Microsoft is Making Some Big Changes to Windows 10 Setup with the Creators Update

Posted on February 4, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 33 Comments

Microsoft is Making Some Big Changes to Windows 10 Setup with the Creators Update

Over the past several Windows Insider builds, Microsoft has discussed a number of changes it has made to Windows 10 Setup in the Creators Update. While the rationale for these changes is understandable, they make for a more ponderous end user experience.

In fact, the biggest changes were made in order to improve the accessibility of Windows 10 Setup, in particular for those with vision problems. This is a laudable goal, and I don’t mean to dismiss the need. But these changes will also be incredibly annoying to the vast majority of people who will in fact be clean installing Windows 10 down the road. And perhaps some compromise can be made.

The other big change, in my mind, is a new set of more explicit privacy settings one can configure. I’m in favor of this kind of stuff, not just because it’s more transparent, but because Microsoft has too often taken valuable steps out of Setup in order to make it happen more quickly for users. It’s better to get the system properly configured, I think, than save a few minutes during a process that most people will only experience once.

So let’s look at those and some other changes occurring in Windows 10 Setup with the Creators Update.

As I describe in the Windows 10 Field Guide, Windows 10 Setup undergoes a number of phases while it applies the OS to your PC’s disk. Some of these operations happen in the background and are non-interactive, while others, like the so-called OOBE, or out-of-box experience, require the user to answer questions and make choices.

If you are performing a true clean install of Windows 10, using USB-based media most typically, you will experience three phases. First is an interactive phase in which you are prompted for such things as the OS language, time and currency format, keyboard or input method, a product key (which is optional), to accept the license agreement, determine where to install Windows, and so. After that, Setup will apply the necessary files to disk, installed Windows 10 and associated services and drivers, and reboot a few times while doing so.

After that, the OOBE starts. This is the only part of Setup that those who obtain Windows 10 on a new PC will experience; the preceding tasks were performed for you by your PC maker.

With the Creators Update, the first two Setup phases appear to be identical to previous Windows 10 versions. The changes are in the OOBE. And they are readily apparent, both visually and audibly.

In the first part of OOBE, now called Welcome and named as such, Cortana will blurt out in an overly-loud voice that you can now setup Windows 10 using voice commands. She’s here to help, she says. But this announcement is incredibly jarring, in part because Windows 10 has always inexplicably set the system volume to a very loud level on first boot. (I’ve complained to Microsoft about this privately on many occasions, including as part of the formal Signature PC white paper I presented to them in 2016.)

You can turn off the yelling by quickly clicking a small microphone icon in the lower left of the Setup screens. (You can’t see it in my screenshots here because these images were taken with a virtual machine for which audio services were not yet enabled. But you will see the icon on real-world PC installs.) If you do not do so, you will have to grit your teeth during an overly-lengthy and overly-loud introduction to Cortana.

My advice? Disable this terrible functionality by default and spare most of us the pain. There is no reason why Windows 10 Setup can’t support accessibility. There is no reason for it to be on by default. (For example, I’m OK with Spanish being an option when I call my bank, but I expect for English to be the default. Same theory.)

The new visual style of OOBE is likewise jarring: It looks nothing like the rest of Setup, and if Microsoft is going to change part of Setup in this release, I feel like maybe they could change all of it and make the process visually consistent throughout. At least use the entire screen.

In the second part of OOBE, you connect to a network and thus the Internet, if needed. In a VM, this happens automatically, but on a real PC, you will need to select a Wi-Fi connection—and provide the password—unless you’re on an Ethernet connection at the time. No major changes here.

Next up is the Account part. As with the previous Windows 10 version, you are prompted to explain “who owns the PC,” a step I feel that most people will find confusing. And in part because “My work or school owns it” is the default. This isn’t new to the Creators Update, but this whole step should be removed. At the very least, auto-select “I own it,” please.

Then we come across the next big change in Setup: The “Make it yours” step has been changed to “Sign in with Microsoft.”

