Re: PC Updated itself last night
Say what you want about my (lack of) skills, but no way is Linux usable by end users.
As far as your experience with Linux goes, there's not enough evidence to conclude that "Linux" is not usable by end users. All you can conclude that Linux Mint, of one specific version, is not usable as it is currently configured and installed on one specific system.
Your experiences with Mint don't match mine, and I've set it up on quite a lot of systems by now. I use Mint as my main OS on all three of my primary PCs, though I still keep Windows around in a dual-boot setup for the odd thing I need it for (which seldom if ever happens anymore, thanks to VMs). Mint for me tends to work brilliantly right out of the box, in contrast to Windows, which usually ends up with a generic, terribly slow VGA driver for the GPU and it often can't find drivers for basic things like Intel wifi and ethernet cards, leaving the user to try to locate them without a working internet connection. Linux Live sessions have never failed to find and auto-configure my network adapters and let me know that wifi access points are available (using various Intel, Realtek, and QC/Atheros wifi and ethernet adapters).
You seem to be comparing Windows that has already been installed by someone else, like the computer OEM, to an OS you install yourself. Preinstalled Linux would be the same way, since the various tweaks and adjustments to get things working would already be done. They're something you need to do in Windows bare-metal installations too. While Linux installs for me have usually (if not always) been a lot closer to being ready out of the box than Windows installs, they all are going to need some tweaks and adjustments before they can be considered ready for use. When you get Windows preinstalled, that's already been done.
As far as stability is concerned... I've never had Mint crash or freeze. Well, let me amend that-- I've never had Mint crash or freeze unless there were underlying hardware problems. Once those were resolved, Mint has been as stable as it is possible to be. So has Windows, for that matter, but the versions of Windows I am willing to use are on numbered days. Still quite a large number for 8.1, but numbered they are. Windows 10... no. Just no.
It's kind of pointless to compare pre-10 Windows to Linux, because pre-10 Windows has no future, and is actively being sabotaged by its own creator in the time it has left. Yeah, Windows XP was great, and so was 7 (and it still is, for now, when MS isn't breaking it with updates and security fixes that make it even less secure than it was before). Win 8.1 can be too if you install Classic Shell, Old New Explorer, install a custom theme, and remove all of the apps by unofficial means. That will buy you a few years, maybe. Or maybe not, depending on how many bugs MS introduces "accidentally" in the course of fixing security issues.
On my Sandy Bridge desktop, my XP-era AMD Turion laptop, my Core 2 Duo laptop, my low-end Dell Braswell laptop (mfd. 2017), or the Dell Kaby Lake i5 gaming laptop (mfd. 2018) I bought and really tried to like, but ended up returning, Linux, in one of its Ubuntu-based distros, worked flawlessly (though Kubuntu had some annoyances right out of the box; Mint didn't). In fact, it was incompatibility with Windows (other than 10) that was one of the contributing factors in my returning the 2018 Dell (specifically, the Synaptics touchpad driver had to be force-installed and couldn't be made to obey any of the settings in its own UI, and the touchpad failed to work after resuming from standby).
Kubuntu 18.04 worked flawlessly on the 2018 Dell after the first round of updates, right down to the variable brightness backlight control for the keyboard, while the others, running Mint Cinnamon (various versions since 2015), worked well right off the bat. I did have to fiddle around to get Prime Sync working in Kubuntu, but Prime itself (which allows switching from the integrated Intel GPU to the discrete Nvidia GPU) worked perfectly (though not automatically as in Windows... that's up to Nvidia to fix, since they won't let the Linux community have the info they would need to do it themselves). It was as easy as starting the driver manager and clicking the radio button from "Nouveau" to "Nvidia proprietary driver" and letting it reboot.
Timeshift isn't meant to be a full bare-metal backup. It's meant to be the equivalent of Windows' System Restore, only with a lot more flexibility, and it works brilliantly in that capacity. It can do both data and system (which System Restore cannot), and it can back up and restore both quite easily. I'm not sure why you're suggesting it can't. I've used it for both and found it easy and effective (and as an added plus, you can store the data on a USB drive, so it's not sitting there taking up HDD/SSD/eMMC drive space all the time).
