Dear Microsoft – I’m Leaving You


I have been with you for some 30 years now but today was the final nail in the coffin of our relationship. It was 1986 when we first got together and I loved your new DOS v3.2. It felt as though my computer was coming to life and you continued to entice me with new releases throughout the 80’s. As we moved into the 90’s you astounded me with Windows 3.0 and then 3.1. After that you developed fast and you achieved an exciting level of success.

But the success went to your head. You became fat, bloated, lazy and slow; your software following in the same direction. Why did you work late into the evening wasting all that effort building a Flight Simulator into Excel 97? You should have been making things fast, simple and robust.

After this it was all downhill. You became irritating and arrogant. You stated to think you could throw your weight about and force others to change. You redeveloped the interface to MS Office and sat back to watch smugly as people around the world struggled to find essential features that were once in an easy to use menu.

When I last upgraded my PC I found that your Windows 7 software would only allow me to use a fraction of its power and you forced me to buy Windows 8. But what had you done, you had redesigned everything yet again so that I couldn’t find what I needed. You then enticed me with Windows 8.1, promising an improved experience. What awaited though me was the removal of a drive partition, the loss of important work and the remapping of all my disk drives. I’m sure you were punishing me for thinking about Apple.

And now Windows 10. I thought we had gotten past all our problems and were on the sound foundation you had promised me. But there is a niggle, those system drivers and constant updates you keep giving me are crashing my computer. My keyboard continues to randomly lose keystrokes whilst your spell checker re-writes my work in the background. All our laptops have issues. I have lost count of how many hours I have wasted trying to fix the damage and make this relationship work.

Today was the final straw in this long relationship. You saw fit to download one of your updates to a laptop which wrecked it completely. Nothing would work and half the files had vanished. I’m sure this was just another mistake and that you hadn’t intended the damage. You even sent over your little “Windows Update Helper” which popped up and helpfully proclaimed the laptop needed a complete reinstall of Windows.

The red mist descended over me as I envisaged hours of work in front of me to fix the problems.

So I want you to know that I went to the Apple Store where I found a very helpful man who sold me a MacBook Pro. It was a wonderful customer experience (you should try it). If this trial separation works, I’m leaving you for good.

Here’s to a retina future and better photography.

59 thoughts on “Dear Microsoft – I’m Leaving You

    1. Don’t want to rain on this Apple parade but I don’t think there is any empirical data that demonstrate Apple is more stable or reliable than a Windows PC. In my personal experience I have had more 100% failurers from Macs than PCs. To be clear I’m no PC fan-boy I use a vast collection of Apple, PC and Android products.

      By far the most reliable computer I have ever used is a custom built PC from Pugetsystem (not cheap but very performance, and reliable). No bloatware, hardware selected to work well together, two drives (no chance you get that with an Apple laptop); if you want they make machines optimized for Photoshop and can get RAID. Here is a good read on how PCs outperform MACs.

      Given you have made the jump to Mac, one word of caution with Macs is spend time to really know their hard to understand file system especially if Apple photo apps are used (historically Lightroom and iPhoto did not play nice together). To protect yourself ensure you get a good cloud backup system in place like Crashplan.

      1. Thanks for the sound advice. I should probably make a point here that whilst I am moving my Photography to Mac over the next few months, I also run an IT business which will need to remain on Windows. The reason? My clients are 100% Windows based. My main PC is custom built by Chillblast and is 8 core Intel i7 with 32GB of RAM. 4x1TB HDD in RAID. 2x 256SSD drives for boot and scratch scratch disks. The Graphics card is NVidia Quadro 4GB. It’s fast, powerful and was very stable. When I first got it everything was great but gradually as Windows applied its updates and drivers were renewed, the problems have started.
        So far, I have been very impressed with the Mac, but it is early days.

      2. This is all correct…sort of. Yes, a custom PC with all the latest components will outperform a Mac, because you’ll have the latest and greatest of everything. However if you build it yourself you’re also responsible for all the components and if something fails you have to get that bit sorted out, it may well be from a different retailer than the rest of your components so that’s more stuff to keep track of. If your Mac fails you go to Apple. I appreciate that if you purchase a PC system pre-built then you have the same convenience btw.

        I have NEVER had to download or otherwise find a driver for any hardware for my Macs, everything just works out of the box. I may have been lucky however having also used PCs for 23 years I wish I could say the same about the Windows platform. Bear in mind that all the components in a Mac are specifically designed for that product or the OS/drivers included is specifically written for the components. Not the case with Windows as Microsoft has no control at all over the hardware unless you’re talking about its Surface tablets which we’re not here.

        Regards Lightroom and iPhoto, the only issue was that iPhoto wanted to manage your photos by default, you just disable it from doing this or uninstall it and you have no problem. Same with Photos which is the new version. This would be the same on a PC anyway if you had two applications installed which both wanted to be default.

