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That was an annoying problem. And yet, hovering in the bottom right, permanently, was a little box showing whether I was running in UK English or US English, with no option in sight to remove it. In the end, I had to turn to Twitter for troubleshooting advice. We determined that there was no option to remove the US English language because there was no US English language set up. So to remove it, all I had to do was go into a language menu, add English United States as an option, and then remove English United States as an option.
I know. But it worked, so who am I to complain. That advantage has largely been eroded over the years, as Microsoft has cottoned on to the joys of vertical integration, plug and play accessories, and standards-compliant behaviour. But not entirely. About an hour of fruitless Googling later — including several suggestions to install obsolete utilities, hack the registry, or roll back to an earlier version of Windows — and I discovered the way to do what I wanted. I had to download drivers for my mouse. Drivers are the small pieces of software that tell the operating system how to work with hardware, from complex components like graphics cards to simple accessories like this mouse.
But the necessity, or not, of drivers for accessories was a big part of that competitive push by Apple, which made a point of ensuring out-of-the-box support for many of the most commonly used peripherals like printers, cameras and mice. Installing drivers for a mouse to enable a niche behaviour is no great hardship, but it still left me moderately concerned.
This digging in the nuts and bolts of the machine was not something I had missed. The Microsoft of has a split personality.
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Where the company is successful today is where that latter desire is ascendant, and the Surface Book is the best example of a forward-looking Microsoft you can find. Small and powerful, with a long battery life, it impresses as a laptop, but its real strengths are revealed when you undock the screen from its base.
Being able to carry my laptop around the kitchen when doing the weekly shop, before docking it back and typing up some recipes, was genuinely cool.
Unfortunately, cool is all it was for me. The ability to pop out my laptop and write on it with a very accurate stylus was never that useful. If anything, it served to underscore how efficient the keyboard-and-touchpad combo is for a lot of hefty tasks.
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I had a similar experience with the ability to use the touchscreen while the Surface Book was in laptop mode. Occasionally, the touchscreen was actively bad. My first time opening Windows Mail, I was greeted with a helpful popover showing that I could swipe mails to the left to archive them.
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Two-fingered swipe on the touchpad? The answer, of course, is to reach up to the screen, and swipe that way. The platforms have converged on everything but aesthetics and personal preferences. Both have a locked-down store which power users ignore; both are fighting for relevance in a world of web apps and mobile-first design; both feel the weight of versions past sitting on their shoulders. I was shocked by the amount of advertising and cross-promotion riddled throughout the OS, from adverts for apps in the start menu, to a persistent pop-up offering a free trial of Office So, the company is releasing an update to Windows 7 - KB - which will display notifications reminding Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10 before the End of Life date.
The update is optional, but anyone with automatic updates turned on will receive it. Microsoft promises that the notification won't be too obtrusive, and you can prevent it from appearing again, but it shows how seriously Microsoft is about getting people to stop using Windows 7. Windows 7 End of Life begins on January 14, Microsoft actually ended mainstream support for Windows 7 on January 13, , which meant new features stopped being added, and warranty claims were no longer valid. However, during the extended support phase, which Windows 7 entered after the end of its mainstream support, the operating system has still been patched and updated to make sure security issues and bugs are fixed.
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When Windows 7 reaches its End of Life phase on January 14, , Microsoft will stop releasing updates and patches for the operating system. The biggest issue with continuing to use Windows 7 is that it won't be patched for any new viruses or security problems once it enters End of Life, and this leaves you extremely vulnerable to any emerging threats.
What's more, if a large number of people continue to use Windows 7 after the End of Life date, that could actually be a big incentive for malicious users to target viruses and other nasties at WIndows 7. So, while Windows 7 will continue to work after January 14 , you should start planning to upgrade to Windows 10, or an alternative operating system, as soon as possible. If you continue to use Windows 7 once it enters its End of Life phase you'll be vulnerable to viruses and other security threats.
So, if you still use Windows 7, what should you do? While you have a number of choices when moving operating systems, for many people, the obvious and simplest option is to upgrade to Windows Upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 has a number of benefits.
For a start, because both operating systems are made by Microsoft the upgrade process is relatively easy, and in many cases you can keep your files on your PC. This means you'll experience the minimum of disruption when upgrading to Windows If you want to upgrade to Windows 10, then you can buy a copy, download the installation file and run it to start the process. This is a cost-effective approach, as you may only need to upgrade a few components on your computer to enable it to run Windows You can quite easily move your files and folders to your new machine using an external hard drive.
Check out our pick of the best laptops for inspiration and buying advice on getting a new machine, whatever your budget. One last thing — don't be tempted to save a bit of money and upgrade to Windows 8. Although it's more recent than Windows 7, it's not going to be too long before that version too enters its End of Life stage, so you're better off saving further hassle down the line by getting the newer and let's be fair, better Windows The most cost-effective way of preparing for Windows 7 End of Life is to switch operating systems altogether, and install Linux on your machine.
There are a huge number of versions of Linux available, which are known as distributions or distros. To help you get started, check out our guide to the best Linux distros. Another good thing about switching to Linux is that there are a number of distros that are specifically designed to run on older hardware. These distros can give your hardware a new lease of life, allowing it to run better than ever. Check out our pick of the best lightweight Linux distros.