Keep Old Software in Case of Need

Problems happen. Have tools to fix them. Operating systems (OSes) are a good part of a toolkit.

Linux is free and capable. I rescued a machine because I had an old version of Knoppix Linux that supported wireless networking when a then-new Fedora Linux got too complicated to set up for wireless. The difference is often with hardware that might be obsolete, for which an old program is a perfect fit. Sometimes, newer software versions no longer support a technology. I installed Knoppix temporarily, so I could download a newer operating system from someone else, so I’d have something that may be up to date against new security threats.

If you depend on Windows, consider Linux, even though it would mean learning a different set of commands, and quite a few of them. That may take hours. If you like official manuals, there probably isn’t one, so you’ll need to learn in other ways. Linux is not as user-friendly as is Windows.

But Linux is powerful. It comes in many distributions, distros with different qualities and coming from different suppliers. The supplier of one distro may offer several spins or other packagings of the operating system and applications you can use together, some for general use and some for specialized missions, including recovery. And most Linux distros, new and old, are free and easily downloadable whenever you like.

Microsoft products might be okay, but many of their licenses forbid what you may need to do. If you’ve already upgraded Windows, you may not be allowed to use the old Windows without the upgrade anymore, unless you buy a downgrade license, and I don’t know how much that costs. Also, if you have a Windows disc for only one user (the usual way it’s sold) and installed it onto one machine, you probably can’t legally use the disc on another machine at the same time. In comparison Linux is liberally licensed and you can downgrade and use copies simultaneously without violating anything.

Packrats, rejoice. You have an excuse.