Q. I have Windows 7 Professional on several PCs, and they constantly get a Microsoft pop-up message asking me to update the PCs to Windows 10. But I have design software that doesn’t work on operating systems newer than Windows 7, and I really don’t want some PCs running Windows 7 and others Windows 10. What do you suggest?
Philip Bernstein, Jacksonville
A. If you have vital software that requires Windows 7, keep that operating system. But, to make sure you keep Windows 7, disable the Windows 10 pop-ups and alter Windows Update so that Microsoft can’t push Windows 10 on you more forcefully than it has so far.
You can stop the pop-up messages about the Windows 10 upgrade by uninstalling the Microsoft software update (called KB3035583) that produces them. See tinyurl.com/j9lugrr.
Microsoft has said it plans to change Windows 10 from an “optional” update to a “recommended” one (see tinyurl.com/z73sxr2). So you need to alter your Windows Update settings to avoid automatically downloading “recommended” updates.
To do that, go to Control Panel, then Windows Update. At the left side of the menu, click “change settings.” Under “important updates,” choose “check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them.” Under “recommended updates,” check the box by “give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates.” But remember to check Windows Update regularly to see if there are important security updates you should download.
Q. I read your columns (tinyurl.com/z395jql and tinyurl.com/j67gxen) about the problem with the Verizon Wireless MiFi device (which converts a cellular signal into a Wi-Fi hot spot for PCs and other gadgets). My mom has a MiFi for her PC because she lives in a rural area that has no land-line high-speed Internet service. But she must remember to turn off the MiFi and remove its battery when it isn’t in use, or her Internet usage is sky-high and she goes over limit.
Verizon Wireless suggested my mom get a Samsung tablet computer because she could turn off the tablet’s Wi-Fi when it’s not being used. Will this solve the problem of huge data use?
Kathy Enter, Mankato, Minnesota
A. A tablet should be a good alternative to the PC-MiFi combination that often causes cellular data use to skyrocket. Verizon Wireless says the data surge is a result of supposedly idle PCs downloading data for software updates or for programs that run in the background of Windows.
Tablets using non-Windows operating systems don’t download much data when they’re idle. And the amount of data they do download is easily regulated by turning off the device’s “cellular” or “Wi-Fi,” connection, depending on how the tablet connects to the Internet. Rather than pay for two cellular devices, I suggest that your mother connect to the Internet only via the tablet’s cellular service, and that she ditch the MiFi.
Contact Steve Alexander at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488-0002; email firstname.lastname@example.org.