Switching to Windows Part 1

April 5, 2021 - 5 minute read -
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Switching to Windows Part 1

For over 15 years I have been using a Mac or Linux based laptop as my daily driver. Employeers have typically provided a Macbook for work and I have owned many myself over the years ever since college as they were great for music / video related work and “just worked” when paired with various soundcards. About 7 years ago though I got tired of spending lots of money on Mac laptops that didn’t seem to last; and seemed to be plagued with issues.

One of the Macbooks I owned I ended up replacing the battery on 4 times. Luckily I had purchased the Apple care plan on that one but once it lapsed and the battery died yet again, it was on to getting a newer model. The next one I purchased the fan was making grinding noises and had to be replaced on the first day I got it. Once fixed, that laptop worked well until one day it just crashed and burned and wouldn’t even start anymore. Even when plugged in with an adapter. I don’t remember what exactly was wrong with it but, I remember being extremely frustrated as it was only a few years old and I had maxed out the specs on it when I bought it so it was pretty pricey. After those two devices giving me issues I decided to give Linux a try and purchased a System 76. (As a side note, just within the last 2 years, a Macbook I was using at work which I think was one of the ones with the terrible keyboard problems had the capslock key get stuck down. I think perhaps I type a little hard but that was ridiculus. I was able to get it to pop up and it seems to work mostly ok now but that didn’t inspire confidence in the quality of the Macbook keyboards.)

So the System 76 laptop I was super excited about as I wasn’t using a lot of music programs or things that would require a mainstream os at the time and felt I was finally really going to get some good value for my money. However, when that computer arrived I remember being heartbroken. I pulled it out of the box and it was super heavy, chunky, and the plastic felt super cheap. The touchpad was junk. The thing just looked extremely dated and cheap even though it was a brand new laptop. After using beautiful macbooks for so long it made it even harder to accept. However, even though I was so sad, I decided not to return it and persevere. I kept it because I wanted to experience what it was like to have a laptop that was made to run Linux. No issues with graphics drivers or wi-fi getting lost after sleep, or any of the other non-sense people have to deal with when trying to get Linux running on their laptop. It came pre-installed and just worked. Not only that, but over the years I installed many different Linux distros on it, dual booted Linux and Windows when there came a time I needed first class Windows support again and the thing is still running strong today. Even though the thing is / was an eyesore, it really has just kept on truckin’. Now full disclosure, the battery on it is terrible as well. The battery life is short in the best of times and I ended up replacing the battery on it a few times too. However, this laptop was upgradeable. I later bought a 1 TB drive for it and it had a second bay for a second hard drive giving me 1.25 TB of space. (It came with a 250GB hard drive at the time). So even though it had battery issues, it was and is still a relevant machine today 7 years after I bought it having 16GB of Ram, 1.25TB of hard disk space, and an Intel i7 processor.

So if the System 76 is still working and still relevant, why is this post called “Switching to Windows Part 1”? Well, I decided that even though the thing still works, I really wanted something I could carry around easily. The System 76 laptop is a beast. I’ll update this post with the actual weight but it has to be at least 5 lbs. if not more. And because the battery life is horrid, I have to drag the charger around with it too. Oh, and when you grab it the wrong way the capacitor inside of it seems to discharge when you pick it up and your hand is covering one of the vents so you get a nice shock. Lol. I have also been playing around with The Windows Subsystem For Linux 2 on the dual boot I had going on and realized that I could likely buy a Windows based device and actually be happy with it. I would actually be able to do programming, pentesting, etc. with it and not feel like I was missing anything. This was a great feeling because for so many years it seemed that as a programmer your options were either an expensive Macbook or an ugly and/or heavy Linux based device. (Sorry Lenovo fans, I know everyone loves Thinkpads and the X1 Carbon for linux but the black plastic aesthetic with the red nipple mouse just never appealed to me). I wanted to be able to get an HP Spectre, Dell XPS, Windows Surfacebook, or any of the other laptops out there that were sleek, sexy, and compareable spec’d to a Macbook without the $1000 Apple tax. So recently I decided to take the plunge and picked up one of the new Dell XPS 13 frost white, 4k touch screen laptops with 32GB of ram and 2TB hard drive. I can’t wait to get it and will post a part 2 after I’ve been using it for a while to let everyone know how my switch to Windows panned out.