Even worse is that REP STOS executes a lot slower than corresponding code since Pentium. I agree X86 is horrendous, especially its crazy little-endian. I was unfortunate I already knew 6809 asm: SEX, STD U++, HCF (sign extend, halt and catch fire).
Isn't supposed to be Windows 8.22 Step-up? (I wonder if anyone remembers upgrading from MS-DOS 6.0)
The 8MB problem is an Intel firmware bug (older, non-Sandforce controllers). If you don't care about your data, ATA "security erase" can make it usable again. I think I used the DOS-based hdderase, and after a few problems it went through. Intel's DOS-based flash idiotically ignores the SSD because it identifies itself as "BAD_CTX"...
Plugin? On iOS, Apple won't ever allow any plug-in that can run its own apps (everything must be from Apple store).
x86 survived because of price/performance caused by fierce competition (Intel, AMD, Cyrix, Rise, Centaur, etc.), and popularity of Windows/DOS. It was fun experiencing how x86 beat faster RISC CPUs (Alpha, PowerPC, Itanium) when there were builds of Windows NT.
Now, people are downgrading to ARM to use their low-power, low-performance portable toys (tablets, smartphones) running inferior operating systems. Sadly, Intel did an horrendous job with the Atom until 2-3 years ago, and Microsoft did even worse releasing the bloated Vista, which was awful for the now-dead netbook market.
Atoms are finally good enough, but still, the absurd 2GB RAM limit, and high power consumption (most Windows tablets can't charge from USB hub or PC) is still not good enough for Windows 8 (the real one, not RT).
And, please don't teach your kids x86 ASM. Modern C++ compilers generate good optimized code, runtime libraries are optimized. Besides, x86 code looks backwards, instruction set origins are from a 1970 terminal! (datapoint 2200), has endianness from hell, few registers, etc.
I agree, it might qualify for non-profit versions of Windows. If Access doesn't qualify, anyway the MS Access Runtime is free. It's the full MS Access, w/o menus or IDE, although all menu options are available from VBA. Access Runtime might work in Wine, but I don't think the EULA allows it.
Besides, porting can be impossible, Access is quite unique: VBA (functions can be called in forms, reports, and even from SQL), Eval() (self-executing code), reporting is unique, Win32 API calls, and, it can automate any other Office application.
Learning kids to program using VBA is like learning to cycle using a pogo-stick.
Anyway, US schools have historically used technology as expensive educational toys, not for programming or other useful practical things. BASIC was barely taught in the 80's when it was built-in all micros/PCs, and most computer magazines included program listings, for example, Compute! and Family Computing.