Windows 10 at 3: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Posted on July 5, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 107 Comments

Three years ago, Microsoft was finalizing the development of the first version of Windows 10. But today, five versions later, Windows 10 is in a very different place. And while there have absolutely been some improvements, not everything is rosy.

Let’s start with what Microsoft has gotten right.


Ease of Setup. This has been true since the initial release of Windows, but it’s still amazing: When you install Windows 10 for the first time. set up a new PC, or reset an existing PC, you no longer need to then install hundreds of additional updates over several reboots. (As is still the case with Windows 7 and Windows 8.x.) Instead, you’re pretty much looking at a single cumulative update and perhaps a few driver updates. It’s wonderful.

Version upgrade speed. When you upgrade to a new version of Windows 10, most of the install process happens while the PC is online (e.g. in use), which dramatically lowers the amount of time that the PC is offline (e.g. installing updates outside of Windows). This, too, is a minor miracle.

PC-centric design. While Microsoft is still experimenting with mobile user experiences, Windows 10 represents a nice return to a PC-centric focus after the “touch-first” nonsense of Windows 8.

A new focus on productivity. After focusing on the inconsequential—3D, Mixed Reality, faux privacy improvements—over the past few releases, Microsoft has started focusing on core productivity enhancements. This one is tentative, but if the April 2018 Update and the coming Redstone 5 release are part of a trend, Windows 10 is in good shape. New versions of Windows 10 will never be truly exciting. But they will at least be better.


Windows as a Service. This one barely averted a place in the “ugly” category because Microsoft seems to be on the right track from a reliability perspective. But the sheer pace of change that Microsoft is inflicting on its customers both consumer and business is simply untenable. Windows is a mature platform, it doesn’t need major upgrades ever six months.

Inconsistent user experiences. Microsoft has trouble finishing the job, and you can see this all over Windows 10, from the Vista-era icons (Notepad) to the half-assed way it is implementing Fluent Design System over time to the dueling controls panels. It’s not a killer, but it’s irritating and says a lot about Microsoft’s culture.

Built-in apps are middling. The UWP/Store platform has never taken off, and the built-in Windows 10 apps, which should show off what’s possible with the platform, are almost universally (pardon the pun) middling. Which is the problem: They do show off what’s possible with this platform. And don’t get me started on Cortana and Microsoft Edge, the flagship apps that Windows 10 users have to deal with. Embarrassing.

Faux accessibility. Microsoft is all about AI and accessibility these days, and while many of the accessibility enhancements in Windows 10 are laudable, some are just nonsense. The worst offender is Cortana jiving at high volume during Windows Setup. Guys, Apple got this right years ago, and you can be accessible and friendly to the 99 percent of people who don’t need or want this functionality.


Crapware. Windows 10 Home and Pro ship with crapware. Now go back and think about Satya Nadella explaining that he wanted customers to “love” Windows 10. This is an affront, and it’s unacceptable.

Advertising. I first complained about the “slippery slope” of advertising in Windows way back in 2012, and as I feared, it’s only gotten worse since then. Much worse. Compared to macOS and Linux, neither of which feature in-box advertising, this is rather low-rent.

Windows Insider program. This one pains me because, like so many things, the Insider program was started for all the right reasons. In this case, a desire to reverse the hyper-secretive policies of Steven Sinofsky. But the Insider program has failed us: It gives too strong of a voice to the enthusiasts that would be attracted to this kind of program, thus skewing the focus of the product horribly. And this needs to change: Windows should be designed for its most numerous users, not its loudest users. (To be fair to Microsoft, it did start an Insiders program for business. But we don’t hear much about this, and I suspect that engagement is low.)


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Comments (107)

107 responses to “Windows 10 at 3: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

  1. Rick Foux

    Not to mention that recent major releases have had numerous bugs and issues out of the gate. I know it falls under the "Windows as a Service" heading, but IMO this should be something listed under the "Ugly." Microsoft shouldn't be pushing out major releases to meet a deadline; they need to make sure these things are polished and in a finished state before releasing to the general public.

  2. fbman

    I have never had an Ad in my windows 10 experience and I have being using it since it came out.

    • YoWhadup

      In reply to fbman:

      In some select circles, Microsoft bragged at the start of the year about a new milestone in tailored experience: not only region and country -based as before, but also county / city / business -level selective subscribed content (ads), feature packages and updates. Hence why people in different parts of the world have another experience.

    • RM

      In reply to fbman:

      Some of the "Ad's" are game and app suggestions. I don't have a problem with them, if they were some kind of nag prompt or video, Microsoft wouldn't hear the end of it from me. Now if they would just stop trying to keep Cortana away from us . . .

  3. jwpear

    Does the Insider program really give more weight to the loudest of enthusiast voices? I don't feel like this is what drove the nonsense features. Rather, it seems like much of what we've seen has been a somewhat out of touch attempt to release something that makes Windows relevant to the typical consumer. I can't exactly fault them for trying, but some things never seemed like they were going to get much attention.

    My expectation of the Insider program has been that Microsoft would take insider feedback and weigh it with other feature/bug feedback plus product roadmap, much like any software development company. Anecdotal for sure, but I've submitted quite a bit of feedback on things that interest me, but I have not seen much, if any, of my suggestions released as features or feature tweaks. And when it comes to bugs, I've been complaining about bugs in the Photos app for years via feedback and I've seen absolutely nothing done to make it better (in fact, it got worse from both a bug and feature perspective).

    Granted, I'm not a die-hard insider. I just don't have the time and extra machines to do so. Perhaps that's one of the biggest problems with the program.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to jwpear:

      I mentioned this in the standard comments. It’s not enthusiasts asking for features. It’s genuine, needed feedback being buried by popular tripe requests.

      The example I gave was, a bug report of high CPU usage gets no attention, but there are dozens of “bring back Aero Glass” posts and they get hundreds of upvotes.

      Garbage wins the popularity contest while actual feedback, the stuff that makes things better, just gets washed away by the whiny fanboys. I’m pretty certain that Fluent Design is their answer to the thousands of Aero Glass people.

