Are You Sick and Tired of Windows?

Category: Linux , Software , Windows

For millions of people still running Windows 7, a decision will need to be made this coming January, when Microsoft's support for that operating system ends. Moving to Windows 10 will mean learning something new, and may require updates to both hardware and software. One may as well consider other operating systems if there's going to be a learning curve anyway. Your options include Linux, Mac OS X, Android, Chrome OS, and others. Here are several alternatives to running Windows on your desktop, laptop or mobile device...

Alternatives to Windows

You may have known no other personal computer operating system besides Windows, if you are a typical consumer/home user. But other alternatives are becoming well-established in consumer computing devices such as notebooks, smartphones and tablets. People are becoming accustomed to the ways of non-Windows operating systems, and with ease-of-use of alternatives may come the realization that something is actually better than Windows. Or that it just doesn't matter.

Of course, you can always cling to your current version of Windows as long as possible. Microsoft support for Windows 7 will end completely on January 14, 2020; that means not even security and vulnerability patches will be provided after that date. Your Windows 7 computer will not stop working, though. See my article Here's How to Upgrade Your Old Computer for some tips on how to deal with the Windows 7 "end of life" deadline.

Operating Systems: Windows, Mac OS, Chrome, Linux, Android

If mobility is the future of your computing, then your alternatives to Windows are Apple iOS and Google Android. The iPhone and the iPad are Apple’s very popular smartphone and tablet offerings. They run the iOS operating system, which is noted for simplicity, but not so much for flexibility. Android smartphones and tablets are available from a myriad of vendors in all sorts of configurations. Some of the most popular now are the Samsung Galaxy series, and Google's Pixel lineup.

Because Android was designed to be open, flexible, and modifiable, it is typically molded or "skinned" to suit the whims (and business goals) of the vendor or wireless carrier that offers the device. For example, the look and feel of the Android OS running on the Lenovo Tab 4 is rather different from that of the Samsung Galaxy S10. But under the hood, 99% of the code is the same.

"And in This Corner…"

In the compromise range between mobility and comfort lie laptops and Google's Chromebook. The Apple Macbook line runs Mac OS X, the older brother of the mobile iOS mentioned earlier. Macbooks get high marks for quality and usability, but command a higher price than similarly equipped laptops that run Windows.

Chromebooks running Google's ChromeOS are designed to be web-centric. They have minimal hard drive storage, relying on the cloud for both apps and file storage. And they're very inexpensive. Check out this Dell Inspiron 11 Chromebook for $146 or the Acer 15.6-inch HD Chromebook for $197.

Windows still reigns supreme on desktop PCs, excluding Apple machines used primarily by graphic-intensive professionals. And then there are all sorts of Intel-based desktop computer systems running homebrew and commercially enhanced versions of the free Linux operating system, such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint and Fedora. You can bypass the corporate hegemonies, and dive deep into the world of open-source software. You'll find more free software than you can ever use.

Just last night, I installed Peppermint Linux on a 10-year-old Toshiba laptop that was struggling to run Windows 10. It runs the free Libre Office wordprocessor and spreadsheet very nicely. Peppermint comes with tons of free software - games, media player, calculator, and the Firefox web browser. I downloaded Chromium, an open-source version of Chrome, because it syncs with my Google account for bookmarks. The file manager gave me access to all the documents and photos on my Windows partition, which was another plus.

So don’t ever say you have no choice but Windows.

Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is?

I didn't write this article to convince anyone to switch from Windows to Mac, iOS, Linux, Chrome or Android. I currently have an assemblage of desktop and laptop computers running Windows 7, Windows 10 and Linux. There are also some Apple products and a few Android gadgets in the family. I mention all this to underscore the point that you have choices. And I love the fact that competition fosters innovation.

But ironically, operating systems are starting to matter less, as web-based and cloud-based computing become the norm. Cloud services like Gmail, Outlook, Google Docs, and Office 365 run right inside your browser, and they don't care what OS you have.

The bottom line is this: the operating system doesn’t matter so much if all you do is standard computing stuff such as web surfing, email, office apps, video viewing, photo management, and so on. You're only stuck if your work or hobby requires a specific program that only runs under Windows.

