please move to proper "computing" section if any.
Microsoft no longer researches Win7 for security vulnerabilities and hasn't for at least a couple years. So yes...Windows 7 is vulnerable to Malware and Viruses. Especially ones that may exist but haven't been found. So even having a good AV program (which I highly recommend to everyone) may not help. A problem with continuing to use Win7 while connected to the internet is that it can become compromised (because its no longer patched) and then used as an attack platform to compromise other systems. So don't connect a Win7 system to the internet. If you share files with anyone, do it carefully by at least AV scanning all files with a good AV scanner. Better have a good backup plan just in case.

If possible, use Windows 10.
 

Sensacell

Joined Jun 19, 2012
2,908
I run win 7 on my machine with no issues.

The good thing about running a dinosaur OS is that the "Bad Guys" don't bother targeting this old stuff, they shoot for the center of the curve.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
The bad guys typically shoot for the low hanging fruit and that very specifically includes people running out of date and unpatched operating systems and applications.

Remember WannaCry? That exploited a known vulnerability for which a patch had been pushed a couple of months earlier. The hundreds of thousands of computers that were infected were machines running older or unpatched OSs.

WinXP and Win7 (and all unsupported OSs) have vulnerabilities that are known and are not going to be patched. If you run those OSs you are putting yourself at greater risk of being the victim of a successful attack. The question is whether you consider the risk acceptable, which you very well may. Being at greater risk does not in any way equate to some inevitability of being hit, but you do make yourself a more likely target.

Another thing to keep in mind. If you have a current and patched OS, the range of vulnerabilities that you have will be largely inaccessible to script kiddies, who carry out a large fraction of cyber attacks, because they lack the skills to go after such targets. Their tools target primarily known vulnerabilities that have been out for some time and it is worth their effort because they know that, just like the Nigerian Prince scam, there are plenty of people that can fall prey to their attacks. They don't care whether the person they are stealing banking information from is running the latest OS or not, all they care about is that enough people are running vulnerable OSs that there is a large enough pool to make a profit on. So do you really want to be in that pool?
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
1,937
eetech00 said:
"Not true...it’s a preferred target."

eetech00, is that an opinion or can you support it with reliable references?
Both of my main computers have been running XP with 4x3 monitors for the last 20 years.I have upgraded the hardware but XP does everything I need to do in a very fast and efficient way. I use them for a lot more than "information and entertainment" which is what Win 10 is intended for. I was using Microsoft "Defend" antivirus until they stopped supporting it for XP. I got hit by a couple of ransomeware programs that were easy to disable so then I installed the free Avast antivirus. I never have problems now but I am always cautious about what I access in the internet.
My laptop runs Win 7, again with Avast antivirus, with absolutely no problems at all.
I have one computer with Win 8.1, which I detest!

Regards,
Keith
 
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xox

Joined Sep 8, 2017
598
eetech00 said:

"Not true...it’s a preferred target."


eetech00, is that an opinion or can you support it with reliable references?

Both of my main computers have been running XP with 4x3 monitors for the last 20 years.I have upgraded the hardware but XP does everything I need to do in a very fast and efficient way. I use them for a lot more than "information and entertainment" which is what Win 10 is intended for. I was using Microsoft "Defend" antivirus until they stopped supporting it for XP. I got hit by a couple of ransomeware programs that were easy to disable so then I installed the free Avast antivirus. I never have problems now but I am always cautious about what I access in the internet.

My laptop runs Win 7, again with Avast antivirus, with absolutely no problems at all.

I have one computer with Win 8.1, which I detest!


Regards,

Keith
The thing about Windows is it just makes things too easy for hackers (remember MICE?). Linux is much more stable IMHO. As long as you don't run programs from untrusted sources (most Linux programs are open source, so not much of an issue) the risk of getting a virus is pretty low.
 

justtrying

Joined Mar 9, 2011
435
Outdated software is a great target. A lot of governemnt and big businesses are slow to upgrade. Medical platforms are at least several years behind (many new devices today run on windows 7 platforms). WannaCry is still a big issue for medical industry/hospitals. Who knows what other gaps can be found... Yes it is not a general vulnerability in much of the population but it can still have a big payoff. If I was a hacker I would not ignore it :)

My old computer was running way too slow with Windows 7 so I chucked it and went to LINUX. Much better
 

bertus

Joined Apr 5, 2008
21,596
Hello,

In my job, we get a lot of questions for migrating the windows 7 PC's to windows 10.
Some software packages are still not available for windows 10.
I noticed that the industries want PC's running on Windows 10 and universities want PC's running Linux (we offer PC's with CentOS).

Bertus
 

scorbin1

Joined Dec 24, 2019
92
eetech00 said:
"Not true...it’s a preferred target."

eetech00, is that an opinion or can you support it with reliable references?
Both of my main computers have been running XP with 4x3 monitors for the last 20 years.I have upgraded the hardware but XP does everything I need to do in a very fast and efficient way. I use them for a lot more than "information and entertainment" which is what Win 10 is intended for. I was using Microsoft "Defend" antivirus until they stopped supporting it for XP. I got hit by a couple of ransomeware programs that were easy to disable so then I installed the free Avast antivirus. I never have problems now but I am always cautious about what I access in the internet.
My laptop runs Win 7, again with Avast antivirus, with absolutely no problems at all.
I have one computer with Win 8.1, which I detest!

