The 6 Most Annoying Windows Features and How to Fix Them

Ben Stegner 12-12-2016

When you think about it, Windows is pretty great overall. There are lots of surprising reasons you’ll like Windows 10 10 Surprising Reasons Why You Will Like Windows 10 It's almost cool to hate on Windows 10 these days. Don't let that deprive you of all the benefits Windows 10 will bring! We show you what you're missing out on. Read More if you haven’t upgraded yet. The operating system (OS) also includes lots of little extras 6 Underappreciated Features of the Windows Operating System There are plenty of Windows features you use every day, but some you might not have ever seen. Let's give these underrated tools some credit. Read More that don’t get any credit.


However, it’s not all perfect in the world of Windows. There are bygone Windows features we wish never happened 6 Retired Windows Features We'd Rather Forget Windows has gone through a lot of features over the years. Here are a few nobody really misses. Do you remember them? Read More , and we’ve discussed the current annoying features nobody needs Here Are 5 Annoying Windows Features Nobody Needs Windows is great at its core, but some features are over the top. We'd be happy to see them removed. Which Windows features would you like to get rid of? Read More .

While we enjoy poking fun at the sticky parts of Windows, let’s work on fixing these annoyances instead. Here are several frustrating parts of Windows that everyone has to deal with, and how you can make them less irritating.

Turn Off Annoying Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are incredibly useful Windows Keyboard Shortcuts 101: The Ultimate Guide Keyboard shortcuts can save you hours of time. Master the universal Windows keyboard shortcuts, keyboard tricks for specific programs, and a few other tips to speed up your work. Read More and can save you lots of time when navigating your computer. However, there are lots of shortcuts you can activate by mistake Oops! 10 Keyboard Shortcuts Users Keep Hitting by Mistake Find that your keyboard won't type properly? Here are common keyboard shortcuts that cause issues and how to fix them. Read More that can mess up what you’re doing.

One of the most annoying is Sticky Keys, an accessibility feature that lets you type key combinations like Ctrl + Alt + Del by pressing one key at a time. It’s great that these features exist for users who need them Are You Nearsighted or Farsighted? Tips to Make Windows More Accessible for Young & Old Computers use print that's too small, your eyesight changes, you get headaches, and the computer gets called a lot of dirty names. Consult this guide to Windows Accessibility tools for some stress relief! Read More , but the shortcut to enable it is pressing Shift five times. You might do this accidentally and have no idea what’s going on with your typing.

To turn this off, press Shift five times to bring up the Sticky Keys dialogue. Click Go to the Ease of Access Center… to jump to Sticky Keys settings, and uncheck Turn on Sticky Keys when Shift is pressed five times. This will prevent the dialogue from popping up.


sticky keys options

Another annoying shortcut is Aero Shake. When you grab a window and move it back and forth a few times, Windows will minimize every window except the one you’re dragging. This is easy to accidentally activate, and most people probably don’t even use it 10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now We make do with Windows, but it isn’t perfect. In fact, Windows computers can be extremely annoying. They’re full of all sorts of annoying features that just get in our way and slow us down,... Read More .

To disable this, open the Registry Editor by typing regedit into the Start Menu. Remember that Registry tweaks can be dangerous How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry Working with the Windows registry? Take note of these tips, and you'll be much less likely to do lasting damage to your PC. Read More , so be careful while you’re in here. Browse down to this key:


Here, right-click the right side of the screen and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name this DisallowShaking and set its value to 1. Log off and back on, and Aero Shake won’t bother you anymore.


Another irritating keyboard shortcut is Ctrl + Alt + Arrow Key, which rotates the screen orientation. These shortcuts have been standard on Intel Graphics for years, but you can shut them off easily. Type Intel into the Start Menu and choose Intel Graphics and Media. If you’re prompted for a mode, choose Basic Mode or Advanced Mode.

intel graphics disable hotkeys

Click Options and Support, then Hot Key Manager. Uncheck the box next to Hot Key Functionality and these shortcuts won’t disrupt the screen anymore.

Shut Windows Up

Windows has had a habit of making annoying sounds for a while The Forgotten Retro Sounds of the Early Windows Era This year marks the release of the final Windows version. 20 years earlier, Windows 95 was born. Do you remember how it sounded? Join us on a nostalgic audio trip down memory lane. Read More . Whether it’s the annoying clicking sounds in internet Explorer and the File Explorer or beeping at you for every little action, sometimes you just want Windows to shut up How to Shut Up Windows 10 Notifications Once and for All Sick of being told about Windows 10? Here's how to stop the annoying notification on Windows 7 or 8.1. Read More .