Far more important these days is the computing device form factor that best fits your lifestyle. Sendentary or office-bound folks find desktop PCs comfortable, and it’s rarely necessary to move them. They'll choose between Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. Power users on the move favor Windows or Mac laptops with plenty of storage space and horsepower. Mobile students, sales people, and others who have to move fast and frequently may opt for lighter, simpler Chromebooks.

And of course there are hundreds of millions carrying tablets and smartphones running Android or iOS. They may not even be aware that they have an operating system. And that's a good thing. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

 
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This article was posted by on 7 Nov 2019


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Most recent comments on "Are You Sick and Tired of Windows?"

(See all 30 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

George
07 Nov 2019

Very interesting article but I feel you are scaremongering a bit with regard to the change to Windows 10 from 7. I did this early this year and found no problems with the transition to 10. It is a very logical system and basically if anyone is used to Windows, upgrading to 10 was a doddle.
Keep up the good work.


Posted by:

MartinW
07 Nov 2019

I'm typing this on a laptop running Linux Mint. Next to me are two other laptops running Windows 10, with a (too small) Linux partition. To those who said they were nervous about trying to install Linux Mint, I can tell you there are numerous guides all over the Internet. It's really easy! Just think first whether you want to get rid of Windows and use only Linux, or if you'd like to try both on one computer. Then plan ahead. (As I said, I first made my Linux partitions too small on the dual-boot Windows laptops. Not quite enough space for everything I want. Live and learn.) With various problems I've had lately, I'm about two hair-widths from going Linux all the way. (P.S. My favorites: No. 1 Linux Mint, No. 2 Kubuntu)


Posted by:

pink jimi
07 Nov 2019

hi bob,
i finally bit the bullet and went ubuntu linux. i run it on a win 10 machine with an oracle virtual box that i run the ubuntu inside of. i do my web with ubuntu, don't miss windows at all... and do my programming and work with the win 10, with classic shell installed cuz i hate the cell-phone like win 10 interface.
i DID hose my puter trying to do a dual boot, luckily one of my friends was geekier than i and managed to fix it. i have a dual boot on my backup machine. again, i use linux only for internet stuff so the combo works out great, and the win 10 isn't so damned intrusive and annoying. i REALLy dislike it as an os, i hate having to deal with permissions to open my own files, etc... but i figure keeping windows largely off line and linux on is the way to go.
anyways, as always, great article brother. keep 'em coming!
jimi


Posted by:

Bob
07 Nov 2019

Now 84, about 5 years ago with metered mobile internet I realized I could not live with Windows anymore. I still have 7 mainly for Adobe Photoshop Elements but never on line and on another HD. I stumbled on PCLinuxOS considered the most Windows user friendly. I persisted through the learning curve with help from their excellent forum and my only regrets are for not having changed sooner. The peace of mind is boggling. Your system can't steal data. You have full control and no worry about antivirus and malware. PClos has a number of versions. I've tried others bu KDE 5 is most popular I stick with that


Posted by:

Dave Ruedeman
07 Nov 2019

Both Micro$oft and Apple are doing "a race to the bottom".
Windows 10 has these upgrade issues. I use it for engineering work but I am always afraid that the next unwanted update will brick my system. And forget it if you are running Windows Home. You have no alternative to their feature updates.

Apple is really no better. I am currently using a 2014 MBP that serves me will. The current generation of Macbooks are overpriced with serious hardware issues.The most appalling is using proprietary silicon to prevent anyone from repairing their own Macbook, even of they have smd rework tools. And they charge extra for this.
So I am really stuck for my next laptop. I am probably going to use a dual-boot windows/Linux laptop. Compared to Windows/Mac Linux always has issues with multiple monitors, device support b/c it only has 2% of the market. Even made for Linux PCs have these issues.
N.B. I was able to run my MBP in a classroom setting with 3 monitors. I was able to mirror 2 monitors ,one being a video projector, and the other was mirrored in Webex. The 3rd monitor I used for preview. I didn't know it was possible to have this hybirid setup but the Mac handled it well. IDK if Windows could have handled it.


Posted by:

Bob K
07 Nov 2019

Currently my desktop is running Ubuntu as the OS of choice. I also can dual-boot into Win 10, only because there are some programs that will only run under Windows. I'm not sure if any income tax programs (as an example) run under Linux.

