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I bought a Mac

I bought a Mac

I’ve had enough of Windows 10

I’m sorry Microsoft, but I’ve had enough of Windows!  My home-brew PC ran fine on Windows 8, but ever since my horrible upgrade experience to Windows 10,  I’ve had no end of problems.  There have been so many Blue-Screen crashes that I’ve lost count. Even completing a fresh Windows install is wrought with danger, with the process failing or crashing countless times before a successful install was achieved.  Even with a fresh install, some pretty common programmes, like iTunes, simply refuse to run.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Windows.  I’ve embraced every iteration since Windows ’98.  I really like the latest design of Windows 10, but I’ve had too many problems.  My two sons have issues with their Windows 10 computers too, although not as bad as me.  On the other hand, my wife’s W10 laptop works fine.

Then there are the quirks that make me question the latest Windows, like when you cant find what you want in the Windows 10 “Settings” screen, you can click through to the old “Control Panel”, with the same appearance as the old Windows versions.  This gives me the impression that the Windows 10 design has just been tacked on top of the older Windows versions, rather than being a completely new operating system.

I know there are thousands of people who use Windows 10 without any issues, but my experience has not been pleasant.  The final straw was when my desktop started freezing, not necessarily freezing during intensive tasks, but often just during simple web browsing!

So I bought a Mac

I’ve chosen the latest 13 inch MacBook Pro with Touchbar, Core i5 and 16GB of Ram.  This laptop is small and light, about the size of a magazine, and not much heavier, yet it’s powerful enough to handle my photo editing in Lightroom.  I may even try my hand at video editing.

The Retina Display is amazingly clear, the track-pad is amazing big and the USB plugs are…different.  Apple have done away with the traditional USB plugs, and rely on the new USB-C for everything, even charging.  This laptop doesn’t even have an SD card reader, but neither did my Windows desktop, so all I needed was an adaptor to connect my USB card reader to the new plugs.  I ordered the usb to USB-C dongle for $12 when I ordered the MacBook online.

USB to USB-C dongle to connect my card reader

USB to USB-C dongle to connect my card reader

I’m still finding my way around the Apple Mac operating System (“MacOS”), but so far I’m really happy with my new MacBook Pro laptop.  It connected to our network printer and NAS easily.  There was no problem installing software like Adobe Lightroom and Microsoft Office 365.  I’ve found the big trackpad really easy to use, editing hundreds of photos from White Night without a mouse wasn’t a problem, the trackpad is that easy.

The Keyboard

The only thing that’s slightly negative about the MacBook is the keyboard.  It’s noisy – tap, tap, tap, click, click, click.  So typing in bed while my wife is sleeping isn’t a good idea.  Apart from the noise the keyboard makes, it’s comfortable and easy to use.

No more problems

The more I use this MacBook, the more I learn the Mac way of doing things, and the more I like it.  Now I can spend less time stressing about, or fixing my computer, and more time on my photos and blogs.

Windows 10 install errors

Back in September I told you of the difficulties I had installing the new Windows 10 Operating System to my desktop computer.  By contrast my younger son’s (Brad) laptop updated to Windows 10 without any problems.

Now it’s my older son’s (Josh) turn.  Josh was happy to stay with Windows 8.1 until he installed something dodgy that made his pc crazy and couldn’t be fixed.  The cure was a clean install of Windows, so we may as well move him up to Windows 10.  To get the free upgrade I had to re-install Windows 8, then upgrade that to 8.1 and then W10.  We experienced a few of the same difficulties as my machine, but got it installed eventually.

After a couple of months with Windows 10, Josh started having trouble.  The Start Menu stopped working, nothing would happen when you clicked on the Windows icon (or the Windows key on the keyboard).  My first instinct was to run Windows Update, but that was missing altogether (once I worked out a way to navigate to the old Control Panel without the Start Menu working).  Josh denies installing dodgy software again, so who knows how these problems sprung up from.

So it was time for another clean install of Windows 10 on Josh’s desktop, but regardless of how many times I tried, each time there would be any one of several error messages.

Various errors attempting a clean install of Microsoft Windows 10 to a homebrew computer.

Various errors installing Windows 10.

After countless failed attempts to re-install Windows 10 to Josh’s desktop, I gave up and installed Ubuntu Linux instead.  Ubuntu couldn’t be easier to install, it worked first time, connected to the internet, found our network printer, downloaded updates, everything just worked!

The only problem using a Linux Operating System was the game app Steam wouldn’t run on 64 bit Ubuntu, but a check of the forums and some Google searching found a fix, but it still wouldn’t run half of Josh’s games.  Josh wasn’t happy at not being able to play his favourite games, so he decided to persevere with Windows, trying, trying and trying again for hours.  Finally he was successful!

As I write this, Josh’s computer is alternating the install messages; “Installing Updates”, “We’re still working” and “We’ll tell you when we’re ready”.  Hopefully there will be no last minute crashes or other problems, fingers crossed!

We'll tell you when we're ready. Operating System install Microsft Windows 10

We’ll tell you when we’re ready.
Microsoft Windows 10 install.


Windows 10 upgrade fails

July 29 was Windows 10 day, well it should have been.  I was part of the Windows Insider program (testing out the new Operating System on some old lap tops) and was all set to automatically receive the new public version on my main computer.

Checking my Update History I can see that Windows has tried to install the upgrade several times (the first time was actually a day early on July 28) but has failed each time.

Screenshot 2015-08-01 12.17.05

As I’ve written in my WebLinks blog, now I’ll have to download the ISO and either upgrade or clean install manually.  I’ve got no problem doing this, but frustrated at the extra time it will take instead of the automatic and “easy” upgrade.

I’m sure Joe Public out there wouldn’t bother to install Windows 10 manually from an ISO file, but certainly would curse Microsoft when his computer keeps trying to install it automatically and re-starting after every attempt.

New Windows, Old Laptops

Windows 10 Preview running on an old XP and a Vista laptop

Windows 10 Preview running on 2 old laptops

Microsoft are about to release their latest Operating System.  The upgrade to Windows 10 will be available to most users for free from July 29.  In the meantime enthusiasts can try out a preview version, which I’ve had running on a little netbook for a while.

While Windows 10 runs on the netbook, it’s physically too small of a computer to be much more than a novelty.  This weekend I dusted off a couple of old full size laptops to see if the new OS would run on some really old hardware.  One of the laptops originally ran Windows XP and would be over 10 years old.  The other was a Vista machine originally, but some years ago I’d installed Ubuntu because Vista was just too clunky.  Surprisingly the old XP machine had 1GB of RAM, which would have been overkill in its day, but I wasn’t sure if that would be enough for the big old Dell laptop to run the modern software.  The other Dell, has 2GB of RAM, so I gave that a better chance of working.

Once installed, I was really surprised that Windows 10 worked on both of these old machines.  It didn’t “just” work, the new operating system ran well without any hiccups on both old laptops.

Microsoft have been working hard to make their latest operating system work across a wide range of hardware, and I think they’ve been successful if it can run on low spec hardware such as these old laptops.

What about Windows 10 as an operating system?  I like it.  A lot of people don’t like change or are too scared to learn something new, and will probably complain, but I found it intuitive and easy to work out.  It’s a much better product than anything else we’ve seen from Microsoft.

Windows 10 is a free upgrade for existing Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users from July 29, and will be supported with any further upgrades for the life of the hardware.

More info here