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…
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.