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Useless Windows 10 Features (howtogeek.com)
480 points by ducaale 49 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 422 comments

I honestly think that the new tab/news/spam page in IE/Edge is (and has been, forever) the single biggest factor driving people to Chrome and Firefox. Every time you open it you’re greeted with all this complete junk, making the whole experience stuttering and slowing down your flow. I dread having to open IE on systems with no alternative just because it’s always so bad. Edge might actually be pretty good, but I will never know it because the initial experience is just so bad.

That, and the in-app "make Chrome/FF the default browser" popup redirecting to a Windows settings page where when you choose anything else than Edge, you get yet another popup asking you to confirm that you really don't want to use the awesome browser that Edge is.

All this junk they've been doing to Windows lately is making me feel like a restricted guest in my own computer. I'll definitely be exploring alternatives next go around

Why wait?

If you've used Edge for more than a few minutes, it won't prompt you to "try Edge" or whatever it says.

They changed how default programs are set in Windows 10 so that malware can't change default file associations by itself anymore. That required moving away from using the Win32 API for that, and that is kind of the whole purpose of UWP-style apps and The New Settings pages within Windows 10.

MOST of Windows 10 has been thought out.

You're goddamn right it's well thought out. But it's not thought out in the user's favor at all.

Because how many fucking times is it going to ask me "ARE YOU SURE YOU DONT WANT TO TRY EDGE?" "EDGE IS SAFEST" "EDGE IS MADE FOR WINDOWS 10, ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO SWITCH?" You literally have to click no 3 times just to get your default to something else.

None of the other "default apps" do the same thing. And still nothing stopping the file extensions from getting remapped. So that's kinda not thought out.

Nothing worse than being condescending to users.

To you but I don't think that's true for the laymen. I've seen a few old neighbors that expects a news as homepage. Some people are extremely confused about internet, a webpage, a tab, a link .. a bookmark. A news page sounds logical and/or familiar enough it seems. If you remove it they may even despise you.

This statement is accurate based on my interactions with general users.

It's not just "junk news" though. People can and have been caught out by things like Microsoft tech support scams, fake virus alarms and prominently displayed on the Microsoft news feed. I've reported to Microsoft before direct links to ransomware advertised on their news feed.

Oh wow, I'd be shocked if I see this. There's already to many malware vectors to have it from your OS and browser supplier ..


Edge lets you turn that off - on the New Tab page, click on the cog symbol (Customize) and you can choose from New Tab page display settings: Top Sites & My Feed, Top Sites, or Blank Page.

ChrEdge Beta can hide the news feed if you choose Focused view, but currently all they do is put it after the page fold, so you see it if you merely scroll down. I've sent a Feedback request saying that's something that might keep me using Firefox as my default, and supposedly that's a feature they're working on.

Sane defaults is what makes the difference.

Firefox also has a huge pile of spam on the new tab page by default.

I wish they would just kill it already...

The Firefox page doesn’t cause the browser to freeze up for 30 seconds while it loads all the crap. That’s my point with IE/Edge, not that the page exists to begin with.

You have a horribly under-specced PC or something. Edge tabs load for me in around 1 second when I launch the browser cold, and I don't have a particularly powerful PC or anything.

1 second is still too much time, and 30 seconds is indicative of either an exaggeration or a somewhat severe problem.

I have it turned off as you describe (and also changed the home page), but ever so often the page still comes up. It's super annoying.

For some reason I decided to try Edge for a bit, and spent far too long trying to switch off this mess (googling for a solution) and never managed it. I gave up on the "use Edge" idea.

> Edge lets you turn that off - on the New Tab page, click on the cog symbol (Customize) and you can choose from New Tab page display settings: Top Sites & My Feed, Top Sites, or Blank Page.

I shouldn't have to turn off whatever spam they build into a paid for product. It should also be in the browser settings, not a confusingly placed and easy to miss hieroglyph. For me I don't even get those options, it's just a toggle to turn the news feed on or off, off leaves you with just a search bar, and bing is the only option builtin.

On my windows 10 computer, the browser settings have an option called "Open new tabs with", defaulting to "Top sites and suggested content". This can be changed to "A blank page", right there in the browser settings.

On the same computer, on the default start page ("Top Sites and suggested content"), the hieroglyph cog referenced above is conveniently place at the top right, and even has a label, too. It's called "Hide Feed".

