An operating system (OS) that’s been around as long as Windows has had plenty of time to accrue features. Several of them are under-appreciated and don’t get enough credit, while Windows 10 offers its own slew of new features to tempt you into upgrading. However, it’s not all perfect in Windows land.
In the past few versions of Windows, Microsoft has introduced some irritating features that the OS would be better off without. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of Windows’ most annoying features that we wish would get axed. This list would be longer if Microsoft hadn’t already retired some obnoxious features, so be sure to check those out, too.
1. Pre-Installed Store Apps
Windows has always come with games pre-installed, but with Windows 10 Microsoft forsook traditional favorites like Minesweeper and Solitaire to bundle in Candy Crush Saga. Candy Crush is a freemium game only interested in sucking your money away, so it’s understandable why most people don’t want it around. Aside from that, there’s other bloatware like Bing Food and Drink or Zune Music wasting space on your Start menu.
Bloatware is annoying no matter where it comes from, but it’s more understandable when hardware manufacturers load a machine up with junk in order to keep the price down. When Microsoft is doing it to their own OS, it’s a whole different story. We shouldn’t have to spend hours on a new installation of Windows 10 removing a ton of junk Microsoft forces on us.
Thankfully, it’s not too difficult to remove Windows 10 bloatware. You can remove individual Modern apps if only a few bother you, or use PowerShell commands to hide them all in seconds. Hopefully, in the future, Microsoft will get the picture and make these apps optional instead of pre-installing them. It would make for an immediately cleaner experience.
2. Default OneDrive Integration
Microsoft started pushing OneDrive integration in Windows 8, and it’s been married more deeply to the system since Windows 8.1 and 10 released. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with OneDrive, some people don’t want to save all their files in cloud storage (especially by default). In addition, Microsoft reduced the amount of free storage for OneDrive down to a paltry 5 GB, angering many users.
Since Microsoft likely won’t let up on this, you’ll have to take it upon yourself to remove OneDrive integration in Windows. If you like, you can even replace it with another cloud storage provider — Google Drive gives 15 GB for free, Dropbox has tons of uses, and there are ways to secure your data in the cloud for security-minded folks.
3. Aggressive Tracking
One of the most publicly covered facets of Windows 10 is that it tracks nearly everything you do. Even if you’re still on Windows 7 or 8.x, Microsoft has introduced updates to add similar telemetry “features” to keep tabs on you, too. Of course, nothing is truly free, so it’s not a surprise that Microsoft would want to collect this kind of data in exchange for a free OS upgrade — but that doesn’t make this stalking any more welcome.
Many of the settings you need to check right after installing Windows 10 are the preferences that allow to disable these data-collection tasks, and users of older Windows versions can shut off the “features” in far fewer steps. Since Windows 10 is likely the last version of Windows, Microsoft wants to take user information and utilize it to keep their OS on top. However, it’s reasonable to expect most people won’t want their computer doing this.
4. Settings/Control Panel Confusion
For a long time, the Control Panel was the place to go for any preference tweaking in Windows. From keyboard settings to power options to user management, the Control Panel collected commonly used settings so you didn’t have to track them down elsewhere. Starting in Windows 8 and continuing now, Microsoft is phasing out the Control Panel in favor of the Settings app.
The new Settings app is designed to be more user-friendly, especially for novice users, as it uses simple controls and features big gaps perfect for touchscreen use. This isn’t bad, but the identity crisis of Windows settings is. For now, half of the items you want to change are in the Control Panel, and others are in the Settings app.
Windows 10, just like 8, still includes two versions of System apps. Like Backup and Control Panel. Makes no sense. pic.twitter.com/ekhCKcJvTU
— Bryan Beal (@bryanrbeal) February 6, 2016
It’s likely that Microsoft will either retire the Control Panel completely or rebrand it as a legacy feature reserved for power users — similar to the Run menu now. Other than nostalgia, it won’t be a problem to see the Control Panel go if Settings is a worthwhile replacement. Microsoft just needs to make up its mind and stop splitting the options between two interfaces.
5. Forced Updates
While Windows Updates are annoying, it’s wise to keep your software up to date to stay secure and gain the latest features. Since most people don’t want to manually check for updates every time they use their computer, automatic updates are efficient and usually stay out of your way. Windows 10, however, takes the concept of automatic updates way too far.
Users of the Home Edition of Windows 10 are forced to accept all updates no matter what they contain, while those with Professional or above can defer new features for a few months — they’ll still be forced to get them eventually, though. Security patches are unavoidable for everyone.
Automatic updates aren’t a bad thing in themselves, and in fact they probably help the average user out quite a bit. However, Windows veterans don’t want to be forced to blindly install every update without knowing what it contains, especially when updates can cause problems.
Thankfully, with some help you can get a handle on Windows 10 updates, including removing updates after they’re installed. It would be nice to have an “I’m an advanced user; let me control updates” option, though.
If you have Windows 7 or 8, and you don't want to wake up tomorrow with Windows 10 installed, you need to turn off your automatic update NOW
— ThatOneGuy (@VaultsOpen) February 3, 2016
Of course, this doesn’t even take into account that Microsoft has been forcing Windows 7 and 8.x users to update to Windows 10 several times. The free upgrade offer runs out in July, and they want as many people to make the jump as possible. Talk about an inescapable update.
What Would You Toss?
Most of these features have their root or have been exacerbated in Windows 10, but to be fair, there are good and bad things about the newest version of Windows. None of these are OS-breaking behavior, but if we had our way with the next major Windows update, we’d be taking a look at pruning these features off.
Most of them are forced on users who should be able to choose whether they want to use them, which is a stark contrast to our earlier list — as annoying as Clippy was, you could easily turn him off. It’s interesting to compare the annoying features of 10-15 years ago to today.
For further reading, look back on the brighter side of Windows and see how legendary Windows tools were succeeded by new features.
What feature would you remove from Windows? Let us know what grinds your gears in the comments!
Image Credits:Young woman with shears by Elnur via Shutterstock