Broken Windows – My Two Cents


Windows Is Broken

This is an out-of-schedule post, but I had this itch that demanded to be scratched.

broken-windows-feature-imageBeginning of Rant

There was a time when I looked forward to Windows updates. It was a time when you could expect bug fixes (if they existed) and even some new features, which were normally pretty good. Nowadays, new features mean “maybe this will work”, and “the new features pushed out the last time may have been fixed”. It’s a toss-up.

Microsoft has gotten itself in a real bind here. Its customers no longer trust that it is able to provide an update that isn’t downright scary. And they can’t seem to get their naming conventions up to speed, either. 1809? Really? 1809 is supposed to mean September 2018, not maybe October. 1809 was pushed out in late October, then yanked because it was infested with severe bugs. And I’m not kidding when I say “severe”. Deleting personal data goes beyond the pale. File management, after all, is something an operating system should excel at. Don’t get me started about an operating system called Windows not being able to properly manage windows. That’s for another rant… another day…

(I actually use a third-party utility to manage windows in a system called Windows!)

In case MS hasn’t noticed, I am here to inform them that it is now November (1811). Frankly, it pleases me that this update is collecting dust — twice a year is too often and it has become obvious that MS can’t maintain this pace — and not with any certainty of being a finished product when it does arrive. If anything can be said in their favor, it’s somewhat free. You get what you pay for, I guess.


The only advice I can offer at this stage of the game, dear reader, is to avoid updating to the misnamed 1809 debacle until several millions of people have tried it and whose machines haven’t exploded in the process. If for some inexplicable reason you can’t resist clicking that “Check for updates” button, then I implore you to make a backup first. You might be thanking me later. As usual, there is no good reason to update, and I use the term loosely, a product for new features that nobody cares about anyway. Heck! They don’t have the old, new features working yet.

The problem with all those Insider rings — the Fast Ring, the Slow Ring, the Preview Ring, and the Skip Ahead ring-a-ding thing — is that these poor unpaid “testers” are not skilled in the art of actual testing. They will send in thousands (millions?) of complaints about a color they don’t like, but won’t address an issue with a printer that no longer works. And even if they do, Microsoft seems to be ignoring them. I only have to point to the recent, devastating file deletion problem to bear witness for me. Yes, many reported this issue well before the 1809 update was rolled out, and MS apparently turned a deaf ear.

The main point of this obvious rant is to implore Microsoft to stop with the new features, already. Get everything working as it is. Now. Only then should you consider moving on to new stuff. And when you do, get it right, before you publish it.

End of Rant

FYI – I don’t plan to update to 1809 anytime soon.

I’m tired. I think I’ll make a nice cup of tea and fire up a movie. It’s tuck-tuck time,


Richard

About the Author

Richard Pedersen

Richard received his first computer, a C-64, in 1982 as a gift and began dabbling in BASIC. He was hooked! His love for computing has led him from the old “XT” boxes to the more modern fare and from clunky 10MB hard drives to smooth and fast modern day SSD drives. He has run BBS services, Fido mail, and even operated his own computer repair business.

20 Comments

  1. Anyone using W10 had better have a system image stored on an external drive.
    When I ask the one’s I do PC work for their response is “what is that”.
    In my humble opinion MS should at least try the same update approach that W8.1 has. Point in case, the PC I am using now has W8.1 installed,
    rolled back from W10, that works flawlessly.
    The twice a year idiotic feature updates is just a waste of my time, putting
    crap on my PC that I will never use. Please MS, just release a service pack
    and let me install it, if I want.
    Now do not take this as a anti W10 user. W10 is and will be the OS of choice,
    if one wants to run Windows but until MS gets their update policy fixed,
    then every user should take the steps to protect their PC and data from
    updates that may go wrong.

  2. Boy oh boy. I am truly a happy camper (figure of speech only) that I had the foresight to abandon the free windows 10 and rollback to windows 8.1. As someone who loves to rant and rave (more times than I want to admit), seeing I am not alone, brings tears of joy.

    Richard, I’m aware you must use windows 10 to assist users with their problems, and suffer the fate so as to inform. A noble gesture. You’re aware of what I’d do in your place. Tell the world to drop 10, revert if possible to 8.1, and enjoy life. 🙂

    It is absolutely unthinkable, unmentionable, that M$ would stoop so low and cause harm to users of their latest operating system. Must (knock on wood) say windows 8.1 (so far) is extremely trustworthy.

    I had plans to more up to windows (10 or just windows as M$ calls it), after 8.1 expires, but right know I’m undecided. Might just keep using an outdated, unpatched operating system, since I might have a better and safer experience. Honestly sorry for those having to live through a nightmare with windows 10, Mindblower!

    • Hi MB,

      End of Extended Support for Windows 8x is January 10, 2023. Extended Support includes free security updates, so you should be OK for another four years or so.

      Richard

  3. This absolute dog’s breakfast should be starting to affect Micro$ofts share price. Only then will they start listening.

    It has always amazed me that no-one has been able to build a competing “Windows” product by now. And don’t tell me Linux is the alternative !

  4. Richard, I don’t consider it a rant to express your frustration with Win10. It’s more of a realistic evaluation. I too have my two Win10 PCs on permanent postpone of updates. Each semi-annual update now guarantees grief. Not even the same grief for my two machines so I can use what I learned on one machine on the other.

    AdamAnt should not read this. I have a friend who is a retired MS developer (though from the flood of emails from MS you would swear they must not accept the concept of retirement). He has several PCs. All but one are now running one particular version of Linux, with a software that allows him to run ALMOST all Windows software. He has only one machine still running Windows and that because the accounting package he has on it will not run (yet) on Linux.

    I have bought my last Windows OS.