The emphasis here may seem subtle, and, I don’t know, maybe it is. But the notion of an explicit Microsoft account is now gone, replaced by what we might think of as an “online account” where you “sign in with Microsoft” by supplying your MSA email address, or a phone number or Skype name that is associated with that account.

And if you want to use a local account, there are fewer steps, but with a new name: Now you click “offline account” instead of “Skip this step” (which was more confusing, yes).

As before, you can supply a simple local account user name (like “Paul”) and, optionally, a password. Though I’m amused at the exhortation to “Create a super memorable password.” Both for the language and because it is not, in fact, required at all.

After that, the Services part of OOBE starts. First up, you are prompted to use Cortana. This is the same as in Windows 10 version 1607, in that you are using Cortana whether you want to or not, really, but selecting “Yes” here provides Microsoft with the ability to make the feature slightly more useful. (To make it even more useful, sign-in with an MSA.)

Next up is another big change, the new privacy choices, which replace the ability to choose “Express settings” in what used to be called “Get going fast.” Thanks to privacy concerns in the US, EU, and South Korea, Microsoft is now providing users with a set of explicit privacy choices to mull over during Setup.

These are:

Location. Apps like Weather and Maps need your location data to work properly. If you disable this, those apps can prompt you as needed for this access. The privacy dig? Microsoft uses your location data anonymously to improve its services.

Speech recognition. Cortana and some Store apps can use your microphone to enable speech recognition functionality. The privacy dig? Microsoft uses your speech recognition data anonymously to improve its services.

Diagnostics. Microsoft uses anonymous telemetry data to improve the reliability of Windows 10 and its own services. The privacy dig? Microsoft uses this telemetry data anonymously to improve its services.

Tailored experiences with diagnostic data. Microsoft provides a number of in-box suggestions and recommendations for apps and services that are based on an anonymous analysis of your usage. The privacy dig? Microsoft needs to use this data to know what to recommend.

Relevant ads. Certain Windows 10 apps and services display ads, and while you can’t turn that off, you can determine whether those ads will be more relevant and interesting based on your app usage. The privacy dig? Microsoft uses your anonymous app data usage data to improve these ads.

Note that each of these is enabled by default here, but you can easily change that after a bit of reading.

Note, too, that this step is completely unnecessary and that Windows 10’s privacy issues are nothing but FUD. And that you can configure Windows 10 privacy features to much more granular level anytime you wish, regardless of this step.

Anyway. After all that is over, Cortana is annoying for a few more screens and then Setup continues as it did in previous versions of Windows 10. That is, during a color-cycled, epileptic fit-inducing series of screens that read “Hi,” “This might take several minutes or so,” “We want everything to be super ready for you” (yes, really), and so on, you’re finally presented with your new Windows 10 desktop.

There are actually a few major changes here, too, and since this first trip to the desktop can rightfully be considered a part of Setup—after all, there are tons of things left for you to set up—let’s take a quick look.

First up, Microsoft Edge opens automatically, advertising both itself and a set of other Microsoft apps and services—Cortana and the Mail app—that the firm would really like you to configure now and use going forward.

Cortana integration with Windows 10 has gotten harder to ignore in recent releases, as you may know. But that Mail bit is new: Not only does Microsoft call out Mail in that welcoming Edge window, but with the Creators Update, a Mail icon is now displayed by default on the Windows 10 taskbar. That’s very valuable real estate: Microsoft really wants you to use Mail.

You will notice some other changes, too, including a crazy-big and very graphical new notification welcoming you to use the Action Center. But for the most part the Windows 10 experience now continues as it did in the past.

 

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Comments (35)

35 responses to “Microsoft is Making Some Big Changes to Windows 10 Setup with the Creators Update”

  1. Avatar

    378

    I like the "My work/School owes it." option being the default. I always use it, even on machines not being joined to a domain. This is the easiest way to get the install completed and create a local machine account without going through the maze of clicks needed to bypass the sign in with a Microsoft account. It looks like the "Offline Account" option has finally addressed this.