      On the other hand, they’re converting Explorer piecemeal to have dark mode support. I seem to remember XP having the ability to SKIN THE ENTIRE OS. Oops, guess they forgot about that.

      But that takes us back to the inconsistency and lack of polish and care.

      • jwpear

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        I've reported high CPU bugs at least a good 5-10 times since Windows 8. I haven't seen anything acknowledged on this problem. But I also don't expect that we need to report this sort of thing because my expectation is that Microsoft can see this in their telemetry data. The real question is why does the issue not get addressed? Is it because they're spending too much time on the other eye candy features?

        I do a lot of amateur photography and I use the Photos app on my Surface Pro 3 to edit. SP3 is a fantastic device for this sort of thing. But over time, the Photos app has just gotten terrible about consuming CPU in the background, even with the app isn't being used. My SP3 has the i7 and it gets seriously hot with extended high CPU. I've reported this multiple times and allowed diagnostic data to be gathered while repro-ing. Still no fix. There have been cases with other apps like this.

        You can find lots of forum posts about this issue on the web and even some steps to resolve posted by MVP's. However, the typical user should not have to manually walk through the steps needed to address. The apps and OS should be fixed so that these problems don't crop up to begin with. And they should be self-healing.

  4. RM

    One thing not talked about in the article is the Microsoft Store. I think it has improved a lot since the first Windows 10 version. It is still missing some functionality, but it is going the in the right direction. Over time with the reduced fees to developers, more ways to get Win32 programs in the store, and the addition of PWA's, the store will just keep getting better (or is should).

    • PeteB

      In reply to RM:

      With Wmobile dead theres really no point for UWP and the windows 10 store anymore. Most users will continue to avoid it. It's a dead appendage.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to PeteB:

        . . . Most users will continue to avoid it. . . .

        More to the point, most Windows ISVs will avoid it.

        Unlike Apple, MSFT would have to PAY ISVs to put software into the MSFT Store. More to the point: unlike Apple, MSFT has zero prospects that the MSFT Store will ever produce even 0.01% of annual revenues and no hope at all it'd ever generate a profit.

      • Robert Wade

        In reply to PeteB:

        Well, I think that depends on what you qualify as UWP. As Microsoft tells it, even PWAs and many legacy Win32 programs are being brought in under UWP cover. So, technically it's alive and kicking. If you are referring to natively-written UWP, you're probably right. Particularly if PWAs are taking over...all you will see eventually is PWA-come-UWP and Win32 programs in the Store.

        As for me, I have yet to find a PWA that I like. They're websites, as far as I'm concerned, and function just about as well (which is to say, BLAH). Many like to tout the Twitter app as a good example. I think it's positively horrible, just like their website. Which is why I use Tweetium.

        But, yes, as long as they have no smartphone segment of the ecosystem, the only points, as I see them, to UWP and their Store are A) better sandboxing and B) the perception of continuity with similar offerings in the Android and iPhone/iPad stores.

  5. Hassan Timité

    Very interesting article.

    According to me, the main problems with Windows are:

    1. The drastic reduction of testers despites the drastic increase of release reate. Anyone with little good sense know that if one wants to increase the release of a software, one needs way more testing thus way more testers. To compensate Microsoft did come with the insider program. However as most people agree this program is close to useless.
    2. Targetting consumers and professional with more or less the same version of Windows with the same release rate. I have always thought that Windows Pro/Enterprise should be co-developped with Windows Server with a 3 to 5 year release rate. Windows Home should have its own rate, a more friendly/candy U.I. Both should have the same core but the additionnal layers/features/apps should be specific for each. Now when the features/apps of the Home version are stable they can be available optionnally for the Pro/Enterprise version.
    3. The CEO hates Windows and seems to do his best to stimulate the death of this platform. What he doesn't understand is that Windows is fundamental for Microsoft ecosystem.
    • Robert Wade

      In reply to Hassan_Timite:
      1. I don't think that the Insider program is useless. They ARE getting a lot of testers through it. Perhaps we're not seeing how they are using the telemetry to differentiate customer types (enterprise vs consumer vs prosumer).
      2. If Microsoft is truly trying to make a "modularized" OS that allows OEMs to select which aspects of the OS they need, with a Core as the foundation, then I think where they are really missing this is that their Insider program isn't making that distinction, nor is it providing a way for the enterprise to actually work this. Also, I maintain that Microsoft is completely missing it by not earnestly engaging a drive toward true scalability/adaptability and device-agnostic results.
      3. Yes, it's quite clear Nadella is bad for Windows. In my opinion, he finds it much more important to get his bonuses, which requires him to be myopically trained on the desires of shareholders (really don't care about the products or services, just the dividends).
      • Hassan Timité

        In reply to Robert_Wade:
        1. This is the drama. They should have enough testers to avoid relying on customers to test their products. Costumers can come at a second or third level of tests for some very weird and rare issues. Not be a required component of testing.
        2. Well,the kind of modularisations i was asking for is easier/simpler to achieve that what Microsoft has been trying to do for several years. I consider Windows to be a desktop/laptop O.S which need to be modularized in this context. Microsoft is more likely aiming at Windows everywhere, some think i doubt they could achieve in the Nadella era.
  6. Lyndon

    I've never seen ads on my desktop or Surface Book, so I'm not sure what people mean when they talk about ads. I use only Edge, and haven't had any issues for at least a several months, or more than a year. I actually really like Windows 10, and prefer it to other options.

    I do agree about some of the UI things, but it has slowly been improving over time. I also agree about the Microsoft apps. They need to make their apps stellar, and cover all the basic things a person would need/want to use on a platform. Also, why is Microsoft bringing Movies app and News app to Android and IOS, but removing Groove Music app?

  7. spacein_vader

    Is a shame they won't give home users the telemetry free version (LTSB) even for a fistful of dollars.

    • YoWhadup

      In reply to spacein_vader:

      Contrary to popular belief, LTSB (as all Enterprise versions) is not telemetry free.

      You need to activate Windows Restricted Traffic Limited Functionality Baseline to achieve that according to Microsoft GDPR changes.