Really, I had a real love affair with Win 7. But the motherboard I was running on died, and the replacement is locked into Win 10 (for Microsoft) only. I find the Ubuntu runs smoothly and does almost everything I want.

I really have no idea what all the changes are that keep coming along with Win 10. I want an operating system that I don't have to relearn every few months, and to be constantly buying upgrades. Seems like Microsoft has gotten into the idea they can shake down their customers constantly. Being on a limited income, that idea doesn't appeal to me.

And, for those that want to run an extremely stable version of Linux -- I also will mention Slackware. I have one computer running Slack that must go back 20 years. It just sits there and does it's little job, and has never crashed. Maybe not as user friendly, but solid!


Posted by:

RandiO
07 Nov 2019

Thank you, Mr. Rankin, for another smooth article on a worthy topic.
I think this topic centers around the ages-old attempts at 1)the ‘dumb terminals’ for computing of the 1980s, 2)the ‘subscription-based software’ of the 1990s, 3)the ‘smart’ phone invasion of the 2000s, and 4)the ‘software-as-a-service’ of the current decade. Yet, this topic really resolves around the competing arguments between “Local” versus “Cloud-based” computing.
Long-term hardware/software compatibility, flexibility, consistency, reliability, ergonomics and availability, without the security and privacy implications forces me to violate your worthy wisdom; since I “have no choice but Windows”. If familiarity is the bane of innovation or breeds apathy, then please pencil me as a Luddite!
Some kudos must (and should) go to Microsoft in their continual upgrades to keep their Operating System(s) relevant, current AND compatible with transition to the app-based (mobile/cloud/synced) trends of the 2010s.
@Richard: LOL to "penguinista"


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
07 Nov 2019

I can NOT tell anyone how many times I yelled, screamed, throw things across a room and simply cried over Windows Operating System!!! It does matter which version of Windows, I have done all of the above actions with each and every version of Windows since I got my first computer!


I started with Windows 98se. Thank the heavens above, I did NOT do the Vista version or either Win 8 & 8.1 versions. I loved Windows XP Pro, to me it was the easiest of all the versions. Since, I was exposed to the Pro version, I have chosen to stay with the Pro versions. It is so much easier to work with MS Office, when you are using the Pro version. I have also found that working with the Pro version, the whole system seems to be more stable.


I have heard the Windows 2000 was the best the MS ever did. I wished that I could have used that version in my computer past. Yes, I finally got "hooked" on the Pro version with Windows XP. Since then I have been using the Pro versions, I even have Win 10 Pro. I was able to upgrade to Win 10 Pro, since I had the Win 7 Pro.


As for those who have just started using Win 10, I would assume that upgrading today to Win 10 is so much easier than when a lot of us chose to take advantage of the year FREE Upgrade. I took advantage of that free year. I can tell you that many times in those first couple of years with Win 10, the updates made a lot of computers go crazy or non-functional on many apps, even those "approved" by MS.


One point ~ When installing any Operating System the first tiem, using a DVD, most things will usually go "smooth as silk." Why? You are doing what they call a "clean" install. Meaning that your Hard Drive or SSD is wiped clean and there are no "codes" or left over OS on the drive to interfer with the installation.


As many times that I curse MS Windwos, as still do to this day, I truly like Windows. Mainly, because this is the only Operating System that I have ever used. I am not a Gamer, but I do have plenty of Causual Games on my computer. I play those religiously. Since, most Causual Games need to be played on the Windows Operationg system, Windows works for me, overall.


Probably the worst aspect of any computer Operating System ia to have to wipe out your entire Hard Drive or SDD. However, it is necessary to have a "blank" HD or SSD to re-install the Operating System once again. The installing of the OP is the easiest part. The hardest part is getting all of your Causual PC Games, the Office program, the Anti-Virus/Malware programs and all of your Email accounts back on to the newly installed Windows System.


I am not an Apple fan, but respect all who are. I am not an iPhone fan, either, but again respect those who use them. Basically, I am a Windows, Android fan. Why? Simple. I have been using both for years and I am so comfortable with both. I hate change, more than anything. Both Windows and Android giva me "security" in the fact that I understand how they work and can handle most issues comfortably. So far, I have NOT sledge hammered any of my multiple computers to date. That is truly saying something, in my book


Posted by:

JimM
07 Nov 2019

I concur with the previous posters that asked for detailed steps on how you installed Peppermint on you laptop. I also have a old Toshiba that I would like to experiment with installing it and if it works I'll put it on my desktop Dell. Thanks

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hi Jim, if you go to the Peppermint LInux website, you'll find a nice user's guide (https://peppermintos.com/guide/) which details how to download and install it. In summary, download one file (the ISO image), then use Rufus to convert the ISO file into a bootable USB drive. Insert the USB into your laptop and restart. Follow the prompts to add Peppermint as a second operating system.


