Thursday, February 18, 2016

Downgraded

Over the last couple of days, I downgraded my main PC from Windows 10 back to 8.1.  It's a decision about a month in the making.

I've been running Windows 10 on this machine since the technical preview was released; well over a year now.  It's a perfectly good operating system and I really liked it.  Until they released the actual public version.  The final release version is an operating-system-shaped advertising platform.

It's always trying to sell me something. Office 365 is prominent. I had it pop up an ad for Office 365 on the church's projector shortly after upgrading that machine, in front of the congregation, during a service. Fan....tastic.  Thank you MS.

There are some other issues too.  But honestly, I could probably put up with them, except for one thing: it simply will not take "No" for an answer. I tell it to piss off with the Office 365 ads - I haven't used anything but Google Office for about 4 years now, and it does everything I need.  So I tell it "No."  2 weeks later, it's asking again if I want to try Office 365.

I set my file associations for MP3 to VLC - then a week later when there's been a system update, OH SURPRISE clicking on an MP3 brings up Groove Music again.  Seriously?  That thing is like a 90s Geocities webpage crawling with moving crap trying to get me to buy albums that I wouldn't pick up a CD of off the sidewalk for free.

So anyway, I'm on 8.1 now.  I was going to move all the way back to 7; that was Microsoft's last actual "operating system" - 8.0 started down the path of selling space on the user's desktop.  But for now I need storage spaces (though I'm seriously thinking about buying an external RAID box and going back to 7).

I'm using an app called "GWX Control Panel" which claims to be able to hold the "Get Windows 10 Now!" auto-updates at bay.  I've installed Classic Shell to get back a proper start menu without a bunch of silly Modern panes crawling around.

The biggest problem during the downgrade was that I had set up a pair of 5T USB 3.0 drives in a mirrored Storage Space. Well, it appears that even though Windows 8.1 has storage spaces, it doesn't recognize a Storage Space set created in Windows 10.  So I had to recover my 10 image, spend most of a day backing up about 2.5T of data to old USB 2.0 drives, then recover the 8.1 image, which then was so confused by the 10 storage space that even powershell refused to even delete the "unknown partition type" - GPartEd (linux live CD) took care of resetting the two 5Ts to something useable) - then using 8.1 to set up the storage space again, then a day restoring that 2.5T of data again.

It may be that Windows 8.1 is the last Windows I ever use. But probably not.  Non-Windows isn't really an option for me at present because work uses a VPN with ONLY a Windows client available - the vendor has made it clear that they don't give a damn about non-Windows compatibility. And besides, I do like Windows.  I have tried no less than 5 times to move to a Linux desktop. Each attempt has left me very cold - like, OK, I could live like this, but I "could live" in a tarpaper shack in a swamp too, but I wouldn't actually enjoy either experience.

At some point I'll probably be forced out of Windows 8.1 to something else.  Windows 10/2020 edition or something. Probably I'll have to shell out big bucks to get an Enterprise edition where I can avoid ads.

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