On leaving windows (or not)

I have been given the ‘opportunity’ (read: taken it upon myself) to get rid of XP from the work computers and make them ‘safe’ again*.

At work there are 2 computers in use and a 3rd in another room waiting for a cable to connect it to The Internet.

None of the staff are especially computer-literate and the computers are only used for writing invoices, reading email and research on the web (the 3 R’s? ;)), so we don’t need anything really fancy. However, they’ve all heard the news that XP has been abandoned, leaving anyone who continues to use open to large doses of pillagement and are fretting.

Enter Jesska stage right.

Before we pay for 3 copies of Windows 7 (and wait 2 months for the CDs to arrive – there’s that much backlog here), I figure we can join the flow of ex-XP-users converting to Linux. That ought to solve most of the potential safety issues too.

I’ve Linuxed for 4 or 5 years now and apart from having trouble with the occasional CD, I don’t miss Windows. I still have problems with the terminal (or rather, with what to write in it), but I don’t really see that as a problem because I can generally find the answers in a forum…

I spent Saturday deciding which flavour of Linux I wanted, finding a USB stick to download it onto, working out how to install it, reading about how to create a network etcetcetc. I installed and tested 3 different flavours and looked at and read about several more.

I eventually chose Kubuntu because it’s apparently the same as Ubuntu underneath and you can make it prettier on top :). Also it has a task bar and generally looks a bit like Windows. I wouldn’t care – I’ve been using Unity for a year or so – but I didn’t want to scare them before they start.

Ok, so I know that the basic having-to-get-used-to-newness is the same regardless of which OS you install but I still want to keep it to a minimum. As far as word processors, internet browsers and email programmes go, it’s all much of a muchness anyway.

Kubuntu comes with loads of programmes ready installed, most of which we will never need, but it saved me looking for the few we do need. Having said that, if you ever do want anything else, the ‘shop’ has loads more to choose from, mostly free, and downloading and installing them is easy. There are also heaps of mini programmes (like apps) and ways to prettify things available. What I really like is the way you can change the sizes of both the taskbar and the individual icons.

On Sunday I tackled the first office PC.

The plan is to get the ‘spare’ computer up and running so they can play with it before committing. There are no files involved until I get the go ahead, when I shall procure a couple of external hard drives, transfer everything off the internal drives and set up a network.

I whizzed through and was finished in just over an hour. I was so pleased that I’d practiced at home and could remember how it all worked without going through the whole trial-and-error palaver.

I set everything up and was chuffed with the results. The desktop looked windows-esque, the Firefox icon was big enough to find even on a large screen (likely to be filled with other icons within days, if the others are anything to go by) and all the other regular programmes were added to the favourites menu as well as arranged on the desktop. I hadn’t loaded the email as I don’t have the password (obviously).

We were ready for action.

At least, that’s what I thought.

I have since been informed that it’s not as easy as that.

The boss is thinking about waiting for Windows 7 instead.

I would have thought that people who can switch between driving an automatic Smart and a manual VW van without thinking twice about it, would’ve had no trouble going from MS Outlook to Kmail or Thunderbird, or from Word to Libre Office. Especially when the icons all have labels telling you what they are.

Apparently not.

Changing the design of the envelope on the ‘new email’ button is more confusing than changing the size and colour of the steering wheel.

Putting a K on the menu button of the task bar renders it redundant because it doesn’t say Start.

I was so naive.

I really hope this initial AAARRGH!!-factor doesn’t last too long…

If any of you have experience of helping people leave Windows, I’d love to hear from you – especially if you were successful! 😉

* My year 10 ICT teacher probably wouldn’t think this is a good idea. I don’t mind though, because I’m pretty sure it is :).

I mean, heck, none of my A-Level German teachers would’ve thought I would could ever live in Germany writing paid-for magazine articles either… Just goes to show how much they know…


0 thoughts on “On leaving windows (or not)

  1. The change to Windows 7 from Xp is going to be just as frustrating for them as a change to Linux. Plus, it’s going to go the way of the Dodo soon as well, already have Windows 8, which is even more frustrating than 7. I aaaaarrrrgh with you in sympathy.

  2. I wish you much luck – I’m afraid you are going to need it! (and I’m lazy and use the like button becuase I want people to know I’ve been by and liked there things but I need to go to work in five, min. and can’t leave comments for everything! 🙂

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