1 Why Switch to Linux

2 Linux to the Rescue

3 Create Your Own Linux Computer

4 Set Up Linux Mint

5 Benefits of LibreOffice Writer

6 How to Use LibreOffice

7 Edit Images with Free Linux Tools

8 More Free Linux Tools

9 More Reasons to Switch to Linux

1.2 The Fatal Flaw of the Microsoft Windows Monopoly
I just got a new computer which came with Windows 8 pre-installed on it. I have one question... How can I get rid of Windows 8?” A user question posted on one of many blogs dealing with Windows 8 problems.

Questions about Windows worth thinking about
Have you ever wondered why the Microsoft Windows operating system is so much larger (and so much slower) than the Linux or Apple operating systems? And why is it that Windows is so much more susceptible to viruses and hacker attacks? And why does the Windows operating system need dozens to hundreds of “updates” every month – while Linux can go six months without any patches? Why is it that Microsoft makes such a lousy operating system even though it has tens of thousands of full time programmers? Why it is that Windows 8 has such an insane structure? Why do we even need a deeply flaws Secure Boot when we already have a free open source Core Boot? Why am I so confident that Windows 8 Blue will not be able to address the most important flaws of Windows 8?

The fatal flaw is the Microsoft Monopoly Business Model
To answer these questions, we need to understand that the structure of the Microsoft way of doing things is totally different from the Linux way. I understand the Microsoft way because, from 1985 to 2004, I had hundreds of Microsoft students attend my courses at Bellevue College. I have spent thousands of hours talking with Microsoft employees. I probably know more about what is going on at Microsoft than most of the employees at Microsoft. Some of those students were responsible for coming up with creative ways to stop pirates from making bootleg copies of Windows. Imagine that was your job. What would you do? How would you stop the pirates?

The answer is that it is impossible to stop pirates from copying Windows because it is a digital program which is easily copied. All you can do is add complex keys and other gimmicks which prevent pirated versions of Windows from working. But for every gimmick you come up with, the pirates can come up with a counter gimmick. So all the gimmicks really do is add more bloated code to the already bloated code of Windows. This is a huge reason why Windows is so much more bloated than Linux. Linux does not care if you copy their operating system – in fact they encourage it. But Microsoft does care about copies. So Microsoft uses a series of gimmicks to throw monkey wrenches in the path of the pirates.

The First Major Gimmick... Internet Explorer 4 and the open back door
The pirating problem got much worse for Microsoft in the 1990’s as the internet itself was used to spread pirated copies of Windows as well as information on how to attack Windows. So Microsoft decided to turn Windows from a stationary target to a moving target. In 1996, Microsoft came out with Internet Explorer – which was their first attempt at a web browser. The first three versions were separate programs which ran on Windows. In fact, the first three versions of Internet Explorer were actually “borrowed” from Netscape. But a strange thing happened with Internet Explorer 4 when it was added to Windows 98. Suddenly, instead of being a separate program, Internet Explorer was now an integral part of Windows – and has been ever since.

Internet Explorer 1, 2 and 3 were separate programs added to the Windows operating system. Internet Explorer 4 was placed inside of the Windows operating system.... WHY?

Think about this. Why would anyone in their right mind tie the web browser code directly to the operating system code? Linux doesn’t do this. There is no doubt that tying these two things together makes the programming for each much more difficult – and slows down both the browser and the operating system.

With all of these drawbacks, Microsoft must have had a very good reason for doing this. Some mistakenly thought that Microsoft was trying to monopolize the browser business. But this was not the case at all. At the time, browsers were being given away for free. There was and still is very little money to be made by monopolizing the browser business. The initial motivation for Microsoft to link Internet Explorer to Windows was because they wanted to maintain the Windows monopoly. The only way to do this was by adding Internet Explorer integration to Windows. Allow me to explain how this whole process works. It is important to know because this is the “back door” which I refer to throughout this entire book.


Facts that confirm Microsoft relies on an open back door to your computer
If you start with the understanding that the most important thing for Microsoft is money – which means protecting the Windows monopoly, then this will start to become more obvious. Let’s look at a couple of important facts:

Fact #1: You cannot uninstall Internet Explorer from Windows
This is true of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. You can “turn Internet Explorer off” from the Windows feature list – which hides Internet Explorer but does not remove it. Many users (and especially programmers) have recognized that the most vulnerable part of any Windows operating system is Internet Explorer. Because most of them hate Internet Explorer and won’t use it, there is a natural tendency to try to get rid of it. But if you actually succeeded in getting rid of it, you would crash Windows. This is in part because Windows relies on the core engine which runs Internet Explorer.


Fact #2: Microsoft Updates come in through Internet Explorer
Have you ever wondered what all the updates are about? Microsoft calls them security updates. But many of these are not at all about protecting your computer. They are about protecting the Microsoft Windows monopoly. The idea is to constantly keep changing your Windows settings (creating a moving target) to prevent pirated copies of Windows from fully functioning. Without these constant updates, there would be no Microsoft Windows monopoly.

