I’ve spent the last 2 blogs getting you pumped up to upgrade to Windows 10, but you should know that despite being an overall improvement from Windows 7 and 8 in many ways, there are several aspects of the “new” operating system that are markedly different from Windows 7, and a few that are, in my opinion, a step backwards from the stability of Windows 7. Regardless of these blemishes, none of us are being given an option to live in the past except at increasing risk, so get ready to love Windows 10, warts and all.
The Bad and the Ugly (Sorry, no “Good” today!)
If you’ve not spent any time doing work on a Windows 10 computer, these may be eye openers for you and as near as I can tell, they are unavoidable for the moment:
- Windows updates are forced. You can defer them for awhile, but at a certain point, you will get updated if you are connected to the internet. There are ways to work around this to a limited degree, but it’s not recommended unless you know specifically that a Windows 10 update will break an application on your computer. And even in these special circumstances it is in your best interest to get that app updated so that it will be in-step with Microsoft’s update cadence. The longer you go, the more onerous the update will be when it happens. See the next wart to understand why you don’t want this
- Windows updates will sometimes temporarily slow down your computer A LOT. Depending on the size of the update, this may be for a few minutes, or, for slower, older computers, the slow down will be several hours and it…will…be…punishing. You can’t stop it (without dire consequences) and there really isn’t any way to make it go faster other than to stop using your computer altogether while it’s updating.
- Windows updates will break your printers (sometimes). I know it’s Microsoft trying to be helpful by providing “updated” printer drivers for your installed printers, but 9 times out of 10, their driver isn’t as fully featured as the manufacturer’s driver, and on older printers, often doesn’t work at all. Be prepared to reinstall your printer drivers after a major Windows update.
- Windows updates will break your PDF reader setting. Again, Microsoft is trying to be helpful by providing you with a PDF reader by changing your computer’s default PDF app to it’s new browser Edge, and to be fair, it does an OK job as a PDF reader. But for those of you who spent an arm and leg to pay for Acrobat, I’m sure that Microsoft’s cheekiness rubs you at least $200 in the wrong direction.
- The fancy new Start Menu will occasionally be populated by games and apps that you did not install. I won’t provide an excuse for this behavior. I find it galling but put up with it because I’m too lazy to remove them, and frankly, I don’t even use the Start Menu, so I don’t see the blatant marketing. Again, there are fixes that require a certain amount of Macguyver’ing that most folks just won’t do, so get ready to ignore yet more advertising on your computer.
- Cortana is useless. It’s not Siri, Alexa nor is it OK Google. I’ve not met anyone who finds it useful or even accurate on a consistent basis. Don’t even bother. You can turn it off but you can’t remove it (yet).
- Windows 10 wants to control your other application defaults. This particular aspect isn’t as consistently annoying as the PDF one mentioned above, but Windows 10 will occasionally challenge you by changing your default printer, internet browser, photo viewer and email reader to the Microsoft designated app.
I’d like to say that none of these are showstoppers, but for many of clients the top 2-3 are frequent work-stoppers, often enough that they’ve come to dread Windows updates almost as much as we do here at C2. I’ve talked a little about this in a previous blog, but despite quite a bit of rabble-rousing from our industry, Microsoft continues to use us as captive beta-testers. Unfortunately, most average Windows users don’t make good testers, so it’s become something of a vicious circle. Over the years of using Windows 10, the one thing I’ve noticed is that the longer you put off applying the updates, the worse it gets in terms of impacting you at exactly the wrong time. My best advice for everyone using Windows 10 – apply those updates on your own terms – don’t wait for Microsoft take that decision (and time) out of your hands.