Saturday, May 6, 2017

Windows 10 changes numbers when it prints them: another reason to dump it for Linux or Windows 7

Media covering computers and technology tend to be industry whores, as their revenue comes from companies in the sector that buy their ads. So when you read a headline like "Windows 10 is possibly the worst spyware ever made," take it to heart. 

But even if being spied on by Redmond doesn't bother you, totally random computer (mis)behavior should. The latest is that Microsoft's new browser somehow has managed to fuck up printing in the worst possible way.

Although perhaps we should have seen that one coming, with Microsoft decreeing that the number that would come after 8 in designating major versions of Windows would be 10. (Somebody flunked the count to ten test in first grade ... and still got to be a top executive of a world-class corporation! Only in America.)

Oh yeah, and when you're through having your mind blown by the changing numbers, take a look at the letters inside the little boxes. And then get this: it affects the Microsoft Edge "print to pdf" function which was the recommended work-around because plain old print wasn't working in Edge when win 10 came out. And, no, it isn't easily and reliably reproducible ... the print output is said to depend on how you have things configured, including what other printers you have,

In computer programming, this is what is technically known as "a clusterfuck" when all sorts of code and functions that have no reason to interact with each other do so with entirely unpredictable results. 

Microsoft is making like they're the CIA, refusing to confirm or deny that the bug exists although they do confess to having received reports of the anomaly. Traditionally, around now I would tell you the exact version of Windows that is affected but since Microsoft crams updates down the throats of Windows 10 users whether you want them or not, the issue is moot. So you will be affected if Microsoft decides to put the bug in your computer and there's nothing you can do about.

Nothing ... except getting rid of Win 10.

One option is to go to Linux, the most popular consumer flavor being Ubuntu. For general consumer or business use it is fine, but not necessarily for specialized professional tools like video editing software. It is free software, and with Ubuntu and several other variants you can download and run it from a disk or USB stick before installing it to see if you think it is for you.

The other option is Windows 7. There have only been two versions of Windows released in this century considered generally acceptable, Windows XP and Windows 7. Windows XP is no longer getting security fixes, so that pretty much leaves Windows 7.

But Microsoft won't sell you Win 7, so don't feel guilty about having to go outside the official distribution channels to get it.

Just search the Pirate Bay to start a download with a bit torrent program. Yes, some downloads have malware, run it through a virus checker before installing. Also make sure win 7 drivers are available for all your hardware. This should be obvious by visiting the computer manufacturer's driver download page for your model. 

Download all that stuff and create a "bootable USB drive" (just Google it for instructions and software). And one more thing. You will also need an activation hack. I prefer "Windows Loader." It might trigger a warning by anti-virus software as a "hack tool." But that's what it is, so it's OK.

If those instructions made sense and didn't give you the willies, you're good-enough with computers to do this on your own. If not, find yourself a high school kid who will do it for a few bucks.

And BTW, when you have hundreds or thousands of people sharing the same program through bit torrent, you can be almost certain it is not malicious software (as most people would view it). Micro$oft, of course, is going to say "theft." I say bullshit. You've already paid for a windows license when you bought the computer, and the real theft was giving you a POS like Win 8 or 10.

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