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Back in August 2017, I wrote a piece called Forget Linux: 10 Reasons You Should Stick With Windows. Indignant Linux users flooded the comments section. Some made valid rebuttals of my points, others accused me of being a blinkered Windows fan.
In the interests of fairness — and to prove Microsoft did not pay for last year’s article, despite the allegations — let’s take a look at the other side of the coin.
Windows is far from perfect. Nay, Windows sucks (at times). It’s a bloated mess that’s confusing to navigate and prone to crash, right? Join us as we count down seven reasons that expose the disaster called Windows.
1. Windows Updates
Where to begin? There’s so much wrong with the Windows approach to updates that it’s mindboggling. From the ridiculous way updates are delivered to how the operating system handles old update files — the problems are endless.
Let’s start with the most obvious: the Windows approach to downloading and installing updates. Yes, the forced restart issues are mostly gone, but the active hours feature is restrictive, and the reboot choices are still limited.
For a more nuanced approach to managing the updates, you need to use the Group Policy Editor. But for an average user, it’s a difficult app to understand. And worse still, it’s not even available in the Windows Home edition without some serious tinkering.
2. Microsoft Cortana
Cortana feels like Clippy Office Assistant 2.0. Is it more useful? Sure. But it’s annoying as hell. It’ll pester you with setup notifications until you finally relent and cave in.
The smart assistant even plays a significant role in the operating system-wide search feature, offering supposedly useful websites and additional information about whatever you’re looking for. And no, we don’t need Cortana to help us order a pizza or find a plumber.
Why does Microsoft think Cortana needs to be central to everything in Windows 10? And anyway, what could it possibly do with all that data that Cortana is collecting? After all, it’s not like the company is a big, evil corporation.
3. Microsoft Is a Big Corporation
Capitalism stinks and corporations are evil. Okay, that’s a bit extreme, but there’s no doubt that Microsoft’s intentions aren’t always pure.
Take the Windows 10 telemetry. Never before has a desktop operating system reaped so much information about its users. And to Microsoft, that data is precious. In their eyes, we may well have become the product.
The company has tried lots of other sneaky tricks. What about the Windows Update Delivery Optimization? The technology essentially made your computer a server that could deliver (and receive) updates from other PCs. Microsoft claimed it made updates run faster. Conveniently, it also saved the company millions in server space.
Windows machines have always suffered from bloatware.
PC manufacturers load both their own apps and third-party apps onto the operating system before it hits the stores. Tech-savvy users would be forced to perform a clean install immediately. Less technically-aware people would leave it all installed forever.
Today, Microsoft takes a stricter line with manufacturers; they are more limited in what they can add. But if you think that means bloatware has vanished, think again.
On Windows 10, it’s now Microsoft who is responsible for all the junk. After every single major upgrade, it’s come under fire for reinstalling previously-deleted Windows Store apps (like Candy Crush), along with ads-disguised-as-apps for everything from Office 365 to its latest features.
5. Closed Source
Possibly the most significant advantage that Linux has over Windows and macOS is that it’s open source.
For some users, this is an important ethical point. It’s “computing for everyone” at its finest. It’s also important from a security standpoint. If you’re so inclined, it means you can dig down into the code of the operating system to make sure it’s not carrying nasty malware or spying on you.
But closed source is about more than ethics and security. It has a direct knock-on effect on end-users. One only has to look at the bitter war between Google and Microsoft during the launch of Windows 8. It meant users couldn’t effectively use their Google Calendar in the Windows native calendar app.
All operating systems crash occasionally, it’s just one of those things. But for Windows, “occasionally” can mean multiple times per week.
But here’s the rub. Often the crashes are caused by a problem Windows has created for itself, without any user input. The update issue we mentioned earlier is a great example.
I speak from experience when I say a clean install of Windows that’s correctly maintained will hardly ever crash. However, most users aren’t in the same boat. Many have upgraded from Windows 7. The upgrade has left far too many “loose ends” in the code, and the platform can’t handle it. Cue the inevitable blue screen of death.
7. Boot Times
A Chromebook boots to the Chrome browser in under 10 seconds. Macs are in a ready-to-use state in about 15 to 30 seconds. Windows takes a lifetime.
Even if you meticulously manage your startup list, the boot still takes an eternity. And if you try and launch an app or open a document before it’s “settled down”? Congratulations, you just added at least another two minutes to its total startup time.
On a couple of occasions in the last few years, Microsoft has offered grandiose promises about improved system boot times. It’s yet to deliver on any of them.
Why Does Windows Suck?
Windows is such a disaster because the update system is ridiculous, Cortana is annoying, Microsoft is evil, it’s overrun with bloatware, it’s closed source, it crashes all the time, and it’s slower than a Trabant 601. We all agree on that.
But why else does Windows suck? Which of the other 7,195,054 Windows problems deserved to make this list? Or do you disagree with everything? We can’t wait to hear from you!