The PC is in my house, that’s true, so I can at least say that I have the use of it, but if it is mine, why am I being denied certain choices with regards to its use? I feel like I'm living in a rented house and the landlord has a key and he comes and goes whenever he wants and when he comes in he always changes the channel on the TV and re-arranges the furniture!
In truth, it isn’t the PC that’s the problem, as such. It’s the operating system and all that goes with it. But it was the manufacturer of the PC that decided to put that operating system on it, without consulting me. Did I have any choice about whether I wanted Windows 10 on it? Well, only in so far as my choice was between that and an Apple device and I didn’t want to have to re-mortgage the house to buy an Apple, so Windows 10 it is.
Let’s start with “cloud storage”. My machine came complete with a gazillion megamunches of free cloud storage. That may not be the technically accurate term, but that’s what it sounded like to me.
The problem is I don’t trust “the cloud”. I don’t know who owns it. I don’t know who owns the data stored in it. I don’t know who has access to it and I particularly don’t know how secure it is. I can’t touch, see, smell, hear or feel “the cloud” so why the hell should I trust it? Particularly, why should I trust some faceless multinational corporation to make decisions about my data without consulting me. What could possibly go wrong?
Where I want to store my data is on my own PC, where I can control access.
Ah, but you need to back your data up or you might lose it if something happens to your PC. Yes, I know that. That’s why I invested in an external hard drive with a couple of gazillion megamunches of data capacity. When it’s not in use I keep it locked in my desk drawer, where I know that no one else can gain access to it unless they break into my house. Somehow I suspect that is considerably more secure than if it’s in “the cloud”.
I eventually discovered how to disconnect my PC from “the cloud”, but boy, does Microsoft not like that. Every time I now turn on my PC I get all sorts of warnings about not being connected to “the cloud” and the dire consequences that will befall me if I don’t reconnect. About the only warning I haven’t had is a threat of a plague of frogs, but I’m sure it can’t be long in coming.
Microsoft don’t like me disconnecting from “the cloud” because it means they can’t rummage through my files, like an ill-mannered guest rummaging through my medicine cabinet, looking for data that can be sold. Data that will see me being targeted for advertising. Already I only have to buy a new ink cartridge for my printer and I’m bombarded with adverts for printer ink, as though I’m drinking the stuff!
So, unsurprisingly, I remain disconnected from “the cloud”.
OK, I usually know where I’m going to need access to my data. My laptop, should I wish to use it, has a USB port into which I can plug a memory stick, and that's it, I’m good. Of course it won’t be long before Microsoft no longer allows us to circumvent their systems in that way and USB sticks, and other external storage devices, will no longer be compatible with Windows operating systems; a bit like Apple doing away with headphone sockets, but until then I’ll access my files my way, thank you very much.
Every time I open my PC, the operating system also opens up my “default” browser – Microsoft Edge. I thought I knew how to fix that. I went into settings and tried to change my default browser. I removed Edge and selected Firefox. No go. It has let me appear to deselect Edge, but it won’t allow me to select Firefox. And Edge is linked to my "lock" screen, so whenever I click on it to insert my pin, Edge opens up!
I tried to uninstall Edge, but the guys at Microsoft saw me coming. It doesn’t appear in the list of “Apps” (a word I hate) that I can uninstall. It’s hidden away deep in the bowels of the operating system where I can’t get at it. See – my choices have been taken away from me. I don’t own this operating system, it owns me!
This morning I found that my PC had done an update during the night, which was odd because I was sure I had turned my PC off when I finished working yesterday, but what I did find was that Edge had been reinstalled as my default browser. Aaaaaaaagh.
Which brings me to another thing. Every time my PC does an update, things change. They no longer look the same as they did before the updates were installed. Take the power and log on options. When I first got the PC, only a fortnight ago, I was able to just switch off my PC at the end of the day. Now I have to switch it off and do updates at the same time. No choice, no warning, no explanation! That worries me. What are Microsoft playing at where they need to update my PC every time I switch it off? Is Windows 10 so poorly constructed that it isn't fit for purpose so, they have to send out updates every day?
To draw an analogy, it would be like buying a Ford car, then being told you can only drive it to cities that Ford wants you to drive to. Would you buy a car on that basis? Of course not. So why does Microsoft think they can get away with doing the same sort of thing? The answer is, because they can.
Unlike Ford in the car market, Microsoft pretty much has a monopoly on what goes on our PCs. If we don’t like it the only choice we have is to buy an Apple instead, which is a bit like saying that we have a choice between being tortured by Beelezebub or Astaroth. Quite frankly I’d rather not have either.
It goes further, of course. I can’t install any software on my PC unless its compatible with Windows 10, which pretty much means I have no choice about what goes on my PC. There are a couple of quite useful bits of software that I used to use on my old PC which I can no longer use on my new one because they’re not compatible. If I want that same utility I have to buy a similar Microsoft product, or “App” as they insist on calling it. Going back to my car analogy, that’s like being told I can only put stuff in the boot (trunk for my American readers) if its approved by Ford. Ridiculous!
I'm so angry and frustrated that I'm not even going to bother to plug my books this week! But if you want to take a look, just click on the "Books" tab at the top of the page. And if anyone knows how to uninstall Microsoft Edge from Windows 10, please do get in touch!