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Friday, October 28, 2016

My thoughts on Windows 10

Windows 10

Usually, this is where I put the Product Description, but since this is a WELL known product, I don't think I need to.

I make it well known I use a Chromebook. It's simple, it works when I need it to, and it has state-of-the-art security (and one day here, I WILL be doing a review on this system).

But, for the longest time, I was a Windows Fangirl. My first Windows system was a Packard Bell desktop with Windows 95 on it. It worked enough for the school essays I had to do during my Senior year, and it was fine for Internet access through AOL.

My next system was a Gateway Select 900 desktop with Windows ME installed, and it was purchased for me through OVR for a 'college course' I was taking, and the Win95 system would NOT handle the software I needed to use. Most people had infinite amounts of trouble with Windows ME, but that system was still working WAY past the EOS (Rnd of Support) date in 2006. Truth be told, I only pulled the hard drive and tossed the tower, because it was outdated and not upgrade-able.

I then migrated to Windows XP, and stayed there until 2014, when the XP desktop I had crashed so hard, I had no choice BUT to move to Ubuntu.

I moved BACK to Windows earlier this year, when Mama Melissa got herself an Alienware gaming laptop, and I took her 'old' Dell Inspiron 5558 laptop, which runs Windows 10.

And that is when the troubles of Windows 10 began.

As I said before, I used to be an AVID graphic designer. I was self-taught for the majority of techniques I can do. One of the downfalls of going to Ubuntu was not having a program I truly enjoyed, Adobe Photoshop. Sure, there is GIMP, but it's not the same. So, when I returned to Windows 10, one of the FIRST things I did was try to install my copy of Adobe CS3 Master Collection.

and it was a bust.

Oh, sure the programs OPENED, but they weren't usable. PS wouldn't 'parse' the pictures... I didn't even BOTHER with trying to use anything else. I even tried running it in 'Compatibility Mode...' Nada.

Okay, fine, whatever. Affinity Designer for Windows was due out soon anyway; I could wait.

Well, then The Anniversary Update (Version 1607) was released, and while it installed on my Dell Inspiron laptop fine, it messed Mama Melissa's Alienware laptop to the point of where it was completely unusable; the activity light would go nuts for no reason.

Now, I get it that Windows 10 'phones home' a lot, but this was almost a constant thing. The activity light would continuously be lit, even if she was just watching a YouTube video or simply reading her email on the web. A lot of her drivers were not compatible with Version 1607, in particular one of her graphic cards... which until I googled a solution, made her favorite game, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, completely unplayable.

But, Mama Melissa LOVES that system, so to make it SOMEWHAT usable, we installed Linux Mint 18. It had minor bugs, but at least the system was usable. The funny thing is, Linux Mint should not have even been able to be installed.

One day, Mama Melissa decided to 'recover' the Alienware to Windows 10 using the recovery USB stick sent to us by Dell. It recovered fine, but now we are at the point of where Version 1607 REFUSES to install, even after at least 3 additional 'recoveries.' The machine is stuck in a 'download-install attempt-failure' loop.

And this is where this reviewer has her issues with Windows 10.

Seriously, it should not be this hard to install an update... Nor should it be near IMPOSSIBLE to get ANY help from the company or in this case, companies!

I first went through Dell/Alienware for a copy of the newest OS, or at least a copy of what the system shipped with (Version 1511) and they basically told me all their USB sticks have the 'Base' build (Build 10240) and any subsequent builds/updates would be available through Windows Updates.

Here's the thing; I know Version 1511 (and Version 1607) is not a different OS; it's equal to a service pack. I understand this fully. However, If I had bought a system that came with Windows 7 SP1 from the factory, I'd expect the recovery media to have the same Windows 7 SP1 on the recovery media... Not just the Original Windows 7 release and I'm on my own to download the SP1 update!

Okay, Fine... I even asked Microsoft for a USB stick of the Anniversary Update. I was told to download the ISO file and try it that way. After explaining that we have TRIED this way as well, and it did not work either, I was told the only solution to the problem was to REBUY Windows 10.

Um, Excuse me? Why should I buy another copy of something I already own? No! I shouldn't shell out MORE money for something that was included in the HEFTY price of the computer!!

