Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Beware Trojans Bearing Gifts

What would you think if a company installed software on your computer without asking?  And then reminded you of their "free" software every time you installed updates to your current OS?  Sounds like malware to me.

This is exactly what Microsoft has done with the launch of Windows 10.  Silently, in the background, they've downloaded a new copy of Windows 10 to millions of Windows 7 and 8 computers just hoping for you to say you want it.  That sounds a lot like those annoying "bundleware" titles that install all kinds of other unwanted programs just because you didn't uncheck a box during the install of a program you wanted.

What Microsoft is doing is actually worse.  This is your operating system.  This is the core software that runs your computer.  Oh, and by the way, if you do choose to upgrade to Windows 10 from a Windows 7 system, all those programs you have installed are going to get archived.  You'll have to reinstall everything.  Sure, Microsoft will make a backup of your old Windows installation, and migrate what it can over to your new environment, but little will survive.  Maybe the process runs a little smoother on Windows 8, but let's be honest here:  there are a lot more Windows 7 users out there.


If you're going to upgrade, why not upgrade to something you can transition to at your own pace?  I'm sure unless you've been hiding from the Internet and all media you've heard something about Linux.  Linux is freely downloadable, comes with a free license forever, and can be installed *beside* your Windows, so you can "kick the tires" before you commit.  The install takes a lot less time, and the choice is entirely yours.

Once in Linux, you won't have access to your Windows programs, but all your data is there.  If you use the cloud as your word processor or spreadsheet, not much changes.  Most notable, however, is that upon install you have most of what you need already installed.  Not everything is identical to what you're used to, sure.  But Windows 10 isn't what you're used to, either.  So if you have to make a choice, why not the one you can make based on your own desires?  They're more similar than you might think!


Here's a list of some of the more popular flavours of Linux, to get started:
Ubuntu
Fedora
OpenSuSe
Linux Mint

Many distributions provide a bootable "live" version you can even try by putting on a CD/DVD or USB.