Unfortunately Microsoft are the ones who decided to make Windows 10 a free upgrade for Windows 7/8 users, so we all bear the awfulness of them needing to sell sponsored spots in the OS to compensate for that loss of revenue. At least if the OS basically makes money on its own on an ongoing basis, we won’t need to ever pay for Windows updates again? Still, ugh.

edit: I’m agreeing with you guys here. I’d spend more on an “ad-free” Windows license if I had a choice, but that doesn’t exist unless you’re a volume license customer (LTSC) I wish they’d find some way to let people avoid the ads, like having them in Home and disabling them in Pro, as most laptops (even my Dell XPS) ship with Home. (They did try “Windows 8.1 with Bing” once. I guess it didn’t work out?)

For every previous version of windows you typically bought a new licence only when you purchased a new PC. The fact that MS allowed upgrades to Widows 10 on old machines should not have affected their revenue to any great extent, those machines were never going to have a paid upgrade anyway.

I may be completely off-base since Microsoft surely has some numbers we don’t that justify their choice of licensing model, but from my perspective, and from a few real experiences helping family and friends, people figure their PCs were at the end of their life and needed an entire replacement. Installing the free Windows 10 upgrade changes their mind - now they think their computer is perfectly up to date, at least for a few more years. These are machines with specs that look like Core 2 Duo or 1st gen Core i3, 250 GB spinning rust drive, 4 GB RAM. Those specs are especially prolific in decommissioned office PCs sent to recyclers who give them a fresh 7 or 10 license. They’re cheap, plentiful, and come with warranty, so plenty of people go for them.

Another thing to consider is volume licenses weren’t able to take up the offer - the company had to pay for their Windows 10 upgrade. Enterprise licensing is the Microsoft money maker.

That should be plenty for the basic 'grandpa wants the internet and Word' use cases, though. If it's not, I blame Microsoft.

Not using Windows, but I have some machines with similar specs and they are quite useful even for browsing many if not most websites. But, you must have NoScript and ad blocking.

So to be fair to Microsoft, at least some, if not all of the blame must go to web developers.

Fair point, there probably was an element of trying to prolong machines' lives longer than usaul going on, all right.

I have always wondered how many big syndicates and governments actually push their malware via the msn homepage. (Given that 99% of sysadmins will at some point be forced via msn, on the malware-portal that is Internet Explorer, to install a proper browser).

I really think, even if this isn't happening at scale, that this would be a great way to pwn even some of the biggest firms.

Scareware is distributed via ads on MSN. Normal users cant even close them, as soon as you close that ad it opens again, have to quit IE in the task manager to get rid of it.

Interesting point. It would be safer to launch IE with "iexplore about:blank" from the run dialog.

Absolutely. Microsoft products are horrendous for this. Every time I have to start up my windows VM to test an IE bug I get assaulted by advertising and "news" in the start menu with bright moving blocks and then I open IE and get hit with it even worse. I don't know why people put up with it tbh.

I kept on wondering why I hadn't seen any of this, and then remembered that I'd installed Classic Shell start menu, which provides a Windows 7 style menu. It doesn't disable the Windows 10 menu, just hides it. Makes for a much more pleasant experience though. (No affiliation)

Does it still work reliably? I used it on a Windows 10 machine a few years ago, but then it stopped being maintained:


... which is a huge shame, as that single app alone made Windows 10 a significantly less frustrating experience.

It's been replaced by Open Shell which works well: https://github.com/Open-Shell/Open-Shell-Menu

There was one windows update around two years ago that broke it, but I just reinstalled it and haven't had any problems since.

It's rock solid for me.

I followed some 2x reboot windows components uninstall magic some while ago to remove ie and some other "features" i don't remember.. then recently edge was auto installed and made default, Autologin stopped to work, start button got redesign and has an annoying delay. It's a total shitshow by now again until I sacrifice an evening to fix most of this.

I was venting to a friend. He told me he'd deactivated autoupdates some years ago. The foresight, i'm envious. But it's too late now and I think I can never have that.

I also remember some time there was an anti trust proceeding against Microsoft for shipping IE with windows as default. WTF happened to that and how is all this not a 1000x worse.

I definitely don't >want< to put up with this.