Microsoft then said to 'disable your Anti-virus software prior to installation.' When I replied that we were using Windows Defender, which is built into Windows 10 by default, I was THEN told that some '3rd-party anti-virus prograns do interfere with the installation.'

Really? Windows Defender is HARDLY a '3rd-party program,' especially when it's built into the system.

We even tried a 'Remote Access' through Microsoft Help. Neither browser would allow the remote connection.

Now, I'm not saying Windows 10 isn't a nice operating system. For some people, it's perfect... especially if you are heavily tied into the Microsoft ecosystem or you use programs that are reliant on Windows 10.

But there are too many things that isn't worth it.

Why does Microsoft NEED to call home so much? That is MY system. Unless I am having a problem with it, you don't need to know what *I* am doing on *MY* system. You don't need to know what files or what programs I have on my system. This is what you have the Windows Insiders program for. They can be the guinea pigs for new features.

I don't like the idea of needing to use a 3rd-party program to control MY privacy. I should be able to go right into the settings and disable EVERYTHING I don't want Microsoft to know about my system.

I also don't like the idea of Windows 10 telling me what programs I have to use. I have NO use for Cortana. I don't need a personal assistant helping me through my computing day. If I did, I would hire one. But there is NO way to fully turn Cortana off, so she is constantly listening/watching what I am doing... and no doubt, reporting my every computing move BACK to Microsoft.

At least with my Chromebook and the various Android devices I have used, I have the option to disable 'OK Google' from the settings. You can also disable Siri on iOS/MacOS devices from the respective Settings menu... So WHY is Cortana downright IMPOSSIBLE to disable on Windows without a registry hack?

And I surely don't appreciate Windows 10 telling me WHAT programs I should uninstall. It cracks me up that Windows 10 tells me to uninstall CCleaner, a program my household has used for years on EVERY Windows system we've owned, just 'to save space.' No, more like Microsoft wants my system to get bogged down with junk files, so I either pay for their 'help' to get my system working again or buy a newer system, and they will get a cut of the purchase price. Besides, a full install of CCleaner is not going to cause 'insufficient space' on a 1 TB drive.

Why do I NEED to sign in with a Microsoft account? If I wanted to be tied into your ecosystem, I'd use MORE of your services. Just go back to the OLD way, when a local account was default. It made things SO much easier. Furthermore, This should be a better visible option on the Installation/Recovery page, not just a 'Skip this Step' link in a really tiny text, that is easily missed.

Why do the updates have to be so HUGE? Seriously, I'm wondering if my problems with Verizon this past weekend wasn't that they thought I was pirating movies and/or TV shows, with as much traffic was coming from my IP address and they capped me! An update should NOT be 4 GB+, especially if it's not an entirely new OS. Granted, Apple's newest OS, MacOS Sierra is 4.78GB in size, but this is NOT just an update, this is an entirely new OS.

If you're aiming for a 'seamless' experience, Why can't I use apps on my computers the same way I do on a mobile device? Let's take Instagram, which is one of Windows 10's newest app releases. For me, typing on a physical keyboard is 100x easier than a touch keyboard. So, why can't I upload photos from my Windows computer using the Instagram app available in the Windows Store? I can do everything the Windows Store app does right from the Instagram website!

In short, it's too big, too clunky, too intrusive and just not ready for major usage.  If you are on an older version of Windows that still has support, STAY THERE FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN. When your Windows version reaches its EOS date, either move to a Mac product or start looking at alternative OS options. There are MANY distrubutions of Linux or even Chrome OS devices.

If you still want to try Windows 10, This is available from Microsoft Store for $119.99 for the HOME version.



  1. Oh, where to begin! My husband's a tech, and he thought XP was one of the better releases, ME was ridiculous, 98 was one of the most stable, and he's perfectly happy and content with Linux. As am I! We attempted 10 last year. NEVER AGAIN. Tried it twice. Nope. We ran, screaming, from Winblows last October, and have not looked back.

  2. I use Windows 10 on my HP pavillion desktop and Photoshop 7.0 with Image ready works great on it as does Paint Shop Pro 8 and 10 and animation shop 3... I of course will need to pay the 20 bucks a month for the updated suite from Adobe for my new college courses i am taking but as far as i have found those programs work great.