Of course the police have a reason to believe that they are unrecordable in public. There are states with just such laws on the books. They may be unconstitutional, but they would need to be tested first...
The difference with Microsoft is that they used their market share to make sure there was little to no viable alternatives to switch to for quite a while. Vendors that offered alternatives were pressured to stop. That was the core problem with Microsoft.
A lot of people are confused about this distinction. I think that Apple should be free to restrict their offerings any way they wish within their own platform, it just takes away from their own utility and competitiveness. However, I take issue if they try to restrain my available choices of competing platform which is what Microsoft did.
I can't boot up, and I have one of those HP computers that has everything built into the screen, so I can't even take the hard drive out.
That's a start of a great joke... how many PhDs does it take to remove a hard drive? Actually try booting with some form a live CD or usb stick. Most let you access the drive. Try Linux - many like the Ubuntu flavor.
Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.