  8. Jay

    Everything you constantly complain about us a non issue on MacOS. They take great care in polishing their OS.

    Windows 10 is a Swiss Army knife it does a lot of cool things sometimes very crudely but for the most part it gets the job done.

  9. harmjr

    How about not making items as core features instead of making them add on apps users can find and fall in love with.... OneNote, Paint 3d, Edge, my people, mail, calendars, people, hell everything but the start button.

  10. obarthelemy

    The ugliest about Windows 10 is what I and many, many individuals around me are using it for: games, media, and stuff in the browser. That's it. More precisely, all the apps (and worryingly, many games too) we actually want are on Android, not Windows. I'm doing so much in browsers I'm using 4 of them just to maintain some order.

    If Google had gotten even a smidgen behind Android on the desktop that's what I'd be using right now. I guess I'll pull the trigger on a Chromebox soon.

    I understand pro and high-level users aren't in the same situation, but for me and 50%+ individuals around me, it's clear we don't need the HW, SW, time and skill costs of Windows any more.

    • Robert Wade

      In reply to obarthelemy:

      I can't think of one thing I would need/want to use Android for. And what kind of games would even be worth looking at on an Android device (rhetorical question--there are none)?

      • obarthelemy

        In reply to Robert_Wade:

        There's still no Civilization on Android, but lighter games are here: timewasters (my favorite is a very French card game called Belote coinchée, best app anywhere is on Android; Mini Metro and 2048 are fun too); more serious stuff (Clash of Clan has a fun gameplay, it's naggy for monetization but the core of the game is fine)...

        Android is a much lighter and cheaper way to do enough for 90% of users. I bought dual-boot tablets, they're running Android 99% of the time. It does everything a casual user needs, and games.

        Reciprocally, my Windows machine has devolved into a games + browser station. I even had to install an Android VM on it to get a few nice apps (are there any worthwhile mail clients on Windows any more ?)

  11. JustMe

    Excellent post, Paul.

    Advertisements (or whatever Microsoft's euphamism chooses to use for their 'suggestions') are one of my biggest pet peeves with the OS. In my opinion, they do not belong in *any* OS - period. The scary part is I feel like this is only going to get worse, especially if MIcrosoft open in-OS advertising up to third parties. If Microsoft really want to monetize the OS, why not target Windows enthusiasts and power users by offering up the freedom of the LTSB/LTSC (I think - arent Microsoft officially calling it something different these days?) for a nominal fee? Crapware and the inconsistent user experience are much the same. Its been discussed quite a bit already, but the user should not have to resort to powershell to rid themselves of crapware they dont want, only to have it all put back by Microsoft in the next upgrade. Want another way to monetize the OS that isnt advertising? Allow the user to purchase an option whereby they can do a 'minimal' install and then select which features/apps/pieces of the OS they want.

  12. dougkinzinger

    Top-volume Cortana at setup, quipping about "a little sign in here, a little WiFi there" makes me want to run in the street and jump into oncoming traffic. It is easily, hands down, the single worst part of Windows 10. Why on earth someone thought this was 1) a good idea, and 2) Cortana needed to waste time by chatting up the user before engaging a response is ludicrous.


    I like not having to mess with the OS. Windows 10 is the first time I have never had to do anything and everything works perfectly and the OS takes care of itself. It is the best OS MS has ever done.

  14. Stever

    One thing I would like to add to the good is moving a hard drive to a new platform. I have done this on a 4+ times and its great!. I had an older AMD cheap PC running Windows 10 and it died. Motherboard. I move the drive to a new Intel i3 PC. It boots and all I had to do was install the other drivers. Sure I needed to reactivate but some times I don't have to. As long as the drive controller is a standard controller (IDE, SATA, AHCI) it works. If I tried this with XP would be a repair if that worked. Windows 7 would likely need a new install.

  15. roastedwookie

    Of course the insider for business has low engagement. Companies have better things to do than playing guinea pig games with MS.

  16. cseafous

    Good summary. Thanks. Do you think the things in the Bad category will improve now that Windows has been split up?

  17. v_2samg

    Paul's anti-Windows propaganda. LOL

  18. Patrick3D

    Good: OneDrive integration. The first 2 years were messy but they have greatly improved it this year.

    Bad: Feedback Hub. It's great that customer's have an easy way to report bugs. It's bad that there is near zero response from Microsoft.

    Ugly: Updates interrupting normal computer usage. Remember when Windows Updates would inform you updates were available so that you could install them when you were ready? Now it does whatever the hell it wants and will forcibly interrupt you to threaten an immediate install unless you beg it not to install until later. It is an incredibly hostile system.

    Edit - I wanted to also give a shout out to Storage Spaces which has worked flawlessly for me. There is a tiny bit of improvement they could make (an option to adjust cluster sizes without reformatting) but I it has been far easier to use than LVM on a Linux distro.

    • red.radar

      In reply to Patrick3D:

      My biggest complaint is related to the hostage situation Windows performs with your work when it needs to update.

      Microsoft doesnt seems to remember that people use computers for things other than office workflows. I have had numerous overnight tests borked because windows upgraded to protect me. I have had to move to Linux as much as possible because I can’t trust Windows not to reboot Ironic that Windows Isnt dependable because of how it’s managed not because of the design..

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Patrick3D:

      . . . It's bad that there is near zero response from Microsoft. . . .

      It has ever been so. I took part in the Office 2003 beta. MSFT provided private forums for feedback, and damn few MSFT employees participated. Fortunately the MVPs had other channels through which they could berate the Office team.

  19. chrisrut

    Great overview Paul. Thanks.

    Here's what I like most about Windows 10: in my Enterprise environment, I have been able to migrate Windows 7 users to it quickly and painlessly. It is sufficiently familiar that they can work out the differences with but minor tech support.

    In effect, Windows 10 didn't throw out the baby (everything we already know about how to do our workflows) with the bathwater (the PCs antediluvian roots).

