Windows 10; Sometimes it's better not to ask, Microsoft

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Alan Kirk
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Windows 10; Sometimes it's better not to ask, Microsoft

Post by Alan Kirk » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:56 am

So knowing that we may be forced down the Windows 10 path at work I decided to up{snicker}grade my Windows 8.1 notebook so that I could use it as a testbed. This did not unduly perturb me since the amount of affection that I have for the Windows 8 series is on a par with the amount of affection that I would feel for the love child of gonorrhoea and the Ebola virus.

So last Friday, the bullet was bitten.

Then this afternoon up popped a dialog from Microsoft asking me whether I would recommend Windows 10 to a friend or colleague. I gave it the lowest possible ranking and then proceeded to write the following explanation of "why". Note that the following was composed in about 5 minutes and not reviewed or sub-edited, so it's probably an example of my writing at its most visceral.

Hey Microsoft... you asked.

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Jayzus, where do I start... The answer above is qualified. I would not oppose the idea of them upgrading from Win 8/8.1 since that version was also a detestable train wreck and was, in one idiotic way, even worse than Windows 10, but I'll come back to that. However upgrading from Windows 7? I have Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit on my desktop at home. And the expression "pried from my cold, dead hands" comes to mind.

First, Win 10 is infested with your spyware, we all know this. And do not like it.

Second, the claim of "no file left behind" could have been passed out of the digestive system of a male bovine. Sure, the files may not be left behind but there are a heck of a lot of them, particularly legacy applications, that just don't work any more once you go to Win 10.

And of course, as if the violation of your privacy by having your name plastered loud and long over every imaginable screen wasn't bad enough in Windows 8, in Windows 10 you have increased the size of the user name and e-mail address / login on the login screen, making it even easier for someone to look over your shoulder and grab your details. But hey, the animated smiley face makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it? And I'm sure that some idiot in the marketing department assured you that "users will love it because it personalises the experience".

The upgrade process could be used as an advertisement for haemorrhoid cream. It took me an entire wasted day and hundreds if not thousands of megabytes of wasted bandwidth to get this Win 8 notebook upgraded because every time, EVERY. SODDING. TIME. Windows Update reported that an unspecified "something" needs "checking". So you click on the link to "check" and instead the download starts for the umpteenth dozen time at the end of which... "something" needs checking. You consult Dr. Google. You try every remedy visible. You purge download folders, you uninstall old programs for which updates will not install. YOU STILL CANNOT INSTALL WINDOWS 10. In the end I used the "download to a USB stick" approach and finally, FINALLY managed to get it on that way hours after the process began. But still we were not finished, because after the actual installation is done there are still "some things to set up". "Your files are right where you left them", we are told as part of this. (See above.) "We've made some exciting changes to Windows". Yes, "exciting", whether it's a new hotdog stand or an updated web page, some idiot marketer, somewhere, will describe a non-event as "exciting" despite the comprehensive absence of someone, ANYONE, whose nervous system is in fact stimulated by such a development. Note well, Microsoft, I do not WANT "excitement" from an operating system (and nor do I get it, incidentally), I just want the accursed thing to work properly, for once. "We'll be ready soon", I'm then told. 15 minutes may be your idea of "soon". It is not mine. If I recall correctly I managed to install XP start to finish in less time than it took Windows 10 to go through its "We're just setting a few things up" routine.

Then I get to the defaults, including my default photo editor, which has somehow become your new browser. So I go to change it and am given a list of programs on my computer, a list which does not include one that is quite prominent on my usage list. Photoshop. Perhaps you have heard of it, no? It has sold a few, just a few, copies I believe. I end up working around that by reassigning the individual file types to Photoshop, which I'm sure most non-technical users can do blindfolded. Or not. And having to do it one file extension at a time is in no way inconvenient or time consuming. ("Cortana, tell me about sarcasm".)

Speaking of which, who decided to insult the AI in Halo by naming that slow-witted, extensively pausing abomination after her? Unlike the Master Chief's one, I have yet to find that this Cortana can do anything useful.

As for, "ask me anything"? Here's a question that has been unfathomable since Windows 7... why do you assume that everything I search for may be on the Internet and therefore you go through the slow (slow? Jayzus what an understatement) process of returning every sodding blog on the Internet when I am looking for a program on my Start menu. You know, some of us do still work from local files and programs, right?

