What I Think of Windows 10

In my opinion, Windows 10 isn’t anything to write home about. Microsoft seems to have a habit of releasing such a piece of garbage (Windows 3.11, Windows Vista, Windows 8) every few versions that just about anything would be deemed an amazing improvement and users end up raving about the following version. I’m thinking back over versions of Windows and I think the best I can remember were Windows 7, with perhaps XP not being so bad prior to that (which isn’t saying much at all). What’s most amazing to me is that users not only continue to install, upgrade, and use this trash, they actually pay for it.

Windows 10 is free to users who upgrade from another version of Windows within the first year of release. But after that, and of course users who are acquiring the operating system for a custom built machine or are replacing a copy, will run into the typical $100-$200 price tag. Honestly, I can’t figure out what I get for my 200.00. Thankfully as a tech, I’ve managed to keep several dozen Windows keys laying around over the years, and I was able to use one of these to check this out.

I initially installed Windows 10 in a virtual machine using VMWare Workstation 10. I first installed Windows 7, and then upgraded from that to 10 for the experience of doing it. Aside from the nightmares caused because of virtualization (which shouldn’t have been an issue) the upgrade was pretty easy. I am pretty certain almost anyone could have done it baring the unsupported driver issues. Once installed, I determined the system was a tank and posted as such on my Facebook page.

When running Windows 7 virtualized I hardly notice it’s not hardware based. In fact, I’ve run games in virtualized machines on Windows 7. Upgrading from 7 to 10 made the virtual machine feel almost like it was dumped in syrup the latency to user actions was so high. Understanding some of this might be the environment, since VMWare has yet to offer a patch (and likely won’t) that will support Win 10 machines in Workstation 10 I decided I’d try to do another install of it in VirtualBox.

After downloading and installing the most up to date version of VirtualBox (5.0.4 at the time) I installed Windows 10. This time I did it right from a CD image which is readily available on the Microsoft website. The install was a typical one: It took way more time than should be necessary, but was as simple as clicking the next button. Of course trying to use my key to upgrade is a pain in the back side and I’ll have to call their automated number to deal with activation. Gotta make sure they get their $200.00 after all! Oh wait, it’s supposed to be a free upgrade.

I was only mildly surprised to find that VirtualBox 5.0.4 outperformed Workstation 10 by about 400 percent. VirtualBox has been updated to support the Windows 10 OS, while Workstation 10 hasn’t. Even being updated for it, Windows 10 proved to be a pig. I run an 8 core 3.5 Ghz AMD processor, with 32 Gigs of RAM, and I had allocated 4 Gigs of RAM (2 times what Windows asks for) and 4 cores to the guest machine. Even providing resources well above required, I could tell it was bloatware.

In discussions people have said, “But it runs fantastic on my machine.” Yes, you run it directly on your computer, which is actually about 10 times the computing power an average user needs. Of course it runs well. That’s like saying your 50 year old car that has never been tuned up runs fine after you stick a large truck behind it to push it down the road. Just because you can make something work, doesn’t mean it’s efficient. My goal is to find out how little it can run on. Many of my customers are running old, or very low end machines in an effort to save money. This operating system is going to make many of those tiny laptops, especially in the case of older gear, virtually unusable. In the case of Windows 10, I can literally run two Linux guests on the same resources I allocated to ONE Windows guest – and run them well. I could run four Linux guests not so well, but still better than Windows runs. Oh… On top of that, I could send a donation to the Linux distro and still save 80% of the investment.

At first glance I think the Windows 10 “Start” menu is an insult. Microsoft claimed they were bringing the start menu back. They didn’t. They just added something new in it’s place. Don’t worry, users won’t notice the difference at all. They’ll be happy it’s there. Does anyone know if they actually fired the guy with the idea to remove it in the first place? I, for one, don’t think he should have the chance to come up with any more changes for this operating system in the future.

The task view and virtual desktops were a cute addition to Windows 10. Little do Windows users know, Linux has had this ability for many, many years. It’s not some fantastic newly thought up idea, and I don’t find any of the new features close to worth the resource requirements.

Another complaint I’m running into a lot, but I have yet to experience myself, is that the upgrade to Windows 10 is rendering some hardware obsolete for average users. Some venders are not providing updated drivers for some older equipment. This has seemingly left some people with no good video drivers, printers and scanners that don’t work right, and other devices they can no longer use. Make sure you’re checking your equipment for driver support before upgrading. On top of driver issues there is the beloved experience of some of your paid-for software no longer being compatible on “your current version of windows.”

So once again, after installing, booting, watching the RAM and swap files fill up, and seeing an abundance of disk thrashing, I’m left with the same opinion. If you’re an avid gamer… Check Steam to see if your games are available for Linux yet. Many more developers are adding Linux support daily. If they don’t have it, and you just can’t part with your game, then I guess you’ll have to support this bad production. But the average user can easily just jump ship with a little effort – and should. It really is time for more folks to get off the Windows wagon.

Ultimately I should probably support the use of Microsoft products since the vast majority of my income comes from cleaning up messes due to use of their operating system. But I have to be able to sleep at night, and the truth is, once you’re over the learning curve, you’ll find Linux is less of a headache for the average user. In fact, for the average mom/pop/college kid who just needs to surf the web and type up a few documents, if you are bent on not using Linux, just buy a Chromebook. Why? Because then at least you’ll save some money and likely even spend less time, effort, and finances dealing with viruses. Of course Chromebooks are built on Linux.

 


Note: Just for fun, I put up up with Windows long enough to install GIMP, LibreOffice, and a few other packages, and write this blog post. I’m glad it’s over.

 

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