2016 Year in Review: Our Top Posts

Posted on December 31, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Microsoft Surface, Mobile, Windows 10, Xbox, Xbox One with 4 Comments

2016 Year in Review: Our Top Posts

With 2016 finally drawing to a close, it’s time to look back at another great year for Thurrott.com. Here are our top posts of 2016, with a bit of commentary about each. And some photos from 2016 that have absolutley nothing to do with those stories.

I am not above petty larceny.

1. Microsoft Delivers Yet Another Broken Windows 10 Update

By Brad Sams
September 30, 2016

This week, Microsoft released a new cumulative update for Windows 10 but a significant number of users are reporting installation issues that cause the update to fail to install.

Microsoft’s upgrade reliability troubles triggered a number of editorials, including Microsoft, It’s Time for a Reliable Computing Initiative and Microsoft May Already Have a Reliability Strategy. This is a thorny issue: Microsoft has applied a mobile platform update scheme to a legacy desktop platform, and it’s not clear if this scheme—Windows as a service–will ever really work.

Two dufuses.

2. Microsoft Has Broken Millions Of Webcams With Windows 10 Anniversary Update

By Brad Sams
August 19, 2016

With the release of the Anniversary update earlier this month, Microsoft has accidentally broken millions of webcams after it removed a feature that was used by HD webcams.

That “millions” claim was refuted to me privately, but it’s perhaps no surprise that the top 2 articles of the year are basically about the same topic. As a community, Windows 10 remains top of mind, and while there are high points to this OS, there are some issues as well. Not surprisingly, a new Pause Updates capability coming in the Creators Update will try to ease the pain in 2017.

Also, It’s notable that Brad had to the top 2 posts of 2016. He may have a future in this business.

Team Thurrott: George, Steph, Tina, and Tim

3. Upgradegate: Microsoft’s Upgrade Deceptions Are Undermining Windows 10

By Paul Thurrott
May 24, 2016

For months now, I’ve complained about the software giant’s heavy-handed tactics in trying to trick customers into upgrading to Windows 10. But a recent change to the Get Windows 10 advertisement that is forced on Windows 7 and 8.1 users takes things entirely too far. This is indefensible.

This was arguably my biggest personal gripe of 2016, that Microsoft would ruin the reputation of Windows 10, if not of the company itself, by being both aggressive and deceptive in pushing the Windows 10 upgrade on its customers. It was very gratifying to hear Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela transparently and honestly address this issue when I asked him about it recently on Windows Weekly.

Breakfast of Champions, Rattle N Hum, NYC

4. Xbox One S Tip: Upgrade Your Storage

By Paul Thurrott
August 10, 2016

While Microsoft’s initial run of Xbox One S consoles includes 500 GB, 1 TB and even 2 TB options, users will eventually face the same issue we see on smartphones and tablets: That storage will simply fill up as we install apps and games. Fortunately, there’s a solution.

It’s weird to me that the Xbox One generation of consoles doesn’t have an elegant way to replace internal storage. But as Rafael later explained, the system’s internal storage support isn’t very sophisticated and—shocker—using fast external USB 3 storage is actually faster.

2016 was the year of the desktop Linux … hat

5. The Convenience Rollup Makes a Big Difference, But Windows 7 Updating is Still Broken

By Paul Thurrott
May 21, 2016

The promise of the Windows 7 Convenience Rollup is that it will dramatically speed the process of clean installing and then updating a Windows 7 PC. And it does. But Windows 7 updating is still very much broken.

This is actually related to both Upgradegate (Microsoft’s deceptive attempts to get Windows 7/8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10) and those top two stories about Microsoft’s ever-evolving updating schemes. Put simply: Windows 7/8.1 updating is broken, and it’s hard to escape the thought that it may just be on purpose. That said, Microsoft promised all year to fix this, starting in May, continuing in August, and then finally implementing something that’s sort of like Windows 10 servicing in October. Whatever, none of this works: Windows 7 servicing is still broken.

Team Thurrott: Megan, Michele, Paul

6. Steve Gibson’s Never 10 Helps You Turn Off the Windows 10 Upgrade

By Paul Thurrott
May 28, 2016

The inestimable Steve Gibson has chimed in with his own utility for preventing your Windows 7/8.x-based PC from ever upgrading to Windows 10 without your consent. Called Never 10, it gives control back to the user.

That a story about a free utility that kills the deceptive Windows 10 upgrade is in the top 10 is all you need to know about Upgradegate. It was real. And it was hell.

Mary Jo and Ritchie

7. Google Project Fi Review

By Paul Thurrott
July 11, 2016

Google’s Project Fi is a near-perfect reinvention of what a wireless carrier can and should be, a great service with reasonable and fully transparent pricing. The one major issue is that it only works with a small selection of Nexus handsets and devices.

Project Fi was one of my great delights from 2016, and I’m glad this review reached a big audience. Be sure to read Project Fi Gets Even Better for International Travelers, Project Fi in Paris: My International Connectivity Dreams Come True, Google Adds a Group Plan to Project Fi, and Project Fi in The Netherlands: Seamless, Inexpensive Connectivity as well.

If Project Fi worked with iPhone, it would be perfect. It’s pretty damned close regardless.

Ninja Cat car

8. Welcome to Surfacegate

By Paul Thurrott
January 22, 2016

Microsoft is having its iPhone 4 “Antennagate” moment, thanks to rampant reliability issues with its Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 devices. But rather than publicly face the problems head-on, the software giant has retreated behind a veil of silence, undermining the credibility and viability of its hardware offerings.

Yes, this one was deliberately provocative, but it was brutally necessary too, given how long Microsoft had, to that date, ignored this issue and its long-suffering users. The firm spent the rest of 2016 trying to fix these problems, but some Surface Books and Surface Pro 4s will not ever be fixed because of physical issues with the chipsets and the devices themselves. And those unlucky people, like me, who own such devices, will continue to have issues until they replace the hardware or just give up. It’s too bad, because both Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 are otherwise quite impressive.

What Atlanta was like for Brad and Paul

9. Tip: Downgrade from Windows 10 Mobile on a Windows Phone 8.1 Handset

By Paul Thurrott
April 8, 2016

While Windows phone fans have been waiting impatiently for the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade on their existing Windows Phone 8.1 handsets, the truth is, this may not be an ideal upgrade for many. The good news? If you find that Windows 10 Mobile isn’t working well for you, you can roll it back to a stock Windows Phone 8.1.x install.

I gave up on Windows 10 Mobile in 2016 because it’s terrible. And while it’s a bit goofy that a Windows 10 Mobile post made the top 10, at least it’s this one: Windows Phone 8.1.x provides a much better experience on older devices than does Microsoft’s latest mobile OS. An iPhone or Android handset would provide an even better experience still. It’s past time to move on, folks.

A perfectly valid use for a $20,000 Surface Hub

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered Multiplayer Review

By Paul Thurrott
November 5, 2016

I am delighted but not surprised to report that the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered multiplayer experience holds up nicely despite the passage of time.

I am likewise delighted that one of my Call of Duty posts made the top 10, as I often feel like the video game stuff doesn’t resonate with many people. But Modern Warfare Remastered really is special. So be sure to check out A Timely Reminder of Why Call of Duty is So Great and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered Review: Gaming Perfection as well.

Me, Dona, Ninja Cat, and Mary Jo

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