Regards,
Keith
I can absolutely confirm this. We have had 3 known successful breaches this year and 2 of them targeted a Windows 7 machine that we have no choice but to run AND connect to the internet on occasion. On top of that the malware was a multiOS bitcoin miner which means it can infect linux machines as well. It's entirely possible that someone could compromise the Windows 7 OS while he has it booted, get infected, and then spread it to the offline linux partition and/or other devices on the network as well. Ransomware is just as easy to get and spread and could just as easily have been the payload in our case.

Also just because you haven't noticed any problems doesnt mean you haven't had any. Most breaches are an attempt at installing APT, or advance persistent threat, malware and can easily go unnoticed for very long periods of time. This is basically a back door into your system, usually for purposes of a coordinated botnet style attack against another system. In the case of major industry it is sometimes an attempt at positioning themselves for a large scale coordinated denial-of-service/system shutdown as seems to be the goal of state-sanctioned hacking campaigns by North Korea, Russia, and China among others that have been detected by CERT.
 

eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,600
eetech00 said:
"Not true...it’s a preferred target."

eetech00, is that an opinion or can you support it with reliable references?
Both of my main computers have been running XP with 4x3 monitors for the last 20 years.I have upgraded the hardware but XP does everything I need to do in a very fast and efficient way. I use them for a lot more than "information and entertainment" which is what Win 10 is intended for. I was using Microsoft "Defend" antivirus until they stopped supporting it for XP. I got hit by a couple of ransomeware programs that were easy to disable so then I installed the free Avast antivirus. I never have problems now but I am always cautious about what I access in the internet.
My laptop runs Win 7, again with Avast antivirus, with absolutely no problems at all.
I have one computer with Win 8.1, which I detest!

Regards,
Keith
My response is from experienced gained from over 20 years computer systems administration and dealing with hacks of all kinds..
 

KeithWalker

Joined Jul 10, 2017
1,937
My response is from experienced gained from over 20 years computer systems administration and dealing with hacks of all kinds..
And my response is from 40 years of software development in the electronics industry.
Widows10 is not a stable or friendly environment for anything other than entertainment and on-line shopping. It is changed and updated so often that it presents a continually moving target for developing manufacturing industry monitoring and control software. It has become so complex with its updates, patches and ad-ons that I would have to spend all my time trying to keep up with it instead of developing the software I need.
 

eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,600
And my response is from 40 years of software development in the electronics industry.
Yes...but you do not have 40 years experience with win10. :)

Widows10 is not a stable or friendly environment for anything other than entertainment and on-line shopping. It is changed
I strongly disagree. It is stable if managed/administered properly.

and updated so often that it presents a continually moving target for developing manufacturing industry monitoring and control software. It has become so complex with its updates, patches and ad-ons that I would have to spend all my time trying to keep up with it instead of developing the software I need.
I do agree that it presents issues with software development having performed software development myself.
Its not easy...but that's part of a developers job.

As a user, however, Windows 10 has been stable for me, but I do regular maintenance to keep it that way.

But this is off topic. I still recommend to stay away from old, unpatched, operating systems of any kind, especially if intending to use them with internet services.
 

scorbin1

Joined Dec 24, 2019
92
And my response is from 40 years of software development in the electronics industry.
Widows10 is not a stable or friendly environment for anything other than entertainment and on-line shopping. It is changed and updated so often that it presents a continually moving target for developing manufacturing industry monitoring and control software. It has become so complex with its updates, patches and ad-ons that I would have to spend all my time trying to keep up with it instead of developing the software I need.
I definitely feel your pain as I deal with this every single day. Windows, and Microsoft in general for that matter, is the bane of my existence and I believe the whole world would be much better off without them. For example, I honestly think embedding windows(any version) into an HMI is the absolute biggest mistake the manufacturing industry has ever made. Windows is 90% bloatware, even with nothing else installed, and I still can't even fathom how they thought it was a good choice for critical, or any, production systems. However as I mentioned above we have several foreign government funded campaigns actively hacking US industrial manufacturers. The threat is absolutely real!! It is getting more and more vital that we, as industrial manufacturers, maintain supported and updated software or we are simply asking for trouble. By neglecting this fact we are opening up our companies to potentially costly downtime in the best case or even threaten the safety of employees as industrial control systems are becoming more widely a prime target for these breaches.

Just my opinion but I don't believe windows is ever a good platform to develop anything on, and so far in my capacity as an Electrical Design Engineer/IT Administrator I have never, and will never program anything for production line use specifically for windows. I always choose tools and code that is portable between other OSes or systems. Always have to have contingency plan! Some will argue that this is sometimes impossible, but I have NEVER ran into a situation in which this is actually the case. If in the off-chance that I do run into this situation it would never be anything more than a bandaid until I can find a different way or develop my own way. Microsoft doesn't even support most of its own software for more than about 3 years and with most production equipment in service for anywhere from 6-20 years or more on average, it just seems to me like it will always be a bad choice as any sort of reliable platform in industry. Maintaining windows systems for office use is stressful enough and it generally does it very well.
 

xox

Joined Sep 8, 2017
598
I definitely feel your pain as I deal with this every single day. Windows, and Microsoft in general for that matter, is the bane of my existence and I believe the whole world would be much better off without them. For example, I honestly think embedding windows(any version) into an HMI is the absolute biggest mistake the manufacturing industry has ever made. Windows is 90% bloatware, even with nothing else installed, and I still can't even fathom how they thought it was a good choice for critical, or any, production systems.
Exactly. Boot up a Windows laptop that's been off for hours and suddenly the CPU fan kicks up to full speed. Almost as if the system knows that overheating is inevitable!
 
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