You can turn off all Windows sounds easily by typing Sound into the Start Menu to open the Sound control panel. Click the Sounds tab to view and preview all the different sounds Windows can make The 5 Best Free Sites to Download Windows Sound Effects Learn how to change your Windows 10 sound scheme. Here are some of the best free sites to download Windows sound effects. Read More . To turn off all Windows noises, change the Sound Scheme drop-down to No Sounds.

windows sounds disable

If you’d like to fine-tune individual sounds instead, scroll through the list below. Any sound that’s currently enabled has a speaker icon next to it. Choose [None] from the Sounds drop-down box below to mute it. Make sure to also uncheck Play Windows Startup sound so you don’t start blasting a tune when you sneak in late to a meeting.

Windows Updates Getting Stuck and Forcing Reboots

Windows Update is an essential feature 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates The code that makes up the Windows operating system contains security loop holes, errors, incompatibilities, or outdated software elements. In short, Windows isn't perfect, we all know that. Security patches and updates fix the vulnerabilities... Read More , because it delivers security updates to your system. Thankfully, it’s gotten a lot smoother in Windows 8 and Windows 10. Instead of incessantly asking you to reboot like it did in Windows 7, you can now choose a convenient time to restart. Depending your version of Windows, there are different issues you can run into.


On a fresh installation of Windows 7, use the Convenience Rollup How to Half Your Windows 7 Installation Time with an Update If you'll ever need to reinstall Windows 7, you can now cut the setup time in half. The Windows 7 convenience rollup compiles all Windows updates and security patches since SP1. Let us explain... Read More to install years worth of patches in one go. You can also use a Registry hack to stop Windows from restarting How to Disable Forced Restarts After a Windows Update Are you tired of Windows hassling you to reboot your computer after updates were installed? Miss a pop-up and it reboots automatically. Stop this madness and reboot at your leisure. Read More for updates.

No matter your version of Windows, you can fix Windows Update When Windows Update Fails, This Is How You Fix It Did a Windows Update crash your system? Here's a quick list of troubleshooting steps that will help you restore Windows to a functional state. Read More when it breaks or crashes. If you’re having trouble getting a single update to install, review the steps for resolving any Windows Update failure How to Resolve Windows Update Problems in 5 Easy Steps Has Windows Update failed you? Maybe the download got stuck or the update refused to install. We'll show you how to fix the most common issues with Windows Update in Windows 10. Read More . Finally, check out our guide on everything you need to know about Windows Update in Windows 10 How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10 For control freaks, Windows Update is a nightmare. It works in the background, and keeps your system safe and running smoothly. We show you how it works and what you can customize. Read More , including scheduling a reboot time and deferring upgrades.

The Windows 8 Start Screen Sucks

People hated Windows 8 for many reasons The Most Hated Windows Versions & Why They Were So Bad The rule of thumb is that every other version of Windows is awesome. But why have the "bad" versions of Windows — ME, Vista, and 8 — been so hated? Read More . The biggest offender was certainly the revamped Start Screen Make Windows 8 Suck Less With Classic Shell Make Windows 8 usable for people who think it's not. Add a start menu to the desktop and tweak the way Explorer and Internet Explorer behave, all thanks to a piece of software called Classic... Read More , replacing the classic Start Menu everyone loved. If you’re still using Windows 8.1 (as Windows 8 is no longer supported Why to Upgrade Windows at the End of Extended Support Eventually, support for every Windows version expires, leaving PCs full of holes, entry points for malware, and opportunities for hackers. Windows 8 recently reached end of support status - we show you why and how... Read More ), you can rid yourself of the Start Screen easily.

The easiest way to get the Start Menu back is to install a free program that adds it in 2015!? No Way Microsoft! How to Get Your Windows 8.1 Start Menu Now Windows 8 won't get a native Start Menu after all. But why wait on Microsoft? Here's how you can help yourself with third party tools like Classic Shell or Start8 and other workarounds. Read More . These tools are actually more customizable than Windows’ own Start Menu. You can set them to look like Windows 7 How to Make Windows 8 or 8.1 Look Like Windows 7 or XP Is Windows 8 too modern for your taste? Maybe you prefer a retro look. We show you how to resurrect the Start menu and install classic Windows themes on Windows 8. Read More or even the Windows 9x Start Menus, and you can easily add or remove entries from them.

On Windows 8.1, you can jump to the desktop at startup and skip the Start Screen. To do so, right-click on your Taskbar and choose Properties. On the Navigation tab, check the box next to When I sign in… go to the desktop instead of Start. Finally, make sure your default programs don’t include any Modern apps How to Change Windows 10 File Associations and Default Programs Default programs depend on the right file type associations. Set default programs and change file associations in Windows 10. Read More like Photos, and you’ll never have to look at Modern apps again. Feel free to uninstall any Modern apps How to Uninstall Programs on Windows 8 Looking to get a particular program off your computer? Whether it's a desktop or a modern app, here's how to do that on Windows 8. Read More you don’t want as well.