There was a ruling against MS, but the judge decided to give an interview that showed he may have been biased. MS got a mistrial, and settled the next one.

> I don't know why people put up with it tbh.

They don't. [0] Ordinary people install Chrome, and FOSS-aware people install Firefox or one of its variants. Not many use IE/Edge.

I second the parent comment to yours: it's a pity Microsoft vandalise solid technology. Perhaps something could've become of Edge, had they done otherwise.

There's a certain irony in the way we avoid Edge to avoid its insufferable ads, given that they only make ad money if we decide to use it.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers#Su...

I always set the default page to about:blank as part of the initial configuration in all the browsers I've ever used. Edge is MS's poor clone of Chrome --- it neither appeals to those who actually want Chrome, nor those who want Firefox, nor even those who want IE. Of those I know who don't use Chrome or Firefox (and are not good with computer) but IE, I've heard them refer to Edge as "that weird ugly thing" when they manage to accidentally open it.

Side note, the Edge (not the ChromeEdge) has a nice feature where you can set aside all the tabs so that you can view them later with pretty much the same state, much like a tmux server. I couldn’t find similar features in other browser.

There is a (Firefox and Chrome) WebExtension called OneTab which provides this.

What's fun is that it's even the default on Windows Server systems. Why I'm forced to watch CSS animations on msn.com over an RPD session instead of defaulting to about:blank, I'll never know.

Because the layman windows server user would think the internet is broken if it stayed stuck on a blank page.

By the way, it should be easy enough to change the home page with a group policy or something if anybody actually cared about that. Companies usually change the homepage of all desktops to the intranet homepage.

What drives me away from Chrome on Windows is the very short freeze you have after you let the page idle for a while and try to scroll again. It was introduced earlier this year, I think.

That sounds more like your pc has performance issues. I have no short freezes when using chrome on windows.

I am using a decent gaming rig, so I don’t think it is the performance issue. I think it might be related to the touchpad. Are you using mouse for scrolling?

You might be running into Tab Discarding under memory constraints, the pause is when the tab gets restored. https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2015/09/tab-discar...

Hah, I totally agree. Every time I see it, I think "what the hell were they thinking?!", or "does anyone actually want to read this drivel?!".

It's certainly not exactly a "premium" look.

Hush, you are disclosing the best kept competitive secret of browser wars.

chrome has far more ads, they are just more subtle.

I agree with this article, but I think it can be summed up as, "People need the option to buy the LTSB release of Windows 10". Microsoft refuses to sell it to consumers. It is an enterprise only option (unless that has recently changed and I am not aware of it).

I have one windows 7 machine for playing WoW and it will stay on 7 until I can get the LTSB release of Windows 10 and the ability to turn off 100% of the telemetry, for real. If Blizzard would build an unsupported 64 bit ELF binary for WoW, then I would not even have windows. I'm not using wine.

Anyone can buy LTSC for a few hundred dollars.

I cobbled together a post last year on acquiring it:


However, it does require a willingness to enter into a VL agreement with Microsoft.

I recently found out that people are selling legitimate keys on eBay for a few bucks: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=windows+10+ltsc

According to people who have purchased from there, they're VL keys that can be used many times (e.g. 2500 times), so they just sell the same key over and over to multiple people:

> ...sellers on eBay are probably people that work for companies that get GVLK and MAK Product Keys from MSDN/Microsoft and then just sell 'em off because the companies they work for more than likely would never even notice? I mean, with MAK Product Keys having from 2500 to 5000 activations per key, at least if they still work the same way they did in Vista/7 days, most companies that pay for volume licensing never ever actually use anywhere near that many. [0]

> after about 3 hours I got a mail with a key and a link to download "LTSCX64.2019.ENU.JAN2019.iso" from googledrive. I did not download the ISO, so I cannot comment on that, but I typed the key into VAMT and its description is "Win 10 RTM EnterpriseS Volume:MAK" and the key had 50 activations left. I tried it on one of my LTSC 2019 installations and it worked fine. I assume that the remaining activation count will decrease over time, even when I do not use the key on my other installations, as I suspect that the seller sells the same key to more than one buyer.. [0]

> so, after about a week all 50 activations of the key I got are gone. since I only used 8 activations, one can be sure that the key was sold to multiple buyers. business as usual on ebay.. [0]

It's probably against some contract somewhere, but IANAL.