  20. jwpear

    A few more items to throw on the bad list:

    Recovering from Rogue Apps/Drivers

    I feel like Windows has lost the ability to regain control over some rogue apps/drivers. I've seen occasions where I had something go wrong and I was unable to get Task Manager up to recover. This goes all the way back to Windows 8. I never had this problem with Windows 7.

    Background Tasks

    I've lost count of the number of times I've had a hot device and found that there were background tasks running with high CPU utilization (e.g. runtime broker). I can't see Windows ever being on par with other OS's that run on ARM if they can't get a handle on this. The sad thing is that many apps doing this are Microsoft apps (e.g. Microsoft Store, Photos app).

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to jwpear:

      This. Unless the kernel goes down, there should always be a way to recover. Unfortunately this truth has been forgotten by more than just Microsoft.

      Most mainstream Linux distros have, I guess in the name of “consumerizing”, disabled or crippled many of the features that make it easy to recover from problems. X11 by default allows Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to kill the X server, so if something hung it, you could blow away that GUI session and get back to the terminal. At least on Ubuntu, that’s not possible. Just more chipping away at the reliability.

  21. Robert Wade

    You know, there was a time when I felt I was pretty much in sync with Paul. Not so much, anymore. "Windows 8 nonsense". Easily 50% of the Windows 10 devices we use in our home and in my office are touch--either full on tablet or touch laptops. Windows 8 is infinitely better for those devices than Windows 10. I'm so sick of any effort to get back to a "PC-centric design". This is just stupid to me. It's exactly the opposite thing Microsoft should be doing. I have always felt that Continuum was misplaced. Not as an overall idea, but in the direction of execution. Instead of trying to make their mobile effort more PC-like, they should be making Windows completely hardware-agnostic and fully scalable/adaptable. That way it doesn't really matter what hardware an OEM comes out with, the OS can either configure itself or be configurable to conform. Just as we have a Tablet Mode (as horrible as it is on touch devices), it could have a Phone Mode. But MS has got to figure out how to fix the myriad issues that make W10 user-spiteful for touch devices and then fix them. Focusing on the scalability/adaptability would solve the issue of trying to get devs to support the system and OEMs wouldn't have to do anything special...or at least, nothing much.

    Focusing on the above would also help the inconsistent user experiences. Or, rather, make the user experience PREDICTABLY different depending on the device. As it scales down to a proper phone format, users would expect to see less "desktop" presentation and more touch. Tablet Mode already presents the user (or allows the user) to work with full-screen Start and other aspects that make more sense on a tablet/touch device. Extend that scale down to phones. And when a phone sees additional hardware attached, voila, you can scale back up to a desktop experience.

    As for Cortana, this whole thing just angers me. We rely on Cortana virtually all day in our household. Cortana is always on, on all our devices. The absolute, best experience is on our phones--actual Windows phones. Without any effort, we can access Cortana any time, anywhere, without EVER LIFTING A FINGER. It works in our cars, again, without effort. You absolutely cannot get this experience on any other device, on any other platform. And Microsoft is squandering it. Their two-thirds attempt on Windows PCs and half-attempt on Android is what's embarrassing. Their refusal to engage a full integration of the Cortana experience across all devices, all platforms is ridiculous. I should be able to have exactly the same experience and expectation from Cortana no matter where I am or what device I'm using. Instead, I have (in order of maturity and usefulness) a Windows phone Cortana, a PC Cortana, an Android/iOS Cortana and an Xbox Cortana. STUPID. And NONE of them "know" about each other. I've written at length, many times, on precisely what Microsoft needs to do to fix this.

    Now, if by "crapware" you're referring to all the games, I'm with you on that. I'm an eccentric gamer. I only play first-person, and only on PC. I don't do Solitaire or Minecraft or any of that other garbage. I always uninstall that stuff first thing.

    Generally, the advertising thing doesn't bother me. I consider it the cost of doing business. Nothing's free, so until it gets out of hand, I'm okay with free enterprise.

    Finally, on the Windows Insider issue, I have a different take on this. As a user, I DO want to get access to the latest, if only to be conversant on things I hate. I'm an outlier among outliers. I LOVED Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. I'm not the enterprise (although, obviously, I use Windows IN the enterprise). You may feel that Microsoft has been listening to the "loudest" consumer and not the largest, but I would argue that if THAT were true, most of the things Windows 10 has become would NOT have happened had they been listening to me. I used to be one of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders. I was about as "loud" as anyone could get. Yet I've been virtually ignored when it comes to how Windows 10 has gone--not that I consider myself anyone special...just very enthusiastic. And it's likely that you would NOT have liked the Windows 10 that I would rather have seen. This doesn't stop me from continuing to test out the latest builds, send countless feedback posts and comment to Microsoft via every avenue I can.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Robert_Wade:

      . . . making Windows completely hardware-agnostic and fully scalable/adaptable . . .

      That either implies a TON or unnecessary functionality on all devices (e.g., touch support on systems without touch screens, mouse support for phones) or a considerable amount of boot-time processing to determine what OS components to load given available hardware. Also problematic whether phones and PCs should have exactly the same preemptive multitasking subsystem or services infrastructure. Absolutely all devices should NOT have the same UI.

      It's difficult not reject the notion that Windows 8.x was unloved by most PC users who tried using it. I can accept that Windows 8.1's UI is much better for tablets than Windows 10's; however, there's at least an order of magnitude more non-tablet Windows PCs than Windows tablets.

    • Chris Payne

      In reply to Robert_Wade:

      Don't know why you're getting downvoted here. You state your case pretty well, even though I don't agree with it all. Have an upvote.

  22. Eric Rasmussen

    I'm a .NET developer, and I love what Microsoft has done with visual studio and the developer tooling. I hate the inconsistency and lack of a coherent UX design in windows 10. I actually miss Windows XP; I have fond memories of a vibrant enthusiast community who spent countless hours on themes, icon packs, wallpapers, and so on. Windows 10 took control away from the user.

