Microsoft Harm Reduction

When Windows 7 came out I told my customers that Windows could be problematic but would serve them mostly well as long as they installed a good anti-virus. But with Windows 8, 10, Office 365, and the sadism of Windows Update, Microsoft has gone off the rails. Aside from becoming an unreliable partner, they seem to be more in the way than leading the way. I suggest you consider them as we did AOL and start limiting your exposure to their products and your chances for harassment and random suffering. Eventhough just under 90% of the world still uses Windows PCs, this post is to plant the seed that you deserve better.

The days of exciting new software upgrades are long gone.  The best software does this: work smoothly and not be a pain in your ass. It should be invisible to you like your steering wheel.  

The dust and hype has settled and it turns out our computers only need to browse the net, play songs, gather an unworkable number of photos, watch movies, and send email.

Here is what I use, respectively: Google Chrome, iTunes, Picasa, Media Player Classic or VLC player, and Gmail.

There is no rush here. I am presenting these suggestions as part of your long game. Not all of these strategies will be practical for everyone or easy to navigate. They are here because I believe that Microsoft’s trajectory will continue to make your life more complicated, not the less you should be seeking.

  1. When it comes to any Microsoft update or upgrade, if your computer works fine, don’t fix it. I promise you will only be left behind with the all those people whose computers still work. Wait until you are compelled to upgrade by something tangible, (like an evil step-mother forcing you or ISIS holding a family member hostage until you do, or maybe until “the power of Christ compels you”). An MS update will never make your computer run faster, usually the opposite.

  2. Become dependant on no new Microsoft products. If you need a new free email account, video player, calendar program, don’t get a MS one. There are better options, for the long run.

  3. If you want a word processor, try Google docs or Open Office. Microsoft is moving Office online and charging too much. From what I have seen so far, it can be a fiasco. Try and track down a non-cloud based version of Office 2007, 2010 on Ebay. They all still do exactly the same thing as the newest versions: type letters, do spreadsheety stuff and nothing more.

  4. Transition away from Outlook the program, Windows Live, all Microsoft emails, i.e., @hotmail, @msn, @live, @outlook, and @email-password-got-hacked-and-torture-me-because-there-is-no-one-home-at-microsoft-to-verify-who-I-am.com.

  5. Once everyone gulps and accepts Windows 10 it may not be that bad. (Update: It was.) But what about the OS after that? Their record is not comforting. Your stance should be more like that of someone who has for 20yrs listened to a compulsive gambler ask for money because this time it's a sure thing!

    Maybe it's time to transition to a used Mac (which will likely last as long and become obsolete at a slower rate than a PC)? They have a slightly different interface, but is not that different. I transitioned my Mom to a Mac, and she loves it, because it just works. Think about this: the transition from Windows 7 to annoying Windows 8 and 10 were at least as different as the interface change you will experience going from Windows Crap to Mac OS X (10).