Fact #3: Each version of the Windows operating system is tied to a particular type of Internet Explorer
One of the many problems of trying to continue to run Windows XP is that it will not work on any version of Internet Explorer past Internet Explorer 8. Why is this? Some have claimed that Microsoft is doing this deliberately to try to force Windows XP users to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. This could be. But I think there is a different more fundamental reason. I think it is because the security functions of Windows and the security functions of Internet Explorer are tied together at the hip. This is why Windows XP can run the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers but cannot run the three latest versions of Internet Explorer. In other words, instead of Microsoft being entirely evil, they could simply be stuck between a rock and a hard place. This is simply the only way they can maintain their monopoly.


Fact #4: The structure of Windows 8 makes it more obvious that there is a direct connection between the operating system and Internet Explorer
Windows 8 is actually two different operating systems which have been tied together. For the sake of convenience, I will call these the Metro Mobile operating system – which runs the Metro screen and functions – and the Windows 7 Desktop operating system which runs the desktop functions. The reason integration is so bad between the desktop and the metro screen is that they are completely different operating systems. What Microsoft has done is create a Jekyll and Hyde combination of two separate operating systems and then tried to hide this fact with one log in screen. Windows 8 Blue cannot “fix” this problem because it is an inherent part of the structure of Windows 8.

Windows 8 = Metro Operating System + Windows 7 Operating System

There are many ways this is revealed. First, you can have either the metro screen or the desktop active – but you cannot have both! When you first log in, you are forced to visit the Metro Mobile Operating System. Windows 8.1 will allow you to go directly to the desktop. But all it is really doing is allowing you to choose the desktop operating system when you first boot up your computer.

Second, the file structure is different for the two operating systems. If you go deep into the Windows 8 Desktop Explorer File Manager, you can still see that many of the functions say “Windows 7” on them. This makes it pretty clear that the desktop is still Windows 7. However, many of the functions of Windows 7 have been removed and placed in the Metro Mobile operating system. This includes all of the applications and the search functions and the security functions. This is why you are forced back to the Metro screen before you can go to the Applications screen or the Search screen. Third, many of the abilities in Windows 7, such as the ability to control the size and location of open windows, are missing in the Metro Mobile operating system. One of the most obvious problems here is the inability to overlap open program windows. Or you can see all of one application, but only part of another:


You cannot overlap any applications or get is an application and the metro screen side by side or the metro screen and the desktop side by side.

Fourth, the Metro Operating System uses a different version of Internet Explorer
The clearest indication that these are separate operating systems is that they use two different versions of Internet Explorer! This is the Metro Mobile Operating System version of Internet Explorer


Click on the Internet Explorer icon in the Metro screen and you get the Metro version of Internet Explorer. Note that the browser screen opens in full screen mode with the URL box at the bottom.


Windows 7 Desktop Operating System version of Internet Explorer
Change from the Metro Mobile operating system to the Windows 7 operating system by clicking on the Desktop icon in the Metro Start screen. Then click on the Internet Explorer Icon on the desktop and you get the Windows 7 version of Internet Explorer complete with the traditional navigation buttons. To remove any doubt at all about whether these are separate versions of Internet Explorer, leave the Windows 7 Internet Explorer running and while on the desktop hover over the upper left corner hot spot. This will bring up a small icon showing the Metro Mobile version of Internet Explorer is still running.


I hope that now you are starting to get the picture that we are dealing with two completely separate operating systems with two completely separate versions of Internet Explorer!

Fifth, with Windows 8, you cannot perform many functions – including resetting your password, unless you are online
This is one of the most sinister and least known “features” of Windows 8. We covered this in our first chapter. But ask yourself... why should Microsoft care about what your password is? And why would they want to store your password on their database? With Windows XP and Windows 7, you have complete control over your user account and your password for your computer. Just click on Change your Password. Then type in your current and new password. There was no need to be online to change your password with Windows 7 and Microsoft did not care what your password was. After all, it is your computer, isn’t it?


However, with Windows 8, you must be online to change your password. Even to get to the password screen requires following some very hidden steps. First, you need to start Internet Explorer. Then you need to click on one of the left side hidden hot corners to bring up the Five Magic Charms. Then you need to click on the bottom charm, called Settings. Then you need to click on a link called Change PC settings. This takes you to the new Metro Control Panel. Then you click on Users. This takes you to the Windows 8 Metro Operating System User Account screen:


Notice that your account with Windows 8 is now tied to your email address.

