Dear Windows Clients:
I decided to keep this message to my Windows users only, after all why would those with the fruit-flavored computers care about this anyway?
Recap: Windows 10 – 1803: How to delay and who can delay
I have been sharing a lot of advice lately about Windows 10 – version 1803. It is literally the 6th new version of Windows to come out since the original Windows 10 in late July 2015. Each one, while called Windows 10, has been a new version of Windows thrown at your computer. I think it’s excessive that they want to push 2 versions of Windows 10 per year. It was true last year and it will be the reality for 2018 as well. In a previous post, I detailed how to delay your “Windows feature updates” (aka new versions of Windows) by 120 days while still letting the security updates come as scheduled. The post with instructions can be found here. https://theacronym.com/2018/02/22/windows-10-version-1803-how-to-delay-it/ On every Windows computer that I’ve touched over the past few months, where possible, I’ve implemented the 120 day delay. Others have followed my lead and set up the delay themselves.
You can only delay new versions if you have the Pro version of Windows 10. I’ve chosen this for you if I’ve ordered your computer or deliberately flipped the switch to Pro for you. If you purchased your Windows computer on your own, there is a very high likelihood that you have the Home version of Windows 10. You are forced to take new versions of Windows at Microsoft’s whim. As you will read below, that can be very dangerous.
A computer rendered useless by 1803
So far I’ve interacted with a couple clients’ computers who have successfully upgraded to 1803. These systems all happened to be Dell desktops, 2 consumer grade and 1 business class, and ranged from about 4 to 8 years old. I personally upgraded 2 of them to 1803 and on the 3rd one, I did some maintenance after the fact. They are fine. However, I got a very troubling report from a client last week. Windows 10 1803 made her computer basically inoperable. The screen was very dark and there was no way of making it brighter. It definitely seemed like this supposedly ready for primetime version of Windows was not interacting properly with the video display hardware on her computer. No major changes had been made to the system other than the new version of Windows, which was forced on Windows 10 Home, with no way of delaying it. I suggested contacting Microsoft as they should take some responsibility for the damage that their mandatory software caused.
Here is the rather interesting verdict. The computer, although purchased in 2012 (Dell, consumer laptop), is obsolete. For all I know, it could have been a 2011 laptop that was sold in 2012, but I don’t know for sure. However, it’s important to realize that each version of Windows 10 is truly a new version, just as if they called it Windows 10, 11, 12, 13, etc. Each time Microsoft churned out a new iteration they had to decide which hardware they would support (just like Apple does with new versions of mac OS). Having worked on this computer before I know that I did not have one of the mainstream Intel Core (like Core i3, i5, i7) processors that were common back from approximately 2010 through today. It featured an Intel chipset that either didn’t sell in great volume or was simply deemed not powerful enough by Microsoft to run Windows 10 1803 effectively. Fortunately, the Microsoft employee was able to do some special programming and revert the laptop to Windows 1709 (a feature built into Windows) and block all future updates. I don’t know if security updates are also blocked, but the good thing is that it buys the client a little more time with the computer.
Shame on Microsoft for letting the situation go this far! When Windows decides to check for new updates (including new versions), they have the power to do a basic hardware scan of the system. They know what Intel chipset (or AMD) is installed inside. If a particular version of Windows 10 won’t run properly, it should never be pushed out to those particular computers. Apple certainly does this with their software. Where is the quality control here Microsoft?
With all of this expressed, I recently installed 1803 on my wife’s 10 year old business class Dell Optiplex desktop. The latest version of Windows 10 runs very well. The Optiplex 330 line from that era was purchased in millions of units by governments and large corporations. Microsoft knows this and was not about to render it obsolete. I want to give some general advice here that you can’t go wrong with. Let me order your next Windows 10 computer for you. If we don’t do it as part of an appointment, I can do it for you over the phone and set it up when it arrives. I don’t charge more for this service and I don’t make a commission off of the computer. The kind of Windows computers that I order are typically business class systems from the likes of Lenovo, Dell or HP. They are not found in big box stores or on Amazon. Intel’s CPU’s are currently on the 8th generation of core processors. An 8th or 7th generation, Core i3, i5, or i7 processor, with at least 8 GB of RAM, and Windows 10 Pro will stand the test of time. While I can’t promise 10 years, I think you will be happy with its lifespan. These should be your purchasing parameters.
