• This topic has 48 replies, 19 voices, and was last updated 4 days ago by thols2.
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  • Win 7 Pro -> 10 Pro – Making a difference
  • Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    Listening to the radio this morning there’s an appeal for laptops / computers for less advantaged pupils who can’t study from home as they don’t have the kit.

    My local school has also put out an appeal.

    My employer has got some old W7 Pro PCs we could donate. Talking to our IT guy the problem is they are W7 Pro and a W10 upgrade may cost.

    Subsequently I’ve done a bit of googling I think the ‘free’ upgrade may still be possible even for W7->W10 pro?

    Alternatively just install Ubuntu (most of the home learning is Browser based / Google Classroom / Docs etc)?

    I just want to get some kit to the school ASAP without it all getting too technical.

    I know there are a few IT bods on here who may have a better idea. I just want to donate some hardware ready to go if at all possible.

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Full Member

    Yep, just make a win10 USB stick and you can activate it with the old win7 licence key still.

    Premier Icon nicko74
    Free Member

    Dumb question but could you not just give them the PCs with W7 on? It still works fine – just slightly less securely.

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Free Member

    Yep, just make a win10 USB stick and you can activate it with the old win7 licence key still.

    Its doesn’t always work now, in fact it’s working less and less (or my Helpdesk Colleagues tell me anyway).

    When we repurpose old donated hardware for charities, we tend to destroy the existing hdd, install a 128GB SSD so get a bit more life out of it (they’re under £20 on Amazon) with a fresh build of Win using their Charity License allowance, even older laptops will run Win10 reasonably well with a cheap SSD adn 4GB of RAM.

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    Depending on the school windows 10 may offer allot better compatability.

    We do loads of stuff in Teams . Teams might work in Windows 7 but it’s not listed as supported and their are updates quite frequently

    Premier Icon thols2
    Free Member

    The free upgrade is officially dead, but apparently still works fine. However, your IT guy probably doesn’t want to officially endorse breaking Microsoft’s terms, even though MS don’t care.

    My take would be to see if they’re willing to let you “deliver” the machines, then upgrade them yourself and leave the IT guy out of it.

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    Cheers all. A lot of debate about whether the W10 upgrade works online.

    I spoke to my IT guy. He’s busy (lot of stuff changing due to most people WFH in my company previously very office based).

    I’m savvy enough to wipe the drives, reinstall W7 then try a W10 upgrade.

    I’ll give this a go. We were going to pay to have them disposed anyway so it’s no shakes for my company as long as it doesn’t impact our IT dept or my work.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Right, stop. It’s been a while since I’ve seen so much misinformation in one place.

    Stepping around the question of why the OS is your problem when you’re donating hardware,

    Do you have the Windows 7 OEM licence keys for the laptops?

    Premier Icon DezB
    Full Member

    Thread just got serious.

    Premier Icon PJay
    Free Member

    I’d have thought that in this day and age there’d be someone at the school responsible for handling software licensing; schools should have academic licenses for windows and probably Office.

    Couldn’t you wipe the hard drives (which would be good for you from a security point of view) and let the school install their licensed Windows?

    Ignore if this isn’t how it works.

    Premier Icon z1ppy
    Free Member

    Dumb question but could you not just give them the PCs with W7 on? It still works fine – just slightly less securely.

    So you believe having a less secure system is fine on laptops, as it only doing to be used by children.. and you really don’t see that as an issue?

    A machine that had a valid Windows 7 will upgrade for free to Windows 10, nothing dodgy about it, Microsoft wants people on Windows 10.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Thread just got serious.

    🤣

    I’d have thought that in this day and age there’d be someone at the school responsible for handling software licensing; schools should have academic licenses for windows and probably Office.

    You’d think so, wouldn’t you.

    In my limited experience, this varies quite widely by school.

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    Yes we have W7 OEM keys for all the laptops.

    I know this could be the school’s problem as far OS is concerned. But all they are saying is ‘we have some children who can’t school at home coz they don’t have a computer or tablet, if anyone is getting rid of any kit can they donate it please’. We have 8 laptops currently waiting for a WEEE collection so I’m trying to do my bit and my work is keen to help local schools.

    I don’t see the school spending time wiping / installing their own licenses. But maybe they will. I’ve not spoken to anyone tech savvy enough at school to answer that one.

    So my plan is. Wipe the disks. Install W7 with the media for the laptop (they are HP laptops and we have the HP media disk). I’ll try one W10 upgrade with the W10 Media Creation tool. If it works great. If it doesn’t I’ll donate W7 laptops to school.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Full Member

    So you believe having a less secure system is fine on laptops, as it only doing to be used by children.. and you really don’t see that as an issue?