Next, click on Change your Password. If you are not online, you will see this warning:


However, if you are online when you try to reset your password with Windows 8, you are taken to the following password reset screen:


The Latest Microsoft Gimmick: Secure Boot is really “Protect the Microsoft Monopoly” Restricted Boot
Also in 2012, it became clear that it would not be easy to move from Windows 8 to a Linux operating system because Windows 8 is using a new “feature” called Secure Boot to control which operating systems are loaded onto your computer. Microsoft is forcing computer manufacturers to use special “keys” controlled by Microsoft to be installed on all computers. Windows 8 is not about mobile computing or the metro interface. All of that is pure distraction. Windows 8 is gaining total control over your computer. This is why Windows 8 has introduced a way to control the log in process on your computer’s front door. This is also why Windows 8 requires manufacturers to use the Secure Boot locking mechanism on all of their Windows 8 computers. It is to give Microsoft total control over every computer so that Microsoft can shut down any Windows 8 computer which does not have the official Microsoft keys. This is what some have called the Windows 8 Kill Switch. Of course, for this plan to work, Microsoft also has to get people to stop using Windows XP. So Phase 2 of the plan is to shut down support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Shortly thereafter, someone (cough, the NSA, cough) will unleash a virus which will put an end to all of the bootlegged copies of Windows XP. The fact that this will take down 600 million computers is beside the point. It is the profit that counts. This is profit not only for Microsoft, but for computer manufacturers who will get to sell millions of additional computers - because Windows 8 is so bloated that it won’t run on those old XP computers.

This still leaves Windows 7 computers. These do not have the Microsoft Kill Switch and they will continue to be supported by Microsoft Updates until 2020. Gee, I wonder if the bootleggers will figure out a way to make bootleg copies of Windows 7? Oh, wait, they already have! In that case, I wonder if Microsoft (aka the NSA) will stand idly by and watch hundreds of millions of bootleg XP computers be turned into bootleg Windows 7 computers.

If you were Microsoft, what would you do? I have an idea. Why not send out updates that wipe out the Windows 7 computers too? It doesn’t have to happen all at once. It can be a little change here and a little change there. Pretty soon the Windows 7 computers start to slow down and die and then then everyone will have to get a Windows 8 computer. Eventually, Microsoft (aka NSA) will have total control over whether or not every computer even starts.

All of the examples shown above – and many more - are why the Windows 8 system is fundamentally flawed and cannot be fixed. They can make some minor cosmetic changes. They can even give you the choice between entering the Metro Mobile operating system first or the Windows 7 Desktop operating system first. What they cannot do is turn two different operating systems into one.

This means that all of the functions and applications must be accessed through the Metro screen and that commands and functions which work on one of these operating systems will not work and may not even be accessible on the other. What all of this complexity will do however is help maintain the Microsoft Windows monopoly – because it is so complex that pirates will have trouble bootlegging and copying it – at least for a while. What Microsoft fails to understand is that in making it too difficult for pirates, they have also made using their software too difficult for their own customers. Once these customers really understand how difficult it is to learn and use Windows 8 – and how insecure it is – they will run in droves towards Apple and Linux. And if the fact that Microsoft now controls even the password on your computer doesn’t get you to move to a less invasive operating system, then nothing will.

Why the Microsoft Total Domination Plan will fail
Unfortunately for all of us, this Windows Secure Boot plan is doomed to fail. The Flame virus has shown hackers how to break the Microsoft digital image signature key used with Windows Updates. This same digital image key is used to lock down computers with the Windows 8 Secure Boot. It is only a matter of time until the only ones who do not have a key to every Windows 8 computer are the people who bought Windows 8 computers.


Now Microsoft is not going to use their Kill Switch to shut down every Windows 8 computer. They only want to shut down bootlegged copies of Windows 8. But in creating this nuclear weapon of the computer age, Microsoft (aka NSA) has created a monster that they will not be able to control. Imagine some hacker group gets ahold of this nuclear Kill Switch. They can and will use it to take down every Windows 8 computer. All that is required is to change the keys to the Secure Boot Start program and Windows 8 computers will refuse to start. This is like the landlord having the ability to change the keys on your house. A good landlord will not lock you out of your house – but a bad landlord will . Your computer is the home for all of your data. Computers are not only the home for your data - they are the home for the essential data of every business in the world. Imagine what would happen to the world’s economy if someday all of the world’s computers were to suddenly shut down.

Three warning signs your Windows 8 Computer has been hacked.
Despite all of the Microsoft gimmicks designed, all these gimmicks have done is add more ways that hackers can attack your computer. Therefore, as a public service, we are providing three sure fire signs you can use to tell if your Windows computer has been hacked. First, if you notice the Microsoft now fails to authorize programs it used to find acceptable, you may have a problem:


Second, if there seems to be an abnormally high number of security updates on Patch Tuesday, you may have a problem:

Third, if you see additional users who you do not recognize on your Windows 8 log in screen, it is very likely that Microsoft security has been compromised.

A suspicious Windows Login screen:


If any of these three things start happening to your Windows 8 computer, please reboot using a more secure operating system! As bad as this disaster would be, there is an even greater threat created by the Microsoft Monopoly – and it is already happening. It is called UEFI and is also known as the Microsoft Kill Switch. We will review this threat in the next section. 
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