Here are the Most Over-Hyped Changes in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Posted on April 18, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 61 Comments

Here are the Most Over-Hyped Changes in the Windows 10 Creators Update

The other day, I wrote about the best improvements in the Windows 10 Creators Update. Here, I’d like to focus, in turn, on the big new features you can—and will—ignore.

The point here isn’t so much that these changes are bad per se—well, Dynamic Lock is borderline useless—but rather than Microsoft is overemphasizing features that will not impact all that many users. And is not making improvements that would benefit most of us. (You know, like actually making Edge usable.)

Each of these over-hyped new features is notable for that very reason.

1. 3D

Sometime in 2017, Microsoft’s hardware partners will ship the first generation of so-called Windows Mixed Reality headsets, peripherals that work like HoloLens on a budget and offer virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (VR) capabilities. You cannot access this technology today, not yet, but the Windows 10 Creators Update includes the platform technologies required to make VR and MR work. In the future. Someday.

Obviously, VR/MR support in the platform isn’t much of a feature. It’s not a winner. And so Microsoft decided that it needed to create a suite of apps and services that provide, in its words, “everything you need to capture, create, view and share in 3D.” These 3D objects—which are just still images—work fine on today’s 2D screens, and you can print them using a 3D printer. In the future, you’ll be able to view them in 3D, too, using one of those VR/MR headsets. That’s obviously the point.

To be fair, this is arguably a neat capability. But somewhere north of 99 percent of Windows 10 users will never create a 3D object of any kind, because this is and will always be a niche usage scenario. It’s more complex, and less well understood and less popular than creating documents, editing photos, making home videos, playing 4K video games, or any other task you care to name.

Its inclusion in the Windows 10 Creators Update doesn’t detract from anything, of course. But that this is one of only two features that explicitly address the “creators” thing in this Windows 10 version’s name is troubling. (The other is Beam broadcasting.) As is the fact that the 3D apps in Windows 10 are childish and cartoonish looking. And did I mention that no one owns a 3D printer? No? Oh, good. Because no one does.

No, not literally. But statistically. And even Microsoft knows that VR/MR will continue to be a niche activity for the foreseeable future. So what do we call the ability to “capture, create, view and share in 3D”? A niche of a niche? I call it hype.

2. E-books

It’s unclear to me why Microsoft would create an e-books infrastructure in Windows 10 given that this market is already well established and dominated by companies such as Amazon and Apple. What’s further unclear is why Microsoft would use Microsoft Edge as the reader for this infrastructure. Since Edge only works on Windows 10, and not on the mobile devices that people really use to read.

This type of decision making falls into a category I call “no one ever asked for this.” That is, while the need for a high-quality e-book reading experience in Windows 10 is perhaps still necessary, no one should trust Microsoft to do this correctly and to follow through on it, competing as necessary with the libraries, deals, and capabilities offered by Amazon or Apple. And even if there are people who do believe Microsoft can and will do this, few—if not none—wanted to use Edge to read the e-books they buy from the company.

Put simply, this service makes zero sense. So I can only assume that it exists for a competitive reason, and not because anyone asked for it. That is, Amazon hasn’t updated its Windows-based Kindle readers in any meaningful way in years, and maybe they never will. Apple will never release iBooks for Windows 10, obviously. (And Nook is, of course, already circling the drain.) And maybe what Microsoft is really doing here is just filling out a bullet point on some slide describing its coming educational push.

Whatever the reason, this service will never be successful. Ever. Sorry.

3. Cortana in Setup

As the father of a deaf child, I should be overjoyed with the supposed accessibility gains in Windows 10 Setup. But the thing is, this feature does not benefit enough users to warrant the fact that it will be so irritating to so many more users.

What I mean is that Cortana now screams at you when you hit the “Out of Box Experience” part of Windows 10 Setup. (This is related to the fact that Microsoft inexplicably cranks up the volume in Windows whenever you install or upgrade it.) And if you can’t figure out a hardware-based way to turning down the volume quickly, prepare your eardrums for an unwanted racket.

And, yes, I do have a solution. Just make an accessible-friendly version of Windows Setup. That way, those who need it can get it. And those who don’t—somewhere well north of 90 percent of users, I’m guessing—don’t need to have their eardrums blasted out. See how easy that was?