    It’s not really – a fully patched Win7 machine isn’t a whole lot more vulnerable to attacks that a child using/misusing it are likely to come into contact with. If they install dodgy stuff with malware (or visit dodgy malware infested web-sites) then it will be Defender/AV that you’ll be relying on more than the underlying OS.

    Premier Icon gobuchul
    Free Member

    I did an upgrade from W7 Pro to Win 10 Pro last year using the USB file from the MS site.

    Worked fine. Totally free.

    Premier Icon z1ppy
    Free Member

    School’s have limited budgets and none of it is ring fenced for IT (or anything), it’s all down to the schools HT/governors decisions. We support school with hardware that’s 10 years old, we can’t make them buy new hardware, only suggest and badger (& they run like a dogs, with extra security software). The schools within our service were offered an academic licenses for Windows and Office, and the majority took it but not all. That’s said if you install an academic copy of Windows Edu, it will need to be returned to the schools network, to keep the license assignment every couple of months. It’s not a license for life, like you’re home PC, which is great until all of these machines are dumped on one local already overworked school ICT techie (or support service in our case).

    You should see the shit that the government is shipping out, for vulnerable children, and the schools are grabbing and thinking they can use them internally… oh that is going to bite us in the ass.
    I’m unfortunately out of this at the end of the month, due to cut backs in school ICT spending.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Yes we have W7 OEM keys for all the laptops.

    Right, good. In which case,

    So my plan is. Wipe the disks. Install W7 with the media for the laptop (they are HP laptops and we have the HP media disk).

    … don’t bother with any of that, you’re just making work for yourself. Boot off the media creation tool, use that to wipe the lot and install W10. When prompted for the licence key give it the relevant W7 OEM key. Job jobbed.

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    Thanks @Cougar

    I do have to wipe the disks (company policy). But I will just go straight to the Win 10 install from the media I will make.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    It’s not really – a fully patched Win7 machine isn’t a whole lot more vulnerable to attacks that a child using/misusing it are likely to come into contact with.

    Tell that to the NHS.

    The answer to this debate is really “it depends”. A Windows 7 machine with unfettered Internet access is a ticking time bomb. No ifs, no buts, it’s a question of when rather than if.

    Not only that but a compromised machine can be used as a fulcrum, you’re now at risk of what we call lateral movement. You might not give a toss that little Hermione’s laptop she’s using to read Peppa Pig stories on gets infected, but the question then becomes “what can that machine see?” All the other Windows 7 machines on the network, they’re almost certainly toast for a start. Then with tricks like credential harvesting or privilege escalation on a vulnerable machine you can now start attacking previously secure targets. How many Windows 10 machines can it see? How many Windows Servers can it see? How many other schools can those servers see? How keen are you to make the national news?

    However. One would hope that you’re not giving uncontrolled Internet access to schoolchildren. One would hope, in fact, that Windows 7 machines aren’t networked at all. So placed in the right environment all of these problems go away, it becomes a complete non-issue.

    … one would hope.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    I do have to wipe the disks (company policy).

    The W10 installer will erase the drive if you tell it to, you don’t need to take an additional step unless policy explicitly dictates how you have to wipe it.

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    Yes we have a *how* on the company policy so unfortunately I have to follow that.

    Thanks again.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Would they know if you didn’t? (-:

    Fair enough.

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    To be fair there are a lots of ifs and buts here.

    And it’s along the lines of Laptop gets donated to school, who gives it to a student, who at some point in the future puts it on ebay or it doesn’t find it’s way back to school and it falls into the hands of someone who decides to recover the data on the disk from before the current OS install and finds something useful (either company financial or related to the company IPR) that could be used to a competitors advantage in our very niche line of business.

    So it’s all very remote. ;o)

    I told the IT officer I’d wipe the drives using his prescribed method so I will.

    It’s no skin off my nose. None of it is actually time consuming I just kick off a process and come back when it’s done. It delays the time it takes for the schools to get the computers but they’ll have 4 by Tuesday I can’t see them complaining especially when they are going to get 8 in total in the next week or so.

    Thanks all for your help and suggestions.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    So it’s all very remote. ;o)

    Yeah. I’ll take “shit that will never happen” for $200 please, Alex.

    In honesty, you’re doing the right thing (and playing devil’s advocate, if it were that important the IT guy shouldn’t be trusting you to do it). All other things aside, you can later always shrug and say you followed policy / process.

    What’s their “preferred method” out of interest? DBAN?

