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Microsoft got a lot of things right with Windows 10, providing some great new features. However, it’s fair to say that it got things wrong too. We’ll take a look at the stumbles of Windows 10 and see if they’ve been resolved.
As Windows 10 is an ever-evolving operating system, it’s possible that Microsoft will eventually patch down some of the missing or more annoying features. But some of the company’s decisions, like the aggressive free upgrade offer, are history.
Aggressive Push to Windows 10
For the first year of its existence, Microsoft offered Windows 10 as a free upgrade to all users of Windows 7 and 8.1. At some point, Windows Update quietly installed an application called Get Windows 10 to all eligible systems. Using this application, a user could run a quick check to see if their system could handle the upgrade and then opt in if they wished.f
The problem was that some users were finding themselves upgraded to Windows 10 against their will. Because Microsoft is very keen to push as many people towards Windows 10 as they can, they employed overly aggressive tactics.
Perhaps the most heinous act came when the red X button of the Get Windows 10 app no longer closed the window. Instead, it prepared the installation for the upgrade in the background.
While uproar was immediate, it took Microsoft a couple of weeks to roll back on this behavior. #upgradegate
Chris Capossela, Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft, acknowledged the blunder at the end of last year, calling the situation “pretty painful and clearly a lowlight” that they “learned a lot from” in an interview with Windows Weekly.
Lack of Flexibility in Windows Update
Previous versions of Windows gave you great control over Windows Update. You could pick and choose what to install. That all changed with Windows 10. Windows Update automatically installs everything from security patches, bug fixes, and new features, whether you want them or not. From Microsoft’s viewpoint this ensures that everyone is running the same version. Still it remains as one of the biggest user gripes about Windows 10.
We talked about the positives and negatives of forced updates when Windows 10 first launched. In the meantime, Windows Update has seen a few minor tweaks. Most notably is the introduction of active hours. You can set a 12-hour window in which your device won’t automatically restart to install updates. You can set active hours by pressing Windows key + I and going to Update & security > Windows Update > Change active hours.
The upcoming Creators Update might allow users to temporarily pause the installation of non-critical updates for 35 days. Microsoft is undoubtedly aware about people’s update frustrations. It seems like the company is slowly taking steps to rectify, though not alleviating the situation completely.
Questionable Privacy Settings
In a world increasingly devoid of “privacy”, it wasn’t surprising that Windows 10 has some questionable privacy policies. The biggest problem is what users opt into by default, often without realizing.
During the Windows 10 installation process, many users will select Express Settings for what Microsoft calls the “best experience”. Few users appreciate what that choice really ends up enabling. You can manually configure your privacy settings if you click Customize settings during setup.
The default settings will allow Microsoft to personalize adverts to your experiences, receive your internet browsing data, and send your location data to trusted partners. It might sound more sinister than it really is — if you trust Microsoft’s word, that is. Some applications need to use particular data as part of their function, while Windows gathers other information in the name of improving usability.
You can customize the majority of these settings by pressing Windows key + I, clicking Privacy, and going through each category in turn to adjust everything to your liking.
We’ve published a complete guide to Windows 10 privacy to help you through this. But the fact remains that a lot of people remain oblivious to how much information Windows 10 collects by default. Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to use vague language around privacy. There’s still a lot of room for improvement here.
Missing Features and Inconsistent Interface
Windows 10 brought with it some interesting new features, like the virtual assistant Cortana. But it also removed some, including Windows Media Center, desktop gadgets, and default games. The latter is a particular gripe. Although you can download replacements from the Store, they come plastered with adverts.
If you’re missing these features, you should read our guide on lost Windows 10 features you can resurrect.
While the introduction of virtual desktops to Windows is long overdue, it still lacks simple features, like the ability to rename your desktops or give each a unique wallpaper. Elsewhere, the need to associate an email with every user on the system and the inability to block apps with blanket rules is a step back from Windows 8.
Then there’s the inconsistent user interface. Though Microsoft has introduced improvements since launch, especially in the right-click menus, there’s still a distinct difference in design between modern and older Windows applications, both visually and in function.
The fact that Settings and Control Panel exist as two separate entities, especially when they both have simultaneously unique and similar features, is baffling. We’ve talked about this all more in detail with our list of features we wish Windows 10 had got right.
Is It All Bad?
It’s definitely not all bad with Windows 10. There are many compelling reasons to upgrade, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t ample room for improvement. Since the operating system is now more of a service, one which will continue to evolve, we can hope that Microsoft will solve many of our dislikes.
The extent of the changes is a different matter, however, especially when Microsoft seems very keen to stick to their guns when it comes to their policies on updating and privacy. Those of you remaining on Windows 7 or 8 might appreciate our piece on how to get Windows 10 features without upgrading.
What do you think Microsoft got wrong with Windows 10? Has anything improved that you disliked at launch?
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