The pointless changes to Windows 10 Setup aren’t limited to just Cortana, though. There’s also the new Privacy screen (see below), which is useless and replaces the Express Setup choice, which was useful. And there’s the ugly fact that this new OOBE is visually inconsistent with the rest of Setup. Because Microsoft never does anything right the first time, it seems. Maybe they’ll fix it in RS3.

4. Dynamic Lock

Dynamic Lock is a new feature in Windows 10 that will automatically lock your PC when you walk away from it. This sounds like a great idea. But it has three basic problems. It’s only half of the dynamic unlock/lock functionality that’s available on other platforms, most users would rather have a Dynamic Unlock feature, and—and, really, this one is incredible—it doesn’t work very well at all. That is, there’s no way to configure which connected device triggers the lock. That is just dumb.

Hopefully, we’ll see a way to configure this in RS3. Plus a way to configure something called Dynamic Unlock, a feature Microsoft has been talking about for years. (Though it’s never called it that, to my knowledge.)

5. Privacy controls

When it comes to privacy, Microsoft is now engaged in something I call “privacy theater,” where it is trying to appease regulators and privacy fanatics by giving the impression that it is listening and responding to their complaints. The result is a privacy dashboard in the cloud that is truly useful. And “new” privacy controls in Windows 10 that are not.

(Microsoft has also become more transparent about what privacy data they collect in Windows 10. This overdue documentation is quite welcome.)

When you acquire Windows 10—by upgrading an existing PC or when you buy a new PC—you will be presented with a new Privacy settings screen, one of several new and essentially pointless new steps in this process.

It looks simply enough, and you may think that a quick read-through of this information, and a few correctly-set options, will configure your privacy as you prefer. But this is not the case. As with previous Windows 10 versions, your privacy settings are in fact more voluminous than what is presented here. Much more. And if you visit the Settings app in Windows 10 later, it’s not hard to see that there are actually a ton of privacy options to wade through. That list on the left displays 18 top level privacy areas. Each has numerous options.

In other words, this is privacy theater. And the only question is whether regulators and privacy gurus will fall for it.

For my part, I honestly don’t care. And my biggest here isn’t Windows 10 and privacy—I’ve always felt this was FUD to begin with—but rather than governmental bodies are once again helping Microsoft design new user interfaces in Windows. Which is not OK.

 

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Comments (64)

64 responses to “Here are the Most Over-Hyped Changes in the Windows 10 Creators Update”

  1. Avatar

    MikeGalos

    What would be a lot more useful would be "Here are the Most UNDER-Hyped Changes in the Windows 10 Creators Update" since that would point out the useful changes that didn't get much press and would actually help readers.

  2. Avatar

    Hifihedgehog

    "...but rather than governmental bodies are once again helping Microsoft design new user interfaces in Windows. Which is not OK."


    Puts on tinfoil hat. More conspiracy theory hogwash.

  3. Avatar

    SaintKaze

    Anyone been noticing their system running slower after this update. On the Winbook 10 the processes seem to be max 90-85% since the update. Before it almost never went over 60%.

  4. Avatar

    Igor Engelen

    About the ebooks: "What’s further unclear is why Microsoft would use Microsoft Edge as the reader for this infrastructure. Since Edge only works on Windows 10, and not on the mobile".

    I've asked myself the same question many times when it comes to pdf files.

    It really feels like 'look! We have this thing called Edge '.

  5. Avatar

    lordbaal1

    Just because not everyone is going to use VR or MR. Does not mean other people won't.

    To use 99.9% of any VR headsets that are now out, requires a PC.


    Microsoft had to make an e-book store. Googl ebooks, Apple books, Kindle reader, does not work on Windows.


    There are some people that needs the accessibility options.


    You can lways go in the privacy setting to change it after you set it up.


    Pual complains when Microsoft does nothing. Paul complains when Microsoft add new features. 

    Paul complains when there's not enough privacy settings. Paul complain when there's too much privacy settings.

  6. Avatar

    SvenJ

    “everything you need to capture, create, view and share in 3D.”. When do we get the capture part of that? I've been watching MS demo-ers walking around objects with a smartphone for at least a half a year, sucking some object into 3D Paint. The phone has typically been something like a Lumia 950XL. When does that app come out? I expect it will be released on Android and iOS first, even though it is clearly been developed on WM.

