Windows 7 was amazing. I used to think “7 was way better than 8, but 10 is also ok.” However Microsoft’s behavior has increasingly been becoming really fucking disgusting. It’s so disgusting in-fact, that I’m having a hard time telling people to not buy a Mac.
Back in the Windows 7 days, you turned on your computer for the first time, set the language, keyboard layout and chose a username. After that, you’re good to install a better browser. Maybe you’d have to uninstall McAfee, but that’s about it.
Now, with Windows 10, the list of shit you have to do to set up a normal, non-surveilled, non-bloated, ad-free experience is so long it’s honestly idiotic. When I first saw the Microsoft Store wanting you to install “apps” (ew) to Windows I was already scared, but I didn’t think it would get this bad.
Not including normal things like picking language and keyboard layout, the list is:
The list goes on, but first, we need to talk about “S-Mode”. This is absolutely disgusting, unethical, unacceptable behavior. In order to install anything using normal installers and avoid using the Microsoft Store or making a Microsoft account, you have to download an unlocker from the Microsoft Store, which requires a Microsoft account. A catch 22 that means no matter what, Microsoft gets to register your computer up against your Microsoft account. If anyone figures out a way of getting past this without buying Windows 10 Professional and overwriting the OEM OS with it, let me know.
Buy it on eBay, btw. It’s only a couple of bucks, and I’ve yet to get scammed after buying at least 5 licenses. Even if you have to try 3 sellers, you’re still saving hundreds of dollars.
Now, continuing the list.
These tools let you actually disable things like telemetry, tracking, calling-home, ads and Cortana. They change all the time, and they’re super sketchy. It used to be Anti-Beacon, but that’s paid software now. None seem open source, and when you search for them, all you get is SEO blog-sites that list off 10 of them, leaving you thinking all of them are viruses, or possibly worse than just letting Microsoft track you in the first place. Nevertheless, if you find a good one (Maybe ShutUp10 is good? Or maybe Windows10Debloater is better?) it’ll help you get rid of a lot of telemetry and other bullshit. I still can’t fucking believe they put ads and ad-profiling in the actual operating system.
Back to setting things up.
And after spending so much of their resources making the experience markedly worse, you have to spend a lot of your time and brainpower undoing their hard work. Yet after all this, Windows is still far behind MacOS in a lot of places. Windows still doesn’t have a proper terminal, aside from an option of installing a really slow uncustomizable Ubuntu terminal through the Windows Store. Windows still has shitty audio, and no virtual aggregate sound card functionality, or low-latency audio option without using third-party drivers like ASIO. No ability to let multiple programs use a media source like a webcam at once. And apparently, they’re getting rid of the control panel and completely replacing it with the horrible settings menu, and rounding the corners of the windows?
At this point, I can’t recommend getting a Windows machine over a Mac unless you’re building it yourself, and will be installing Windows 10 Pro. Especially with Apple’s frankly fantastic track record on privacy and fight for encryption. The best option now is just to buy a laptop purely on build quality, and installing some flavor of Linux. Well, that has always been the best option, but it has never been the easiest option. Not that it has gotten much easier, just that installing Windows 10 properly is so damn difficult now. Seriously. Jump ship as fast as you can.