Make UAC Less Annoying

User Account Control (UAC) was first introduced in Windows Vista and has been present in the OS since. It allows you to grant administrative rights on a selective basis 5 Tips for Managing Windows User Accounts Like a Pro Windows user accounts have evolved from isolated local accounts to online accounts with various privacy challenges. We help you sort out your accounts and find the settings that work for you. Read More , so you don’t have to stay logged into an unsafe admin account Windows Administrator Account: Everything You Need to Know Starting with Windows Vista, the built-in Windows Administrator account is disabled by default. You can enable it, but do so at your own risk! We show you how. Read More all the time. UAC was infamous for pestering you every five seconds in Vista, but you can tone it down in newer Windows versions, too.

First, pay a visit to the UAC menu (when logged in as an admin). Type uac into the Start Menu and choose Change User Account Control Settings. You’re able to choose from four levels of alert here.

uac settings

The most secure, like the Vista default, will always notify you when you try to make changes to Windows settings (such as changing the time or editing Windows Firewall options Which Free Firewall For Windows Is Best For You? We place emphasis on antivirus and malware removal, but don't ignore firewalls. Let's take a look at the best free Windows firewalls, comparing ease of setup, ease of use, and availability of features. Read More ). The default level, one below the top, doesn’t notify on Windows settings changes, but will ask for permission to install software.

The third level of security is the same as the second, but doesn’t dim your desktop for the UAC prompt. This makes it easier to click Yes without thinking, so be careful with it. Finally, the bottom level turns UAC completely off. This is a terrible idea, as it allows any program to run with admin rights without confirmation.

If you use certain programs all the time that ask for UAC confirmation (like CCleaner The Best Windows Cleaning Tool Gets A Disk Analyzer You can now clean crap more efficiently with CCleaner v5. The new disk analyzer feature reveals what files are hogging space. See how it complements CCleaner's proven junk removing tools. Read More ), you can create a whitelist to bypass the prompt Stop Annoying UAC Prompts - How To Create A User Account Control Whitelist [Windows] Ever since Vista, we Windows users have been pestered, bugged, annoyed, and tired of the User Account Control (UAC) prompt telling us a program is starting up that we intentionally launched. Sure, it has improved,... Read More .

We recommend choosing between the middle two levels for UAC security, and creating this whitelist. This gets UAC out of your way where you don’t need it, while still allowing it to protect you as it’s designed to.

Disable the Program Compatibility Assistant

Windows has incredible backwards compatibility with older software. One of the tools used for this is the Program Compatibility Assistant. You’ve likely seen this window pop up when you install some software, letting you know that it didn’t install correctly What to Do When Windows Software Won't Install Applications and programs won't install on Windows 10? Here's why and how to fix common software install problems. Read More .

If you’re trying to install incompatible software on new versions of Windows Is Your Computer Compatible with Windows 10 & Can You Upgrade? Windows 10 is coming, possibly as soon as July. Are you eager to upgrade and will your system be eligible? In short, if your computer runs Windows 8, it should also run Windows 10. But... Read More , this feature is great. The Assistant can find issues that are keeping the software from installing correctly, fix them, and re-install it properly. Should you try to install ancient software How to Run Really Old Software on a 64-Bit PC: 6 Methods Windows reverse compatibility is fading with every advance. Here's how you can run 16-bit programs on your 64-bit Windows. Read More that might even cause Windows to crash Why Does Windows Crash? The 9 Most Common Reasons Why does Windows keep crashing? Here are the most common reasons for Windows crashes and severals tips for fixing them. Read More , the Assistant will prevent any damage.

Novice users should keep this feature enabled, but it’s also known for producing lots of false positives. If you want to disable the Assistant Program Compatibility Assistant: Why You Might Need It & How To Get Rid Of It [Windows] Microsoft has a knack for persistence in ensuring that any applications you download on the Windows OS meet their compatibility standards. Some of you may be very thankful for that security measure and others may... Read More , you can do so in just a few steps. Type services into the Start Menu to open that utility, and look for Program Compatibility Assistant.

disable pca service

If you want to disable the Assistant temporarily to install some software, right-click its entry and choose Stop. This keeps it from running until you reboot your computer or manually start it again. To permanently disable the feature, right-click it and choose Properties. Change Startup type to Disabled, and it won’t run until you enable it again.

What Annoys You About Windows?