  2. Avatar

    5537

    I have wondered why since Windows 8.0 why the setup experience if you are performing a clean install from boot media, is not consistent. Its basically the same UI introduced Vista. I will say though, all modern operating systems have complex setup experiences especially for first time installs and its a reality of making pizza for over 1 billion Windows users. It's just some consistency would be appreciated, but it seems Microsoft is viewing the old setup routine as legacy and the modern way of performing a clean install is: Reset, Recovery Drive, Refresh Tool, Media Creation Tool (which again boggles the mind the amount of options there are for clean installing). Also, the idea of simplicity is Windows Update, which lacks options for users who want to perform a clean install if they downloaded through Windows Update. Another option, is the amount of ways to upgrade: Windows Update, Windows Upgrade Assistant, Media Creation Tool, all of which have different UI experiences. 

    A clean install can sometimes require a two step process if you didn't know. Then again, Microsoft is assuming, thats for advanced users. The OOBE issue is minuscule in comparison to bigger issues such as the preparation required to upgrade to future revisions of Windows 10 successfully, even on Microsoft's own branded hardware. The horrific 0x000000xx errors, stop codes, not enough space, resize system reserved partitions, attaching external storage on small storage devices. These are things users will likely encounter at the end of March. The ultimate recommendation being clean as the best option, but this is a chore for those who will need to reinstall desktop apps, configure things the way they like. 

    I have to admit, this is one area where macOS still shines; upgrading from Yosemite > El Capitan > Sierra is a set it and forget it experience. I don't even need to close out apps; after setup they are automatically restored and I can pick up from where I left off. 

    • Avatar

      5234

      In reply to adacosta:

      There are lots of users who had issues with Boot Camp and the need to create a system partition at the end of a disk in earlier versions.  The installer told them they had to blow away their Windows partition first, before upgrading.

    • Avatar

      9518

      In reply to adacosta:

      >>"Another option, is the amount of ways to upgrade..."

      FWIW I still prefer an ISO, as probably LOTS of people do, because of the way MS delays making them available, likely [IMHO] feeling most will have used Windows Update by then. Mount the ISO in 10, run setup, & you've got an upgrade/install. Use Rufus & stick the ISO on USB media, boot to it, & you've got a fresh install. Don't clear the Windows partition 1st, & existing files/folders get moved to Windows.old -- just have to drag the stuff you want to keep elsewhere before running Windows Disk Cleanup.

      FWIW I also use VBox booting to a WinPE.vhd with the ISO & a blank vhd attached. That way I can use WinPE's DISM to apply the image to the empty vhd. Transfer, or copy, or clone the results to a regular HDD partition or USB external drive, or use that vhd as-is, and if/when you boot to any one of those, 10's setup will proceed installing drivers & starting 10.

    • Avatar

      5615

      In reply to adacosta:

      "I don't even need to close out apps; after setup they are automatically restored and I can pick up from where I left off."

      It amazes me that Windows *still* completely falls down in this regard. To me, it is the failure to do this that makes Windows' updates and forced reboots the PITA that they still are. It would still be a pain in other ways, but it would be so much more tolerable if Windows saved state in these situations.

  3. Avatar

    8834

    I'm not a fan of the setup process pretending to be a person.  A computer can't "look forward" to something.

  4. Avatar

    127

    Maybe it is me, but the vast majority of people will only install Windows once (at least, I hope they do). For this reason, I see nothing wrong, apart from Cortana's volume, with this setup experience. It is detailed, yes, but that way people get to know the additional features on Windows 10. Especially important, as people never used these on any older version of Windows

  5. Avatar

    6525

    "Or, even better, use an online account.", says one of those Windows setup texts, LOL. No! Local, offline accounts only!

    The missing telemetry OFF remains the one and only, sufficient reason to continue using Windows 7 and not use Windows 10. Microsoft has learnt nothing but continues to violate laws including the German constitution (derived from the right to human dignity, the German federal constitutional court has identified the rights to informational self-determination and to confidentiality and integrity of information-technical systems).

  6. Avatar

    9518

    The biggest deal I've had with builds leading up to the RTM, is Microsoft's new upgrade process via Update -- they save bandwidth by not delivering a ESD file -- the device does MUCH more work figuring out what bits to download, then put into place so it can run setup.