  7. Avatar

    Jules Wombat

    How can you refer to 3D as not being relevant, when just about all XBox games Paul  plays are based upon 3D models.

    Getting free 3D models builders into the hands of mass users and indie game developers is a major Creation tool. The vile Autodesk, pinching all the pedigree free tools, leaving us with the cumbersome Blender. So Google stole the march with the compelling Sketchuo tools.

    We now need Microsoft to show they are in the game by creating a similar 3D no feeling tool, to build fbx models for games, HoloLens and feed the next generation of innovators and designers

    Frankly if you don't understand the need for 3D modelling, you are out of touch.

  8. Avatar

    YouWereWarned

    We are seeing the products of a conflicted and confused company. Rather than conquering Android and Apple at all cost (the Gates way), they are now forced to support and enhance those competitors. That sort of mental reorientation does not happen easily in a company who was once the undisputed king of their domain. By widening their aim, with less bullets (staff), they are going to miss, frequently. And they are not going to progress on Windows core goals at a satisfactory pace. So we get Creators Update, which I'll guess was more of an internal motivational exercise than the result of great ideas bursting forth.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to YouWereWarned:

      How would MSFT have conquered Android and Apple at all costs? MSFT lucked out getting IBM to license PC-DOS from MSFT in the early 1980s. If you mean Office, it sure helped that MSFT also controlled Windows, the OS on which Office runs. It also sure helped that Lotus Development Corp and WordPerfect were so extraordinarily incompetent, spending so much time and attention protecting their character mode interfaces and so little on Windows versions. Google and Apple aren't as conveniently suicidal.

      The stars aligned for Gates in the 1990s. That may never happen again. US DoJ and EU may help to ensure it never happens again.

    • Avatar

      MikeGalos

      In reply to YouWereWarned:

      Actually the "Gates way" was to partner with everybody and get as many Microsoft products out there as possible regardless of platform. Excel was out on the Macintosh before Windows. So was Word. In fact, for quite a while, Microsoft, under Bill Gates, made more money off the sale of a Macintosh than off the sale of a Windows based PC because the Macintosh applications income per machine was higher than the license cost for MS-DOS and Windows.


      So, really, we're seeing Satya return to Bill's strategies and change away from Steve's.

  9. Avatar

    robincapper

    "Bill Gates: “We need 3D, you’re seeing it on things like Xbox where you have Xbox Live for 3d”

    Off Camera: “Why 3D?’

    Bill Gates: “Well 3D, it turns out the world is in 3D. We used to have only UPPERCASE THEN WE GOT lowercase, and that was fun, then we went from black and white and got this colour thing, that was fun, but in fact 3D, you see glimpses of it, it’s gonna happen…”

    From a World Economic Forum discussion on Web 2.0 " (2007 I think)

  10. Avatar

    thisisdonovan

    Thurrott writes a positive article on Microsoft... "You're just Microsoft PR". Thurrott writes negative article on Microsoft.... "Stop whining Thurrott".

  11. Avatar

    fbman

    I have never wanted to read an e-book on my cell, the screen too small. So I don't really care if there is no ebook reader for windows mobile, then again no one really uses windows mobile and I have an iphone. I use my 9.7inch ipad to read my ebooks and digtal magazines. Suppose you could use a surface Pro to read an ebook, in tablet mode, so maybe there will be some use.


    I will never read on e-book on my pc.

    • Avatar

      Kevin

      In reply to fbman: I have both an iPhone 7+ and a 950XL. I prefer the 950XL which does a number of things better than my iPhone. The only thing I like about iOS over WM is the Apps. Beyond that, Mail, pictures, the camera, folders, finding applications, pinning playlists - maps - books - email folders - web pages etc all work better on WM. I'm a realist though and I know how this is going to play out. I don't use a ton of apps, and the ones I do use seem to be fine on my WM.


  12. Avatar

    joeaxberg

    Is anyone else tired of the word "creator?" There has been so much talk lately about what Microsoft, Apple, and whoever else, either is or isn't doing for creators and pros. I feel like "creators", "creatives", "pro", have become meaningless PR words. Maybe they always were. What is a Pro exactly? What is a creator? Ask 10 people and get 10 different answers I suspect.