[0] https://forums.mydigitallife.net/threads/windows-10-enterpri...

They are pirating windows. They could be fined anywhere from hundreds of dollars to 150k per installation.

They are also participating in a commercial piracy endeavor that the company who was issued the key AND Microsoft have an interest in shutting down. Ms because such endeavors attract customers who could otherwise trivially be converted into buyers. Companies because they could get audited and fined.

This is as illegal and higher risk than torrent sites.

Depends on the country. I think the EU declared the resale of Windows licenses legal a few years ago. Microsoft trying to fight that doesn't make it illegal.

When you bought a physical item in a store you have a right to resell it be that a computer or a disk.

Even if you can resell a key as part of selling a copy of windows you paid for you can't sell your employers property, can't sell part of a contract, can't sell more than you actually paid for.

If the company purchased the right to have n machines at their company run windows and each key can be activated n * x times nobody sold you the right to sell n * x copies of windows to everyone on the internet.

Like it or not those agreements aren't sales and the keys aren't a physical item you have purchased they are just a technical measure to constrain users from sharing a single ISO file to their million closest friends.

Even if true, I rather doubt that extends to an employee selling access to their employer's volume licensing key (it seems clear that's what's happening here)

Source on this? I think that only applies to retail licenses.

> According to people who have purchased from there, they're VL keys that can be used many times (e.g. 2500 times), so they just sell the same key over and over to multiple people

Erm, no - that's not how Microsoft's volume licensing works. Volume keys are issued to enterprises that buy them, and only that organisation is licensed to use them.

Unscrupulous employees have been known to sell the keys.

Did I say otherwise? That is exactly my point. The keys - bought by the enterprises - can be used many times, on their machines. However, people find those keys and sell them on eBay.

Apologies, it seems I misread the tone of your words.

Would Window 10 for Workstations be an alternative? I believe it is ad-free, although if someone could confirm that it would be helpful.


That link implies RDMA SMBd is not available on regular Windows 10 Pro. I wonder if that’s really true.

Can I buy from someone who went to all the hassle already? Or are those organizations not allowed to distribute keys?

"People need the option to buy the LTSB release of Windows 10"

That's just fixing the symptoms rather than the cause.

The real solution is for Microsoft to treat its customers with a bit more respect.

> The real solution is for Microsoft to treat its customers with a bit more respect.

This company (like most other companies) operates out of greed, and that doesn't go well with respect. They're just trying to milk as much as they can from you.

You can make a profit and treat your customers well.

I'd argue that's only valid if you're a small company.

Once you're a huge corporation with tons of stakeholders, it seems inevitable that you will compromise customers in favor of profits sooner or later.

I feel like this attitude lets big companies off the hook in a way. Yes, as the company grows it becomes more likely that they'll make these compromises, but that doesn't mean it's inevitable.

Shareholders will vote in someone who will compromise.

I didn't read that as letting big companies off the hook. Just the opposite, I read that as a strong condemnation of big companies.

While I agree it seems like it lets them off the hook, that's not on them, it's on the society that shrugs that off as "normal".

But if you follow the logical path from capitalism, it is most definitely inevitable. There is no way to maximize profits without hurting the users.

If one company does the right thing, another will take it's place because it will generate more profit.

Can you imagine a CEO constantly telling it's shareholders that they will not increase profits because they want to "treat customers more fairly"? He'd be sacked in the first opportunity.

> The real solution is for Microsoft to treat its customers with a bit more respect.

Microsoft has embraced the modern development model and its culture as well. In other words, customers are cattle.

Why would they when people keep buying it regardless? Why would a company ever change when they're making more money than ever and the consumers don't care?

You should check out Valve's Proton. It's wine, but not wine... It's another abstraction layer built on top and it is pretty amazing. For the most part it just works. Doing some quick searching it looks like people have WoW running on it.

It is Wine, but with patches, that one day could be clean enough to go upstream. Some eventually are merged upstream.

I keep hearing this, but I have so far not been able to get a single game (even ones marked with excellent support) to work on proton. I really, really, really want it to work, though!

WoW runs fine on regular Wine Staging, too (though DXVK in particular gives some rather ridiculous framerate improvements).

You can buy it for a couple of hundred bucks or thereabouts. You also need to buy some filler Microsoft stuff equivalent to paper clips to make up for the minimum requirement of 25 products. You will then be an Enterprise.

