Why Is Windows Going Backward?

Back To The Future

I think many of you would be disappointed with the direction Windows has taken in recent years, I know I am. While I can certainly understand the threat from mobile devices, as perceived by Microsoft, Windows has always primarily been a desktop operating system and, in my opinion, should have stayed that way. Microsoft’s foray into the mobile market proved to be disastrous with both its smartphone and Microsoft Mobile failing badly. That attempt to take some ground off both Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) in the mobile market cost Microsoft millions but, unfortunately, the mobile threat has continued to influence Microsoft’s decision-making regarding its desktop operating system.

Has anyone used, or tried to use, the new Mail app that first shipped with Windows 10? What an absolute waste of space it is. To think that we’ve somehow managed to go from the excellent Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail email clients to something that is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. That, my friends, is the complete opposite of progress. In fact, does anyone ever use any of the so-called “apps” that ship with Windows 10 and 11? I don’t. I’m running a desktop and whenever I’m looking for a particular program, I want something that’s full-featured with at least some semblance of professionalism… not some cut-down, half-assed facsimile.

In short, Microsoft’s preoccupation with mobile and attempt at satisfying both the desktop and mobile markets has seen Windows regress from what has been a great desktop operating system to a hybrid that is great at neither. I believe most would agree that Windows 7 was an excellent operating system and it is no coincidence that the process of regression began with Microsoft’s flirtation with mobile during the Windows 7 era.

Windows 10 vs Windows 11

I’ve been running Windows 11 for around six months now alongside Windows 10 on the same machine so I am in a position to make a firsthand comparison. Windows 11 was rushed out to consumers incomplete and with certain user interface elements migrated over from the now-abandoned Windows X project, and it shows. A fixed taskbar position, the inability to drag and drop items onto the taskbar, and the worst Start menu ever, are just a few of the retrograde steps.

Developers have actually produced software to cover Windows 11’s shortcomings. StartAllBack, for example, includes options to position the taskbar at any edge of the screen (top, bottom, left, and right), drag and drop to the taskbar, plus choose a Windows 7 style Start menu, and much more. The very fact that this type of software is popular speaks volumes. When users need to install third-party software to get Windows working the way they want, there is something very wrong.

Windows 11 is buggy too. Admittedly, I am running a Beta Insider build which is not expected to always be 100% but it is, nonetheless, supposed to be near enough, certainly a lot more stable than on the Dev channel. Since the very beginning, I’ve experienced issues with Windows Explorer which, admittedly, are easily fixed with a simple restart. However, several new builds later and the exact same issues persist. I said right from the get-go that Windows 11 was released as a work in progress and my experience to date has only served to confirm that initial assessment. I have little doubt that, given time, Windows 11 will mature into a pretty decent operating system – the question is… when?

I guess, to a certain extent, comparisons between Windows 10 (which is now a fully mature operating system) and Windows 11 (which was only released some 7 months ago) are a tad unfair. But, seriously, Windows as a desktop operating system should always be moving forward, not going backward.


Microsoft needs to forget about mobile (the company is never going to make inroads in that area) and get back to concentrating on producing the fine desktop operating systems that have seen Windows dominate that particular marketplace for many years. In a way, I guess, that very domination is the end user’s worst enemy. So many aspects – software, drivers, hardware, etc. – have revolved and evolved around Windows for so long, it has essentially become institutionalized. Plus, of course, the lack of viable alternatives does not help.

What do you think?

14 thoughts on “Why Is Windows Going Backward?”

  1. As I was reading your article, I was thinking about my experience with W10 and W11.
    After flirting with and installing W11, on my main machine unsupported hardware, so many things did
    not work with W11, so I am back on W10, although I do have an old dell unsupported
    laptop, that is running W11 just fine.

  2. Yes I tried win 11 on a unsupported device! You know what it isn’t going anyway near my main laptop because it’s rubbish.

  3. Jim, I am a solid 100% desktop user. The only app I use is the Calculator.
    All other apps are muted. And I user several 3rd party add-ons to make my Windows experience enjoyable. The younger crop of Microsoft developers must be mobile addicts, all thumbs. Only hope 11 will improve prior to the end of this year, Mindblower!