Also, whose bright idea was it to separate Windows Update from the Control Panel, stick it in a Metro app (or whatever you call them this week) and cut back the amount of useful information in it, so that you can no longer see what updates are available? (Or, more precisely, so that you can no longer see which ones will fail (oh yes, they will fail) with a reference number that never returns any useful information.)

You see, I was curious whether there were any updates to be had when, after the upgrade finally oh finally finished, I found that my trackpad was not working properly. Apparently right click existed only intermittently, and left click sort of worked, also only sometimes. Thank heavens I have a touch screen. Still, a couple of reboots and everything was working again. More or less.

Hang on, how do I launch a program? Because right click on the newly-returned, poor approximation of what the Start menu once was yields shortcuts to Control Panel and a few other things but left click yields... nothing. A couple of reboots later I finally see what you actually think is a start menu, complete with tiles and everything. 15 minutes later everything was working well because I had downloaded the latest version of Classic Shell and cast the joke that you call a Start menu into the digital garbage bin that it so richly deserved to be in. (Programs, grouped by folders. Favourite programs pinned. Favourite documents pinned within programs. Small icons that provide maximum information in minimum space. These are the things that the Start menu provided up until Windows 7. What part of these concepts do you not get?)

With Classic Shell back in the saddle I can once again get to my applications easily, so I launch Excel 2010 because the less said about the effluent flow that is marketed under the name "Excel 2016", the better. And I am told that I have corrupted libraries. Yay. Still, the reinstallation of 2010 fixed that because as we know, no file was left behind.

Then this morning I went to start a service in Powershell. No biggie, I've done this umpteen thousand times before. Oh wait... "cannot start the service on computer "." ". Oh, for the love of Mike. So I launch it through the Management Console and it starts with no problems. Great, somehow you've even managed to screw up Powershell. I'll deal with that later.

You have done one good thing. Just one. Somebody who was doubtless beaten hard enough about the head with a user clue stick (and it must have hurt, because gods know you don't listen to users normally) realised that a sodding PC is not a sodding mobile phone. That having ONE, ONE application (but wait, up to two or, if you have a 30" monitor FOUR) applications visible at one time (a) Takes us back to the good old days of DOS 6, (b) means that we cannot effectively work between applications which was the whole point of Windows from the days of 3.1, and (c) is a complete and utter waste of screen real estate on a 30" monitor. Now, we can use the Metro apps in actual windows. Just like we should have been able to in Windows 8.1.

Yay, you.

There were a bunch of other glitches and pains that I came across in the upgrade process but these are just the ones that stand out.

With the exception of SQL Server your software is getting worse and more user hostile with each and every iteration. Just keep going the way you are. I'm sure that Lotus wants someone to play with down at their own sales level.

So how likely am I to recommend Windows 10 to a friend? If they're under Windows 8 I'd tell them that it makes no difference. It's simply a choice of one piece of dog dropping over another piece of dog dropping. If they were on Windows 7 I'd only recommend it if I no longer wanted them as a friend.
------------------------------------

Oh, and yeah... the service that I tried to start was... our old friend, our loyal companion over the years... the sData TM1 server. It started fine on Win 8.1.

Also one thing that I neglected to mention... Windows Explorer seems as unstable as hell. After the thing wakes up it may take two or three attempts before you can access anything on the task bar, with the Windows Problem Reporting task (or whatever it's called) featuring prominently in Task Manager in between. I suspect that this comes from a Windows Update somewhere along the line because 8.1 was exhibiting the same behaviours in the last couple of months before its obliteration, and MS seems to be trying to do updates which more or less harmonise certain behaviours across the currently supported versions.
"To them, equipment failure is terrifying. To me, it’s 'Tuesday.' "
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Re: Windows 10; Sometimes it's better not to ask, Microsoft

Post by jim wood » Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:52 pm

It's funny, I've upgraded 4 machines to windows 10 now from windows 7 and I've not had an issue. The key is making sure you repair your windows 7 install before upgrading. Since upgrading I've not had a problem. In fact while doing the upgrade it even installed the right razor software for my keyboard and mouse on my main machine. I've also noticed that it runs a lot quicker and has so far (after a few months) not shown any slow down. It look like windows 10 manages resources a lot better than 7 which you would hope for I guess,

Jim.