Posted by:

BobD
07 Nov 2019

Oh goodie! Another opportunity to growl about the scourge of Windows 10. When I tried to upgrade from 7 in 2015, it bricked my machine. A new motherboard is running Windows 7. Microsoft has ceased to exist.


Posted by:

Linda
07 Nov 2019

A Chromebook would be tempting (likewise using web-based software) except for one thing: You need to have access to the internet. That is not always possible. When my husband and I travel in our camper, we often stay at state parks. Rarely do we have reliable internet, let alone any cell phone service. So, I'll stick with my current Windows-based laptop that uses installed programs. Even if I can't post or browse the web, I can still do my writing without needing to access the cloud.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hi Linda, there are quite a few things you can with a Chromebook when offline. You can view, create, and edit documents, spreadsheets, or slides using Google Drive. You can read, respond and search your Gmail. or watch movies, play music or games.


Posted by:

BobD
07 Nov 2019

Occasionally, I try LibreOffice on Windows. "Writer" has had difficulty with layouts in Microsoft Word docs.
I use Word 2003, so maybe newer Word docs won't puzzle Writer.


Posted by:

John Wood
07 Nov 2019

Never had a problem upgrading our home's three Windows 7 laptops to Windows 10, all run smoothly and without update problems.


Posted by:

Groman
07 Nov 2019


I been using a life stealing computer for over 30 years now and I really do not like what they have become. I long for the days when you told your computer what to do and it did it. Now the computer tells you what to do and makes it real difficult to say no. At least windows does in my opinion. Also in my opinion LINUX is way better.
I use Ubuntu myself.

As you say Bob; "operating systems are starting to matter less, as web-based and cloud-based computing become the norm".

Lord help you if you put all your eggs in the cloud and they decide one day not to give them back. Then What? That is what people should really be concerned about. Oh they really wouldn't do that would they (as my data is collected and sold for a profit that I get no royalty from)? Funny Ha Ha


Posted by:

Bob K
08 Nov 2019

The pop-up said "Requires Windows 7 or better". So I installed Linux.


Posted by:

Terry Hollett
08 Nov 2019

I've been fooling around with Linux on my older systems. Bottom line, not prepared to make the leap over yet.


Posted by:

Marc Lapierre
08 Nov 2019

I've been messing around with a variety of flavors of Linux off and on for years. I like it, but don't see why I should run something that has such limited driver support that I would have to buy new peripherals (matter of principle).

Chromium especially in a user friendly and free home install variant called Cloudready (not connected with them in any way) which auto updates is an option for those who want to replicate the Chromebook experience on an aging laptop.

Chromebooks and Macs:I was surprised to discover that both systems have relatively short end of life or end of update time spans.

People may complain about windows, but most machines that can run Windows 7 can be converted over to W10, some 11 years later. So most will still have a machine that they can continue to use with updates, whereas Chrome and IOS have a much shorter time span and then the machine is on a downward slope to obsolescence.


Posted by:

sAMg
08 Nov 2019

For those of you considering upgrading? to Windows 10 it can still be done for free. 2 months ago my 7 Pro and 1 month ago my 7 Home. 10 may not be of my liking but i was surprised 95+% of the 7 programs worked. It just took hours for all the software and hardware updates to install. The how-to procedure is online and installing only affects the operating system partition. So dual boot and other data partitions are not affected. Surprise! Of course i backed up everything before and after. Windows only allowed 30 days to revert back to 7.


Posted by:

Rae Simpson
10 Nov 2019

What if you have a printer that doesn't have drivers for Windows 10. I have kept an old PC with Windows XP solely so I can print. Wiukd an alternate OS solve that problem?


Posted by:

markman
11 Nov 2019

Although I haven't owned a Mac yet, I have tried Linux and my tablets and phones are Androids. My best all around computing experience has always been on MS Windows.


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