  4. Simon Witter

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. Microsoft, please get back to making things work on the PC. I am never going to need Windows on a phone, and don’t know anyone who would even consider that.

    I’m on Win 10 and the most disappointing thing about it is the email programme ‘Mail’. I used to have 50,000-100,000 emails sorted into dozens of folders on Windows Live Mail, then that stopped working (sending/receiving anyway). I have had to migrate that across 2 PCs just to keep those records, which is getting increasingly messy. The new Mail has almost no functionality, but its greatest sin is storing everything in the cloud (not locally on the PC) and then being unable to find it. If I look for any emails in my new folders older than a couple of months, it can’t find them – no chance. Thankfully I can usually find them on my emailproviders online portal, but that’s very, very poor.

    MIcrosoft, bring back proper, fully-functioning PC apps that make use of the big screens we all have these days! Mobile phones are not your wheelhouse.

    1. Peter Thompson

      Maybe it’s just me but I like the idea of having windows on a phone. What always put me off was the lack of apps. As an Android user I wasn’t willing to lose everything I use.

      I do think that there’s possibly a future for windows mobile but Microsoft needs to realise the desktop is a desktop.

  5. Total agreement from both my wife and self.
    I made the mistake of getting my wife a windows phone – after pretending it worked for a few months (not to hurt my feelings) she gave in and demanded a proper phone…
    Windows 10 is bad enough with a start button that expands all over my screen and I dread to think what 11 would do….
    The biggest problem, well not big really but very annoying is the periodical having to click through install windows 11 adverts on start up on my new baby (my Chinese non-upgradeable died last month RIP). Do they think I’ll hit the wrong button and upgrade by mistake?
    We have one elderly smart phone that works between us for emergencies and apart from making the odd call or being summoned by herself it’s not used. I have no interest in squinting at a tiny screen when I’ve got the same info an a 28 inch monitor AND why would anyone watch films and video on a phone? Makes no sense to me.
    Like others the only app (why can’t they call them programs any more?) I use is the calculator but miss my clock and side bar gizmos that I started using on vista.
    I think Microsoft needs to do a little market research and discover that their older customers (who don’t like change) have a much higher disposable income than the teens and twenties.
    Just one word of warning for phone users – I have tenosinovitis (an RSI) from setting type for print. It doesn’t go away and there is no cure. The version I have affects the thumbs and there is not much that can be done when thumbs freeze……..
    Thanks for yet another insightful article Jim,
    All the best

    1. Hey Jonathan,

      Take a look at 8 Gadget Pack: It brings back all the great gadgets from the Vista/Windows 7 era. It’s free and works a treat. Microsoft removes it with each major/feature update (which isn’t very often) but a quick and simple “repair’ soon gets it all back working again. I install it on all my machines, wouldn’t be without the calendar and CPU/RAM meter.

  6. I just read your post to my wife and she literally cheered – she is Californian by birth which explains it – I am smiling all over my face as well (stiff upper lip of the Raj!)
    Thanks mate you are a wonder! I will be installing straight away. So will she.
    It’ll be really great to see what is going on in real time on my new baby….

    1. LOL.

      I’m just in the process of compiling an article all about 8 Gadget Pack, inspired by your comment. It should be published some time next week. In the meantime, enjoy your new gadgets, 🙂

      1. That should really be worth reading.
        We did have 8gadget at one time a few years ago. But it was pretty buggy and there was all the microsoft propaganda about hacking through the gadgets and we fell for it.
        Now it is happily living on my desktop and it’s telling me my Ryzen7 has 16 cores (8 cores and 8 threads I think) and I’m using single figure percentages of everything.
        Herself is being a kid in a sweet shop finding all her ‘old friends’.
        Thanks Jim, you have really made our day.

        1. You are most welcome mate.

          Yes, if I remember rightly, Microsoft’s concern was over the potential for users to inadvertently install malicious gadgets. No such concerns with 8 Gadget Pack.

  7. I stopped taking Microsoft seriously after Windows 8.

    Windows 7 + open source (libreoffice, octave, texstudio etc) work great for me and I don’t plan to change it for anything other than Linux at some point.

    I need real operating systems that run on BIOS and offer me with full admin privileges whenever I wish to. Not “trusted platform” code and toy “apps”.

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