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What will you do after Windows 7 ESU ends?


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Apologies for bumping the topic, but I find it interesting!
After going back and forth trying out different OSes, I've settled on what I feel is a good option going forward.
I ended up returning to Windows 7--not one of the 'standard' versions, but the obscure and highly underrated Windows Thin PC.

One of the things I've always loved about XP is how lightweight it is...it was the last proper version of Windows that could fit on a CD-ROM (I think only Windows 10 IoT Core has achieved this since then, but sadly it can't be used as a proper OS).
I've found a few unofficial 7 builds that can also fit within the CD-ROM limit, but aside from my reservations about using unofficial builds (though I have a lot of respect for those who make them and am always excited to see what they're cooking up), it seems so much has to be stripped out, including certain system files (which breaks some drivers/software in the process).
As much as possible I want to stick with 'official' versions, and I have noticed that when Microsoft makes the effort themselves of making their own 'stripped down' versions of their OSes, the results tend to be quite great.
The Embedded series as a whole is excellent, and the legacy lives on through Windows 10 LTSB/LTSC...and of course, the 'lower end' offerings among the standard versions (e.g. XP/Vista/7 Home versions) also seem to strike that perfect features/performance balance.

After doing some research and comparing ISO sizes, the smallest post-XP Windows version I've found that can also be used as a proper OS is Thin PC, the vanilla ISO of which clocks in at a stunning ~1.5 GB. I was able to get everything set up with no problems. Didn't have to reactivate any disabled services or tinker with any settings I don't normally touch when installing a standard 7 version.
Software compatibility is just as good as standard 7, and most of the drivers found in standard 7 installation media are still on this ISO.
And of course, using Legacy Update it is still possible to fully update a vanilla installation (though for the moment you may not need it as Microsoft's official 7 update servers still seem to be functional; it does help to have it as you can update root certificates with it too).

I'm open to trying other versions of 7, and later Windows releases, 32-bit and 64-bit alike, in the future. But for now I can say for sure that I'm very happy with Thin PC and plan to use it as long as I can.
The future seems much brighter for it...being able to run the latest Firefox versions and very recent Chrome versions gives it a major advantage over XP, and I anticipate that just as we've ended up with a good number of modern browsers that saved the day for XP users once Chrome and Firefox support ended, it'll be the same story for 7 too.

For the moment, the way I see it, it seems either an Embedded 7 version or Windows 10 LTSB/LTSC is the way to go if you're looking for that balance between performance and modern software compatibility.
(Of course XP will still have its uses, especially for those who are keeping ancient hardware and software in use.)
Your future is brighter with 10 than 7, but 7 is much closer in spirit to XP...at this point I believe it has just about taken XP's throne in terms of becoming the new 'nostalgic' Windows, and will be getting more attention from tinkerers and hobbyists & the public at large.
And of course there's still the 8.x line, the bizarre yet beautiful bridge between 7 and 10 that is still worth revisiting (and a good way to ease the learning curve before heading into 10).

So to answer the question posed by the OP, I will continue to use Thin PC (or another suitable 7 release) as long as possible. I believe that with good habits and common sense you can stay safe no matter what OS you use, and I'm not opposed to making the switch to 10 in the future, but I'd like to do it on my terms.
Just as XP was extended by many dedicated hobbyists for many years, I want to stick around and see how 7 ends up being extended.
I believe that 7 will be useful up to the end of the decade, and then once we're in the 2030s we may have to seriously consider 10/11.

Apologies for the long message! Hopefully someone will find it interesting or useful!

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8 hours ago, cmccaff1 said:

The Embedded series as a whole is excellent, and the legacy lives on through Windows 10 LTSB/LTSC

The current offerings are severely lacking in comparison to XP/7/8.1 Standard due to the lack of full componentized builds using ICE and IBW.  The reason why those tools seem to be good is likely due to Microsoft deciding to make additional SKUs for those types of builds rather than just letting the EPs build it for themselves. Then again, there are no clients that seem to have any real requirement for smaller footprints considering the state of the storage market, where outside of NVME, you can't readily buy a disk with less than 1 TB space. DOMs still exist but I haven't seen anyone use them for their primary OS installation.

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7 hours ago, Tripredacus said:

The current offerings are severely lacking in comparison to XP/7/8.1 Standard due to the lack of full componentized builds using ICE and IBW.

I completely agree...that's one among various reasons why I'd like to stick with pre-10 Windows as long as possible.
7 is the 'sweet spot' for me: close in spirit to XP (as it was the last version before Metro and apps became a thing), compatible with a lot of modern software and old/new hardware, better compatibility than 10 with legacy software/hardware, and one of the last versions with a true 'componentized' build.
It seems that 8.1 Standard is one of the last versions of Windows to give an end user the opportunity to customize their installation and make it as big or small as they like within reason.
While LTSB/LTSC does lose a lot of what made the Embedded versions of Windows (and pre-10 Windows in general) so good, I respect how most of the fluff found in mainline 10 is stripped out...in that sense, it gets much closer than mainline 10 to Embedded in the spirit of how it was designed.

At this time, my current plan is to stay with Thin PC (though I may go back to POSReady 2009 from time to time, either to test any new XP-targeted software that comes out or for purposes of maintaining compatibility with older hardware that 7 may have some issues with) and migrate to 10 LTSC in the next few years (perhaps sooner if I end up using a PC modern enough to lose out on full 7 driver support).

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  • 5 weeks later...

I havent done a update sine 2016 and I was very selective what ones I did install.

I use acronis and back everything up every couple months and never have an issue.

Windows 7 or death

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