    If the next version of windows implements better "consumer" experiences, will they call it the "Sedentary Lifestyle Update?"

  13. Avatar

    skborders

    While an epub reader in edge may not be what people asked for a quality epub reader is needed. If they can build inking, highlighting and notes into the edge reader functionality it would be welcomed. The fact that there is not a single high quality epub app in the store is why I still use an iPad. I would love to switch to my surface 3 for ebooks but the quality and functionality is just not available.

  14. Avatar

    Waethorn

    "This type of decision making falls into a category I call “no one ever asked for this.”"


    Welcome to Microsoft's current executive board.

  15. Avatar

    JCerna

    2. Your right but for EDU having a reader in the system will help with depoyments and save us money.

    3. Your right but it will help those that are visually impared or have movility problems so they would actually like more parts of system and apps to work like this

    4. Your right but for those that have windows hello, having this (i would have called it windows goodbye) to lock your PC when you walk away is awsome.


    Just giving you a hard time here but in my work enviorment we welcome these features.

    • Avatar

      MikeCerm

      In reply to JCerna:

      2. You're right that Microsoft does need a capable eReader app on the platform, and there doesn't appear to be one in the app store. The issue I have is that there's no reason to build this capability into Edge rather than a separate reader app, like it was on Windows 8. Not that the Reader app in Windows 8 was any good or anything, but I see web browsing and viewing locally-stored documents as two completely different functions, as does everyone else in the world. Apple has Safari and iBooks, and these have nothing to do with one another. Google has Chrome and Play Books, completely separate. Microsoft took a useful, stand-alone feature, and they built it into a web browser that nobody wants to use.

      • Avatar

        Waethorn

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        Play Books isn't a separate app on PC.


        Chrome is the PC gateway app to Google's services.


        The mobile apps are light-task versions that can do more in offline mode than web apps because browsers have to do less to save compute cycles and power on mobile devices, and people don't have unlimited cellular internet to "stream" the UI for an app. That's getting less-true over time, but it's still a necessity for now.

      • Avatar

        SvenJ

        In reply to MikeCerm: Microsoft has Edge and MS Reader... oh wait, they abandoned that, too.


      • Avatar

        illuminated

        In reply to MikeCerm:

        There are two good things with having reader in Edge.

        1. Edge comes with Windows 10 system so it would be available by default on windows 10 desktop and (who cares) mobile and maybe some other platform like xbox?
        2. Edge is UWP so it runs on ARM and as such it opens up a way to have relatively cheap readers running windows 10.

        Apple and Google would conquer world with this.


  16. Avatar

    Waethorn

    The biggest problem I see with the OOBE is that there is no check for a keyboard or mouse device. None. You need to have some sort of device, whether pointing, or typing. Windows just doesn't work without one. When you have a touchscreen, it sets up an HID driver that simulates a real keyboard for the purpose of the onscreen one. Because apparently that makes sense.


    However, this is why Bluetooth on Windows has sucked since they started supporting it: if you have a native Bluetooth mouse and keyboard for a desktop and your Bluetooth receiver has a standard, non-proprietary Bluetooth radio that exposes itself to Windows as such (i.e. one that doesn't hide the Bluetooth radio behind a USB HID mouse and keyboard filter), Windows won't ask you to pair your keyboard or mouse on bootup. So you need a conventional mouse and/or keyboard to get either one going in the first place. And Microsoft probably wonders why Bluetooth desktop sets haven't gained any traction in the marketplace....


    Mac's do this properly, and have done so pretty much from the start.


    Oh, and allowing Bluetooth support via third-party software stacks is an ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE IDEA!! (See my other comments: directly above, and below)

  17. Avatar

    Waethorn

    If you're looking for features that are over-hyped because "somewhere north of 99 percent of Windows 10 users will never...", or of you will: "And did I mention that no one ____? No? Oh, good. Because no one does. No, not literally. But statistically.", I'd say it's the game streaming features. Or perhaps just the Xbox gaming features in general.


    Just putting that out there.

