Here's what this boils down to for me:
If you're careful, you can avoid most viruses and other malware on Windows.
Most people I know who use Windows aren't careful enough. So they end up with a borked machine. Sometimes these people get so frustrated with the machine that they put it in the garbage. Whenever I see one of these, I grab it, put VL on it, and give it to somebody who can use it. I've even given away a few machines that had better hardware than my current machine, since my current machine is plenty fast for me.
Guess what happens with about 1/2 of the machines I give away.
Yeah, that's right, people want to do something that they think can only be done with Windows (sometimes this is true, usually not) and instead of calling me for help, the get somebody to put Windows on it for them. Before you know it, the thing is choked with viruses and spyware, and is either unbelievably slow or in some cases unbootable.
A lot of these folks call me for help with their ruined Windows. I used to help them, but not anymore. I know this sounds cold-hearted, but I'm tired of people taking a perfectly good computer and bricking it because they don't want to deal with something unfamiliar.
Now, the only people I help with Windows problems are my immediate family and a few very close friends.
nightflier, I know what you're talking about. I know people who have their Windows setup "just the way they want it," all these customizations and stuff (just as most of us do with our Linux machines) they find it difficult to let go and start from scratch, knowing they'll never get it back the way it was.
Check this out. There's an Office Depot near where I live which "repairs and optimizes computers." They're not very good at it. Anyway, for $200 you can bring in your Windows PC and have all the trialware removed. The thing I find funny about this is that this store also sells computers ... all of which are laden with lots of trialware. I know the OEMs let take many from software companies to increase their profits and/or keep the costs of the machines down, but by doing what they do Office Depot is practically admitting that what they're selling is defective by design.
Strange world we live in.