These aren’t the only Windows annoyances we can think of, as Windows 10 still has plenty of issues 7 Things That Really Annoy Us About Windows 10 It's not a secret that Windows 10 isn't perfect. Cortana borders on being intrusive, mandatory updates can cause issues, and much appears half-baked. We present our top 7 of most glaring Windows 10 annoyances. Read More . However, the future looks good. Most of the problems of past Windows versions now have fixes, and since Windows 10 is constantly evolving The Latest Windows 10 Version Won't Be the Last One What is the latest Windows 10 version? How long is it supported? And why did Microsoft switch to a service model? Answers within! Read More , Microsoft can patch problems in updates.

Now, we want to hear your fixable Windows annoyances from any version. What caused you a big problem until you figured out a way around? Share them down in the comments!

Image Credits: Dean Drobot/Shutterstock

Related topics: Keyboard Shortcuts, Start Menu, Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Update.

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  1. CoolHappyGuy
    December 19, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    I have an older laptop that often can't update and then reboot with USB devices (mouse and printer). Often, I have to unplug the USBs and start over.

    Speaking of reboot, the newer laptop's power icon is unresponsive. To reboot, I have to shutdown through the settings menu.

    Edge doesn't open a link in a new tab through a direct link. (It opens a blank tab.) I have to right-click and choose that option.

    The WIN10 backup doesn't like my NAS. I didn't have this problem with WIN7. I have since switched to CrashPlan -- and love it! I can't seem to turn off the backup feature. WIN10 regularly informs me that the backup failed. WIN10's backup settings are misleading. Instead of letting you choose options, it runs a program that takes too long. It should be simpler and less buggy.

    Fortunately, these don't make my machines unusable but they are irritating.

  2. Kevin
    December 16, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Thanks for such a cool article: mostly for the point about the Intel Graphics setting: I've learned on Win10 to to manage multiple desktops. Sometimes, I'd inadvertently flip and rotate my screen, and now this fix resolves that issue!

    • Ben Stegner
      December 16, 2016 at 3:44 am

      This always bothered me, too. I guess it makes sense on my machine, because my screen folds down as a tablet. I never use that feature though, so I'd rather disable it for the same reason you mentioned!

  3. Gaurav
    December 15, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Besides a Start menu like Classic Shell, I also recommend Winaero Tweaker to fix a dozen issues with Windows 10.

  4. Jerry
    December 14, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    That the default programs that are set keep reverting back to Windows Programs. Just about every other day I have to keep resetting them to the programs that I want to use.
    All the fixes I have read for this issue does not work.

    • Marty Monroe
      December 19, 2016 at 8:57 am

      The most annoying of these is Edge taking over as PDF reader. We all have a perfectly good pdf reader supplied by Adobe, but the delusional M$ Corp think Edge is better. There are fixes available which involve digging through the registry for edge and NoOpenWith against the pdf key. Or, do what I did and delete the edge executable. No more edge makes W10 better.

  5. tim
    December 14, 2016 at 10:12 am

    win 10 popup windows uses micro to nano characters making my 13" ultrabook useless. Even I can hardly see but the mouse pointer is very hard to control to click the right icon.

  6. Overlord_Laharl
    December 14, 2016 at 2:41 am

    I loathe the compressed arrows (search for "Windows compressed arrows")
    They show up on every compressed file in a NTFS compressed drive or directory. They are hard to remove and still show up in other areas if removed.

  7. Eddie G.
    December 13, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    As incredible as this may sound....I don't have ANY issues with Windows 10!......because I DON'T USE WINDOWS AT ALL!.....I use Linux and don't have ANY of these issues with my laptops and desktops! I feel sorry for those who run out and pay so much money for a laptop or desktop and have to go through such pains to get it t "Just Work" in the way that they want. Oh well....I guess different strokes for different folks huh?....

    • Sir Clive Sinclair
      December 15, 2016 at 11:24 am

      I too don't have any problems with Windows 10, as I use Sinclair ZX81 with a dodgy 16K ram pack.

    • Kevin
      December 16, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      I have one W10 and one Win7 machine, that I keep using, primarily so that programs like BAND IN A BOX and MAGIX SAMPLITUDE can run in them. Linux has nothing like BIAB, and the closest I can find to Samplitude is Ardour. Now, that being said...

      ...I wish I could switch to a linux only machine.

      I have Ubuntu Studio on a desktop, but the audio programs do not work without latency, and I use a fast firewire interface for audio conversion: it still doesn't cut it. Can't multitrack record w/that latency going on. However, you are right, everything else about it, works.

  8. bringbackmywindowstome
    December 13, 2016 at 12:56 am

    check out the windows 10 apps -- like twitter, word, excel, photos, practically every other app.
    notice that you can no longer have simultaneous instances of these apps. in twitter for example, u can not monitor different feeds simultaneously. in word mobile, for example, u can not have 2 documents open at the same time. very counter-productive and annoying.

    whereas in windows 3.1, it is easy to have multiple windows open at the same time.

    the fix. avoid these modern apps altogether.