Going From Windows 10 to Linux

Linux Mint Logo

Recently, following a mandatory Windows 10 update (the kind where you want to shut down your laptop and leave, but Microsoft decides you’ll be allowed to shut down when its done with its business), my primary Windows 10 laptop went into another BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) loop, booting up, running for a few minutes, then BSODing with a DPC_WATCHDOG_ERROR and restarting.

I couldn’t keep my machine stable for more than 10 minutes. I had made no major changes and installed no new significant software. This was the second time in a month this machine had gone into a BSOD loop and the third time in a month I’d had to deal with a Windows laptop that made me wait for updates to install (not given me the option, but simply made me). I tried Googling for a solution to the new problem, but this was one of the more common “the last Microsoft update borked my system” issues for the past few years and had a wide variety of causes. There would likely be no quick fix.

Add that to the new labyrinthine privacy policies… I was done with Windows. I liked the feel of it when it was working, but it was too unstable (this wasn’t the first update to send machines into BSOD loops, just the first that had hit me since the INTERNAL_POWER_ERROR plague when I switched to Windows 10) and Microsoft had yet again made some seriously tone-deaf moves when it came to privacy.

Testing Linux on my Yoga 2 Pro had been successful. It was time to migrate my primary laptop. Luckily I:

  • Happened to have a thumb drive with the latest Linux Mint on it
  • and had run it in “Live CD” mode so I knew hardware support was good.
  • and had done a recent back-up for the upgrade to Windows 10.
  • and had saved much of my work since then to Dropbox
  • and had another thumb drive I could back up the few other files to.

To make sure that it was Windows 10, I booted up the laptop into Linux from the thumb drive and had a nice long browsing session while I copied the files to a thumb drive. When I got through that without issue, I did a full-wipe installation of Linux Mint Rafaela (17.2).

Took a little massaging, but I even got it working with my dual monitor USB dock…

Screencap of my desktop - dual monitors

What software and services do I get to keep that I used in Windows?

  • Evernote (via NixNote2 Beta3)
  • Chrome and Firefox via native builds
  • Dropbox via native client
  • Editors: Eclipse, Sublime Text, Visual Studio Code
  • Atlassian Hip Chat (for work)
  • Blue Jeans Video Conferencing (via Chrome)(for work)
  • Minecraft (it’s Java!)
  • Devtools: PHP, Git, Apache, MySQL, Node.js, MongoDB
  • VLC Video Player

What software and services am I swapping for ones I used in Windows?

  • Inkscape for Adobe Illustrator
  • Libre Office 5 for Microsoft Office
    Office 365 via browser as fallback (e.g.: work mail w/Outlook)
  • Gimp for Adobe Photoshop

What am I using Web only or giving up for the moment?

  • Cloud Storage: Google Drive and OneDrive (might try onedrive-d)
  • Visual Studio (have to run that in Windows)
  • My WebCam. Apparently Ubuntu 14 broke support for my specific built-in model and it’s a known bug.

Stuff will crop up as time passes. Found out the webcam bit this morning, but have a USB one that subbed in beautifully. I’m just starting to look into a screen recorder for when I present at a meetup or conference and they want my screen recorded to intermix with the video they’re taking. Yesterday I made sure my VGA and HDMI ports worked as expected.

Overall, though. I can live and work with Linux quite nicely. So Microsoft better step up its game or more people are going to decide they’ve had enough of mandatory updates at shutdown (when they need to close their laptop and leave), those updates putting their machines into BSOD/restart cycles, and labyrinthine privacy options to keep the OS from spying on you at every moment. When you’re losing on privacy, convenience, and stability, it’s not a good thing.

One Reply to “Going From Windows 10 to Linux”

  1. While this is a bit later after your post, I will say that I am, once again, heading back to Linux. I left Linux when Ubuntu decided to be MS like and force a moronic interface called Unity on us in Version 11+. That’s also about the time that Windows 7 came to save the day from the Vista nightmare. Also, there are some programs that I use Windows for that aren’t in Linux. But, that is doable in a Virtual Machine from a Linux Host.

    I have since been playing around with Ubuntu Mate. It has me right back into my favorite, light-weight, easy to navigate interface of Gnome 2, yet updated as MATE.

    Ever since Windows 10 came out, issues with Windows 7 came about with random BSOD’s with Windows blaming the nvldmm???.dll driver. I did all the fixes I could with it. In addition, all the background stuff that Windows 10 did to my hard drives, broke 2 of them that never had an issue in the past. One was in a Software Raid (SnapRAID) while the other wasn’t. It created a weird issue causing the drive to screech and click, but no the typical clicking of death. I was able to get the drive settled down by forcing odd changes to the drive using testdisk and Linux. Recovering everything I needed via testdisk. After that, using the drive on Linux, the drive is acting like brand new again. Odd that Windows 10 does some crazy things that kill hard drives.

    So, my issues with the so-called nVidia driver bug, are not even related to nVidia at all. I tried all fixes, tried memtest, tried basic settings, etc. It’s something within Windows causing this and for the life of me, I can’t seem to find the true fix as the event viewer only shows it crashing upon the nVidia issue that I have never had in the past. Linux uses my nVidia cards (2 qty GTX 260’s) without issues, using the same exact drivers, but in Linux. So, my cards and drivers are fine, Windows not..

    If most others would really think about what they use their computer for on a daily basis, they’d realize that Linux would take them right where they need to go and do. But, as an I/T person, I know that we also need to keep up on Windows OS’s in order to provide support. Windows seems to be very stable in a Virtual Environment. In fact, I even run my ‘broken’ Windows in a VM after virtualizing it and it runs fine. So, again, no idea where this BSOD problem originates from, but the dumps do not help, nor is it anything specific that I do that causes it. Some days, I could go days without it, others, BSOD every 1-10 minutes.

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