    I ran across Elementary OS a couple of years ago. It's a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu, but its core development team cares very much for a clean look and feel. Applications for it are written in Vala, which is surprisingly close to C#, except it compiles to native code for Gnome. With Visual Studio Code and .NET Core at my disposal, I've been using it more and more. It reminds me a lot of what Windows 10 could have been if Microsoft wasn't so obsessed with chasing Apple.

  23. Pierre Masse

    I would put Inconsistent user experience in Ugly, because it is litteraly ugly.

  24. madthinus

    The insider program is a big one, because on the face of it, it sounds fantastic. They have the telemetry, the what and how so to speak. The portion that is missing is the why. The why you get from talking to real people. So one would have thought that the insider program would provide this vital piece of information. Sadly, that is far from the truth. Here is a classic: I would like to set a time window for Windows Update to run. The why of this request is because of the way broadband (generous to call our network connections that) is structured in my country.

    Most ISP, including the mobile isp's give extra data between 00:00 and 06:00. I would like Windows to run the updates at that time. I would like my Xbox to download games in that time. I would like my apps to update at that time. Instead, Windows gobble up all my bandwith for hours some months to get the updates done (4mbps) interfering with my ability to get my work done. The calender, photo's and mail app are all north of 200MB each when they update. That is 15 to 20 minutes each on my connection. None of those apps you can uninstall, unless you run a powershell script.

    Have I filed feedback, lots, most amount of upvotes: 15. Chance of this feedback getting back into the Windows = 0.

    People on fast connections does not realise the extent of how bad windows update is Windows 10. Feature updates does not pause. They start from scratch if interrupted. If they fail, they don't error check, they redownload. At 4mbps, that multiple hours of network chewing.

    Let's be clear, I want the updates and the patches. I want to be secure. I also want the flexibility of setting a time for when Windows can dominate my network connection so that I can get work done, you know, like Windows 8, 6 years ago had.

  25. Mike Widrick

    Paul is really damning with faint praise here, but it comes down more to what you're used to. In the enterprise, Windows 10 is a HUGE leap from Windows 7, because most companies skipped Windows 8. The graphics are solid, the desktop is responsive, and the Task Manager upgrade is a huge improvement for 'pro' work. Then there's linux shells and powershell and free OneNote. As a package, it's a huge upgrade.

    Then again, the start menu search is broken, after 22 YEARS the desktop still can't keep track of icon placement, we still can't get useful folder/file size information in explorer and arguably Skype is a step back from 15 years ago when Messenger was built-in.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to solomonrex:

      . . . free OneNote . . .

      Picky: didn't MSFT cease charging for OneNote several years ago?

      Re desktop icon placement, 3rd party utilities or registry hacking would work. Despite the stupid name, DesktopOK works well. Should something like this be built in? Sure, just like Windows should have better .zip file support than compressed folders.

  26. glenn8878

    Ugly: Skype, Cortana, and constant attempts to make a mobile comeback like S Mode and Andromeda. Maybe they should splinter off mobile and bury it. Take UWA Store out the door.

    • Mike Widrick

      In reply to glenn8878: He should call Skype out specifically. This is the era of always-on constant communication, emojis, social networks and chat apps. And Skype has been going downhill, when it should be the ideal third party alternative to google's schizophrenia, facebook's deceptions and Apple's megalomania.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to solomonrex:

        . . . google's schizophrenia, facebook's deceptions and Apple's megalomania.

        Perhaps all big tech firms have metaphorical mental disorders, and perhaps MSFT's is narcolepsy.

      • Robert Wade

        In reply to solomonrex:

        Emoji are for children. And those unable to actually structure a sentence. As for Skype, it's like any other communication app. Its use--and usefulness--is dependent upon who you regularly communicate with. Almost 85% of my contacts have Skype accounts...none of them communicate using it. By far, the communication mechanism they use is regular SMS texting, followed by Facebook Messenger and then Instagram. I have ONE contact who routinely uses Whatsapp, and that's because most of his family lives in Mexico and he frequently visits them. My friends who happen to be iPhone users, of course, use Facetime. In my opinion, Microsoft has done a lot of "stuff" with Skype, but nothing has really made inroads to replacing straight SMS. Here's the thing with that: SMS simply works on all devices. Every device has a built-in messaging app. While texting appears to cost an arm and a leg outside of the US (which I don't understand), it's pretty much a given IN the US. I can safely assume once I have a person's cell number I can text them. I can't assume they have Skype or Whatsapp or FB Messenger---or that they'll use them. So, what can Microsoft actually do? They would have to actually make Skype their messaging app (which they tried to do---and I tried to use---and it sucked).

  27. scoop

    Almost none of the bad and ugly on Enterprise LTSB. Love the trial version I am running. Great stuff. I dual-boot with Xubuntu 18.04. Also great stuff for old-school desktop/laptop users. Between work and home PCs I use Xubuntu, Linux Mint, Win 7 Pro, Win 10 Enterprise LTSB and Win 10 Pro. The first four all have upsides (mostly) and a few downsides. I enjoy learning, playing, tweaking, working on all of them. Win 10 Pro, with the UWP stuff, Edge, Cortana, forced feature updates, UI glitches like edge swipes, I try to get excited about it. For years I have tried. Maybe someday, when I get a touchscreen or tablet. A desktop/power user-fork of Win 10....a fella can dream.

    • YoWhadup

      In reply to scoop:

      LTSB is not licensed for use by end users (and the trial version expires with no extended rearming so I'm guessing you actually use kms hacks, a huge vector of malware). It's also pretty dated and recent hardware has all kinds of frindge issues with it (gaming laptops, stutters in aaa games, issues with usb audio or external displays etc).

      What's actually the best edition of Windows is the Education one, available both in the business and consumer channel, it comes for free if you're part of an education organization. Bloat adds and subscribed content is disabled by default (in Enterprise, you have to manually disable it yourself), and some group policies are pre-applied.

  28. timo47

    What features that are a part of Windows 10 today would you consider to be there only because MS gave "too strong of a voice to the enthusiasts"?

    I don't really get this criticism. From my point of view MS has largely ignored feedback from Insiders except when it came to very minor things or things they were planning to do anyhow but could then say "hey, we listened to you". For the most part they have just pushed their own agenda with things nobody, not even insiders, wanted (3D, Mixed Reality, ...).

