04/10/2018 (Tue) 17:06:30
I'm not surprised that things have gotten to this point. While I agree with you that using Windows 10 is stupid, and indeed it has never not been a poor decision from a standpoint of a daily driver, I disagree that Windows XP is the only niche operating system one should consider having installed. I suspect it might be more a matter of taste, as you are much older than I am; I prefer the look and feel of Windows 7 more than XP, and I'm sure many others feel the same way. While much more difficult and less worthwhile these days, it's still possible to get a Windows 7 installation without the botnet backports from 10 if you didn't have it installed already. Nevertheless, using it as a daily driver would be ill-advised, due to the lack of security updates that must be dealt with in order to avoid the spyware.
On the necessity of a VPN, I think it depends on what one is doing. If you're a heavy-/pol/ user, you should avoid visiting links to sensitive material non-anonymized, lest you put a target on your back. We aren't at that point yet, I don't think, where simply visiting Prism-Break will put you on a priority list. It depends on what "layer" you're active in, so to speak, whether measures like a paid VPN are worth the effort and the money. If you want to avoid getting snooped on while using public wifi, that's a different matter, and one where having a home VPN makes a lot of sense.
For offline backups of media, I have nothing really to say against. If you haven't heard of it, check out youtube-dl, which is a command line application for downloading video and audio from streaming websites. It seems like the old video downloaders have stopped working, so this is a final option, which will work for nobody knows how much longer.
Finally, on switching to GNU/Linux, there's concern that distros like Fedora or Ubuntu are botnet as well. Not to the extent of Windows, but still adware or spyware, or otherwise introduces insecurities into your computing. If there were any good novice systemd-free distributions, I'd recommend them, but I didn't see anything worth installing. Admittedly, I'm on Fedora right now myself, for the time being, while I learn enough about GNU/Linux to roll my own installation.