In many ways, Windows has never been less important.

As Windows 10 approaches its second anniversary, PC users are spoilt for choice when it comes to the operating systems and software they can use.

With Microsoft’s sometimes capricious and occasionally obnoxious treatment of Windows users, perhaps it’s time to skip its flagship OS.

Here are five reasons you might want to drop Windows 10 or give it a miss. For a counter argument, read the ‘Windows 10: Five reasons to stick with Microsoft’s flagship OS‘ companion article.

Uncertainty over support for older PCs

In 2015, Microsoft pledged that Windows 10 PCs would “evolve and get even better over time”.

That evolution recently skidded to a halt for millions of PCs, after owners of Intel Atom Clover Trail-based laptops discovered their PCs would no longer be updated with new features.

The decision to cast these PCs adrift from future feature updates stemmed from the chipset no longer being supported by Intel.

SEE: Windows 10 spotlight: Prepare, repair, and recover

However, the decision throws a cloud of uncertainty over people using Windows 10 on older PCs. How long before other laptops that use unsupported hardware find themselves similarly stranded, without access to the latest features?

As highlighted by ZDNet’s Steve Ranger, Microsoft’s decision introduces a level of uncertainty that wasn’t present with earlier versions of Windows, with their fixed deadlines for the end of mainstream and extended support.

Removal of your favorite features

Windows 10 is a constant work in progress, and what Microsoft gives with one hand it can take away with the other.

The risk of a beloved feature or piece of software disappearing was vividly illustrated this week, when Microsoft caused a furore by announcing that Paint could be removed from Windows after 32 years.

Following the backlash, Microsoft clarified that Paint will still be available in the Windows Store. But the incident illustrates the ability that Microsoft has strip software out of Windows 10. Other software that didn’t make the cut for Windows 10 included Windows Media Center and Windows Movie Maker, much to the disappointment of some.

Aas Windows 10 continues to evolve as part of Microsoft’s Windows-as-a-Service model there is always the risk of a prized feature or tool disappearing.

Windows 10 tries to railroad you

Windows 10 really doesn’t want you to use non-Microsoft products and isn’t afraid to tell you.

Browse the web with Chrome or Firefox and it will recommend you use Microsoft Edge, try to watch a video or open an image and it will usher you towards its own apps, and if you want to search the web using the virtual assistant Cortana you’re stuck with Microsoft’s Bing.

This year Microsoft even went as far as inserting adverts for its OneDrive storage into File Explorer.

This constant nagging is wearing, and is only likely to get worse as Windows is updated over time. While you can switch many of these notifications and ‘tips’ off, switching OS is surefire way of ending this low-level harassment.

There’s no need to use Windows

Whatever type of PC user you are, chances are there is a Linux distro to suit you, whether it’s Linux Mint for your average joe or Debian or Arch Linux for command-line wizards.

Perhaps the only features that set Windows apart from Linux are the breadth of games Windows supports and built-in cloud services like OneDrive storage.

However not everybody wants to use cloud services, particularly more nebulous offerings like the smart assistant Cortana, and for those who do it’s simple to use web-based alternatives like Google’s G Suite.

Whereas Windows and programs like Microsoft Office may have once been seen as essential, today there is a breadth of alternative software that offers everything the typical user requires.

Not only is a broad range of hardware supported by the major Linux distros out of box, meaning that many of these systems will ‘just work’ with minimal setup, installation of the more user-friendly distros can be a straightforward process, requiring little more clicking through a series of prompts.

Outside of businesses with a large investment in legacy software and systems to support Windows, perhaps the only reason to continue using Windows is if you want support for the latest games.

Better to stick with what you know

More people still use Windows 7 than any other version of Windows.

Despite repeated messages from Microsoft about the dangers of sticking with Windows 7, the OS will continue to be patched against the latest hacks until January 2020.

Those who just want a solid Windows desktop, have no need for the integrated cloud services and regard features like Paint 3D as frivolous, will likely be just as happy with Windows 7.

They’ll also bypass the additional hassle that comes with Windows 10, the badgering to sign into a Microsoft account and the major updates that in the past have broken swathes of systems.

Sticking with Windows 7 has the added bonus of not having to adjust to the changes Microsoft has made to the Start menu and wider UI, especially for those who have already heavily customized their desktop.

Read more on Windows 10…