Thursday, June 20, 2024

Windows 10 Was Not An Upgrade!

Forcing upgrades on older machines can render them effectively useless.

I bought yet another Toshiba C655 laptop on eBay for $30.  It had all its components, even the power supply.  The right hand hinge is broken, but that can be fixed with superglue and baking soda.   It is a nice machine and now I have four working and one as a box of spare parts.

The only downside, in addition to the hinge - is that it was loaded with Windows 10.  Running Windows 7 Ultimate, these are usable machines.  But with Windows 10, well, they are slow and clunky.  So I "upgraded" it back to Windows 7.

When Windows 10 came out, Microsoft "forced" the install of this operating system through Windows Update.  I got wind of this and disabled Windows Update on all my machines (there are no more updates for Windows 7 anyway) and dodged that bullet.

Microsoft perhaps remembers what happened when Windows 95 came out.  Before then, we were using things like Windows 3.1 (as I recall) and the latter worked pretty well on the old 486 machines we had back then.  The computer industry was abuzz with excitement over Windows 95 as it had many new features - features (and bloatware) that would require users to buy new computers to run it.  Sure, you could install it on an older machine, but it wouldn't work very well.

At the time, half the country was using WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft had yet to dominate the PC market, outside of operating systems.  People were content with what they had - which worked - and saw no need to throw out perfectly good computers that they had bought only a few years prior, just to get the "latest and greatest."  Bear in mind these PCs cost thousands of dollars back then (figure that out in today's dollars) and if you had a firm of say, 50 employees, that was hundreds of thousands of dollars you'd have to spend to upgrade, plus the disruption of training and learning.

"Yea, we'll upgrade - next time!" more than one Senior Partner told me.  And they did, three years later, going from 3.1 to Win98 or even Windows 2000.  Skipping a generation proved to be a smart move, financially.  It never pays to be on the "bleeding edge" of technology.

Problem was, the chip-makers and PC-makers had ramped up to sell new machines loaded with Windows 95 and.... no one showed up to buy them.  One of Silicon Valley's periodic recessions kicked in, and in fact, that was the start of the trend away from silicon to bullshit.  We used to make chips, now we make apps.

So Windows 10 was a genius move.  Force it onto people's machines and watch them slow to a crawl.  Users would get frustrated and buy new machines - each coming with a spanking new copy of Windows 10 (and pay for it as part of the purchase price!).  Imagine other industries doing this - forcing an upgrade to your car that makes it run 50% slower!   Well, I am sure Tesla is thinking about it.  And apparently Mercedes already has done it - making users pay $100 a month to unlock "speed" levels as if it were some sort of video game item.

Pretty soon, they'll be giving cars away for free - but charging you for micro-transactions and forcing you to watch ads as you drive.  There I go again, giving them ideas!  Back in the 1980s, we started putting computers (microprocessors) into cars.  Today, we are putting cars into computers. Musk was right - Tesla is a technology company, not a car company.

But I digress...

I guess that is why I am fond of obsolete tech.  Sure, everyone has moved on to streaming.   But I can still get DVDs for free at the campground or check them out at the library.  And there are no ads, either. And no ads in the operating system of my computer. We are losing something when the personal computer is no longer personal but merely a pipeline for corporations to shill and grift us.

Well that and our cell phones...