    • Robert Wade

      In reply to timo47:

      To be fair, you and I may be in the minority of Insiders who gave them feedback that differed from the masses. I can absolutely guarantee that I am. While I do believe MS has an agenda of where they are driving the OS---and I think most of the Insider program is purely to get validation of that and make sure they're executing their agenda successfully---I suspect most of the Insiders actually agree w/Microsoft. And, believe me, that frustrates me.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to timo47:

      It’s less “features” and more that there are real problems people report, but since it’s done in a popularity contest way, the enthusiast stuff gets boosted while actual bug reports get buried.

      For example, a report about high CPU usage by a system component never gets seen, but “OMG BRING BACK AERO GLASS” gets posted 50 times and every one gets 800 upvotes.

      Yes, you can find examples that go against that, but that’s the problem in a nutshell.

  29. StevenLayton

    ....wah, wah, wah. Sung to the theme of the film, not a comment on the post!

  30. vernonlvincent

    Meh - I may be a bit more positive than the general person around here, but I haven't minded the pace of upgrades. I wouldn't mind if they went to 1 per year, but if they upp'd it to 3, then I think I'd have a problem. And the style of the Vista-icons is not upsetting to me since I already have a number of desktop apps installed where the icon is more aligned with the Vista style. Yes, if I only had Windows 10 apps on my machine - it would probably stand out to me more, but as it is, it's something I don't notice at all.

    I'll agree that the Calendar and Mail apps are pretty bland and do not showcase the Modern/Fluent/whatever UI at all. But Cortana has worked for me whenever I have needed it to. I don't strain its capabilities that much - but I do use it to send text messages (through my PC, which is connected to my Android phone via Microsoft Launcher) and it works great. And maybe I'm off base here, but I tend to blame issues with Edge on the websites rather than the browser - because Edge tends to work fine on some sites and not others. But others may have different experiences.

  31. Chaoticwhizz

    I have a love-hate relationship with Windows 10. It does everything I need it to but is so annoying in many unnecessary ways. I have already decided my next laptop will be a Chromebook as it makes a good secondary PC. Removing the crapware/ads and changing feature updates to only once a year would go a long way to making people like WIndows 10 more.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to Chaoticwhizz:

      Ads aren't just pop ups in the system tray, they're littered throughout the OS. Anything you see about a 'recommended app' or 'try MS Edge', or 'Why search over there when you can search here' are all about trying to sell you something or getting you to switch to an MS service. You remove an OS installed app, and MS will almost always re-install it in the next upgrade. You change a setting that blocks or changes your ad preferences, MS will reset it to what they want. MS are now trialing extended ads in Win10 and opening up the gates to third parties. It's only the beginning to MS monetizing the platform at the user.

      • Robert Wade

        In reply to ghostrider:

        Okay, I don't consider "recommended" is really an advertisement per se. I do think it's an attempt to use our own telemetry to give us what Microsoft perceives would be a better, more productive experience. Of course, virtually all platforms do this to some extent. If it's pushing their own homogenous experience, I get it. It becomes advertising, in my opinion, when they start hocking third-parties.

    • timo47

      In reply to Chaoticwhizz:

      I never get any ads in Windows. Is this because I'm not running an English/US version? Or maybe it's just because I've made sure I've turned off all the various ad-related options in Settings?

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to timo47:

        Almost certainly you get no ads because you've disabled them all.

        Odds are quite high anyone commenting on this site knows how to configure Windows as they prefer and have spent hours (if not days) longer than typical PC users doing so.

      • VancouverNinja

        In reply to timo47:

        I don't get them either. The whole crap ware issue is beyond over blown and a non issue. I have personally never heard a human being i know complain about it...ever.

        • Jeff Goldman

          In reply to VancouverNinja:

          It is not overblown - it takes quite a bit of time to get rid of the crapware and I am tired of MS asking me if I want to switch my default to Edge or other built in MS apps.

          • Bill Russell

            In reply to Trivordog:

            It seems Edge would get some traction having the same sort of nagging that I've seen from chrome/google. Unless - people just don't like Edge and like Chrome. Or, the supposed 700 million windows 10 users are not really the type of desktop traditional consumer computer user, but rather "back office" PCs, doing whatever automated work tasks or something.

            I use firefox and chrome. I'm currently kind of liking Firefox, but I go back and forth. the only thing that matters to me is that the browser I use is at least multi-platform and I like the idea of it being open source. I do not understand getting invoved with a closed browser that only runs on the company's own OS - and only the newest OS. The reason I got away from IE in the first place (IE7) was because of the 3 reboots and 20 minutes to install, tying it tightly into the OS core. I tried Firefox 3 at the time and it installed in 60 seconds like any simple program.

  32. Siv

    I wish they would go back to a triennial release like they roughly used to do between the traditional versions like Win 95, Win98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 etc and in the next 2 years clear up all the stupidity in the interface. Get a modern look with a standardised interface across all components of Windows.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Siv:

      Not going to happen.

      As for cleaning anything up, by now, nearly 3 years from the original 1507 release, it should be clear that MSFT sees no value in cleaning up any inconsistencies.

      • Siv

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        I am not sure you are right, under the new regime I think there appears to be a new focus on tidying things up and moving away from pointless fluff so it's possible they may try and get the UI more coherent.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to Siv:

          Nadella has been CEO since before Windows 10 originally RTM'ed.

          Do you mean you believe Myerson was responsible for the utter lack of interest in finishing things up? If so, how long would you give 'em? Another year? Another 2 years? Till Windows 8.x reaches EOS?

          • Siv

            In reply to hrlngrv:

            The regime I was referring to is the Azure/Server team as I believe they are now doing the Windows development. I suspect that Nadella has no interest in Windows at all, he's just interested in Cloud and sod everything else that doesn't make big bucks.

            I do think MS as a company has now lost a good proportion of its fans. I am one I have been running MS Operating systems since MS DOS 3. I am now running Linux Mint 19 so that probably tells you the direction of travel.

