Clean up Windows 10 issues by making them someone else's problem

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This article appeared in the March 2017 issue of CRN magazine.

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Clean up Windows 10 issues by making them someone else's problem

COMMENT  |  Totally over it. So tired of constant updates, freezes and restarts. Windows 10 was supposed to be the Holy Grail of operating systems: stable, speedy, useful, even. Well, it’s not. You know it, we know it, everyone knows it. But we seem to be stuck with it… Or are we?

Sure, we could migrate to Apple’s offerings, but all of our programs work on Windows so that’s not going to be much use for businesses. It would be a long and slow journey. The various flavours of Linux have matured nicely, but it’s the same situation – porting the programs or learning new versions would be a tedious task.

Alas, there is a way out this mess! And it’s virtual, if not virtuous.

Short of moving everything to the cloud and running a browser-only operating system, the other option is to rent some virtual machines in the cloud and drive them via remote control software. Does this make Windows more stable? Not so much. But it makes it someone else’s problem.

All of the updates, virus checks and restarts are done for you by the cloud-based elves who actually enjoy doing it. Or at least they get paid so well that they pretend to enjoy it.

To that extent, a virtual instance of Windows is inherently more stable than a regular desktop version anyway, because all the nasty drivers and add-on bits have been abstracted out to be handled by the virtual host. The downside is that you won’t be able to do much if you don’t have an internet link, but that’s more and more often becoming the case with anything you want to do these days.

Before you head down this path, you’ll definitely want some pretty fast, always-available internet. Thankfully, that is now available in most places — the two main telcos are falling over themselves to provide 4G mobile data at rates only slightly lower than the demands of ransomware pirates.

They’re still not offering enough affordable data to run the family home, but, if like most business users you don’t have a tribe of teenage data addicts or a penchant for streaming movies and music, these ‘affordable’ 4G data plans have enough bytes available to run a business — particularly when 99 percent of the traffic is between your rented virtual machines and the rest of the internet of things.

If your business needs mountains of downloads for some reason, you may need two plans: one clunky old ADSL for the big data and one speedy but lightweight-quota plan on 4G. You could try installing a router that supports both fixed line and wireless, tell it to prioritise traffic on 4G until your quota is burned, then fade away to ADSL.

That has to be better than getting shaped back to dialup speeds when you run out of download bytes, and it sure beats paying crazy dollars per byte when you exceed your quota on wireless. Either way, it might just end your days of being a Windows cleaner. Gotta be happy about that.

Gotta go! Update and restart required!  

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