Kris' Tech Blog ( and stuff ) Home About Kris Contact Kris


All by Date






Kris Springer's Tech Blog - My Divorce from Microsoft
My Divorce from Microsoft 3-4-18
Kris Springer

My long history with Microsoft started with DOS on a PC my parents bought at a yard sale in the late 80's. That one had the little hard floppy disks, but I've used the big ones too. Real noise makers. Later in high school I copied Windows 3.1 from the school's unsecured network (along with Doom and a few other games the nerds uploaded). Good times. I even talked my grandma into buying a cheep computer and I installed 3.1 on it so she could play solitaire and write letters in Notepad. So modern! After high school I went to college and learned about NT, Novel, Cisco, etc. And then came XP. It was something. The next gen. That is until the Blaster virus. I remember how a freshly installed OS would get infected within minutes by simply connecting to the internet. My Microsoft jump kit was really taking shape at that time in my life because I was working as a Network Admin for a wireless company and flying around the Northwest maintaining hotel wifi systems. At the same time I was tinkering with linux for fun. RedHat was the flavor of the decade and I used it for my own email server, firewalls, web servers, as well as some remote network monitoring. Because of my job I was able to stick my own box in the basement closet of a client with a 10 Mbps backbone. At the time that was smokin'. I even got into the KDE desktop a bit and used VNC to remote into boxes that were in other states. I did stuff that wasn't common at the time, but is nowadays. But that was server stuff and not the subject of this post; Windows XP was the desktop OS of choice, and I was happy with it for many years.

Then Windows Vista was released with mixed acceptance from the tech community. There was quite the push back because XP had been dominating the market for so many years. The common consensus was that if XP wasn't broken, why was MS trying to fix it. And Vista wasn't fixing anything. It was a mess. When v7 came out to 'fix' the problems with Vista Microsoft had already taken an integrity hit with the tech community because of the hash that Vista had been. Everyone figured that 7 was going to be junk just like Vista was, but miraculously v7 was pretty good. There were many things under the hood that got fixed and Vista quickly became one of those OS's that you remember using once upon a time but it seems to have been completely erased from existence. 7 dominated for many many years, and as of now (2018) it's still an option when ordering new machines from Dell. It's stable, clean (if that term can be used for a MS OS), and has been around long enough that just about any drivers you'll ever use have been made for it. My point is that it's not bad. Then came 8.

Windows 8 was another instance where Microsoft punched itself in the face, and then pretended that it was awesome. Whoever made the decision at MS to remove the Start button should have been fired. The truth is that with a few clicks it was easy enough to add the Start menu back to the taskbar so work could get done, but the fact that MS released a tablet/touch style OS which completely removed the universal menu known to every human who's ever used a PC, and didn't give users a way to turn it back on was a HUGE mistake. Touch screens were very new and almost noone had one (and still don't). The idiotic GUI was not only confusing and frustrating for consumers, but especially problematic for the Server OS's, which many are controlled remotely or via VM interfaces where the touchpad style GUI is not just useless, but incredibly counter-productive. I'm still a bit perplexed about Win8 from a tech standpoint because all the same system settings and menus seemed to be still under the surface if you knew how to access them, but the horrible GUI was such a hash that it made everyone want to throw their machines in the garbage. So as a result, Win8 was not widely adopted and will be another MS OS which will be a blot in MS history. Then came 10, and the cloud.

Microsoft knew Win8 was bad. So bad in fact that they completely skipped a version number. There is no v9 OS. They jumped right to 10 just to get that extra separation from v8 in the minds of consumers. And to top it off they gave it away for FREE to anyone who wanted to upgrade. I administrate all the machines at the company I work for. Because of Microsoft's track record of terrible new OS's, and because we need to stay productive and don't have time to screw around with unnecessay problems, we chose not to upgrade our fleet of stable Win7 machines even though upgrading was free. My confidence in any new Windows OS being worth the trouble was/is very low. Not only that, but the big marketing point of Win10 over Win8 seemed to be nothing more that the return of the missing Start menu! What a joke. So, I started using Win10 in a VM so I could test it out and support it for those new users who were using it. It wasn't too bad. It seemed that MS had at least listened to some of the consumer blowback and fixed a few of the stupid things wrong with Win8. After a while Win10 became stable enough that we started ordering new machines with 10 pre-installed instead of 7. For the most part users were ok with it. It had it's new GUI issues but they could at least get their work done just like they could with Win7. I won't go into the idiotic IE issues, but tie-ins to cloud services such as SharePoint worked for the most part and things were fine, until recently.

Internet Explorer short story: I tried to log into a partner page using the latest Internet Explorer browser a while ago and the site wouldn't display. It gave an error that I was not using a compatible browser, and suggested alternatives! I'd like to post the screenshot I took, but I can't find it.

