How can I get away from using Windows?



  • I have heard of horrible security issues with the new Windows 10 and see that there are many steps to follow to make things better or safer etc.....BUT... what can I do if I want to totally get away from using Windows? I have an Acer laptop that came with Windows 8 and I have of course upgraded to 8.1 and I'd like to know what alternatives there are that are NOT Windows.... Thank you so much for all of your help and feedback. Is the Vivaldi browser windows based or is it totally removed? Could I actually UNinstall Windows then? Joel


  • Moderator

    @joel.gardner:

    I have heard of horrible security issues with the new Windows 10 and see that there are many steps to follow to make things better or safer etc…..BUT...

    what can I do if I want to totally get away from using Windows? I have an Acer laptop that came with Windows 8 and I have of course upgraded to 8.1 and I'd like to know what alternatives there are that are NOT Windows....

    Thank you so much for all of your help and feedback. Is the Vivaldi browser windows based or is it totally removed? Could I actually UNinstall Windows then?

    Joel

    If you'd like to start learning how to use a computer all over again, you could switch to Linux. Vivaldi runs on Windows, Linux and Mac. Of these, Linux is the most secure - but of course it's as though, as a native English speaker, you had learned Spanish in your teens and now want to learn Italian. Certain things will be familiar, but for the first few years you won't be entirely comfortable with it. Of course when switching to Linux you first have to decide which flavor, or "distribution" to use, and for a beginner, Mint is probably a decent choice. On the other hand, you could just adopt a local sign-in, and turn off all of the Windows 10 features that make it less secure than Windows 7.

    I have two Linux towers here, but the only reason I have them is to avoid throwing away old, slow, crippled XP boxes. My OS of choice remains Windows, because I know it inside and out, like the back of my hand.



  • @joel.gardner:

    I have heard of horrible security issues with the new Windows 10

    Not securty issues in strict sense.

    There are huge privacy concerns using W10 as is. Practically W10 as is is a giant spyware tool (not so different from what Apple and Google are doing since ages, anyway).

    Linux is surely the best option, but W10 itself can be cleaned from the crap, making it at the same level of seven (or even better).


  • Moderator

    This is exactly right. It's not security, so much as it's privacy. I prefer not to have any of my usage data phoned home to MS, so I just turn all that stuff off, and don't log in with a MS account.

    In fact, I disable Cortana. I have no use for it.



  • @Ayespy:

    In fact, I disable Cortana. I have no use for it.

    Its not just Cortana, there are a lot of other things to remove, disable, block

    Here you can find my drastic way to remove most of the unwanted "features"

    http://forums.mydigitallife.info/threads/63734-Completely-eradicate-Telemetry-Defender-One-drive-Cortana-(and-other-things)

    Here a nice applet to block other things (partly overlapping with the above, because it can be used alone)

    http://forums.mydigitallife.info/threads/63677-The-Ultimate-Windows-10-Telemetry-Destroyer!-Now-with-a-script!

    Here an alternate way to disable and tweak many windows features

    http://forums.mydigitallife.info/threads/63498-Windows-10-TNBT-(The-next-big-tweak)-official-thread

    Anyway a good starting point is installing the LTSB or LTSB N versions instead of the Pro.

    They comes way more clean than the Pro/Home/Plain Enterprise versions.


  • Moderator

    I turn off so much stuff in Windows, it's not even funny. I even have file indexing turned off, because MS is so half-assed they could never solve the problem in 7/8/8.1 that it would hang on a particular file and continue indexing forever and ever, running CPU usage higher and higher until my cooling fan was howling. I may try turning it on again for a while in 10, to see if that is solved. In the meantime, I installed an alternate search program that a) indexes only when I tell it to, and b) provides instantaneous search results instead of waiting for Windows to think and think and think before only giving you a partial search result on the file you are looking for. If Microsoft can't make my system run right, then hey - I can.



  • Thanks….I think I'l follow some of the links and just turn off/disable the privacy stuff...I really don't feel like "re-learning" a system so perhaps that's the best option.

    Thank you very much. We have "de-googled" our life as much as possible and use email from Swiss and one from Iceland. We may move our website to one of those two counties simply for privacy/security issues that the u.s. does not seem to respect.

    joel



  • @joel.gardner:

    what can I do if I want to totally get away from using Windows? I have an Acer laptop that came with Windows 8 and I have of course upgraded to 8.1 and I'd like to know what alternatives there are that are NOT Windows….

    To answer this question: I have a Windows System for two softwares. On my daily work I use Linux. To test Linux you can do the following: Replace the harddisk for one day, place an empty one in your notebook. Install Linux Mint or Ubuntu (for example). Try out the Office, try out the mailer and the other software for one week. You have to consider:

    • Which Office do I need (alternatives: OpenOffice, Softmaker office (pay), MS Office Online)
    • Which mailer do I need (alternatives: Thunderbird and thousand others)
    • Which calender do I need (if one)
    • Which other software do I need?
    • Do I need to play a lot?
    • Does my favorite browser support Linux?

    Ubuntu is well documented (there is a great german wiki: https://wiki.ubuntuusers.de/) and after some weeks really easy to use. You have to get the time, some money and a technical deiscovery feeling.

    My experience is, that I don't need Windows for my daily life - there is absolutely no advantage. So I shut off the spyware stuff in Windows 10 and use it very rarely (for the 2 Softwares that doesn't run on Linux: Taxes-software and guitar-pedal software).



  • Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 had the same security "issues", but people never talked about them, so it was never a big deal. Windows 7 still snoops your software and sends the info somewhere. So wrap yourself around the idea that all modern versions of Windows (not counting Vista and XP… for being modern) have this.

    Consider why are you using Windows, what programs do you use, what activities you engage yourself into while on the computer. Keep in mind that migrating to Mac OS will cost you a fortune and even though it's somehow popular, it lacks software support in some areas. There are hundreds of thousands small apps for Windows that can serve a specific niche of users, you may fall into such a niche. Migrating to another platform is always hard.

    I don't like Windows, yet I'm using Windows 10 right now. Some years ago I wanted to migrate to Linux and only managed to hold on to it for about a month, I had to go back. There was so much I wanted to do and it was hard or impossible to do on Linux. Many programs I wanted to install were tarballs and I had to compile them, but I don't know bash or any programming language, so I had to look up on the internet for every command I should input. One time it took me 30 minutes to compile some puny program and install it, which on Windows would've taken mere seconds.

    I like Linux and all, but not having mainstream support makes it impossible to use by casual people like me.

    So think about again what you can lose by moving away from Windows and if it's not worth the change, try to live with the idea that Windows will be like that.

    There is this program that supposedly blocks out the "spying features" in Windows 10. I'm using it, not that I care about being tracked, what bothers me is that it uses my hard disk, processor, internet connection and memory for activities that I did not ask for, so I might as well block (or try to) them.



  • @axxl:

    @joel.gardner:

    what can I do if I want to totally get away from using Windows? I have an Acer laptop that came with Windows 8 and I have of course upgraded to 8.1 and I'd like to know what alternatives there are that are NOT Windows….

    To answer this question: I have a Windows System for two softwares. On my daily work I use Linux. To test Linux you can do the following: Replace the harddisk for one day, place an empty one in your notebook. Install Linux Mint or Ubuntu (for example). Try out the Office, try out the mailer and the other software for one week. You have to consider:

    • Which Office do I need (alternatives: OpenOffice, Softmaker office (pay), MS Office Online)
    • Which mailer do I need (alternatives: Thunderbird and thousand others)
    • Which calender do I need (if one)
    • Which other software do I need?
    • Do I need to play a lot?
    • Does my favorite browser support Linux?

    Ubuntu is well documented (there is a great german wiki: https://wiki.ubuntuusers.de/) and after some weeks really easy to use. You have to get the time, some money and a technical deiscovery feeling.

    My experience is, that I don't need Windows for my daily life - there is absolutely no advantage. So I shut off the spyware stuff in Windows 10 and use it very rarely (for the 2 Softwares that doesn't run on Linux: Taxes-software and guitar-pedal software).

    This is a good checklist, except it's even easier to try out Linux, particularly when talking about Ubuntu and Mint. Namely, they have Live Session.

    Instead of replacing the hard disk, you can boot Linux from a Live DVD or USB stick, try it out for half an hour or an hour and decide if you want it on your harddisk.

    To your checklist I'd add printers. Sometimes printers are tricky to connect - in any OS - but people sometimes need them.

    I personally have found that only (expensive) games are a real issue to stay away from Linux. But I don't do games, so I have Linux, just that.



  • Well … many Windows 8 or later systems use Secure Boot. Many live distros are compatible, but it isn't trivial telling a Windows 8+ system to boot from a disk. (Yes, I've done it.)



  • Your options are using AmigaOS on a powerpc based processor

    Running Linux (which is a resource hog for laptops) look at Chaletos, Kubuntu, ZorinOS or Mint

    If you can stay on Windows 8.1 then I highly recommend you do so since Windows 10 is highly buggy. Note how lame Edge browser is compared with Internet Explorer such as options, delays in menus etc and that's what W10 is like compared to W8.1. I've had no bugs in my W8.1 and its rapid compared to cumbersome W10.

    I would suggest you use ooshutup10 which is similar to what we used back in the day against windowxp called xp-antispy:

    http://www.oo-software.com/en/shutup10



  • Take a look at BunsenLabs OS which is the replacement for Crunchbang Linux.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmMSwneudgI



  • My needs are fairly simple. I need a web browser, an office suite, and the ability to play/stream video, whether from sites such as YouTube or from a DVD/flash drive. My go-to laptop is a Lenovo X200s with 8GB of RAM. I know very little about computers/computing/programming but am very good at following on-screen directions. I give this background so you have an accurate picture of my skill level.

    That said, when i was forced off Win XP, i found Linux the only realistic alternative. I tried Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Zorin 9, LinuxMint, and perhaps a couple of others I've since forgotten. I had no difficulty downloading, installing, and using these OS's on multiple laptops. I now use Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with Unity desktop and the downloaded Classic Menu Indicator almost exclusively. Why? Unlike most people I find icons highly UNintuitive. Ubuntu Unity with Classic Menu Indicator allows me to have everything labelled with actual WORDS. I also find Ubuntu Unity's arrangement of programs, apps, settings, etc. much more logical than I do that of the other Linux flavors I've tried. Also, Ubuntu seems to use the least amount of technical jargon. i find Ubuntu's instructions the easiest to understand.

    My advice is to download a few Linux 'distros' (distributions, aka flavors) and try them. They all offer dual-boot options so there's no need to make a commitment or to give up windows until you've made a decision.

    I hope this helps.



  • @jmcd:

    My go-to laptop is a Lenovo X200s with 8GB of RAM.

    Likely the best choice ever to use linux.

    You can install blindly practically any distro there.


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