      • Avatar

        Waethorn

        In reply to JC:

        No. But they're not hyping the 3D printer stuff - just 3D Paint in general. The 3D printer support is an afterthought, so I don't think they're over-hyping that, specifically. The Xbox stuff in Windows has ALWAYS been over-hyped nonsense. Nobody cares about Xbox connections in Windows. It's what Paul would call a "non-starter". Views of streaming gamers on YouTube is down, which of course makes perfect sense for Microsoft to release this now, since they're about 3 years late to the fad and those that already stream games already have the software and/or capture hardware that they use.


        If Microsoft wanted to get into the fad market on time, they should be making a truly-unbiased (not exclusively left-wing) political video chat forum, since that's what gets all the views on YouTube lately.

  18. Avatar

    gregsedwards

    I understand the need to be "fair and balanced," but honestly, none of these features negatively impact the platform in any way. Sure, 3D suffers from a "but what do you do with it?" problem at the moment, but everything has to have a v1, and too often has Microsoft decided to wait around and let some other tech company figure out the answer to that question only to then get left behind when they do. I'm glad to see them tinkering in this area now.

    I'm maybe the one person who has been asking for a Microsoft e-book marketplace. And given the expected push into education coming this year, I think this makes a ton of sense. If nothing else, a viable textbook marketplace might make Windows 10 cloud more attractive to schools. Yes, it's curious they decided to just build the experience into Edge instead of a dedicated app, but you know what? It might be really good for Edge in the long run, especially if it means that e-Book features, such as narration, eventually cross-pollinate into Reading mode. I'd love to be able to listen to articles when I'm in the car. Besides, why do we assume we need an app for everything? If the browser gets the job done, then kudos on giving me one fewer thing to download and keep updated.

    I wholeheartedly agree about the privacy stuff, though. This was done purely to appease those who ding Microsoft for not being transparent enough in the past. More options are great, but I squarely believe the vast majority of users won't care enough to bother with anything other than the defaults.

    • Avatar

      Waethorn

      In reply to gregsedwards:

      "none of these features negatively impact the platform in any way"


      It negatively impacts Microsoft's labour investment in the platform. See Paul's comment, which could apply to any of this:


      "Microsoft is now engaged in something...????...by giving the impression that it is listening and responding to their complaints"


      Giving the **impression** it is listening....


      Quote-of-the-day, Paul!

    • Avatar

      bleeman

      In reply to gregsedwards:

      I too wouldn't mind seeing ebooks and an E-reader from Microsoft, but I don't trust them to do it right or support it for any length of time. I was a big fan of their original "Microsoft Reader" as it was my first introduction to ebooks. I had it on my Zune and used in on my laptops and such. I still have a huge .lit library of books. However, I should have seen the handwriting on the wall when they couldn't even provide their Microsoft Press books in .lit format. As much as I love my Surface Pro's they don't make great readers unless you're sitting at your desk. If they are going to go forward with this line I hope they look at reconsidering a Surface Mini. I have both an HP Stream 8 and the Dell Venue 8 Pro and they would make good readers. However, since there is not much available for them, contrary to Paul's opinion I really like my Samsung based Galaxy S2 Nook. It's a great size, lightweight and with 32GB of onboard storage as well as support for up to 128GB microsd card I can store plenty on it. I only wish they had released a version with LTE support as it would be ideal. If I could find something comparable with Windows on it and LTE support I'd be very happy.

  19. Avatar

    Tony Barrett

    I think a key point with Windows 10 is that MS are doing their absolute best to make it look like they're listening. Listening to Insiders, listening to customers, listening to their Enterprise cash cows. They're plastering it everywhere, in every bog - 'we're listening, and this is what you asked for'.... only it's not. MS are like a person with their fingers in their ears going 'la la la la', and only stopping occasionally to hear the bits they want to. Nobody actually asked for Win10 in it's current form - most would have been more than happy with an updated Windows 7. Microsoft does have it's own Win10 agenda, and has done since day one, but to appease the masses it's trying to look like it's all new - all cool and trendy. Even the way they write dialogue text in Win10 is just cringingly awful.


    Win10 is not designed for you or me, but by Microsoft, for Microsoft. It could go down in history as one of the biggest con jobs ever - 500m seem to have been suckered in already, whether they asked for it or not.

  20. Avatar

    Chris_Kez

    Perhaps the Edge book reader and inkling stuff will be linked with the coming education push; seems sensible and obvious.

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