What do you get as far as backup programs in Windows? Windows 7 had a backup utility that wasn't able to image my HDD's >2 TB partition, since it was written before GPT and hadn't been updated, and the UI has been removed from Windows post-7. So you're stuck using the command line, which puts you into the same situation you're in with rsync on Linux if you don't like any of the other tools.
Perhaps Terabyte Backup for Linux is more in line with what you want. It's a commercial product, but it has a free trial period to evaluate it and see if it is what you want. Personally, I use Aomei Backupper Free for Windows... it backs up and restores Linux partitions from within Windows or from the USB rescue drive without a hitch. It's one of the few things I still use Windows (not in a VM) for.
I don't like the behavior of the GNOME screenshot tool in its most recent Mint versions either. I want it to automatically save the full screen image when I hit PrintScreen, not pop up a dialog asking me what to do with it each time. This actually was how it behaved in older Mint versions (17.3, I think, at the latest), and I seem to remember that it gave the option of opening a dialog if you set a preference, so I am not sure why they didn't just change the default pref rather than modify the whole program (they say that customers complained that it didn't ask them what to do with the captured image).
To fix this, I use Synaptic to force the version to the Xenial version, then lock it so it doesn't try to upgrade it again. Fixed!
The software management is one of the best things about Mint specifically, IMO. Synaptic is a package manager, which is not exactly the same as a software manager. One's the Mint version of the Google Play store, while the other is a graphical frontend for the apt command. Synaptic is a power user tool, while Software Center is geared toward beginners.
The Mint software manager is better, IMO, than its Ubuntu equivalent, though I don't have any need for it personally (I use Synaptic or the command line) and the update manager in Mint is simply far and away superior to the unified software center in Ubuntu, IMO, which contains the updater as well (the kernel version manager is particularly good). If you don't agree, you can certainly try a Ubuntu proper (or maybe the Ubuntu manager can be installed into Mint, since it uses the Ubuntu repo too; I haven't tried) and see if it is more to your liking.
As far as the help you get online... I haven't found much difference in quality between the stuff for Windows and the stuff for Linux. In both cases, a search will often return a lot of outdated info and other irrelevant faff, and it's up to you to sort through and find the nugget you're looking for amid all of the nonsense. The only real difference is that there are official Microsoft forums, but have you actually looked at them? If you get any useful advice there, it almost certainly won't come from an actual MS employee. You're far more likely to find good answers on a third-party site, and that's the same as finding answers for Linux.
There are a lot of things in Mint that are really simple and "just work." The other day, I was asked to scan a two-page paper document and send it in PDF form to a certain addressee. I was in Windows, so I loaded the Scan and fax program, then scanned the document. When I went to save it, I saw that it only was willing to use image formats (BMP, JPG, PNG). I didn't have a separate print-to-PDF utility installed at that moment, and the print-to-file function in Windows doesn't do PDF (at least not in 8.1). Not wanting to mess around with it, I rebooted into Linux and used the Mint-included Simple Scan... and simple it is! Performing the task I described was as simple as positioning page 1 on the scanner, hitting SCAN on Simple Scan, positioning page 2 on the scanner, hitting SCAN again, then hit Save... it pops up a dialog and allows save to PDF without further ado. As an aside, I never had to install a scanner or printer driver for my Canon MF3010 all-in-one in Mint, but Windows couldn't do a thing with them until I gave it the driver.
There are a lot of things like that in Linux. I don't like Blueberry much, but Blueman IMO is the way a PC Bluetooth program should be. I only wish there was something like it for Windows.
Linux (in any form) is far from perfect, but so is Windows. I wouldn't even have the knowledge or experience to debate this if Windows 10 had not come along. I would happily have kept using Windows and not given Linux more than a curious glance. I'm a creature of habit, and if I have something that works for me, I keep it... which is why I stuck with Windows XP for about a dozen years. Windows 10... well, even you said that it probably sucks more than Mint, which is saying something given how little you like Mint. And since that's the future of Windows, I say... Mint it is.