        Fact is both systems are great nowadays however if you want simplicity rather than customisability, and you’re prepared to pay more up front for something that will likely cost you less money and trouble in the long run, go for a Mac.

      3. I’ve not had the best MacBook Pro 15 Retina experience. Having owned a Mac mini, Powerbook G4 and iMac 21in I knew what to expect to some degree and all reviews said to get the MBP so plonked down the £1900 (after finance payments) and hoped it would at the very least perform noticeably better than the 3yr Samsung laptop. It didn’t. Yes the battery life and wifi were unbelievable with a glorious screen. The export time for anything out of Lightroom or Premiere just weren’t all that faster.

        Went into the Apple store to see if there was anything wrong with the unit and they couldn’t really tell so swapped it all the same. Had to go back a few days later as nothing had improved so when I sat at the Genius Bar I was told that it was MY fault for using Adobe products and not Apple ones. A very matter-of-fact manner that was fueled with disdain. Even at this point Aperture had been shut down so there was a proper alternative. Reports then came that Adobe were working on better optimization with Apple. No real change after the updates did come out.

        Apple have really dropped the ball with their strategy of soldering in parts and charging crazy rates for the upgrades that are needed from the get go. I’m more than happy to chuck a part or two into my custom PC every few years when it needs it because that’s how things are these days. Technology moves on so quick. Win10 is actually doing what OSX and iOS has failed to do which is create a platform that can transfer to the most devices. Phones, tablets, netbooks, laptops and PCs can all have pretty much the same interface and the same experience .

      4. Not a good experience so I can imagine your frustration, especially with a response like you received. I am using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom on the MacBook Pro and both of them are noticeably faster than my high end desktop PC. OK the desktop is a couple of years old but its an 8 core i7 processor with 2x SSD (one for a dedicated scratch disk). I thought that it was performing well until I tried the Mac. As I will have to run both for a while I will see how it goes.

  1. Oh I’m so close to the same decision. How many hours of my life have I wasted trying to make things do what they are supposed to do? Will be following your migration with interest.

  2. My experience with decades using Windows… now I have an iMac and an MacBook Pro. I don’t care how expensive Apple equipment may be… they are very well made and actually work, year after year, update after update (which are free).

  3. When I read your first line (without reading the title) I thought you were leaving us (your followers). Then I read the title and breathed a sigh of relief. Then I had a good laugh at what you written (but still felt compassion for all your woes. I’ve been an Apple user since day one (whenever that was) and am always grateful for that decision whenever I have to work on a machine running Windows. Don’t expect completely trouble free but you can forget hours of frustration. I pick up my new iMac 5K this coming week. Cheers, Janet

  4. I came to the same conclusion several years ago and my remaining pet peeve is that I still need to maintain one basic pc for work!

  5. Interesting impact w10 is having – just increasing the market share of other O/S’s.

    On my photo machine I use win7 and will continue to do so, no ‘upgrading’ to win 10 as a lot of my PP and other software is extremely stable and I have all the necessary security software. For office type stuff and such like I use Linux on my still functioning nicely 9 year old laptop – for browsing, watching videos, reading pdfs I use either or my Android tablet. It’s a mixed environment but they all play nicely with my network and NAS setup, so it’s all pretty seamless.

    I doubt I’ll move to Apple as quite a lot of my stuff isn’t supported on their O/S.

  6. I switched about ten years ago at the advice of my son, following crash after crash on my Windows computer. My neat little Apple MacBook worked tirelessly every time all the time. I kept a desktop PC for a few years, but after continued frustration bought an iMac and never looked back. My second MacBook Pro is now five years old, and with the updates I have installed is still faster, easier to use, and causes less problems than most of the Windows laptops I have seen (how many PC’s last even 3 years-none of mine ever did). Just bought my second iMac (the first lasted 4 years with several upgrades of Ram and SSD’s) and I am totally pleased. I get to do what I like to do with my photography instead of worrying with a computer all the time. I sometimes tell people that using a Mac compared to a PC is like driving a Porsche compared to an 18 wheeler. That’s maybe something of a stretch, but not much.

  7. Once you go Mac you never go back….OK their machines are double the price however I honestly believe you get what you pay for — you don’t need to buy AV software (OK some people say you should but I don’t think you do it you’re careful). You don’t need to upgrade the hardware all the time (as long as you spec it correctly in the beginning). You shouldn’t need to reinstall the OS, upgrade drivers, etc. Everything just works. And they even give you most of the software you need with the OS rather than having to buy it separately.

    I have to admit that I like Windows 8.1 and haven’t really used 10 yet, but OSX is superior even though I’m still getting used to it after nearly 7.5 years.

    An Time Machine. This is the best free software ever, especially from a photographer’s point of view. Automated backups, forever. Which can even move all your data to a new mcahine – automatically. As far as I’m aware there’s nothing like it available for PC.