Delaying 1803 further
Wherever possible, I have delayed or had you delay your Windows 10 – 1803 upgrade by 120 days. The maximum delay you can impose is 365 days. You will still get security updates because you have left that delay at 0. If you do nothing further, you will probably get 1803 pushed out to your computer sometime in September in Windows 10 Pro. Following the instructions at https://theacronym.com/2018/02/22/windows-10-version-1803-how-to-delay-it/ I have no problem with you upping the delay to 365 days IF IF IF…. you have an image backup of your system. If your computer crashes in the next year, you will want to restore to the version of Windows you had and not be forced into Windows 10 1803. An image backup will allow you to do that. On many of your computers, I have installed my preferred imaging program Macrium Reflect (not a Mac program). If you know your computer is backing up to an external drive via Macrium Reflect – then go ahead and delay the new version to the max of 365 days.
If you are not sure if you have an image backup or if you even have Windows 10 Pro, please feel free to ask questions. Let’s keep our Windows computers running smoothly without forced mandates and outside interference.
I wanted to revisit a subject that I covered in the near past — current Mac Book Pros and their “wonderful” keyboards. https://theacronym.com/2018/02/02/ipad-pro-best-mac-laptop/
Apple came out with a substantial redesign of the Mac Book Pro in 2016. These new systems featured a radically different keyboard than the one that Mac laptop users had come to love in the 2015 and many prior generations. The keyboards were panned by reviewers and users had their troubles as well. They suffered from an unusually high failure rate. For what reason? Apple wanted to shave a couple of millimeters off of the overall thickness! Apple rushed out an updated model that looked identical in June 2017. Customers are still having issues with the keyboards in the 2017 models and they cost close to $600 to replace out of warranty.
I have some Mac clients who will likely be looking for a new laptop this year. If using an iPad with a keyboard as a laptop is not the right solution, I want to share some honest thoughts.
I spent more time with a 2017 MacBook Pro and I really wanted to give it an objective try. The keys do not travel like they do on the laptops that are known for better typing experiences. However, Apple has offered up a trick and it seems to work. The keys make an unusual clicking sound when I pressed them, giving the allusion that there is more depth than there is in reality. So, the truth is, I could likely live with the keyboard on a long term basis. I still have serious doubts about their reliability.
I think the 2017 Mac Book Air is a better laptop for consumer use than the 2017 Mac Book Pro. Best Buy was recently selling it for as low as $699. If you are not married to specific Mac applications, I can think of a couple other Windows laptops that are better than the Mac Book Pro.
-Lenovo Thinkpad T, Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon
-Dell XPS 13, Dell XPS 15
-Dell Latitude 5000 series, Latitude 7000 series
With all of this cold water being thrown at Mac portables, I still think a custom ordered iMac is one of the best desktops on the market.
Ultimately, I know there are some clients who are joined at the hip with certain Mac apps or have a massive library that has already been organized in Photos. The Mac Book Air may be discontinued later this year, so the Mac Book Pro could be the only option. You’ll live with the keyboard, but If you buy it, you must get the 3 year, Apple Care warranty. It is your firewall against expensive repairs due to design flaws.
I was recently asked by a willing buyer, should I get a desktop, laptop, or tablet?
It certainly depends on the user’s habits and preferences. I think a desktop is wise choice for someone who doesn’t mind doing their work in one place all the time and prefers using a larger screen. The typical desktop monitor is 22 to 24 inches these days. The standard high resolution (meaning everything is smaller) can be magnified or scaled up to give you a very comfortable viewing experience.
Laptops are appropriate for users who want the flexibility to move around a lot (or at least once in a while) and don’t mind a smaller screen. Some laptops can even be purchased with 17 inch screens, in the Windows world, so there may not even be that much of a compromise. There is a wide spectrum of quality in the laptop game. You could pay anywhere from $400 to $2500 for a laptop that works for you. It simply depends on the purpose and features required. As a final note on laptops, I will mention that I have had great experiences buying high quality, business class laptops for clients through the Dell and Lenovo outlets over the years.
Tablets (or even Chromebooks) are becoming a more popular choice for a consumer’s computer. I set up a new iPad for a client over the weekend who will be using her iPad Pro as her primary personal computer. I worked with a client today who only uses a Chromebook. With an iPad or Chromebook, you can e-mail, compose documents, share files, edit photos, print (with a compatible printer), shop, do online banking, save files, and organize those files into folders. Your device will be very SAFE compared to a Windows or Mac system. However, you may not be able to run your favorite application for X (whatever X is for you). For example, I like to use a program called The Journal in Windows to write personal journal entries. I would not be able to use this program on an iPad or a Chromebook. The greatest benefit to either of these devices is that you can KISS – keep it simple stupid. As long as you can play within the sandbox, an iPad or Chromebook might just be your future computer.