WoW works perfectly on linux with Proton, and installing it is as easy as getting Lutris and double clicking on WoW's icon.

WoW classic also works perfectly, if that's your thing.

You can do it half legally with an MSDN subscription. Big one off cost but if you regularly toy with windows VMs or re-installing OS on hardware it might be a good option. The license restricts you to testing only.

I run Windows 10 "Pro" (not LTSB). It's fine. Really. The fact that there are a couple of bundled games is no big deal.

> It's fine. Really.

I can tolerate some bloatware (like games), but what about the telemetry? Are you OK with that or did you find a way to disable all telemetry?

Windows firewall will actually block the telemetry requests if you add all the telemetry hosts to it. Hosts file hacking doesn’t work because it bypasses that somehow.

Ugh, you know that the list of telemetry hosts is a moving target? How often do you update that list? How do you know your list is complete? How do you know that Windows firewall blocks all connections?

Then pirate it. What do you care? This is like pirating a show they refuse to put on Netflix. They don't give you the option to conveniently buy what you want, so pirate it.

Instructions on how to activate your installation of LTSC here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19420337

Pirate KMS servers will go offline eventually right? Even if the legality isn’t a concern, the reliability and maintenance overhead is a problem. There are trust/malware concerns with client-side cracks as well.

Here's a KMS server emulator, all open source: https://github.com/Wind4/vlmcsd

If you want to skip straight to the piracy, here's an open source package for you, complete with keys, hosted ironically on Microsoft servers, that uses vlmcsd: https://github.com/ekistece/vlmcsd-autokms

It's a pretty clever hack. It runs the KMS emulator locally and fakes the network connection with a TAP device from OpenVPN. Works perfectly.

Why not just run Linux

Likely games - which are probably also pirated.

Ironically, the last time I needed Windows to run a game was because of Denuvo. I wouldn't have needed it if I'd pirated it.

It does not have Win32 or DirectX, for starters

Sure it does: wine. Whether or not it works (and works performantly enough) for what any given person needs it for is another matter, of course.

Honestly I think it's sad how much the community still underestimates gaming.

I tried using wine or even using Steam directly on Linux, but playing any game with 30-40% less performance is ridiculous.

If you really like games, Linux is unusable for anything big.

I've had to dual boot Windows for the last 10 years just to play a game without stuttering, lag, huge FPS drops, etc.

Nothing would make me happier than being able to only use Linux, but until the community takes gaming seriously, people are forced to use Windows.

Sure, if you want to run a recent game, or one that's graphics-intensive, yeah, it might not run well enough for you on wine, and you'll need to dual-boot.

Personally, I don't have that kind of problem, and I suspect I'm not alone. Of the games I play that don't have Linux ports, they run well enough under wine, even on my (recent) laptop with Intel graphics. But I'm a pretty casual gamer, and honestly find it rare that I just must play the type of games that require a high-end Windows rig.

what setup do you have ? Because I play on Linux and I don't appreciate any performance drop. For example, Stellaris and Doom fly's on my machine.

NVIDIA GTX960 with an i7 and 16 GB of memory. That's not the issue.

I'd argue if it was the issue, even Windows wouldn't let me play any of these games with reasonable performance.

Here is the 64 dollar question. What GPU driver?

I have an NVIDIA GTX960.

When playing CS:GO (a relatively old game) I have stuttering, drastic FPS drops and more :(

Do you use the nvidia driver or nouveau which is known to be crap.

NVIDIA ones. I tried with proprietary, MESA and Nouveau. Never managed to get the same experience as on Windows.

It's a shame, because it literally can't be anything but the software. It's the same hardware with different OSes. Might even be windows specific optimizations on the games part, but in the end it doesn't matter.

The bottom line unfortunately is: it's significantly worse.

I wonder if you are actually using the nvidia driver or just installed it. You could trivially have installed the nvidia driver but actually be using nouveau. Running glxinfo in a terminal would probably be informative.

The complexity of setting this up would be a good point to address. Linux Mint for example has a tool to do this for you. This is logically a workaround for nvidia actually contributing an open source driver that doesn't suck.

There is a supposedly much better supported open source driver for new AMD hardware as well. Another thing the community is doing.

