Firstly, I really appreciate your offer to help. Especially the offer to let me log onto your system. For all you know i could be an accomplished hacker and con artist as easily as the digital boob I am.
If you were a hacker and/or a con artist, once logged into my system, if you made a move to go where you're not supposed to go, say going directly to my Home folder, I would know it in a split second of time because I would be sitting in front of my monitor watching what you're doing on my system. All I would have to do is move my mouse and keep moving my mouse and you would not have control over your mouse to do anything on my system.
Legally, Microsoft cannot refuse to honor a legitimate copy being used in accordance with the terms of its sale, since that would end them up in court. I am not even sure it is true that they are blocking legal copies of Windows 7 from activating.
Like you stated above. Microsoft cannot refuse to honor a legitimate copy of Windows 7. But you're dealing with a CEO in Satya Nadella who is full of tricks which means Microsoft can put a few road blocks legally up to keep you from activating your copy of Windows 7. You want to know how?
If you find your valid key code is "invalid" and you email or call Microsoft on the phone, Microsoft can tell you the Activation server "has a problem at the moment and is offline so try again at a later date". So you call back the next day and and you get a response saying, "the Activation server is down for maintenance. Try again at a later date". Now the third one is a deal breaker because it can let Microsoft off the hook legally. Let's say you've activated a legal copy of Windows 7 onto a hard drive and the hard drive develops a few bad blocks in it. If you buy a new hard drive and load Windows 7 "AFTER" January 14th, 2020; Windows 7 has already reached it's end of life (EOL), Then technically and legally, I don't think Microsoft has to honor the valid key code anymore. Microsoft would just tell you to upgrade to Windows 10.
The scenarios I've just given you above, they are called "delaying tactics' and every corporate lawyer knows and uses them if and when the situation arises.
I agree that I need help with this project. But I do not necessarily agree with you in thinking I need to play with Linux before I install it.
By logging into my Mint Xfce you'll be ahead of the learning curve. An analogy for you. Like running a 10K race where you try to learn Mint on your own, you start at the starting line. But by logging into my Mint Xfce, it would be like starting the race for you at the 5K halfway mark instead of the starting line.
Perhaps the most important consideration is that Pale Moon works with Linux.
Of course Pale Moon works in linux. What do you think I'm using to type this post to you? I'm using 64 bit linux Pale Moon (27.9.4). And linux Mint works with my now very old Logitech 5000 webcam as well as with my Canon MP530 all in one printer (copy, print, scan, fax).
I would love a simpler word processing program and to have Outlook Express back. But if I need to change fro Office, then hopefully what exists is not as bloated.
Mint comes with the Libre Office office suite installed by default. It's similar to Microsoft Office, but it is not an exact duplicate. Keep this in mind, Microsoft has declared Office 2010 end of life (EOL) for some updates.
I want to end up with Linux being as reasonably similar, in terms of the user interface, as what I now use. My understanding is Mint is the best option for this. So step one is for me lo find out which flavor most likely meets this goal
Mint comes in three flavors: Cinnamon, Mate, Xfce. Xfce is the easiest to learn in my opinion since I did for awhile run both Cinnamon and Mate. If you have difficulties learning Xfce, then the learning process for Cinnamon and Mate will be greater.
Unless my logging onto your box will let me see and play around with all three options, why do this? Either I try all three before I choose or else I trust somebody to look at what I have and then tell me what would get me the closest to that. As far as I can tell, it is more important for you (or anybody else helping) to see what I have on my box now than the reverse.
Where I come from, "trust is a two way street". Since you're telling me I need to know what is on your Windows 7 hard drive (now) and how you've configured everything, that is not a problem. Unfortunately, you're not going to like my answer which is..........using Teamviewer, I take control of your Windows 7 hard drive and see everything, Office, Pale Moon, etc, etc, etc.
On the Windows 7 side, I am also interested in transferring the non-data stuff so that I do not have to reconfigure everything from scratch, just duplicate it.
You want assurances on the above. There are no guarantees on the above so assurances can not be given. Windows is not linux and linux is not Windows.
So somewhere around then, or a bit afterwards, I will have to become exclusively a Linux user. I want to start moving now with both OSes on a new box. This will give me time to move without undo haste or pressure. I will be able to learn Linux while still being able to rely on Windows 7 to insure I can do what I want/need to online. I also see the potential to continue using Windows stuff but only offline?
Look at my signature. On the desktop tower which I'm now on, there are two hard drives in it. One hard drive (default) is loaded with 64 bit linux Mint 19 (Tara) Xfce and the other hard drive (backup) is loaded with 64 bit Windows 7 Home Premium, SP1.
In conclusion, you don't like Windows 10. Fine. You want to learn something like linux to keep away from Windows 10. Fine. But, when presented with the opportunity to learn linux Mint Xfce, you've come up with every excuse not to try linux using my system at this time. Basically, if I was a professional wedding planner, I'd say you've got a bad case of "cold feet". This is the long and short of it.
Normally, I would just take this offer to you off the table. But my late dad reared me well. I will keep this offer open for you if you ever change your mind. If you do change your mind, just type a private message to me and I'll give you my home phone number in a reply private message.
Linux Mint 19.1 (Tessa) Xfce 64 Bit (Default Distribution OS) with 64 Bit linux Pale Moon
Windows 7 SP1, 64 Bit (Backup OS) with 32 Bit windows Pale Moon