Windows 7 is rapidly approaching its 10th anniversary, but despite being a pretty dated operating system it still has plenty of adherents, with more than 40% of PC users still using the OS. With the rise of privacy concerns, there is also an increasing resistance from some to upgrading to the new OS when purchasing a new PC, resulting in many requests to downgrade new laptops to Windows 7.
Responding to such a request, yesterday a poster on Reddit explained rather clearly why doing so is a rather bad idea.
I did this for a laptop I got from China – it came with W10 Chinese, and needed a new key to be purchased for W10 in English.
Depending on your hardware, it might be a real struggle to get it working. I needed nvme drivers to just see the SSD in it; they had to be slipstreamed into the install media because it also needs drivers for the USB. I had to change the BIOS to legacy (instead of UEFI? whatever it was called), which also limits how well the hardware will work during install. Once I had it installed, I needed to download the network drivers – oh, that’s not going to work. I’ll just put them on a USB stick… oh, I need USB drivers. Luckily I was dual booting Linux so can use that to copy them to the driver, but it’s a sticky situation if you’re not certain of your ability to do so. I couldn’t find the USB and Network drivers as standalone to slipstream – intel only seem to offer “installer” versions.
Webcam? No W7 driver – though I don’t care enough to go looking. Sound works, video works (though the switching between integrated and nVidia seems to be hit and miss?). Touchpad is basic only – no special gestures (which again I don’t care – I use an external mouse mostly). Special function keys (eg fn-f3 to increase speaker volume) I don’t think worked. Bluetooth was a maybe – never needed it so didn’t look too hard.
As for benefits, why do you want W7? In my case it was a dislike of losing absolute control over my PC with W10 (updates, cloud stuff, etc) and a handful of non-compatible legacy programs I need to use (A VM might work, but given their legacy nature and hardware copy protection dependence I’ve not had a lot of success). A lot of what I do is done in *nix, so the W7 stuff is an aside rather than a main event, honestly.
For an average user who is not that technically minded and needs their hand held, W10 is probably the best pick for safety and security. Deliberately subverting that by using W7 is best left for those with genuine reason and ability, in my opinion.
The write-up makes it clear that it can be nearly impossible to have Windows 7 run reliably on a modern laptop, and does not even mention issues such as Windows 7 no longer getting security patches in less than 2 years time.
Have our readers tried to downgrade their PC to the older OS? Let us know your experience below.