    >>"But these changes will also be incredibly annoying to the vast majority of people who will in fact be clean installing Windows 10 down the road."

    I'm not sure how many 10 users will be installing vs. upgrading. FWIW I've found that either way the odds of a reliable 10 install/upgrade are about the same -- I've had bad installs that needed a fresh install to fix using either method. That said, Despite loads of software that would need reinstalled, I'm slightly leaning towards fresh installs for the Creators Update because of bad experiences with recent Insider builds, though *Hopefully* this sort of thing will be fixed by RTM.

    In this case something in 10 changed so that the VBox graphics driver was no longer compatible. Should Not have been a big deal, & as with other drivers that a new version of 10 had a problem with, it should have substituted another driver during the update/install process, in this case the default display driver from Mirosoft. It Did Not, leading to a near instant crash - reboot cycle.

    Another worry, I've got a couple of VMs set up with 2 [i7] cores & 8 GB RAM that run comparably to some lower end hardware, like a Celeron mini-PC & a 7" tablet. They're handy for testing etc. & give me a heads-up if there's something in a 10 update/upgrade I should worry about. If MS fixes the upgrade setup by the Creator's Update RTM, cool -- if not, it means fresh installs on those, and perhaps on all other hardware. [I'll know more after I attempt an upgrade install using the latest ISO [25] on this rig this weekend.]

    Why worry? It took a Windows 10 Pro 64 bit VM [as described above] roughly 12 hours to complete the upgrade from an earlier Insider build, & that's with hardly any software installed. Normally I'm looking at around 3 hours roughly -- it's been so little of an issue I've never really timed it. And with Task Mgr. running to make sure I'd not encountered any runaway services etc., CPU usage was high enough most of that time [near 70%], to impair actually using Windows for more than something like web browsing.

  7. Avatar

    2149

    I'm all for Microsoft pushing their apps and services in Windows. I get it, it might be a little bit of a nag. But otherwise, people will just continue to default to Chrome, and Gmail, etc. This is anecdotal, but no one I know uses MS services. I've encountered maybe one person with an @outlook.com address. People look at me puzzled when I tell them about OneDrive - they've never heard of it. They're still using Office 2007. It goes on and on. I think it basically boils down to people not thinking of Microsoft as a services company. Google, on the other hand, has been perceived as a services company since they began, because that's exactly what they are. Everyone has a Google account, but hardly anyone even realizes a "Microsoft account" is even a thing.

    • Avatar

      899

      In reply to PhilipVasta: On the consumer side, Google is clearly the market leader in terms of email and search. But there are 100's of millions of us who use OneDrive, Outlook, and Office at home probably because we also use, or have used them, at work. I left a big company to work as a contractor and so naturally continued to use these Microsoft products, if for no other reason than to remain 100% compatible with my clients. And for what I do, I find that the Google office apps to be light weight relative to their Office counterparts. I also think it's a bit creepy that Google reads my emails and then provides this information to third parties for advertising purposes. So other than a few back-up Gmail addresses, and as needed, YouTube, Google Earth, and Google Maps, which are excellent of course, I'm not a big user of Google services...but totally understand why so many are!

       

  8. Avatar

    10582

    I have a 50 station operation that was running w7pro. I put one on insider and prime opp hated it went back to 7. Then MS started pushing out w10 and her w7 went w10 overnight and keep mostly like w7 no onedrive, start menu mostly same and she adapted. W10AU pretty much the same, but if w10CU goes like this article implies and faced with retraining. A switch to  some w7 look alike Linux maybe in order.  Sorry Paul, don't choke on that word.

  9. Avatar

    10594

    In reply to tucpchom:

    My first thought in reading this was that Paul was hoping for a button labeled "Click here if you are totally blind." Brilliant! :)

    Sorry, Paul, it's not the same thing as an auditory "To continue in English, press 2" on the bank. And yes, deaf folks can deal with phone conversations using TTY or similar transcription services. There isn't (yet) a similar paradigm for the blind when dealing with PCs. Accessibility has to be built into the software.

