You may not be aware of it but there are two basic types of table saws, the Microsoft compatible and the non-Microsoft compatible table saw. The Microsoft compatible saw is by far the most predominate type. However, the non-Microsoft compatible table saw is a technically superior machine.
The non-Microsoft compatible table saw possesses intuitive controls, smoothly operating accessories, a highly polished table surface, and an extremely powerful motor. The reason that you may have never heard of the non-Microsoft compatible table saw is because the manufacturer is extremely inept at marketing their product. WARNING! Do not make any disparaging remarks about non-Microsoft compatible saws or the company that produces them within earshot of their owners; the owners are rabidly loyal to their tool.
The Microsoft saw always exhibits some major technical flaw. For example, you cannot move the rip fence more than 8.3" away from the blade. Because of this fundamental flaw, you must become extremely ingenious at ripping boards to widths larger than 8.3". However, it is very easy to forget where you put these boards.
To start the Microsoft compatible saw, you must push the green start button; the saw blade will slowly come up to speed and be ready for use approximately one to two minutes after startup. This time is somewhat dependent on the number of jigs you have in your shop. This condition is marketed as the "Very Soft Start" feature and has become the accepted norm in the industry.
With each new version of the Microsoft saw, the woodworking magazines praise it's new features ignoring the fact that the non-Microsoft compatible saw has had these same features for several years. New technical features are introduced such as being able to raise and tilt the saw blade and move the rip fence all with power applied! (as if you would want to do that anyway). Current magazine articles would also have you believe that the requirement to switch your electrical outlets to a different plug type is an enhancement. At this point, you may start to wonder if all of the woodworking magazines are secretly owned by the Microsoft table saw company.
You can purchase numerous jigs for the Microsoft saw. They are expertly marketed and beautifully packaged and the woodworking magazines always write glowing reviews of these products. After you have purchased several of these jigs you notice that the initial versions never work as advertised. Also, the jigs have adjustments or features that are disabled or fail to work at all and often are missing key components. The jig manufacturers are fiercely competitive and vie with one another to provide you with jig features that you will never use, (even if they did work). You must purchase several upgrades for these jigs to get them to perform adequately, each iteration costs you $50 to $150.
The Microsoft compatible table saw company produces two versions of table saws; the Contractor-Home Edition XP and Cabinet-Professional XP versions. The Contractor-Home Edition XP model is designed primarily for consumers who are willing to put up with electrical and motor seizure problems. The Cabinet-Professional XP version is more robust and intended for commercial applications. It is much less likely to trip a circuit breaker when cutting ordinary lumber than the Contractor-Home Edition XP version. It should be noted that not all jigs will run on both versions of these saws.
The Microsoft saw has other problems as well. Periodically, the jig using the miter gauge slot seizes up for no apparent reason, this ruins the wood being cut and can possibly damage the blade. After several unsuccessful attempts, and even though the motor has nothing to do with the miter gauge slot, you must take the motor out of the saw, then reinstall it into the saw. Afterwards, the jig using the miter gauge slot will work properly, -- until it happens again. Also, the longer you use the Microsoft compatible saw, the slower it will become. The rate of this decline is directly proportional to the number of jigs you have used with the saw and the amount of lumber cut with it.
To turn the saw off, you must push the start button, before power is removed from the motor, a large light will begin flashing prompting you to push the start button again if you wish to turn the saw off. It takes about one minute for the saw blade to stop rotating. If you have neglected to lower the blade before turning the saw off, you will not be able to retract it at this point.
Every six years you will need to buy a completely new Microsoft compatible saw. The main reason you need to purchase a new saw is because your present saw will not cut any of the NEW wood. Incidentally, you may not be able to cut any OLD wood with the new saw. Even though the new saw is advertised to be 100% compatible with all of your old jigs, this will not be true; you will be forced to buy or make ALL new jigs for the new saw. Furthermore, even though the new saw motor rpm is ten times the speed of the previous saw, you will not be able to cut wood any faster nor will it make you any more productive, in fact, it may be a little slower. The woodworking magazines will seem completely oblivious to this phenomenon.
One year after buying your Microsoft compatible saw, you will be able to sell it for about 50% of what you paid for it originally. In two years, you would be lucky to get 25% of the original price. Three years after you bought the machine, you probably won't be able to even give it away.