If the problem is with the closed source driver there isn't much the community can do. It's very hard to reverse engineer a complex device like a gpu. If the problem isn't games in general but that particular game there again isn't much the community can do.

Throwaway account because I'm sensitive about admitting I do this kind of thing (perhaps moreso than I should be):

In a word: no. KMSpico is kind of perfect. The process happens entirely locally, and is quite technically "clean".

That one hasn't gone offline in years, so I've never thought of this. Perhaps you are right, but I assume that it should be easy enough to find new ones if you need them. I wouldn't consider this approach to be "high maintenance".

How would you feel if I gave detailed instructions on how to rob _you_?

Is this supposed to sound as nonsensical as those 90s "You wouldn't DOWNLOAD a CAR!" anti-piracy posters, or is this just a pleasant side effect of your poor analogy?

If I refuse to sell you my handmade wallet, so you put up instructions on how to make an exact copy, that would be an equivalent action.

Nobody would call that theft.

If I had billions in the bank and you gave detailed instructions on how to pick up the breadcrumbs I leave on the table of a restaurant, I wouldn't give a shit. But if they care so much they are welcome to break into my house and take my computer

Most of these are similar manifestations of the same root evil (not specific to Microsoft): Users don’t want Feature X but Company wants users to want Feature X. They release Feature X to the world. It’s a failure—nobody uses it. The PM or developers who invested in that feature need to justify the investment. So they make Feature X enabled by default. Users disable it. So they remove the disable option. Users ignore it. They add flashing notifications begging users to use it. They’re ignored too. They give Feature X a prominent, always on button right on the main screen. They add more keyboard and mouse shortcuts so there are more ways to invoke Feature X. They add dedicate hardware keys/buttons to invoke Feature X. They add full-screen reminders to remind users Feature X is so cool! They even make it so it’s easy to invoke Feature X by accident. While these things may slightly juice Feature X’s usage metrics, it just never takes off because users fundamentally don’t want it and nobody wants to admit failure.

Look at the software your company makes and I bet you can quickly find an example of this. It’s everywhere and it’s shameful.

This is painfully accurate, and in my experience working at large companies it will always be a "pet feature" of some executive, who is pushing it through ignoring all the data, user research or any other process that the company has in place. And all the rank-and-file employees have no choice but to roll their eyes and spend time and energy working on it while ignoring actual bugs and highly-requested features because it couldn't get prioritized high enough.

Are you talking about Cortana right now? Cuz it sounds like you’re talking about Cortana.

I actually wanted to like Cortana and really tried, but between the service actually being down, somehow not being available just from my device other times and the phone assistant app straight up not being available in my region it was just never good enough to like.

Also the general 'search the web from the start menu' weird ess.

Well said! Reminded me of Bixby!

And that's the story of Google+.

>They add dedicate hardware keys/buttons to invoke Feature X

Okay now you're exaggerating... oh wait, that's literally the Bixby button on my phone.

My company makes no software people don't want. I'm actually sort of surprised because my company is exactly the type of company that one would expect to do such a thing. I suspect it's more likely that we're not mature enough yet to have someone justify stupid options rather than benevolence.

What company is this?

I think the solution is to have competition but everyone has given up on that because they like compatibility or something.

Compatibility is absolutely essential; that's why there's only room for about two and a bit mobile OSs.

Competition can only work for things that are componentised and un-bundled. Since both profitability and security work against this, we end up with competing monoliths where you have to take the entire bundle of features and anti-features.

Competition doesn't necessarily imply that it bypasses sunk cost fallacy, or even that the competition won't do the same nonsense in a belief that feature X must be wanted.

See recent versions of Gnome and KDE Plasma

I've installed Win10 on dozens of machines and I've never seen ads on the lock screen, in the taskbar, and in notifications like the article talks about. Maybe because I always say "no" to all those creepy tracking/advertising ID type options on the initial config screen and I always say no to Cortana at the same time. What I heard (and it seems reasonable) is that MS included games like Solitaire and Minesweeper in 3.1 as a soft way of training the enormous user base who were using PCs for the first time in mouse functions like click, drag, right click and click precision. I guess now that everybody knows that , MS sees no practical reason to keep those games free.

Same here, but maybe the difference is that we install Windows 10 Pro whereas the author is a Windows 10 Home user? The article doesn't seem to state the version they are using.