  33. SherlockHolmes

    Agreed. The problem first started when MSFT thought it would be nice to give Windows away for free. But a little down the road the started to think: "Oh wait, how we can we now make money out of Windows?" and then the show got ugly.

  34. christian.hvid

    When Windows 10 was first released, I kind of hoped (actually, took for granted) there would never be another release - just a steady stream of incremental improvements, silently deployed every Patch Tuesday or so. Granted, Windows may not have the architecture to support this, but I really don't see the point in releasing new versions amid great fanfare when there's nobody to convince and nothing to sell?

    • Siv

      In reply to christian.hvid:

      That's OK if they hadn't fired all the testers! The trouble is that home user/enthusiast wants quick updates and the business user wants everything to stay stable so that the in-house apps people like me write don't go belly up when a new feature update is applied.

      Although it's hard to justify it would almost be better to have two versions of Windows; one for pro users and one for home users, with the latter getting all the latest features and being updated more often. Then when a home user update has been in the wild for a year or two and the business version dev's are certain it won't break anything, then bring it to the business version. (Assuming it has a value to business users). I know this sounds familiar i.e. the Windows and NT thing of the past, but the essential truth is still there, it's just a very costly/complex way to do things that I doubt MS would ever go back to.

      That's sort of what we have now with the LTSB version where updates are only applied a long time after the bleeding edge version has been out and the chaos caused by it have been smoothed out.

      I still yearn for a "MinWin" type system where you just have a bare bones very efficient Windows O/S and they can bolt a business front end onto it that does not have any bloat and just enough to run Office and Business applications. With a very simple UI that has no fancy glowing see through transparent acrylic whatever nonsense and just the basic chrome needed to allow applications and the UI to work as fast as possible with minimum wasted CPU and Graphics cycles.

      Then the home user version would be MinWin with all the UI bells and whistles that appeals to the home/gaming user looks flash and probably wastes a lot of power into the bargain.

      I would tend to let the Home version try out the new features and leave the business one to only receive a subset of the new features and only after at least 12 months of any new stuff being out in the wild.

      It's more work but would probably get Satya's dream of both camps loving Windows again.

      I know, I am a hopeless optimist! :)

      • Oasis

        In reply to Siv:

        Windows used to have a Business version. When I bought my Dell Vostro 410 from the Business side of Dell. it came with Vista Business and no Crap on it. Where did they go wrong.

        • Siv

          In reply to Oasis:

          I suspect Nadella's idea to give Windows 10 away free and monetise it with up-selling cloud services or including adverts.

          I think the aim was to get onto a single version of Windows to reduce the support costs and at the same time force people as a requirement of getting Windows free to keep the O/S updated. Hence one of the "Ugly's" others have highlighted where Windows will randomly reboot and install stuff without caring whether you have any unsaved applications left open!

        • karlinhigh

          In reply to Oasis:

          Well, pre-Win10 I don't think any version of Windows came with much pre-installed software. Used to be that computer manufacturers were to blame for that. And I recall the lack of pre-installed software was originally a selling point for Dell's Vostro line, so your Vista-era experience with that one may have been Dell's work rather than Microsoft's.

      • christian.hvid

        In reply to Siv:

        Yes, I was thinking about the tester angle too. With a "continous deployment" model you would need to feed your Windows Insider guinea pigs a stream of updates that's a couple of months ahead of the RTM stream. Certainly more complex than testing a full release, but (I think) not impossible. To elaborate further, enterprises could be fed a stream that's a year or so behind the RTM stream. In other words, everyone would be using the same version of Windows, just at different points in the stream.

        But I suspect that Microsoft is still rearchitecting the internals way too much for this to actually work. Otherwise, we wouldn't get unstable Insider releases time and again.

  35. Markld

    Paul... Agreed with all of it, especially the ugly :

    1) crapware, ads, and the windows insider program

    What a disgusting bunch of useless stuff.

    I liked the insider program at first, felt like maybe it would help, but, your right it's become a program for the loudest of users, not the numerous, as you are so right the focus has been skewed.

    It has been a couple of years, but I can remember issues being elevated that were rediculous.

    So that has not changed or it is worse?

  36. brettscoast

    Good post Paul

    There is good and bad it seems in equal measure but Microsoft could do a lot more to fix the awfulness that resides in Windows 10 currently which is unwanted ads and unnecessary crapware after a fresh install. Major updates once a year is more than enough, this stuff must be a nightmare for IT Admins keeping multiple systems up-to-date. I was rapt when windows 10 was first released but now its become a pain in the arse for a lot of users.

  37. Xatom

    The Start screen and inability to do nested folders and inability to customize the app list will always be the big ugly. It is simply appalling that I can’t have only the apps I want in an app list the way I wanted them. Start should be renamed Finish because changing it was the beginning of the end for Windows.

  38. hrlngrv

    Built-in apps are mostly useless, but the same could be said for Notepad. More to the point, shouldn't there be a minimal configuration option at first login which wouldn't install any optional features.

    • Robert Wade

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      I'm wondering what people consider "built in" apps. And are they lumping all Store apps into that category?

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to Robert_Wade:

        Speaking just for myself, anything bundled with Windows 10, installed and appearing during first login. So Notepad, [traditional] Paint, Paint 3D, Get Office, OneNote app (as opposed to desktop OneNote), etc.

        I can accept that the applets which come bundled with an OS are something which changes over time. Windows 1 back in the mid 1980s came with Write, Paint (or was it Paintbrush?) and Calculator (who says MSFT copied Apple?! /s), so these at least are givens/traditional. If OSes now include a browser (but do they need 2?), a note taking app, and far too many games, OK.

        For me the annoyance is not being able to remove some of them, or needing to use Powershell to remove them. Credit when due: MSFT has gotten better about making things removable via right-clicking Start menu items since 1507. Still, if I bought Windows 10 Professional rather than Home, I really would expect a first login option for Install No Games. If that's not possible, why can't there be one option under Programs and Features to remove all games (like in previous Windows versions) similar to removing Windows Fax & Scan?