Fall 2017 to Spring 2018 have been interesting. I think 2017 might be viewed in history as the year of the hackers. There have been so many issues with malware, ransomware, Bots, data breeches, phishing, OS and software vulnerabilities, etc, that it's getting to be very ridiculous. It's like the plot from a movie, but not cool. I've had my hands in the Network Security pool for a few years now and am learning a lot about packet sniffing and intrusion detection. It's scary how many things are banging away on a network that noone knew was happening until a system is set up to monitor it. This brings me to the Updates. Windows updates, Security updates, Driver updates, Software updates, Hardware updates, updates, updates, updates. And the auto reboots, and the auto vulnerability scans, and encryption, and the cloud connections, and the pre-installed bloatware, and personal info that they collect, and the marketing/ads, and, and, and. It's become quite a mess. Recently there was a flaw discovered in hardware chips that could allow any system to become compromised. Microsoft released a 'patch' that caused more problems than it solved, and then a week later they retracted it by releasing another 'patch' which did nothing more than remove the previous one! Then we had a brand new Win10 laptop that was stuck in a reboot loop after a standard Windows Update was automatically applied, and we couldn't even roll it back because the 'Restore Points' were turned off. Restore Points are a default OS function that should have already been enabled on the brand new machine. How/why in the world would that be turned off? Who knows. After doing our best via Safe Mode to figure out why it was rebooting, we finally just gave up and restored the stupid thing back to factory defaults. This seems a common option for MS tech support to suggest nowadays. But I digress. Another new machine recently got encrypted with Bitlocker automatically when a new hire logged into his brand new machine with his MS Online account prior to calling me. Within an hour of unboxing the new laptop it was unable to boot into Windows and was unable to be factory reset because Bitlocker had encrypted the drive and the user was not given the decryption key, nor was he even aware that it had been encrypted automatically by simply logging into the OS as instructed when turning on the machine for the first time! The new OS menus push users to enter their MS Online credentials instead of making a 'local offline' user account directly on the new machine. It actually blocks the user multiple ways from creating the 'local offline' account and a novice would simply assume that it wasn't possible anymore and just continue forward with creating an online MS account so they could get into their new machine. Very deceptive if you ask me. This particular case resulted in Dell having to send the user a new hard drive because the first one had been encrypted and the Dell techs couldn't figure out how to erase the encrypted partitions. While waiting for the new hard drive to ship we were able to get the partition removed and were able to get the OS reinstalled via a USB, but even then it took over 24 hours to complete the Windows updates, Driver updates, Software installations and updates, and we were skeptical the whole time that it wouldn't complete successfully. So 5 full days after receiving a brand new machine from Dell the user was finally able to start using it. My rating of Microsoft at this point is less than 1 out of 5 stars.

My wife has a Microsoft Surface that came with Win10 on it. It routinely locks up and doesn't respond to any input and she's forced to hard boot it. Why am I not surprised that a MS OS installed on a MS branded piece of hardware functions like garbage.

I haven't mentioned the Office Suite of products yet. Office 365 and it's cloud system SharePoint have been less than steller. Our company uses Google, except for our documents, which we use Microsoft. Let me just say that Google office products just work. They work well and I honestly can't recall having any problems with connectivity or sharing or collaboration or file corruption. I can't say the same for Microsoft. Let's just say that if I owned the company that I work for we wouldn't be using Microsoft Office, at all.

Side story: Once upon a time Skype was awesome, then Microsoft bought it, and now it sucks. The end. We've completely abandoned it and now use Slack.

Because of all the latest issues I've dealt with and the security issues that seem primarily focused at Windows OS's, I've personally abandoned Microsoft. I tried many different Linux flavors on my personal test machine before I decided which one I was going to run with. My company computer is now running Linux Mint with Cinnamon desktop, and I love it. All the graphical programs I use to do my daily job are available, and the few that I need sometimes that are only available via Windows can be accessed through a VM. Interesting side note: I was always installing Linux style command line tools into my Windows machines so I could accomplish basic networking tasks to do my job, so now that I'm running on Linux all I have to do is open a terminal and do things that are just standard. It's awesome! My personal machines are the same. I've installed Mint on them too and am very happy with them. They run clean and efficiently even on older hardware, and the wife and kids can still use them without trouble since there's a Start menu! Most things are done directly in a browser nowadays anyway so there's no need for any special desktop software, and since it's all Open Source, it's free. To date I have never personally paid for any Microsoft OS or software, and I don't ever intend for that to change. Microsoft had a good product for a period in history, but that time has passed. I will use their products because I get paid to, in my personal life I've divorced myself from Microsoft.

This graphic sums up my opinion of Microsoft.

© Copyright 2024 WarriorSon Productions. All rights reserved.