Most annoying is that there are a large number of little bits of functionality that phone home or send information out into the ether: Windows Defender and its submitting of samples, searching via the Windows button, Task Scheduled telemetry items, a plethora of Control Panel privacy settings, etc. etc. etc.

Also annoying on Windows 10 Pro is that the same windows builds have slightly different functionality --- even if the machines have the exact same hardware.

For example, the Search History and Permissions is sometimes named Change the permissions and history of search, even for the same Windows 10 build. It's bizarre.

Also, don't get me started on the intellisense typing when the windows menu is open. (Really Windows, when I press the Start button and then type in Update, you search the web and show me Wikipedia information? And it takes like 5 seconds?)

Don't forget the lame This PC icon...

Sorry, this turned into a cathartic listing of Win 10 grievances. :)

> maybe the difference is that we install Windows 10 Pro whereas the author is a Windows 10 Home user

No, every installation of Windows 10 Pro I've seen had a start menu that was mostly ads (links to Candy Crush, Spotify, Office etc.) - I've also had the OS nag me about giving Edge a second chance.

This is in Germany, in case the region matters, and I always deny all spyware as far as possible using the GUI.

    Get-AppxPackage -AllUsers | Remove-AppxPackage
This is the first thing I run on any Windows box I am forced to interact with.

Removes all the junk in the Start menu in one command.

I just take all the ones I want form this list and you can copy/past them in PowerShell and they execute one after the other.

I would not do what he suggests as that will remove every app.

    To uninstall 3D Builder:
    get-appxpackage *3dbuilder* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Alarms & Clock:
    get-appxpackage *alarms* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall App Connector:
    get-appxpackage *appconnector* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall App Installer:
    get-appxpackage *appinstaller* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Calendar and Mail apps together:
    get-appxpackage *communicationsapps* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Calculator:
    get-appxpackage *calculator* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Camera:
    get-appxpackage *camera* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Feedback Hub:
    get-appxpackage *feedback* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Get Office:
    get-appxpackage *officehub* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Get Started or Tips:
    get-appxpackage *getstarted* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Get Skype:
    get-appxpackage *skypeapp* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Groove Music:
    get-appxpackage *zunemusic* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Groove Music and Movies & TV apps together:
    get-appxpackage *zune* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Maps:
    get-appxpackage *maps* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Messaging and Skype Video apps together:
    get-appxpackage *messaging* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Microsoft Solitaire Collection:
    get-appxpackage *solitaire* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Microsoft Wallet:
    get-appxpackage *wallet* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Microsoft Wi-Fi:
    get-appxpackage *connectivitystore* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Money:
    get-appxpackage *bingfinance* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Money, News, Sports and Weather apps together:
    get-appxpackage *bing* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Movies & TV:
    get-appxpackage *zunevideo* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall News:
    get-appxpackage *bingnews* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall OneNote:
    get-appxpackage *onenote* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Paid Wi-Fi & Cellular:
    get-appxpackage *oneconnect* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Paint 3D:
    get-appxpackage *mspaint* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall People:
    get-appxpackage *people* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Phone:
    get-appxpackage *commsphone* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Phone Companion:
    get-appxpackage *windowsphone* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Phone and Phone Companion apps together:
    get-appxpackage *phone* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Photos:
    get-appxpackage *photos* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Sports:
    get-appxpackage *bingsports* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Sticky Notes:
    get-appxpackage *sticky* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Sway:
    get-appxpackage *sway* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall View 3D:
    get-appxpackage *3d* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Voice Recorder:
    get-appxpackage *soundrecorder* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Weather:
    get-appxpackage *bingweather* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Windows Holographic:
    get-appxpackage *holographic* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Windows Store: (Be very careful!)
    get-appxpackage *windowsstore* | remove-appxpackage

    To uninstall Xbox:
    get-appxpackage *xbox* | remove-appxpackage

It removes nothing of any importance. The terrible WinRT photo viewer can be replaced with the classic one, which is still installed along with the OS and just needs to be enabled:


I've been running three systems with all APPX junk removed since Windows 10 was first released. Not a single problem on any of them.

Most of those you can right click on and select uninstall now. It takes longer, but it feels safer to me because I have to take a second for each to think if I want it or not.

I think being forced to think about ads for Spotify and Office is exactly what he's trying to avoid.

