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Gaming Without Windows



I’ve been playing Windows & DOS games since the beginning of time. I have Windows 10 on my gaming desktop and laptop so I can play. However, since the release of Windows 10 I’ve been hearing troubling rumors about how much data M$ siphons off your PC. (See here: ) And that’s not even the whole picture; targeted ads, Cortana logging searches, unwanted software in the Start menu, etc. I’ve tried to protect my desktop by loading an anti-spyware tool, but I have no idea how effective it really is.

There are some alternatives to Windows, but they’re not fully satisfactory. Everyone’s favorite is Linux. But Linux has a limited subset of indie games, and very few AAA titles. I’ve explored some solutions to getting Windows games to work under Linux, but they didn’t work very well. Windows VMs are hard to set up and configure and also have persnickety hardware requirements. (I actually had one set up for a while in a secondary PC, but it had serious audio issues I could never resolve, AC:Origins would BSOD the VM, and I lack VT-d in my gaming desktop.) The other solution, WINE, won’t run DX11/DX12 games, and DX9/DX10 games are a crap shoot. Media consumption on Linux can also be a trial, but that situation has improved lately.

There’s OS X as an alternative. But Mac hardware is very expensive, OpenGL performance is garbage, and there’s the same lack of AAA titles as Linux. And who knows if or how much of my personal data Apple is snarfing up. Don’t get me wrong, I like OS X’s design philosophy, but I find the Apple tax odious.

I could load a PC with Linux, and just get a console. There are a few problems with that approach. Personally, I have a hard time using game controllers. I’ve been using keyboard and mouse for a very long time, and while I’ve tried to learn how to use a controller, I just can’t quite seem to get the hang of it. There is also the issue of my Steam catalog. I still like to fire up old PC games and mod the heck out of them. Not possible on a PS4…

So for those of you concerned about Microsoft’s privacy stance, how have you solved this conundrum? For now, I have a gaming desktop and laptop that I’m trying to use exclusively for gaming (and sometimes failing thanks to the convenience factor), and using various VMs in ESXi on a workstation tower for media consumption, banking, browsing, etc. If I set up a VM with GPU pass through, then I can play Windows games, but the best video card I have for it is a 1050 Ti, which is pretty slow compared to the GTX 970 in my gaming tower. The workstation also has a relatively old, slow CPU.

As you can tell this is a suboptimal approach, and I’m interested to hear of more focused methods to deal with the problem.


If I was forced to use a Windows 10 GPU passthrough VM, I’d also run a pfsense VM and VLAN the 2 VMs to one physical “WAN” NIC which is isolated from the host NIC. pfsense would be setup to block telemetry traffic before it hits the physical NIC, which is already isolated from the host OS through passthrough. I’d much rather run this setup cause it’s privacy conscious for going to other networks, especially if you go to a LAN party with telemetry paranoia.


Fuck Windows!

I play games on linux. I don’t need AAA titles with “pay to anything” systems, crappy DRM and no single player. And if I really want to play something that isn’t on linux I have a PS4 pro. (Definitely gonna play Hellblade soon as an example)


I dual boot Windows 10 and Linux on separate hard drives. They don’t share a boot loader. I do all my regular work in Linux and as much gaming as possible.

For triple AAA titles I boot into Windows on a local account where I have installed ShutUp10 to turn off as much of Microsoft’s data suck as possible. I then open Steam and that’s pretty much it. I literally don’t do anything else in the operating system.

A slight annoyance swapping between OS’s but it is one I am willing to live with. Less of a hassle than trying to get Windows games working in Linux via Wine. Running a Windows 10 VM in Linux with pass through would not gain me much in my scenario.


I dual boot. Windows for games (and only games, I don’t have other software requiring Win), Linux for everything else.

And now I feel obliged to quote Zoltan
"Windows is just a software console"


ShutUp10 can take care of most of it, but never all of it unless you had stateful packet inspection SPECIFIC to taking care of telemetry packets, which can be setup in pfsense to protect paranoid networks from a Windows 10 VM if pfsense is also running at the same time in a different concurrent VM.

Remember, MS hard coded firewall and hosts bypasses into the OS. That’s unavoidable without patching protected system files that would be repatched anyways with updates.


I passthrough to WIndows 10 on a linux host. The one and only thing on that VM is Steam and my Steam library. MS isn’t going to gain much useful information from me from that. I think passthrough is the perfect solution. You get the best games and you retain control of your REAL desktop and it’s data by using Linux.


Very true. Its just how much effort you want to put in. As I don’t do anything in Windows 10 except open Steam I am content with that level of compromise.


I’m anticipating ultra paranoid networks with having ANYTHING leak from their WAN IP that’s personally identifiable from use of Windows 10. The pfsense solution satisfies that condition to be used on networks with ultra paranoid admins.


[quote=“imrazor, post:1, topic:123389”](See here: )

I just read that article. I still don’t understand the issue.

First, that article is out of date. Windows 10 defaults to basic. I did 2 fresh installs last night and they defaulted to “Basic”

Second, the Linux kernel telemetry collects similar information described in the article above. As do majority of Linux operating system desktop environments.

If you have proof of Microsoft stealing financial information or passwords, I’d love to read it. The tin foil hat bs was debunked two years ago.

It’s old. If you don’t like Windows, don’t use it. If you like Linux, use Linux. But stop pushing this bizarre, corporate oligarchy agenda. If you think for one second Ubuntu or Fedora wouldn’t ramp up their reporting and telemetry services if they dominated the desktop market you are a fool.


From my Pi-hole DNS server. Top client is a Windows 10 PC. Everything else is Linux or a phone.

Seems really chatty.


If you want to know what MS collects just read the privacy statement on the website


I have read that. Not sure what the issue is. I’m sure if you get a WSUS you won’t have as much traffic.

The issue I have is it’s wild speculation, obnoxious paranoia, and no facts.


It boils down to trust. I don’t trust MS. I like to retain control to the extent possible of my own data.


Yet I’m sure you have no problem using AMD, Intel, nVidia, and countless other products or company sites that allow minimal control of your data.


Of course. My AMD cpu has never sent a single packet of data to It literally isn’t capable.


So it’s not networked? Or is it pre-2013?


Right now its a Ryzen 1800x


Firstly, what is this Linux telemetry you speak of? The only thing I can find is this: which from what I can tell is NOT a standard component of most distros. Ubuntu had issues sending search data to Amazon, which is one reason I quit using it. From what I can gather, they have since collecting that data.

And the problem with the telemetry is that tells the flunkies at M$ what software I’m using, what addons I have in my browser, what websites I’m visiting, and what search terms I feed Cortana. And’s that just what they’re disclosing. That is not OK with me. And who knows who they’re sharing it with.

And if Linux is gathering data, I want to know about it. If true, please post some links.


From what I can tell, AMD PSP is in Ryzen.


What is your point? Does PSP send telemetry to AMD? If you answer yes, please provide sources.