  8. I too have just undergone an upheaval with Windows 10. Went to bed Thursday night after doing a Virus check and anti malware check only to wake up on Friday morning to find that the so called update meant email, some software programmes and bookmarks had disappeared and Popups driving me to the point of going to the garage to get a hammer. Had to pay for a computer engineer to restore order.
    Microsoft are the bullies of the internet forcing their unwanted wares on us like it or not.

  9. I was lucky to get 2 years of life out of a PC with windows. Then I changed to Mac and my life became so much easier. No computer crashes, no virus, no ugly pop ups all the time, free updates and no major issues. My first laptop was the 17″ Mac Pro laptop. I sold that after 4 years still running perfectly but with not enough RAM to run all the RAM hungry software. So I bought another Mac laptop with double the RAM and it has been trouble free too. When you go to the Apple store you will be treated courteously by a knowledgable staff and many services are complimentary no matter how long you have had your computer. My experience has been very positive and I would not ever go back. I hope the same is true for you.

  10. I have used both for many years. First Apple, then MSDOS, Windows (up to 7) and then Apple, and while I do like the Mac, great amounts of frustration is there using either system. If you have been mainly PC for the past X years, you will find there is a moderately huge, but not impossible, learning curve. You also will get to know the beachball soon enough and will waste way too much time waiting for it to stop and let you get on with your tasks.
    I have a mid-2011 Mac-mini and now some of my photo-software has greater memory requirements than i can meet, but if I upgrade to the latest mini, I have to buy a somewhat crippled computer. At least with a PC you can change the innards a lot more easily and more extensively than with a Mac. Not sure what I will do when the machine dies.
    So, frustration goes every way. Good luck with your Mac.


  11. I made the switch about 15 years ago. I was once a die hard Windows snob then I couldn’t figure out how to process 8mm video on my high end Dell. A friend pointed me to Apple. It was simple and it just worked. Been an all Apple household ever since. I’ve never looked back.

  12. GOOD LETTER. They downloaded Windows 10 on my wife’s laptop. It took40 minutes to download. I pressed do not accept and it took about 30 minutes to reload Windows 7.
    The automatic word completion is the worse pain in the neck.
    Don Gilbert

  13. Glad you made the switch to Apple. I did 6 years ago from an XP os PC. Didn’t want to go to VISTA. Never looked back.

    You’re like me, with a quarter century of MS experience, so you’ll probably want to do things the Windows way. I did for months, until I figured out there were a lot simpler and easier ways to do things with OSX (MacOS). Whenever I found the easier way, I could just kick myself. Most of it was almost obvious. Too much MS indoctrination…

    And after a while, you might try some excellent Mac software, like Affinity Pro (potential replacement for Photoshop). It’s only $49 USD…for your lifetime (similar £ price) . Unless you want a new major version, which is not expected to come out in another year (after have minor updates for the past year). UK-based company, right now Mac-Only.

    Wei Chong

  14. Hi Robin

    Congratulations, gone are the days of the blue screens of death. As previously stated you may find a few incompatibilities and Macs do have their own problems, but are generally more reliable. Do you need antivirus software- the consensus, from the Suffolk Mac User Group (SMUG) is yes, if nothing else to stop you sending infected files to PC users. I have LR & PS on my Mac, but my images are on a 3TB ext HD. I backup the Mac to Time Machine, onto an ext.HD, twice the size of the internal HD. I would also recommend using Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the entire HD- this has been a life saver on a couple of occasions. Good luck. Martin

  15. In Bill Gates’ defence,I’ve never had any real problems with Windows since the pre-Win2K dodgy drivers that causes BSODs were eliminated. I think Microsoft reached its zenith with Windows XP although I’m now using Windows10 and not experienced any issues so far. However I did delete all the supplied apps, disable all the included bloatware and run Classic Shell instead of the awful GUI.

  16. Robin Glad to see you are leaving Window, but am I still o.k. in Google Ian

    On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 9:15 PM, The Lightweight Photographer wrote:

    > thelightweightphotographer posted: ” I have been with you for some 30 > years now but today was the final nail in the coffin of our relationship. > It was 1986 when we first got together and I loved your new DOS v3.2. It > felt as though my computer was coming to life and you continued to enti” >

  17. I’m also considering making the switch soon. I’m curious what storage solution you choose. I love SSD’s in laptops, but they’re not nearly large enough for a full photo library.

  18. As Bill Clinton would say, inventor of the Apple computer (No? But his vice-president, Al Gore invented the Internet, so I just figured . . .), “I feel your pain” and “I did not have success with that computer.”
    I am right behind you in making the same switch.

