It would help to know more about your system setup. If you run "inxi -Fxzd
" from the console terminal prompt, highlight the results, copy and paste them back here, that should provide enough information.
I just read your post and the replies to it. Here are my thoughts on this as well.
There is nothing wrong with using MS Windows, or Mac, etc ... Most of the people using Linux Mint came from those environments, and usually dual booted with one of those operating systems, until they realized they could do most if not everything as good or better with Linux Mint and definitely more securely. As far as I know, only "gamers" need to have MS Windows for playing some of their MS Windows only games, but that can be done now through "Steam", or VirtualBox, or dual booting, and that gets better weekly.
I used MS Windows for a very long time, personally and for business, and your comment "This is the 21st century - This stuff should just work!" simply does not apply to any operating system and all installed software all the time, regardless whether it is MS windows, Mac, or Linux. FYI: There are 4 wonderful main editions to Linux Mint: Cinnamon, Mate, KDE, Xfce; you might find that one works better for your hardware over another.
It can take a little time and effort for people coming from another operating system to adjust to another operating system like Linux Mint. I have noticed that this is even more of a problem with people who considered themselves to be good and comfortable, or experts, in another operating system, but are not with Linux or Linux Mint, and as a a result they are impatient. But, most people can boot up to or install Linux Mint and be able to use it effectively in minutes to do most of what people typically do with computers, surfing the web, email, using an office suite, playing music, or videos, etc...
Networking computers is not a newbie or simple task, especially with computers using different operating systems. I don't think it is a particularly difficult task, but I am a seasoned computer person. There are some very knowledgeable people in this forum that will gladly help you with most anything, if you are polite and ask nicely. But, it is a free forum, so it may take a little time and some back and forth effort to diagnose and resolve some issues. This can be made more difficult if a piece of software had a bad update, like Samba did.
Like me, a lot of people now using Linux Mint, got tired of having to constantly maintain Ms Windows and all the necessary security precautions. In MS Windows, any responsible user must maintain up to date anti-virus applications, and anti-malware applications, which need constant updates, and need to be run weekly or more. You have to defragment your hard drives, and run registry maintenance, at least monthly or more. And, the frequent Microsoft updates seemed to take forever to install. Then, you have all the other software on your system each with their own separate updates, etc... With Linux Mint 99% of all updates are done through the Mint Update Manager are are usually pretty quick, you do not need to install or use anti-virus or anti-malware although you can, and there is no registry maintenance or defragmenting that needs to be done. When I was using MS Windows, I along with my computers spent more time doing this than being productive. And, if you did not do these, then your system could and would eventually crash requiring you to restore from a backup or have to re-install MS Windows which takes an incredibly long time. Anyone can install Linux Mint in about 16 minutes or less.
If you are using MS Windows for your file server and multi-media server(s) then using Samba networking seems to be the correct way to go, although you could also use SSH (openSSH). If you do not need to use MS Windows for a file server because of work, then you could easily setup a Linux file server (Ubuntu, CentOS, Linux Mint, etc...) Then you have other excellent networking options that do not require using Samba at all. Samba worked great until earlier this years issues, and I thought those were fixed now? Anyway, you have "xenopeek's" methods for restoring the older Samba networking. There are numerous excellent Linux (& Cross Platform) multi-media server and player options available, Kodi (xbmc), Plex HomeTheater, PS3 Media Server, Ultimate Media Server (UMS), etc...
I do not see how the "Samba" networking system would have affected your video drivers? Anyway, you can install the correct video drivers fairly easily, have you checked your "Driver Manager"?
As for you getting MS Windows for free, that is not the case, everyone pays for MS Windows. You may have gotten an update or a newer version for free now, but you paid for some version of it first at some point even as part of your computer purchase. And there is no good free support for MS Windows, yet there is for Linux.
Pavlov wrote:If I stay in my Windows environment, everything just works. I don't have to go hunting down packages to install; I don't have to spend hours in a command window typing arcane scripts (30+ years ago I thought that was cool, but I no longer have the time or the patience); there's no need to enter passwords to do simple things (it's my network, there's no one else around)...