    Premier Icon oceanskipper
    Full Member

    Are you donating to a Primary or a Secondary? If a Primary then you should give them a laptop/PC with W10 on as they won’t likely have any on-site IT who can rebuild them any time soon. If a Secondary then just hand them over ideally with a new SSD in. They will rebuild them anyway using their own volume license agreement and then apply any policies they already have for school devices that are used off-site. Don’t waste your time installing W7 and then upgrading. 99.9% have OVS agreements and a deployment server to build them all automatically. If you have a particular school in mind the maybe call them and ask what spec they consider to be a minimum as if yours are very old they may not want them…

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    3 tier here so Middle school. Essentially primary school but Yrs 5 to 8. So a mix of Primary and Secondary as viewed by Gov but essentially primary as far as funding is concerned so they don’t have any IT techs.

    Desktops / Laptops / Tablets are for children that don’t have any IT hardware whatsoever. I think staff may volunteer to wipe stuff but if we can supply laptops ready to go they will thank us. They are just giving them to kids who don’t have any kit. It’s not really school kit.

    I’ve tried talking specs / W10 updates noone really knows what I’m talking about there are no IT specific techs just a few IT teaching staff.

    @cougar as for wiping not DBAN. Oh no. We got an old bit of hardware that does a US DOD/DOE compliant 3 pass wipe. Two passes of random data and a 3rd of 00’s.

    Premier Icon stevious
    Full Member

    What’s their “preferred method” out of interest? DBAN?

    Documents > Select All > Send to Trash

    Job done

    Premier Icon oceanskipper
    Full Member

    @freester Hmmm, tricky one then as you’ll need to hand them over as ready to go as poss. Fresh build of W7 better than no PC at all for children that have nothing I suppose. Have they literally no IT support? Not even an SLA with the local authority?

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    @oceanskipper from what I read above the W7->W10 will work. I’m trying this weekend. If it does they’ll get W10 laptops wiped to my company requirements, ready to go, for free. If not as you say fresh W7 build better n nowt. I’ll warn school not to plug em in to the network when they get em back. If they do. They may end up on eBay. They were waiting for the WEEE collection anyhow I’ve done my best…

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Full Member

    Documents > Select All > Send to Trash

    Job done

    Do you think that wipes the hard disk?

    Premier Icon Del
    Full Member

    anything you can do to make them as ready to go as possible. it’s a great thing to do anyway, but the kit will have a better chance of being used the more accessible it is, so win 10, up to date, and it’ll be ‘thanks everso’.

    edit: doubt they’re getting anywhere near a school’s network it’s so kids can get online, access resources and use teams or zoom or whatever. the more sorted the kit then the easier it is for whatever limited support there is available.

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    Documents > Select All > Send to Trash

    Job done

    Well made me laugh

    Premier Icon squirrelking
    Free Member

    What’s wrong with DBAN?

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    Nothing wish I could use it

    Premier Icon oceanskipper
    Full Member

    @freester If they are capable of allowing students access to online learning then great. If they have W10 on then everything will work better including the inbuilt AntiVirus. Good luck with it anyway. Decent thing you are doing. 👍

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Fresh build of W7

    Why on god’s green earth would you do that? Don’t do that. If you can install W7 you can install W10.

    You do not need to install Windows 7 in order to install Windows 10 so long as you have a valid W7 (or W8.1 or W10) licence key. It used to be the case when Windows 10 was first released but hasn’t been so in years, this is old advice.

    W7 is dead. As a famous princess once said, let it go.

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    Just answering my original question… As @cougar confirmed I had no problems activating W10 on the first laptop.

    I’ll be honest I couldn’t get it to boot off the Media and I read somewhere they aren’t bootable (gotta run setup from Windows).

    What I did was….

    – blatted the disks.
    – Installed W7 from the HP media disk I have.
    – Checked W7 was activated with the digital key on the hardware.
    – Clean install of W10 from the USB media

    Currently just downloading / applying a couple more Windows Updates.

    That’s a good job done 4 laptops will be delivered to school on Monday with a fresh, up to date licensed W10 Pro OS installed to be given to students who don’t have IT to school from home with. Another 4 to follow later in the week. Job jobbed.

    Premier Icon thols2
    Free Member

    I’ll be honest I couldn’t get it to boot off the Media

    1. You need to make a bootable media, not just copy the files.
    2. You probably need to change the boot settings in the BIOS.
    3. There are probably a million other things that could go wrong and what you’re doing is working, so not really a big deal.

    Premier Icon Freester
    Free Member

    It’s not taking me a huge amount of time. It takes time for sure but I’m not sat there watching it getting on with other things and just coming back when it needs a bit of manual intervention…

    Premier Icon oceanskipper
    Full Member

    That’s a good job done 4 laptops will be delivered to school on Monday with a fresh, up to date licensed W10 Pro OS installed to be given to students who don’t have IT to school from home with. Another 4 to follow later in the week. Job jobbed.

    Nice one fella. 🙂

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