  19. Think you should look at the following (tho’ I’m an Apple user myself). –
    ”Dette kunne meget vel blive mit nye computer-eventyr til fordel for Apples, der til sammenligning ligner et kedeligt og ligegyldigt styresystem. ”

    Anmeldere: Windows 10 er Microsofts bedste styresystem nogensinde

    og så denne artikel fra Berlingske artikel –, som er bragt vidt og bredt i diverse lokalaviser.

  20. My husband and I both made this switch last year. We’ve been 100% glitch-free and seamlessly synced with phones and iPads ever since. We couldn’t be happier and now wonder why we wasted all those hours on MS and wish we’d made the transition a lot sooner, including eliminating Word and Excel and opting for Pages and Numbers (for free!).

  21. Having followed the same route that you have for my Windows usage for many years since the days of the BBC and Dragon 32 computers without any hitches through windows 3.1 upwards and onwards whilst watching family members crash their Apple Macs [3 computers on the trot in one case] and still come out with the brain dead mantra about how good they were. Couldn’t upgrade the machine themselves had to take it to the nice man in the shop or buy another one. My self built windows 10 machine is running fine alongside my laptop updating itself quite happily with absolutely no problem, If I want to add to it I don’t have to take out a mortgage to get a lovely experience and all those lovely lines I can use LR and PS just as easily play my music on whichever media player I like without being locked into what must be the worst media player ever and you say that windows is bloat ware have you seen how much space Itunes takes ?. As you have now deserted ship bon voyage say hello to all the other mac’s out there at the last count windows outnumbered them somewhat.

    1. BBC and Dragon. That takes me back. I was actually a UK101 man myself. I liked the idea of having to solder the chips on. No computer is perfect (although an old AS400 I used to tinker with was pretty impressive – if you like green screens). Lets see how things go with the Mac but first impressions are good.

  22. Lovely letter, Robin. I used Microsoft-based computers from the late-1980s until 1996, when I purchased a MacBook Pro. Post 1986, I had to go back to my Dell computer occasionally for business reasons and every time I did, it seemed more and more clunky. Apple isn’t perfect, but it’s a far-cry better than anything using the MS operating system. I know you’ll find that is true, also.

  23. I very much regret the decision I made some years ago to go down the PC route, with having lots of problems over the years blue screens, wrong drivers, and now on a second PC and still requires work done on it every couple of years or so for upgrades etc. These PC’s have cost us a fortune over time, and looking back I could have purchased a top of the range Mac and I’m shure it would be still working today. Sometimes I will go into the Mac shop just to have a look, and whatever weekday one goes in it is absolutely very busy.
    It will be very interesting to see how you get on with the Mac.

  24. I’ve been using Macs since 1985, following 5 years of cursing at my Microsoft PC after they came out in 1980. It was the sensible user interface that caused the switch, but it has been the reliability of hardware & software that has retained my loyalty. And the capabilities of the Mac OS with its UNIX underpinnings just seem to get better & better. I admit to being disappointed with their lack of support for serious photography (I was a happy Aperture user), but have switched back to LR6 for DAM & basic editing. I struggle with layers & masks in Photoshop CS5, so I am also starting to use Affinity Photo for heavy lifting & think it will likely be my PS successor, having been designed to take advantage of the Mac’s advanced processing capabilities & speed. So good luck Robin with your Mac journey, & I wish you fair winds & following seas.

  25. Robin, Welcome to Apple. I have been using their products for decades at home. For several years I was forced to use a Windows PC at work and found it a frustrating experience.

    Your blog post reminded me of an old joke.

    God decides he has had enough and will end the world for good this time. Before doing so, he informs Fidel Castro, George Bush, and Bill Gates. [Now you know how old this joke is.] Castro announces on Radio Cuba the news: “Comrades, I have bad news and worse news. The Bad News: We were wrong; there is a God. The Worse News: He is ending the world next week.” Bush goes on National TV and states: “My fellow Americans, I have Good News and Bad News. The Good News is we are right, there is a God. The Bad News is he is ending the world next week.” Bill Gates sends an email blast out through the Internet, “Friends, I have Good News and Better News. The God News is that God has recognized me as one the three most important people in the world. The Better News, you will never have to update Windows again.”


  26. I switched to Macs eight years ago when I retired and have never regretted it. My daughter is a Mac desktop analyst and my son a Creative Director using Macs. I now have a big iMac screen which is a joy to use and a MacBok that goes everywhere with me. Along with iPad and iPhone everything talks together seemlessly.

    1. Thanks for another vote of confidence that I seem to be doing the right thing. I also took a look at the profile of people accessing my website. 10% are mobile phone, 20% are tablet and the rest are Mac and Windows users. The split between the two is around 60% Windows and 40% Mac. This shows many more Mac users than I had previously thought.

      1. I think ‘artistic’ people have for some time favoured Macs over PCs. In the design world I would think Mac usage is not far off 100%

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