As an ex-software developer using MS Windows, I cannot see how you can claim this. I always had to help my clients, or friends and family, and myself, install drivers for everything from video cards, sound cards, phone software, webcams, mother boards, etc... And although some of which MS Windows updates could find, or those might have been available on CD/DVD, or online, from their respective device manufacturers, I still had to hunt them down whenever I re-installed MS Windows, or added a new piece of hardware, etc... Just because you have MS windows working the way you want it now, does not mean that you or the place you purchased your MS Windows computers did not first have to go through the effort of "hunting down" software and or driver packages, and installing those? And, the Linux Mint repositories (repos), Software Manager or Synaptic Package Manager (SPM), is one of the easiest ways for users to find and install software and or drivers for practically anything you can imagine. Once anyone has their Linux Mint system setup the way they want, their system will run as smoothly as you are claiming that your MS Windows is. I have been running Linux Mint KDE smoothly for years now.
Regarding entering in Passwords: Typically you only need to enter in your password to login, and that can be set to automatic, and when installing new software or when updating your system. Certain other secure software applications might also require this. Entering in passwords is a smart safe thing to do, and it is not difficult.
The average user does not need to use the console terminal (command prompt) except for the rare maintenance, or for installing software that might not be in the Software Manager or Synaptic Package Manager (SPM). And, there are usually great instructions for doing that which can usually be copied directly from this forum, or a website, and pasted into your console terminal. I do think it is a good idea for people to learn a little about the console terminal and its commands, but that is up to the user.
Oh, and I just plugged in my Android phone - Nemo doesn't even know it's there.
At least it still see's the WD media player, probably because it runs on Linux.
For some people, you might be able to just connect your device, like your phone, using the USB cable or bluetooth and it just works. For others, you may have to go into the Software Manager or Synaptic Package Manager (SPM), and install some additional software, like the MTP programs (search for "mtp"), or search for Android, and see if anything there might help. OR, you can ask here nicely, and people here can help you. On my MS Windows, using my older phone as a mp3 player, I had to purchase a special USB cable (normal) and buy Motorola software, etc... I can easily connect that to my Linux system and it is automatically recognized as a USB storage device to transfer files back and forth from it.
And again, once you have installed some software, and or a device driver, then you normally do not have to worry about it after that; unless in the rare exception that an update messes it up (like Samba) which can and does occur with any operating system including MS Windows. Usually those updates are corrected quickly in Linux Mint.
Hope this helps ...
Here are some other options for your Android devices (phones, tablets, computers, etc...):
Using "KDE Connect" to Sync your Android Device(s) with Your Linux Computer (if not using Linux Mint KDE, then install the few KDE dependencies below)
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/kde-connec ... oid-linux/
Pushbullet Puts Your Android And PC On The Same Wavelength
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/pushbullet ... avelength/
AirDroid – Send SMS, Share Links, Transfer Files & More
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/airdroid-s ... ndroid-21/
Dukto is a free, Open Source file transfer utility that can be used to used to transfer files over Local area network (LAN), including Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Meego, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phones and Symbian (for Nokia touch phones).
sudo apt-get install dukto
http://www.unixmen.com/dukto-an-easy-mu ... sfer-tool/
Nitroshare - is a tool that can be used to easily transfer files between computers on your local network, available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.
http://www.webupd8.org/2015/03/nitrosha ... es-to.html
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:george-edison55/nitroshare
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nitroshare
Rapid Photo Downloader
https://mintguide.org/graphics/613-rapi ... =22:1,22:5
If you are not using Linux Mint KDE, and want to be able to run some very high quality KDE applications,
then install these few programs below in the quote box in blue, which are perfectly safe for any edition of Linux mint.
If you're experiencing issues with KDE apps (like Amarok, Okular, Gwenview, KStars, kdenlive, "K3b", "Kolourpaint", etc...)
run the following command from your console terminal prompt: (you can copy & paste it too),
or install from the Synaptic Package Manager (SPM)
sudo apt-get install kdelibs-bin kdelibs5-data kdelibs5-plugins
Depending on your setup, you might also need to install "KDE-runtime" as well.
If you want to use "Kmail", and or "Korganizer", and or Kontacts, and or "Kalarm", then you will probably have to also install "kdepim".