I got my first PC in 1998 as part of a Microsoft Certified Technician course. In 1999, having been underwhelmed with Windows 98 (not to mention the price, that course provided the hardware, not the OS), and liking the upcoming Windows 2000 even less, I started looking for alternatives.
My first stop, of course, was the closest Apple store. The snobbish, pretentious atmosphere of faux luxury was evident at the threshold, but I soldiered on, approaching a sales associate and explaining my wants. That is, until I asked about layaway. The nose went into the stratosphere and he practically threw a credit application at me before pointedly turning to another customer. Said application was promptly denied with the same attitude, and a suggestion that Microsoft products were more suited to "people like you." I went home and, after a bit of research, installed Ubuntu Linux, deposited Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in the bad memory pile, and never looked back, until a couple of weeks ago, when my laptop died.
I'd been using a 2009 Apple Macbook for a couple of years. I purchased it refurbished, mostly out of curiosity about what kind of company the post-Jobs Apple had become, and to get a bit of experience with OS 10. It didn't take me long to figure out that Apple is now a Microsoft knock-off that still suffers from delusions of grandeur, and OS 10 tries to invade your life. OS 10 was replaced with Linux Mint, and all was well until the inevitable hand of programmed obsolescence intervened. System board failure, and no point in looking for a replacement. I usually build my own systems, so I went shopping, but was shocked at the prices. Bad timing; I'd run afoul of yet another gift from geoengineering and the pseudo-pandemic, a massive shortage of chips and computer parts. It would have cost me at least three times the price of a complete system to build it myself, so I went with a Blairtech refurbished Lenovo from Overstock, complete with Windows 10 Home Edition. Since I have been looking into work from home positions, which generally require Windows, I decided that could be a plus. I haven't touched a Windows PC in over twenty years. I figured I could use the experience. After all, I could always dual boot the machine.
Things went South right out of the box. The monitor stand was broken, the monitor itself had the red lines of death, and it would not connect to our cable modem through Ethernet (I do not have and do not want a wifi network). I spent two days learning that Blairtech does not answer phone calls or emails. Two hours working over the phone, first with my internet provider, then with a Microsoft technician, yielded nothing. The guy from Microsoft decided that my Ethernet card must be bad. On a side note, that was my first lesson in how invasive Microsoft's products have become. I absolutely could not talk to a customer support technician without first creating a Microsoft account, which forced me to give Microsoft my name, birthdate, and email address. In fact, during the set up process, the OS could only perform a limited set up without an account. So, back the Lenovo went, a story in itself. Overstock customer service just blew me off, telling me to contact the seller (who never answered their phone). I ended up calling the CEO of Overstock to get the return done.
I then picked up an HP Ryzen 3 2200g system from New Egg. No monitor, but fortunately I had an extra hanging around. Got it set up and... this one also would not recognize the modem. Same error, supposedly no valid IP configuration. This time, however, rebooting the modem and PC corrected the issue. I poked around the Windows desktop a bit. The Edge browser flat out says it's tracking your browsing behavior whether you like it or not. I installed Firefox. After a little more exploration (the games are nice, but that's about the only good thing I can say about Windows 10 - I found the menus to be about as intuitive as learning Sanskrit), I got it ready to dual boot. Repartitioning and installing Linux Mint went smoothly. Then I made the mistake of trying to recover some of my laptop's configuration with Timeshift. It may have been my fault, perhaps I missed a checkbox, but the process hung and wiped out both the Windows boot manager and Linux's password files. I tried a couple of tricks to recover the partitions, but it was a no go. Time to wipe the hard drive and start over.
This should have been a simple fix; download the Windows reinstaller, create a bootable USB flash drive, pop it into the lobotomized PC, reinstall happens automatically. Researching this, I discovered the most egregious thing about Microsoft and Windows. When Windows 10 is first installed, it sends a record of your hardware configuration to Microsoft's servers. This is used to verify your license during a Windows re-installation. Essentially, the OS "fingerprints" your computer. That means that, unless you change your hardware, Microsoft and any website that has access to that data is able to ID your machine, and probably you. So much for privacy. Still, it should have been a simple fix. Nope. I tried for several hours to get the PC to boot from the USB flash drive. It simply didn't recognize the Windows reinstaller as something it could run.
Finally, I ran up the white flag. I forgot about Windows, popped my bootable USB drive with Linux Mint 20.1 on it into the port. It installed smoothly, no issues whatsoever. I was back up and running with a perfectly functioning computer in less than an hour. Thus ends any further interest I might have had in Win-Blows or any other Microsoft product. I don't need a product that tries to become my life coach while reporting my activities to its masters in Silicon Valley, and I certainly don't need something that is so unreliable. I seriously doubt that there was anything wrong with that first Lenovo machine. The problem was almost certainly Microsoft's crappy OS. How they have managed to maintain 80% of the OS market, why so many people are still willing to put up with their shoddy, invasive products when there are literally dozens of vastly superior, not to mention FREE, alternatives out there, is a complete mystery to me.
I am, and have always been, unafraid to voice my opinions. In fact I believe everyone needs to vent now and then, and we all have a God given right to do so. I despise willful ignorance and intellectual dishonesty, and take a perhaps perverse pleasure in puncturing the politically correct proclamations of those who have anointed themselves as our betters. I could be described as a contrarian and a bit of a curmudgeon, having now reached an age at which those labels no longer sound odd. Not everything I'll address here will be controversial. In fact, I would rather keep that sort of thing somewhat limited (and it should surprise no one that I probably won't succeed in doing so). We already have our fill of whining talking heads on the 'net. However, if you are easily offended or thin skinned, you might want to skip this blog. You have been warned.