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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Fri 03
Jun
2016

Why I Hate Windows (this time)

Max

Hey Max, why do you hate Windows?

No one you ever heard of

I’M GLAD YOU ASKED. From the last time I whined about Windows:

But what really bothers me is the feeling that you must constantly fight for control of your own computer, because your aims are apparently in conflict with those of Microsoft and half of everyone else who writes Windows software. They want your computer to report information about you, keep ongoing watch over what you’re doing in case you turn pirate (activation, registration, and validation?), show you ads, and lock you out of protected media. If you lose this battle, six months later you find yourself with a computer so clogged with malware that the only way to make it usable again is to reinstall the operating system and begin the fight again.

Written in 2007. Windows today is that times a thousand.

At least Apple is up-front about how you’ll shut up and take what it gives you. I appreciate that honesty. On my phone, I’m happy for it. I don’t want to configure my phone. I just want to read email and look at photos. You make that happen, Apple.

But Windows! Windows is sneaky. Windows is the shady salesperson telling me it’s my decision but if I don’t want to upgrade it’s going to keep asking and then just go ahead and do it and say it was my choice.

I use Ubuntu Linux, which is part of an open source ecosystem where people make good software just because. That used to be only mildly notable, but the digital world has become so hard-nosed that whenever I switch to Windows, I’m a naive farm boy who just arrived in the big city: 15 minutes later, I’m bankrupt, naked, and everyone has my email address.

Oh, and the Start button. THE START BUTTON. The perfect symbol of everything that’s wrong with Windows. Well not everything. But a lot. Every edition of Windows for the last 20 years has breathlessly pushed one of two selling points:

  1. We added a Start button

  2. We removed the Start button

YOU’RE ADDING AND REMOVING THE SAME THING. How can your main feature of Windows 10 be something you introduced in 1995? Why is nobody talking about that? “Oh yes, I think Windows 10 is actually a significant improvement; it brings back the Start button.” That’s like someone was punching you in the face for a while, then stopped, and now you think things are better than ever! And it’s just a button! While you’re dreaming up new features, how about the one where you don’t need to reboot the entire freaking machine every time it wants to update?

So it’s mainly that: the sneakiness, and the sales campaign stuck on a loop.

Comments

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edison (#7133)

Location: phobos, tx
Quote: "Goo is what makes it tape instead of paper."
Posted: 534 days ago

Regardless of the security/privacy shenanigans - if you are going to use Windows 10, I highly recommend the now-freeware program 'Classic Shell', at classicshell.net, which not only lets you customize the hell out of your Start Menu (probably more than even the most meticulous UI people would need), it will also prevent you from wanting to stick a fork in your eye.

fyi! (also, I <3 Lexicon).

E : )

Machine Man subscriber Yannick (#3858)

Location: Heist, Belgium
Quote: "he reads things"
Posted: 534 days ago

There's a small and brilliant tool here www.grc.com/never10.htm that disables the update to Windows 10 at the click of a button. Well, two clicks, really, one to open the utility, and then the actual click that makes it do its job. Though something tells me it might be slightly too late for you, Max.

FireSpiderGuy (#7030)

Location: Somewhere
Quote: "Hi there."
Posted: 533 days ago

When I first read the question I thought this meant like, transparent windows.

But I also dislike MS Word, I don't know why, it's not the format because I love PowerPoint and Excel and stuff. It seems to me like Word is for writing essays rather than stories or books. I usually use Pastebin and/or wordcounter.

A lot of windows features are useless. I think that Microsoft should just by Apple and Samsung and Verizon and people to take advice to make it better. They've been getting worse over the years, but Windows 10 is much better than Windows 8 in my opinion.

towr (#1914)

Location: Netherlands
Posted: 532 days ago

I have to add though, that I was really disappointed in Ubuntu when it suddenly came with that "shopping lens" crapware. No Ubuntu, when I'm trying to look for something on my computer, I do not need you to send all my information to amazon to see if there's something they can sell me.

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