Now that I have a proper Windows laptop again I had forgotten how much stuff out there is Windows only. Here’s a quick list of stuff that I can really only do or do best with Windows. This list is unique to me and the toys I dabble with:
- Police Scanners – I’m a scanner geek and the two most popular brands of scanners are Uniden and Whistler (arguably). Neither one provides any programming software or firmware update tools in anything but Windows. Advanced 3rd Party Software such as Proscan or others is also Windows only.
- RTL-SDR – While you can most certainly do RTL-SDR stuff on Linux and Mac the most fun software such as DSD+ or the most intuitive control software, SDR#, is Windows only.
- CNC Machines – I have a NextWave Shark HD500 CNC machine. All firmware tools, and control software are Windows only. The very best CNC software is from a company called Vectric and is called either VCarve or Aspire. All variants of VCarve and Aspire are Windows only.
- Vinyl Sign Machines – I have a Roland GX-24 vinyl sign cutter. While there are various Mac or Linux software offerings the very best pro sign making software solutions are Windows only. (Flexi, CoCut, etc.).
- Laser Engraving and Cutting – The very best software for Lasers is Lightburn which in fact is cross platform and offers Mac and Linux versions. The Mac versions have USB issues and the Linux versions are just buggy in my opinion. While I can generally work Lightburn to my laser via the Mac version OVER ETHERNET, when I need to move one of my more portable lasers around the best reliable method is to use the Windows version.
While I’m generally pleased with my latest foray into Windows I have already seen a ransomware attack while trying to download a manual for a Bosch router from a fake manuals site (Hey, I didn’t know), and have experienced the Blue Screen of Death a few times. One BSOD was from WiFi drivers and sometimes when I use VirtualHere (virtual USB devices over your network) my USB drivers crash. I’m left standing around watching the computer tell me “It ran into a problem”. The problem is “Windows is still shit”, unfortunately in this day and age you still need it.
More and more on Windows 11 Pro I find myself using a feature called “Sandbox” which is a virtual Windows 11 within Windows 11. You open Sandbox, do your sketchy horrible things on the internet like try to download a manual for a Bosch Router and then close your sandbox session and the virtual session completely resets itself. You can save nothing but it is about the only way I’ll use the internet on Windows.
Also another thing I’ve found is that Windows needs constant attention for updates and all manner of other pop ups. I don’t want to run maintenance on my computer daily or during every session. Linux sure has you beat by a mile, Windows.
Most of the items that I mentioned above in my Windows Only list don’t really require internet access or certainly not CONSTANT internet access. If I have an RTL-SDR radio plugged into my computer…….that is my network. Albeit, Over The Air radio, that is. If I use the CNC machine I open Vectric VCarve, load up my file that I made and cut. No internet required.
So in my case I turn off WiFi. Can’t catch malware if you aren’t hooked to the internet, although in my opinion Windows is malware. Still with my mix of hobbies it is a necessary evil. Much as I hate it I do love my hobbies and the only way to exploit them to the fullest is to have a Windows machine around.