        • Robert Wade

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          Okay, fair enough. It might be interesting to see what percentage of users still use those apps that are included w/installation. It's probably small. I will tell you that, once in a while I do use Notepad, purely because it's a straight up text editor and I don't have to worry about hidden characters. I also use the original MS Paint because it's got exactly the quick graphic editing features I need with zero extra effort. Paint 3D doesn't have those features or, if it does, are about as painful to use as it gets. I do zero 3D work, and don't care to. I use OneNote for a LOT of office management functions--as a flight chief, I either attend or conduct a lot of meetings, training, etc. And, of course, my wife and I use it at home quite a bit to manage a number of things. As for Calculator, I don't use it very often, but I don't do math in public, so whether it's on my Lumia or my Surface Pro or PC, it comes in handy. I realize Edge will do calculations, too, but Edge is so incredibly slow and Calculator spins up fast. I TOTALLY would be onboard with the option Install No Games.

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to Robert_Wade:

            Re use, there are a few, stress FEW, things which an OS needs to provide: a plain text editor (Notepad), an arithmetic calculator (Calculator), arguably a simple bitmap editor (Paint), also arguably a browser (either Edge or IE, but not both). Me, I don't use Notepad. OTOH, I prefer WordPad over Word for simple formatted documents of 5 pages or less. However, from my perspective, WordPad is bloatware because it's difficult to remove.

            Tangent on Paint 3D: it sucks because (1) it can't run in multiple instances, and (2) it lacks a recent file list. That means it's much harder to use than Paint for selecting some parts of one image to copy and paste into other images. Unfortunately, there are FAR TOO DAMN MANY UWP apps which can't run in multiple instances. Little could more clearly indicate that UWP was meant for PHONEs rather than PCs.

  39. hooerm

    o my, it seems like you don't like windows 10 at all ?! :D

    personally i see only inconsistency and crapware as a negative from your list

  40. rameshthanikodi

    I think Microsoft needs to perhaps take a year off just to clean up the UI a bit. It's all over the place now. It's bad. I mean, it's not that Windows 10 looks bad, it's just...rough.

    I'm also a little disappointed in Edge. It's always so promising but somehow it never crosses the line. Chrome has no competition these days - even Firefox seems to be messing stuff up.

    I can use Edge (using it right now), but responsiveness issues remain. And where Edge makes small improvements every 6 months, Google Chrome does it every month. The development of Edge needs to be turned up to 11, and then put on rocket fuel. Even if it doesn't get updated every month, at least deliver bigger improvements with the longer baking process.

    • Robert Wade

      Responsiveness is definitely an issue for me...which is why I often revert back to IE11. I'll never switch to Chrome or Firefox (I used to use FF, and I hate Google). I'm convinced the responsiveness issue in Edge is due to Microsoft insisting they shoehorn a bunch of productivity features in it. I don't need it to be my PDF reader and all the other garbage. Just browse and render sites quickly and accurately.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      In some parts of world support for modems is still necessary, but do you believe MSFT has any interest in rewriting its modem configuration applet? For that matter, as long as PC users insist on using older peripheral hardware which only comes with Control Panel configuration applets, Control Panel needs to remain part of Windows. OTOH, there's a lot of stuff which should be moved out of Control Panel, e.g., the link to Administrative Tools.

      • Mike Widrick

        In reply to hrlngrv: A lot of people pay a lot of money for Windows. I don't think some spring cleaning is beyond their capabilities.

        They sell so many versions of Windows, too, why isn't there a non-BC version like the first Windows 8 on ARM? At least as a vision of the future and a stake in the ground of how Windows should work in the future?

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to solomonrex:

          Beyond MSFT's collective capabilities? No.

          However, MSFT won't clean things up out of choice. The ROI is too low to support doing so, and the only way that'd ever change is for significant migration of users from Windows to other OSes. Tangent: Windows would be a helluva lot better if its user and market shares were both under 60%.

          As for Windows RT, you did notice it DIED, as in sales were disappointing for all OEMs who tried making ARM-based Windows tablets, and sales even stank for MSFT's very own ARM-based Surface tablets? You may want to consider the possibility that for most (> 95%) Windows users, traditional desktop software provides most of Windows's value, and devices using OSes labeled Windows but unable to run traditional desktop software are so far behind iPads, Amazon Fires, other Android tablets and even Chromebooks in terms of available apps that it's almost an irrational choice to use them.

  41. kshsystems

    "Trouble finishing the job". Hah, that is an understatement. I would suggest that is crippling for Microsoft.

    "Windows as a service". I think this is an example that shows where the age of the windows code base is really holding Windows back. Just think of your updating experience on an android, where app updates are transparent, and system updates are usually uneventful (when you can get them, ah hem)

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to kshsystems:

      in terms of annual performance review/keeping their jobs, how much benefit would MSFT developers expect from, say, rewriting Power Options for Settings? If none or if it might even hurt, what rational developer would waste any time on it?

      I figure MSFT developers are producing exactly what MSFT's managers have designed its incentives to produce, and that doesn't include fit & finish. Until there's a widely accepted OS alternative to Windows on microcomputers not carrying the Apple brand or priced like Macs, this isn't going to hurt MSFT.

    • christian.hvid

      In reply to kshsystems:

      Seems like Microsoft is a workplace where everyone is allowed to be a 10 week puppy - act on every impulse, and drop things as soon as something else grabs your attention. In other words: where do I apply for a job? :)

  42. Martin Pelletier

    In the Bad department:

    Inconsistent user experience. You go all in on Fluent or you don't. Taking years to transition is very bad.

    Ugly for me:

    Being told that UWP would replace desktop applications. Drop WPF and Winform they said. Well, the lack of comparable features of .Net in WinRT did kill it. Took Microsoft 3 years to figure this out with .Net Core. We are still waiting for the Xaml Standard Microsoft! Will we have to wait 3 more years?

    And the supposed tool that help fixing things, that never fix a thing! :)

  43. epguy40

    well here's Ed Bott's take about Windows 10 after three years: