John's first computer was an ACER Aspire laptop. He wants to upgrade his operating system, but he isn't sure if it's 64 bit or 32 bit. Leo says that Intel was using 64-bit architecture long before everything moved from 32 bit, so he'll likely have it. But John is having trouble finding drivers. Leo says that companies that stop development often don't offer those drivers online, so many driver archives have sprung up. But often users don't get what they think they are getting. And Microsoft usually stops writing security updates for old computers, making them a security threat online.
Mike resurrected an old computer to look through some old floppies, but they're password protected and he can't remember the password. Leo says that if Mike can figure out how he password protected it, that could give him a clue. But floppy disks weren't normally password protected. So it's an odd thing for a password pop up to happen. It may be possible to examine the disk using a Linux computer. That could lead to being able to read it. But not for very much longer, as Linux will not support floppies moving forward.
David has been using PopOS for Linux and he's having issues with Gmail because the Gnome browser is pretty heavy weight. Leo says that PopOS often has that problem and he recommends Ubuntu, or XFCE. You can also use a browser called Epiphany.
Microsoft will cease support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, so PC users should really upgrade to Windows 10 soon. The most important point will be the loss of security patches for the operating system, which will make it increasingly risky to take online. Eventually, browsers and other constantly-updating software will stop working comfortably with Windows 7 and might be frustrating to use. The same issues plagued users of Windows XP after its time was up. Although Windows 10 looks a bit different, you can configure the interface to more closely resemble what you liked about Windows 7.
Kevin has a friend who wants to get away from Windows. His entire workflow is based on an old Windows program called CadVance. Can he move away from Windows to Linux and still use that program? Leo says that there are some things that simply force users to stay with Windows because of special apps like this. But that doesn't mean there isn't an alternative. Check out AlternativeTo.net. He can put in the name of a program and it'll show what alternatives are available in other operating systems. FreeCad is an open source option, as well as LibreCad, OpenScad, Solid Works, and Sketchup.
Mark has an old Windows 7 / XP machine with Windows Media Center and is looking to repurpose it. Mark is wondering if he should pull the hard drive and install Linux onto the drive and use MythTV DVR application on it? Leo says that it should be fine, but warns Mark of using the machine for more than just a DVR machine. Leo says that there are risks using an XP machine since there haven't been new updates for XP machines in some time, it could be infected with viruses passively when going online.
James is a HAM and he wants to build a Raspberry Pi for using D-Star to run his HAM online. Leo says James will need a few extra pieces to work, but it's the ideal device for that purpose. Check out RaspberryPi.org for more information on how to use a Raspberry Pi for a host of uses. You can even use it as a computer running Linux and Windows 10.
Michael is having issues installing Windows on his Linux machine. Leo says that to remove the Linux partition, go into Windows Install, go into the partition manager during the install and delete the Linux partition. Then you'll have enough room. You'll also want to make sure it's formatting in NTFS.