  5. I gave up on all of win 10’s updates even including security updates about a year ago! They were nothing but a headache and caused me untold hours of trying to fix things before finally using a partition image to get back on track. Since then my computer runs like a champ. I boot to desktop in about 15 seconds (no waiting to see if there are updates). In addition I have had no security issues and my computing days are pleasurable instead of causing me problem after problem.

    I used to make backup images once a week. Now I do it every day automatically just to make sure so that I can restore even if I do have a security issue. Works for me!

    • Hi Jay,

      I hope you have a copy of that backup on an external device that is not constantly connected to your computer. Backups can get bitten by malware, too.

      Also, an off-premises backup is good protection against “Acts of God”.

      Your backups will be of little use if they are encrypted by Ransomware or are fried in a fire.

      Just sayin’,
      Richard

  6. Windows 10 is no doubt cause for concern. With Windows 7 end of life 2020, Windows 8.1 as a short term replacement and older computers not compatible to run Windows 10, the recycle bins will fill up in our throw-away society. I have an Android Tablet with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, running Office 365 and streaming video, Smart TV, USB Drive, that I rarely need use my Windows 10 Laptop anymore. Of course there’s those programs that need Windows, but I’ve found replaced programs to run on other OS. Linux, still has issues especially with what distros to choose from, but my older laptops will end up Linux which will run much faster than when XP and Win7 ever did. One thing I will say and that is, I’ll never buy a new Windows 10 Laptop. I’m done with anything new with Microsoft.

  7. I’ve been quite happy with Windows 10 v. 1809 which I installed on 10/2/2018. Yes, I created an image backup just in case but, never needed to use that image.
    I also didn’t make any of those system changes mentioned that could have contributed to the loss of data etc. I’m already looking forward to the next update scheduled for next year. The older I get, the hungrier I seem to become to embrace those new features. I enjoy looking forward. Going back to an older version isn’t something I’ll be doing. Sorry, Richard. I’m also sorry to hear that you ran into a problem and know you aren’t alone.

  8. I too have purchased my last Windows computer. The one I have now was Win 8, migrated to 8.1 when the world was really upset at 8 and 8.1 vs 7. It ran fine on 8.1. Took the free upgrade to 10 and boy, do I regret it. My wife has a MacBook Air and we are slowly learning how to use it, but just saying, when my machine dies, I will be Mac all the way. Hey, here’s and idea, bring back XP. Fix it up and re-release it. It just worked.

  9. I still use windows 7 on my desktop but have a laptop with windows 10. I hate it and it just gathers dust. I can’t stop updates to it either, Another feature those ding a lings at MS came up with. They have some other gems in there as well and I will look at other options when it comes time to replace. MS seems to enjoy complicating something when it didn’t need to. There have been errors in Windows mail for a very long time that remain unfixed.

  10. Millions have already upgraded to 1809 without issues. The problems existed for less than one percent of users. I updated both my desktop and HP laptop before the update was pulled and didn’t have a single issue on either one. They are both full AMD machines. I don’t know if that makes any difference but I’m just throwing it out there. I used the update assistant both times and deleted the Windows.old folder within an hour of upgrading on both machines. No data was lost, no drivers got messed up, there were no problems at all.

    I’m not saying that data loss is trivial. Of course it’s not. But this article is painting a very exaggerated picture of what happened.

    • Hi Dch48,

      I’d like to make two points here:

      1. I don’t think that any number of people losing files is acceptable. One is too many
      2. Given the 1% number you mention, that would mean approximately 15 million users were negatively affected by this update

      Based on that figure, I don’t feel the article is exaggerated at all. Besides, it is an opinion piece and not an in-depth research paper.
      And it doesn’t stop at data loss. There are now reports of Windows Pro computers being unpredictably reduced to a Windows Home version (MS has acknowledged this), file encryption on certain SSDs being broken, and there are other negative reports floating about in the wild, as well. The list seems to get longer with each passing day.

      You say you felt so confident of the update that you pulled the “windows.old” directory after only an hour? One can’t possibly be certain that everything is working properly after such a short time. You may still feel a sickening yank from an unexpected snag down the line. One never knows, does one…

      Consider yourself to be one of the lucky ones if you come out of it unscathed,
      Richard

  11. I actually like that windows are regularly trying new stuff out on Windows 10.

    I remember the 5 year gap between IE 6 and 7 although it seemed longer. At the time when IE 7 came out I had given up on IE and was using Firefox (now Chrome). I remember Microsoft and even some people I knew bragging about how good tabs where even though other browsers had had them for years.

    And that’s how I felt Microsoft was for a long time, playing constant catchup. By the time they released something it was usually well outdated.

    So I do like the fact they are constantly trying new things and I don’t think the old way works now. Yes Service Packs I believe often brought new features but it seems mainly fixes and the big changes where kept for new Windows versions. By constantly trying new features they can be at the forefront once again and I like how the insider builds allow people to see what’s in the works and give feedback. Microsoft did seem to be very secretive in the past.

    However I do think they need to change the way the updates are done. The problem might be the fact they want to do roughly once every 6 months. Lately like politicians they seem to promise a lot and deliver little.

    As you mentioned they are also ignoring a lot of important feedback and many insiders are not technical. I see many insiders complaining about bugs and software such as security software having issues – this shows a lot of people don’t understand what the insider versions are and the risks that come with it.

    I think what Microsoft should do is use the insider versions to showcase possible new features but with no confirmation or dates and without a schedule. Id rather they just kept working on things and release then ready rather than giving dates and then delaying or as seen here releasing something broken.

    It also seems Microsoft is not handling the issue well. Keep people up to date and in the loop.

  12. Downloaded the W10 Update Assistant and installed W10 v1809 build17763.134.
    Everything went OK. Just had to reinstall my Winaero Games. Snipping tool is different and I do like the black theme.

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