Stop trying to do everything for me
Q: Why do I hate using Microsoft products?
(1) They try to do everything for me. From auto-running CDs to auto-launching applications to auto-formatting as I type, the default settings are, "You, the user, are an idiot. Let me do that for you." The OS seems bogged down and slow because every time I try to do anything, the OS tries to anticipate what I want and do it for me.
(2) The default actions are almost invariably wrong. On long drives, I let the kids watch DVDs in the back. I have nice DVD playing software with a simple interface my 6-year-old can use. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided that all DVDs must be launched by Windows Media Player, that the kids have all kinds of trouble running. Word autocorrects everything I type, and the corrections are invariably wrong -- I've been typing for 30+ years now, I know what I want to say, thanks. The list goes on and on and on, but I provide IT and hardware support for many friends, and much of my "support time" is taken up telling them that, "That's the default Windows behavior. You're going to have to change it. Here's how..."
(1) and (2) in and of themselves make many people dislike Windows. However, the list goes on:
(3) Changing the default behavior can be an extremely technical endeavor. How many users do you know who would be comfortable going into the Windows registry to disable autorun, or to turn off auto-launching of applications they don't use? One of my friends was considering buying a new laptop because his 2-year-old one was already extremely slow. I went into the registry and killed off a dozen autorun apps. Now his machine is "flying again" (his words). Virtually every single application you install puts startup code in the registry so that it'll look faster when the user runs it. This bogs down bootup time so seconds become minutes. And the average user on the street can't do anything about it, because Microsoft chose to make changing default settings and behavior extremely difficult.
(4) Microsoft Update re-applies the default settings. I disabled autorun, set my DVD software to be the default player, and made many, many other changes to the registry and configuration settings. A few months later, I ran Microsoft Update. Autorun is there again, Windows Media Player is the default DVD player, etc., etc., etc. How dare you overwrite my preferences and settings? Even Kubuntu (that assumes a much more tech-savvy audience) asks me before overwriting any configuration changes I've made. Microsoft just assumes the user is wrong, Microsoft knows best, and obliterates my settings.
(5) Windows is a resource hog. I can run the most recent Kubuntu on all of my machines. I can run the last MacOS that runs on PPC platforms (10.5.x) on my (approximately) 6-year-old mini-Mac. The latest XP security patch rendered Windows no longer viable on my oldest laptop (a Dell D600). Just this morning, I'm downloading Kubuntu 10.04 to put on my laptop so that it will run decently. I am not rich enough to replace all my hardware every time Microsoft puts out an update, yet that is exactly what Bill Gates suggested we do back when people were howling about how rapidly both Windows OSes and Office releases were growing (in both size and resource use).