I violated my rule of “Bleeding Edge”
I’ve been into computers since the late 70s — when you had to assemble them yourself. I was a business computer salesman in 1982 when the IBM-PC came out with 16KB of RAM and a pair of single side floppies. I automated a collection agency I had ownership in back in 1983, sold that software to many other agencies. Was behind rewriting that system again to run on PCs, and started over again in 1990 with a clean slate – with the system know as WinDebt. I’ve owned a couple of computer software companies — and consider myself pretty savvy computer guy for an old man.
Every couple of years I treat myself to a new computer — always the top of the line as I do lot on it. I use to have a desk top in my bedroom, home office, main office and shop — but a few years ago I bought my first Surface Pro (a 2) and I have a hub, keyboard and monitor in many locations and just bring the tablet from place to place. About three years ago I upgraded the Surface Pro2 to a 2017.
For the last few months my 2017 has been showing signs of age. I have to have it plugged in all of the time as battery has expired — and the tablet mode (which I use most) has had the touch screen acting flakey. I knew the new Surface Pro X was coming out in December — so I hung in there and waited.
I received my X last week and immediately regretted it. It started with McAfee antivirus failing to install. The only message was call tech support. I did, and then hung up after 45 minutes on hold. I completely factory reset the computer and started over again — same deal. I uninstalled Windows 10, reinstalled and no soap. After wasting 3 hours I started doing Internet searches. There was nothing on the Internet about this problem — so I started looking for reviews on the Surface Pro X.
That’s when I started to find out that that while the hardware is Top Shelf with the fastest ARM microprocessor and 16GB Ram — on a 64-bit operating system — it changed a 25 year-old school method of how it uses DLLs. That rendered applications that didn’t get it together and rewrite their application to the faster standard inoperable – Just about all of them.
After finding out that I had to use Microsoft’s Firewall and Anti-Virus because none of the others yet work, I found most everything else I use is also useless. Fortunately Quickbooks Desktop and Quickbooks online both work. However, I use a virtual printer called Chax — which prints checks on blank check paper. I called their Tech support — and was lectured by their techie who knew nothing from what he speaks about Surface Pro being like an iPad — and not a computer. I explained to him that I had the most powerful personal computer on the market and it is nothing like an iPad. I tried to explain to him that its a new type of Microprocessor (ARM) and that I’ve read that there was going to be compatibility issues with older software. He told me that their software wasn’t older and that he could get it working. I gave him control of the computer with Gotomeeting — and he jacked around for an hour. I finally convince him to go to my Settings and About to see what I was running. When he did, he said “oh, your got a very powerful computer that is too advanced for this application” — I’ll have to tell management that we need to get to work on this.
Yeah Great! I spent the next hour ordering check printing on line for Quickbooks.
Next I tried to install and older version of Photoshop and it won’t install. I knew better that to waste my time — as the only option would be use the on-line per month charge version.
Next up was a VPN — Express VPN — the biggest, best, and most expensive. I tried twice to install and then got with Abi from their tech support. I explained that I had a new Surface Pro X and the ARM version of Windows X. He told me that won’t make any difference as Windows 10 is Windows 10. So an hour into this I have to reboot and he tells me that he’ll email me the steps to finish. An hour later and still no email — so I get ahold of Keajy and explain the deal. He puts me through the whole deal again — not listening to me explain about the ARM version of Windows 10. 90 minutes into it and I finally convince him to look at my about. I get the “Oh I’ll need to look into this.” After looking into it he says the only VPN I can do Spoofs my IP but adds no security. I don’t need to Spoof — I need security.
Next up is Microsoft, after my Brother laser printer driver won’t install and the Windows driver make white black and black white — to where documents look like negatives. At least when I explained to the Microsoft tech guy — he was prepared for a nightmare. I gave him control to the computer and watched him and someone else try like Hell to fix. The end result was that they were going to have to get with Brother to fix the driver and will get back to me in 24-48 hours.
So I write this to warn others — as this computer is so new that there’s nothing on the Internet about these problems. The surface Pro X is a great computer — but if you need a Surface Pro right now — get a 7 as it might be a year before all of this Windows 10 ARM app incompatibility is fixed.