  10. Avatar

    5234

    The "Who owns this PC" screen doesn't show up for Home versions.

  11. Avatar

    5530

    I actually think this is overall a massive improvement from the current OOBE. Replacing "Make it yours" with a more explicit Microsoft sign-in screen and replacing the "Get going fast" with the more explicit privacy settings alone are major steps forward.

  12. Avatar

    5615

    I wonder if this new emphasis on the Mail app is related to the recent appearance of the "Yahoo Mail style" inbox ads that a recent Forum post discussed? Perhaps Joe B's handiwork?

  13. Avatar

    217

    I hope they fix child accounts - the "only allow these websites" option has never worked for me in Windows 10.

  14. Avatar

    1266

    Although you mention the "offline" account bit has a bit of a snarky comment about remembering your offline password I find that useful.  As most, I am the family tech support and I cannot count the number of times someone in my family has purchased a new PC and promptly forgotten the password they used for the offline account or local as it was referred to previously.

    The family always uses a password because I've drilled it in their heads to secure everything they have.  I didn't intend for the local account but hey it says use a password so they will/did.

    So the snarky comment will help them to at least make a mental note of what they typed - at least I hope.

  15. Avatar

    5486

    I really don't like MS trying to relate to people by trying to use 'cool' language and slang during setup. It seems like they're trying too hard, and it just comes across as juvenile and annoying. It's quite condescending too. We're not kids, and don't need to be talked too like that. If this is MS trying to make people 'love' Windows 10, they can shove it.

  16. Avatar

    4587

    There is an excellent reason why Cortana should announce its availability for input, as default behavior.   Full blind users who are installing Windows won't otherwise know that Windows is ready for input, and would otherwise need sighted assistance to progress thru the install.

    Accessibility does mean everyone, blind, deaf, autistic, everyone.

    As for the the overly loud voice, that is what the little knob on your speakers is for. 

  17. Avatar

    5554

    "Windows 10’s privacy issues are nothing but FUD." 

    If that's true then why hasn't Microsoft A) Been more transparent about disclosing what each level of telemetry collects, B) Given users a telemetry Off switch? 

    Until then its not FUD I'm afraid and many people will continue to avoid 10.

    • Avatar

      5611

      In reply to PeteB:

      It is FUD. To answer your questions -

      A) They have been transparent. The problem is that the tin-foil hat brigade simply refuses to accept it, even though not a single person has managed to prove that it isn't telemetry (because it IS telemetry).

      B) Because it's telemetry, and nothing more than telemetry.

      • Avatar

        6525

        In reply to WP7Mango:

        Telemetry is not about whether anybody can prove anything, what are Microsoft's intentions or whether it is FUD - telemetry is about whether Microsoft has the right to get any data and meta-data from the enduser's computer usage without his agreement. The answer can vary in different countries under different law. In many countries, law is too imprecise to know until highest courts will decide. In some countries, or groups of countries, law is precise enough to know that the enduser himself has the right to decide by himself whether his computer sends any telemetry data or meta-data. The enduser himself - never a company (Microsoft) on behalf of, and instead of, the enduser.

        In Germany, the law is clear: the enduser, and only the enduser himself, has the right to decide by himself.

        In EU law, soon (mid 2018, I think) it will be clear when the EU basic data regulation specifies every natural person's right to minimal necessary violation of data privacy. Minimal! Minimal with respect to telemetry means: none! Because no telemetry whatsoever is necessary for a single computer operating system to operate the computer, as proven by countless computers being able to operate without any telemetry.

        Transparency does not supercede basic rights to human dignity, informational self-determination, confidentiality and integrity of information-technical systems etc.

        It is immaterial whether, at a time, such as the current time, telemetry is nothing more than telemetry, anonymous and transport-encrypted. Telemetry comprises data and meta-data. However few, if significant in amount at all (more than, say, one ping a day), the enduser's rights apply. In countries, or groups of countries, with sufficiently clear law (or court decision in the future), the enduser, and only the enduser himself, has the right to judge whether to grant and trust telemetry or to deny it.

