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: https://www.howtogeek.com/273311/the-difference-between-basic-enhanced-and-full-usage-data-in-windows-10/ ) 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.