Hang On...Why Am I Still Using Windows?

An expert who uses Mac, Linux and Windows looks deep inside his soul and asks himself why so many of his machines still run the Microsoft OS.


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If I were to compile a personal FAQ based on questions I get asked in forums and blog post comments, it would include: if I’m so dissatisfied by Windows product (and Microsoft products in general) why am I still using Windows?

That’s a good question, why am I still using Windows?

OK, if I’m going to answer that question as honestly as possible I have to start off by saying that I’m not 100% loyal to Microsoft. There was a time when all the PCs I had ran Windows, all had Office installed, all ran Internet Explorer. Those days are gone. I now have PCs that run a variety of Linux distros, and not all my Windows boxes have Office installed on them. I also have Firefox and Opera browser augmenting Internet Explorer on most systems. I’ve also dabbled with Mac OS X…

But, despite all that, I still run a lot of Windows boxes of a variety of flavors: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Home Server. My main desktop runs Windows Vista with SP1 installed on it and I can’t say that running this OS has been a trouble-free experience. All my other systems need regular attention and handholding. In other words, running Windows takes a fair bit of time, effort, and a lot of patience.

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So, given the fact that Windows consumes time, which in today’s world is one of the most precious commodities, why haven’t I nuked all the installations and moved onto something else?

I promised to answer this FAQ as candidly as possible, so I’ll start with one of the main reasons why I’m running so many Windows boxes: sloth.

Running Windows is a lazy option. I know, I know, I’ve only just finished saying that Windows is a time vampire, sucking away at free minutes and hours, but it’s still the easy choice. I can get a bare metal system up and running a fully functional desktop in under an hour (well under an hour if the system is a high-performance rig).

I’ve installed Windows so many times (no jokes, please) that I know what I’m doing. I know where to pick up drivers and have a pretty good idea as to what’s going to cause me grief and how to go about fixing the problems. I’m nowhere near as competent or confident when it comes to Linux or Mac.

In my world there’s no such thing as an “eyes closed, one arm tied behind my back” Linux install. Sure, Linux is pretty easy to install, but I’m always wary of pitfalls and problems, because I know that each one will more than likely represent a fair few hours spent researching and testing. I know that in the long term, I’m probably being a weasel to my future self, yet me in the present doesn’t care.

Next page: But there’s more to it than laziness...

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