PS. For anybody who wants to upgrade here's a link to tell you how to make sure your windows 7 installed is repaired before doing it:
http://www.digitalcitizen.life/command- ... rupt-files
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Re: Windows 10; Sometimes it's better not to ask, Microsoft

Post by Alan Kirk » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:55 pm

jim wood wrote:It's funny, I've upgraded 4 machines to windows 10 now from windows 7 and I've not had an issue. The key is making sure you repair your windows 7 install before upgrading.
Yeah, except that Windows 7 @<> Windows 8. And an upgrade from the latter, not the former, is what all of the above was about. I have yet to have the questionable pleasure of upgrading a Win 7 machine. At work, it's I.T.'s problem (and they won't be upgrading so much as re-imaging, I expect). At home, it's when hell freezes over.

Perhaps I'm a tad biased by Win 8's overall design, but I'd actually expect Win 7 to upgrade more cleanly anyway simply because Win 7 follows KISS design principles way more closely than 8 does. Rather like why I expect fewer problems with Perspectives than with Muddler.

Still, the tip about repairing the install is a useful one. I'd also recommend running Windows Update and ensuring that all important updates are installed. (Not that you can do that under 10 since the idiot move to shift it to a Metro app no longer allows you to see what they are, but since Windows 10 is The Last Windows Ever that would seem to be academic.) This, I think, may have been where my problem was when trying to run the Win 10 upgrade through Windows Update, MS's preferred way. There were a bunch of updates for Office XP that refused to process. So I took Office XP off the system. There was also one for Office 2003 which refused to update. And indeed, still does under Windows 10. I am NOT taking Office 2003 off it because I still need that for training videos (comparisons between old and new Excel) and nor should I have to.

If there are any outstanding updates that are like that for anyone else, I'd recommend not even bothering trying to do the upgrade through Windows Update but rather downloading to USB from here (or your local equivalent; that was the en-au link) and install it that way from the start.
jim wood wrote:Since upgrading I've not had a problem. In fact while doing the upgrade it even installed the right razor software for my keyboard and mouse on my main machine. I've also noticed that it runs a lot quicker and has so far (after a few months) not shown any slow down. It look like windows 10 manages resources a lot better than 7 which you would hope for I guess,
If I have any issues with 7 (and I can't think of any off the top of my head, though I'm sure some are there, they are with any complex software) speed has never been one of them.
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Re: Windows 10; Sometimes it's better not to ask, Microsoft

Post by jim wood » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:56 pm

Alan Kirk wrote:If I have any issues with 7 (and I can't think of any off the top of my head, though I'm sure some are there, they are with any complex software) speed has never been one of them.
Only after time, uninstalls etc does win 7 slow down. Win 10 still has the same issue as it's a problem with DOS under the hood. They've lessened this however with each new version, excluding Vista. Win 7 was the first one that really took this on with the registry move but it's still there.
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Re: Windows 10; Sometimes it's better not to ask, Microsoft

Post by Alan Kirk » Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:18 pm

jim wood wrote:
Alan Kirk wrote:If I have any issues with 7 (and I can't think of any off the top of my head, though I'm sure some are there, they are with any complex software) speed has never been one of them.
Only after time, uninstalls etc does win 7 slow down. Win 10 still has the same issue as it's a problem with DOS under the hood. They've lessened this however with each new version, excluding Vista. Win 7 was the first one that really took this on with the registry move but it's still there.
My home desktop was first powered up on 9 June 2012, getting on for 4 years ago. (The time, it does fly.) If it has slowed down any since then, it hasn't been enough for me to notice. Video rendering speed in Camtasia is cr@p, but that's Camtasia (itself 4 years old less a number of point updates), not Windows. Everything else cruises by. Though of course Windows Update is painful (Installing 15 of 44, please do not turn off your computer), but that was the same as Win 8. I have yet to have the pleasure of a reboot-required Win 10 update.
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Re: Windows 10; Sometimes it's better not to ask, Microsoft

Post by jim wood » Tue Apr 19, 2016 12:21 pm

See, this obviously what happens when you play a game (total War) made by a decent developer. I've had to reintsall WOW several times. It's 20GB of wonderful download and install each time. Keep in mind I'm still on European servers as well.
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