        "FUD" and "tin-foil" cryers do not create any new basic rights and do not disable existing basic rights, or the law. Calling anything "FUD" is a non-argument. Rights are not given by non-arguments but are given due to the law.

        • Avatar

          5611

          In reply to RobertJasiek:

          You are confusing telemetry with privacy. Germany, like many countries, has strict privacy laws as you described. However, telemetry data is not personal data and therefore does not breach privacy laws. That's why Windows 10 can be legally used in Germany because Windows 10 has full user settings for privacy, and is therefore fully compliant with privacy laws.

          So, like I said earlier, it is FUD.

          • Avatar

            6525

            In reply to WP7Mango:

            Matters get a bit more complicated by the different levels of W10 telemetry. The level Full collects also obviously personal data, such as user text feeded to Cortana. This is then said to be anonymised and encrypted (apparently meaning transport-encrypted). Regardless of being anonymised and encrypted, what is being collected is personal data (and meta-data). However, if the level is Full, the enduser has given his implicit or explicit agreement to the level and the telemetry collection of some kinds of personal data (personal files on disk seem to be excluded).

            The really interesting case is if the enduser does not give, or not want to give, any permission for telemetry. For giving no permission at all, there would have to be the option telemetry OFF, and we know that Windows 10 Home / Pro currently do not have this option. This then amounts to endusers not wanting to give any permission for telemetry but only being able to select the level Basic (or whatever it is called). Then, contrary to the enduser's will, Windows 10 does basic telemetry.

            We know that basic telemetry collects various kinds of meta-data. It is still unknown whether, to which extend and which data are also collected as basic telemetry.

            Data or meta-data - the difference does not really matter for German law. For both, granting or denying collection is the enduser's own right. A right of the enduser is NOT a right instead of Microsoft.

            By speaking of privacy laws only you show your missing understanding despite my previous explanations that broader basic, constitutional rights are relevant. It is not only specifically privacy but, in Germany, more generally the rights to informational self-determination, confidentiality and integrity of information-technical systems as derived from the right to human dignity (and, IIRC, the right to freedom).

            If Windows 10 had full user settings for privacy, they would include the option for diagnostics / telemetry OFF. Since this option is missing, Windows 10 does NOT have full user settings for privacy.

            German law requires certain businesses, such as health care, NOT to violate ANY privacy of data or meta-data.

            Windows 10 violates the German constitution and some laws related to data processing and data privacy. I suspect that Windows 10 also violates various chartas of human rights, but those have been written many decades ago and did not take into account today's computer data and communication, so we cannot really know about chartas of human rights until there will be high court decisions.

            Privacy is one aspect of telemetry. Telemetry is one aspect of privacy. Of course, they are not identical. Of course, I do not confuse them.

            If you took greater care with explaining your argument, you could describe an opinion that, once anonymised and transport-encrypted, previously private data and meta-data would not any longer be private, already when still residing on the enduser's computer. This is false for these reasons:

            1) The German constitutional rights apply regardless of anonymisation or encryption.

            2) After transport, decryption enables evaluation of the (still anonymised) data or meta-data at all.

            3) Anonymisation of many data or meta-data is partially ineffective. The person of origin can be identified in many cases by combining a few dozen meta-data (such as used softwares on the same computer). It is very well known that deanonymisation works well in many cases.

            4) Once data are at Microsoft servers, there can be access by, in particular, US executives or secret services, with or without court / judge order. If without, then as hacking. It is the German enduser's right to deny collection of data and meta-data so that, in particular, he can prevent the possibility of later unwanted access.

            5) The worst case is, of course, decryption or backdoors in encryption. For the German enduser's right see as before.

            Think about it: even meta-data about which softwares are being used (not to mention: when) can tell much about an enduser's person, especially when deanonymised by secret services hacking Microsoft telemetry analysis servers. If you speak of FUD, you have slept during Snowden's discoveries. We do know that some secret services want to survey all communication and all data of all, all the time.

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