Windows 10, 5 Years On – The BAD


10 BAD things about Windows 10, as-of Version 2004, 5 years on:

UI THEMING: er, *what* UI theming? Your choices are Dark or Light mode, and choice of a single colour, which can appear on the Start Menu/Taskbar and/or the active-window’s titlebar and border. That’s it (unless you count the High-Contrast themes). Sure, Aero in Windows Vista and 7 was the same, and Luna in XP even less-so (colour choices of only Blue, Olive green or Silver), but all those OSes still offered the “Classic” (2000/ME) UI, in which virtually-everything could be customised.

JUNK APPS GET INSTALLED: no-matter how many times you uninstall things like “Free VPN”, “Cool radio”, “Shopping saver” or some random game, they randomly get re-added, especially after major Version upgrades. Bit annoying, given neither Android or iOS do this. (The nearest I can think of is the Opera or Opera Mini browsers on phones/tablets, where extra bookmarks will get added from time-to-time on the Speed-dial and can be deleted).

CONTROL PANEL: 5 years on and it’s still there, and in a number of cases settings are now split between Settings and Control Panel (such as Sound, Regional, Date & Time, Fonts, Network & Sharing Centre). I get some applets can never go, as there are too-many old drivers that hook into them (such as Mouse or Keyboard) but there is no reason why the old applets can’t just get launched from inside the Settings app via a hyperlink. And it’s surprising fairly-simple and recently-added Control Panels, like Credential Manager (essentially just a list of saved credentials, like RDP logins, with export and import to file ability), still haven’t been migrated over.

CONFUSING POWER-SLIDER: compared to the Power Plans of Windows Vista to 8.1, where you could click “Change advanced power settings” to see a complete list of settings, 10 now (in a fresh install) only offers “Balanced”, and has a slider when you tap the Power icon. It’s not at-all clear though what settings that slider affects.

LEGACY APPS SEEING NO IMPROVEMENTS: WordPad and Paint haven’t changed since their Windows 7 Ribbon-UI updates; Character Map doesn’t appear to have changed since Windows 2000 (can’t even resize the window to make the symbols bigger!) and Fax & Scan has been untouched since Vista. Really inconsistent, given others, like Command Prompt, Notepad and Snipping Tool, have all seen updates.

DEVICE ENCRYPTION IN HOME SKU: only supported on devices with UEFI, TPM v2 and “Modern Standby”. In today’s world, I think full-disk encryption really should be offered to all. macOS has had it for ages; most Linux distros offer it (and under Linux, it also works on legacy BIOS); and I think both iOS and Android for years now encrypt internal-storage by-default.

FEATURE DUPLICATION: some features provide similar functions, and it’s not always clear what the differences are, or if one does more than the other, e.g.: (1) “Disk Cleanup” versus Settings > System > Storage; (2) “SFC /SCANNOW” versus “DISM /online /cleanup-image /restore-health”; (3) “Snipping Tool” versus “Snip & Sketch”. Oh for the old days when a feature got replaced and it was made clear which to use (“CHKDSK has been superseded by Microsoft ScanDisk”) or when apps were entirely replaced (WRITE.EXE with WORDPAD.EXE).

NATIVE TOUCHPAD SUPPORT STILL POOR: this is very model-specific, but for around 15 years now, most Linux distros offer a wide-range of settings for a typical built-in laptop touchpad; Windows 10 though (again, model-specific) may only let you natively adjust sensitivity; turn “tap-to-click” on or off; and switch primary-button from right to left.

STILL OFFERS 32-BIT MAINSTREAM VERSIONS: OEMs are no-longer allowed to install 32-bit Windows 10 from 2004 onwards… but Microsoft will still offer 32-bit images for home-users and businesses to install. But… why? If you’ve an old PC in a company running an old business app, would you not keep an old Windows OS on it, and segregate that PC from the network? If you’re a retro-gamer, surely you’d run Windows 98SE or use DOSBox than faff-around getting the game to run under Windows 10. If you have a piece of medical-equipment that runs 32-bit Windows, it’s likely not upgradable anyway, or the LTSC would likely do. But I really cannot see the use-case for needing the current-channel 32-bit Windows 10 on a new PC now. Even if you have an old device, with only a 32-bit driver, will it even work under Windows 10? macOS, iOS and Android have been 64-bit only for a while now, and Ubuntu/Linux Mint’s latest releases are now 64-bit only. I’d say for home and small business users, Microsoft should stop offering new images of 32-bit Windows 10 for download, or in retail boxes, and not allow activation on new devices that shipped-with 64-bit; and for enterprises, advise them to switch to the LTSC releases instead. Should free-up some developer resources!

TESTING VIA WINDOWS INSIDER: leaving-aside whether this is even a good way to test to begin with, the Feedback Hub app is still a mess: while Collections tries to reduce duplicate issues, it is still full of them, most have no official reply and many lack enough detail to action. Screenshots, once attached, also do not show publicly, unless its an issue you created.

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