Help Me Tollerate Windows 10
September 3, 2018 9:54 AM   Subscribe

After many years of faithful service, my old Windows 7 laptop is on it's last legs. I've got a new one waiting in the wings, but I find a lot of the 'features' of Windows 10 counter-intuitive/off-putting and have serious concerns about its privacy issues. But I've got to make it work - help me, Metafilter!

The new laptop has Windows 10 Home; previous laptop has Windows 7 Pro. I also have a desktop currently running openSUSE.

If I had my druthers I'd install a Linux distro on the Aero and wash my hands of Windows, but Linux is notoriously awful with battery life and I need those 8+ hours of use. There are various guides as to how to mitigate some of the worst of Windows 10 issues; such as ShutUp10 to cripple the telemetry reporting and data siphoning, using Powershell to remove bloatware apps, disabling Cortana through registry edit, etc. But when Windows 10 updates most of these changes are rolled back and the user has to go through the same tedious process all over. And since 'important' Windows 10 updates can't be declined or delayed, this seems like a recipe for frustration.

So, for those with Windows 10 and similar concerns: how did you make it work? What tweaks did/didn't help? Are there other options I haven't considered? Is there is well hidden battery-friendly linux distro I don't know about?

(And just to head off Android/Windows 10 comparisons, I use Lineage OS sans Google Apps on my phone. Privacy is srsbsns.)
posted by givennamesurname to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I sympathize with your concerns. I have several machines running Linux distros, and a Win 7 and Win 10 machine. Security updates will cease permenantly for Win 7 in about a year, so any of us that needs a Windows machine is going to have to figure out how to make it work.

It seems like you already know a bit more than I do about fixing some of the issues with W10. But as you said, these are like tenporary band aids that require constant reapplication.

Since you have a smartphone with superior privacy, could you just consider the Win10 laptop a nearly "public" machine, and conduct all your messaging, web browsing, and shopping over your phone?
posted by ethical_caligula at 10:16 AM on September 3, 2018

Have you considered just going for Linux and installing something like TLP, and Bumblebee if you have a discrete GPU? There has been work in the past few years towards better power management on Linux.

If you haven't yet bought a new laptop, you can check out this thread for many recommendations.
posted by vogon_poet at 10:44 AM on September 3, 2018

Would an extra battery be an option here?
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:05 AM on September 3, 2018

Yep, I already have the new laptop; it's a Gigabyte Aero. It's battery isn't easily switchable, and my phone doesn't have the screen real estate to function as my primary browser.
posted by givennamesurname at 12:20 PM on September 3, 2018

Just FYI, I use this with my HP Linux laptop running Ubuntu and I like it a lot. You'd have to see whether it was compatible with the Aero.
posted by forthright at 12:25 PM on September 3, 2018

Since you are a Linux user and seem willing to script things, there doesn't seem like there is anything stopping you from doing all your customizations as Powershell scripts and run them periodically.
posted by mmascolino at 12:32 PM on September 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

As has long been the case, Linux and Windows will both cost you more time than you'd ever want to spend on faffing about with them.

Linux has always needed time spent on making it do what you want. Windows has always needed time spent on stopping it from doing a whole pile of bullshit you don't want and never asked for and then making it do what you want.

In your position I would certainly be pursuing ways to persuade Linux not to eat my batteries, because now that Windows 10 is a thing I would expect that path to waste rather less of my time, and for the time it does waste to be educational rather than just soul-destroying.
posted by flabdablet at 12:42 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

fwiw, Linux battery life on my Dell XPS is outstanding. I imagine it varies with hardware though - Dell directly supports Ubuntu on the XPS series, so they have an incentive to get fixes into the drivers for the hardware they use.
posted by pharm at 2:11 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

but Linux is notoriously awful with battery life

Oh? I currently run Debian 9.3 on my primary laptop; other (close to identical, all Thinkpad X201/201s, 8G memory, SSD) laptops have OpenSuSE 42 and Mint 18 installed, and haven't noticed any of them eating batteries. Maybe they're not maximally frugal, but I get about 4 hours out of a well-used 9-cell battery, which is quite OK in my book and certainly not noticeably worse than the HP Elitebook 840 running W10 (same CPU class, also 8G memory and SSD) work foisted on me. Laptop use ceased to be a problem (suspend/resume, energy management and monitoring) somewhere around SuSE 10, in my experience.
posted by Stoneshop at 8:03 AM on September 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

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