The title of this post is misleading. I hate Windows.
I use it every day and have done for many, many years. In that time, as any Windows user will know, you get through a fair amount of hardware. I have, anyway.
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Long before I became a tech journalist, there was desktop after desktop, laptop after laptop – and that’s an upgrade cycle that’s pretty much continued since the end of the nineties.
I’ve never really remained loyal to any particular brand of hardware – a balance of performance and price usually drive my decision – but I have always remained loyal to Windows for my primary OS.
Sure, I’ve flirted with Linux distros – in the way that you might flirt with someone at a party knowing full well nothing will come of it – but as you knew all along, nothing came of it.
I’ve never owned a Mac, though everyone in my life around me does, so I’m pretty familiar with the OS. I’m not an expert, but I can find my way around and know what they have to offer (on the whole). I’m just not a very ‘Apple’ sort of person, I guess.
That means, for better or worse, that my default chosen operating system has been Microsoft or bust for nearly two decades. That doesn’t mean we always get along though or that it feels like a conscious choice to use it, it’s just always been around; an ever-present constant in my computing life.
Oh, the horror!
Think how many error codes I’ve researched across 20 years because it won’t boot, or recognize a drive, or wake from hibernation, or connect to Bluetooth headphones without crashing, or any number of irritating problems that seem to plague Windows devices. Particularly as they get just a little older.
How many driver compatibility problems have there been? I’ve no idea, but it’s a whole lot.
Today, I’m reflecting on this because I just lost three years’ worth of documents, interview recordings, transcriptions, music, podcasts and all the other stuff you keep on your computer.
Digital receipts, confirmation PDFs, the sort of things you lose without ever knowing exactly what you’ve lost.
That’s why I just said I hate Windows.
I lost it partially through impatience – I needed to get my main desktop up and running again as quickly as possible – and partially (as far as I can tell) because Windows just deemed it time to throw another spanner in the works.
When I switched my PC off last night, all was well. No problems. When I switched it on again this morning, it immediately launched into a loop of boot errors (NTFS_FILE_ERROR followed by WDF_VIOLATION) and its automatic restore and repair processes wouldn’t work. It just loop-rebooted endlessly.
No way out
Eventually, I’d pretty much given up and tried to do a fresh Windows installation… and then it wouldn’t even let me do that. Somehow, Windows 10 was installed on a disk that was incorrectly formatted or labelled, or something, and therefore wouldn’t allow a fresh installation.
At that point, I truly had given up, so used diskpart to clear all the partitions and format the drive.
Then, I could finally re-install Windows.
Of course, I know full well that I should have backed up my documents and other files – thankfully the most important ones are – and that the responsibility in not doing that lies right here.
But still, did my computer have to go to sleep one night only to decide that something terrible had happened in the intervening period. It wasn’t even switched on at the wall.
Regardless, this is by no means the first time I’ve found myself unexpectedly starting afresh on a Windows machine and it probably won’t be the last.
20 years is a long time to spend with anything, and I guess with this sort of stuff just around the corner, I’m not ready to say goodbye to Windows just yet.
Image credit – Microsoft/Wikipedia