Here’s the fallout: My desktop is running Win10, which is what came with it. My laptop is running Xubuntu 19.10, which is very close to what came with it. I don’t have to tweak either one of them to do anything special, just keep a foot in both worlds.
I did try to install Win10 on the laptop, but it became terribly unstable and kept crashing and shutting down with very unhelpful messages. The latest update to Win10 Release 1903 has caused a lot of trouble, and this is apparently part of that bigger picture. At any rate, I’m hoping I don’t see a need to change anything for a while. I don’t like having to spend whole days messing with this kind of thing. A little here and there is fun, but this gave me too many surprise turns.
BTW, OpenSUSE is easily one of the easiest server OSes to install and run. I recommend it wholeheartedly for secure sever operations. It is a little rough on the desktop, though. For that, I still recommend Xubuntu or one of the others in the same family.
Update: On a second try 17 November I got Windows installed on the laptop. It’s working fine now.