Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Broken Windows

What follows is pure personal opinion. I have no facts whatsoever to back any accusations up. But hey, I’m a blogger with Internet access. Since when have I ever let a lack of solid evidence stop me?

Here’s what I do know: I’m happy with Windows 7. It does what I want and lets me complete paid assignments. I’m used to it. If it ain’t broke, and so forth. I still have my ‘90s era desktop system, even though it’s no longer compatible with anything created after 2000. The printer still works, so I type manuscripts on it for the hard copy. I’m not about to throw away something that works in favor of something new, bright and shiny. Unless and until I’m otherwise forced to, I won’t be switching over to Windows 10.

Microsoft appears determined to change that. Aggressively so.

Like everybody else with a computer (that is, like everybody else) I heard about Microsoft offering its new Windows 10 operating system for free. Not just a trial period, and not just for two weeks or a month or something. For a year. Three hundred and sixty-five opportunities for we the computer users of the world to download brand-new, state of the art, pricey software for absolutely nothing. I’m sure a lot of technies did so, and I’m sure a lot of them were happy. I am not a technie. I stick with what I know. Knock yourselves out, I thought to the techies, and went on using Windows 7.

The year passed, as years do, faster and faster, it seems. I started getting pop-up reminders from Windows. Time’s a-wastin’, better download. No thanks. I’d close the ad and go about my business. One of these pop-ups wanted me to schedule a download. Nope. I clicked on the little X in the right-hand corner, as we’ve been trained to do when we want to close a window. Bye-bye, Windows 10. Again. Or so I thought.

About a week or so after that I got another pop-up. My installation of Windows 10 was scheduled for May 29 at 3 in the morning.

What the flaming frack? Since when? I hadn’t scheduled anything. I shut off the damn ad, for Christ’s sake.

And therein lies the problem. That last pop-up had been a trap. Microsoft rigged it so that anybody clicking that little red X in the corner automatically signed themselves up for a scheduled download of Windows 10. Not that we were informed of this. Microsoft conveniently left that part out.

That’s when the shit hit the Internet. Protests arose. Microsoft backpedaled and said we could schedule the download for whenever we wanted. Maybe even cancel it, I’m not sure. But they were going to deliver our free Windows 10 to us holdouts, whether we wanted it or not. Emphasis on the “or not.”

Fortunately this involves computer geeks. No matter what Microsoft’s experts come up with, some high school kid will find a way around it and gleefully share with the world. I found a friendly site that explained in non-tech English how us Luddites can stop Windows 10 from downloading or, failing that, how to get rid of it and go back to Windows 7 or 8 or whatever system you’re using. In my case, the program was delivered automatically as an update. I think it may even have tried to install itself, but failed. I went into my Control Panel, found Windows 10 among the updates, and hid it. Then I fixed my system so it no longer automatically accepts updates from Windows. Virus protection isn’t a problem because I have McAfee. From here on, nothing gets into my computer unless I clear it first.

And I do have Windows 10 available as that hidden update. Maybe someday, if I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll download it and see what it’s about, after I’ve backed up all my files. If I don’t like it, I can uninstall it and go back to Windows 7.

Though now the question has arisen, and even normally non-paranoid folk like me have to be asking: why is Microsoft so determined to inflict this operating system on our computers? After all, they’re a business. These people make a living devising computer programs and selling them to the public. And yet here’s a major upgrade system and they offer it free. For a year. You have to wonder, what’s the catch? A year’s worth of free beta testing to work out all the glitches so they can charge us double for the new and improved Windows 11? That would have been my guess, until they started tricking people into accepting unasked-for upgrades. Microsoft really, really, I mean REALLY wants this operating system installed on every computer in existence. For free. Makes me really, really wonder why.

And that’s why I’m going to resist accepting Windows 10 unless and until I absolutely have to. Because Microsoft resorted to underhanded tricks, and now I don’t trust them. Yeah, the cheese looks tasty, but now I can’t help feeling there’s a steel bar behind it, waiting to whip around and slam me in the neck.

I’m curious to see how Microsoft responds to being called out for their duplicity. This has got to be a PR nightmare. The pity is, it was unnecessary. From what I’m hearing, the system itself isn’t all that bad. Better than Windows 8. They could have offered the freebie for a month or so, taken it back to the shop for fine tuning, then offered it for sale and nobody would have said boo. But they didn’t. They tried to cram it down our throats. We don’t take kindly to that. We’re Americans. Remember when the government tried to get us to switch to the metric system? Or the two-dollar bill? Or the various incarnations of the dollar coin? Back us into a corner, tell us to take it or lump it, and we’re going to lump you. Big time.

Maybe this will motivate me to write faster. I need to flood the market with manuscripts while Windows 7 still lets me connect to the Internet. I don’t want to have to go back to sending manuscripts to publishers by expensive snail mail. Some changes are beneficial, but I want to be the one to decide that and not some corporation. Microsoft can shove its Windows 10. God bless America!

No comments:

Post a Comment