I was forced to upgrade my workstation to windows 10 and that’s exactly what i was doing yesterday after unsuccesfully trying to remove bloatware via control panel.

I am fumbling in windows 10. I have lost so much muscle memory due to this upgrade. While i know i’ll build it back I’m frustrated that I have to relearn things I was doing with my eyes closed.

Nice list. Powershell doesn't accept & though, works great otherwise.

Doesn't that also remove Calculator?

Yeah don't do this - I did this once and I ended up having to reinstall since it broke enough stuff that the control panel wouldn't even work afterwards.

I've just done it to a VM and Control Panel is still there. I suggest you run:

get-appxpackage -allusers | fl name

and curate the list first and pipe that through remove-appxpackage. Quite a few appx thingies refused to uninstall due to being important! On the other hand so far this VM is working fine and by following a few of the other suggestions from howtogeek eg remove Bing from your start menu, it seems almost usable.

For some reasons I had varied results with this (within the same region). I've had installs where the Start menu was really polluted with all kinds of games, and installs where none of them were present. All of them are usually done from the latest ISO I could download from the MS page.

All of the installs were made on OEM machines (HP, Lenovo) that already came with a Pro license or upgrade option. This was done in a home environment so no AD/enterprise options, and never logging on with MS account. So I wonder if there's the possibility that specific OEMs, models, license keys get the treatment while others do not. I'm not sure if the behavior was tied to particular machines or not since I didn't follow the scientific method while doing installations (will do in the future).

Another major difference probably is people who log in to Microsoft account vs local account.

I don't remember seeing web results in my start menu, is that a Cortana thing?

I suspect that there are also regional differences, more crap being pushed to US consumers

Web results are still toggled, if you do not agree to Microsoft's data processing during installation you won't get that "feature". That said, search is downgraded from 7s. For instance, it doesn't look at start menu folder names nor executable name anymore...

Control panel items not showing in the start menu results anymore when you search is also in Win10 and it drives me crazy. It literally looks like the guys designing windows must be using a Mac themselves, or just aren’t computer guys. I just don’t get how things like than wouldn’t annoy them too.

My guess is that decision making in large companies is so slow, so bureaucratic, that everyone has given up on shipping anything else than a mediocre product, even if people individually would design it very differently if they could.

> It literally looks like the guys designing windows must be using a Mac themselves, or just aren’t computer guys.

Or maybe they're trying to kill the Control Panel all together and switch everyone to the new Settings app, but are aware that doing so immediately would lead to a lot of complaints? So they have both, while slowly nudging you towards using the Settings app so you wouldn't be too angry when you wake up one day in the future and find the Control Panel completely gone.

Except that until the functionalities of the control panel have been replicated in the new settings, we still need a way to access the control panel. Hiding those functionalities from search in between just doesn't make sense at all.

And even when functionally fully replicated, the settings app UI is really questionable, and somewhat hard to use.

This. I think they removed at least half of the items from "Control Panel\All Control Panel Items" compared to Windows 7/8/first builds of 10. In a few years Control Panel will be removed altogether.

I would mind it less if they would actually make the settings app feature complete!

Wikipedia in this situation always uses Edge as the browser. I wonder if this helps inflate their user stats?

Windows 10 Pro has everything this article mentions. Maybe Microsoft doesn’t enable all of the nags depending on where you’re living.

I'm reasonably sure Cortana is what displays the ads on the task bar. I've only seen them on others' home systems. I've absolutely seen ads on my start menu for Candy Crush and other MS Store games, but I shut them down with registry tweaks and the like..

> MS sees no practical reason to keep those games free.

It's a removed feature that essentially all users expect to be present. Charging for something like that is a good way to make unhappy customers.

Exactly. It's similar to providing trivial things at work. Don't offer free coffee - meh. Offer free coffee - that's cool. Take away free coffee - the world's ending, are people going to be fired soon?

I doubt they'll get more from the game sales than they lost in bad PR. But maybe I'm wrong, I don't do marketing.

> Charging for something like that is a good way to make unhappy customers.

I don't mean to sound snobby but I have the feeling that people who are emotionally invested in playing solitaire on a PC are the ones who are least likely to uninstall windows on favour of Linux or equivalent

They may very well buy a Mac as their next computer.

Sorry - I should have been more general in my snobbery. I think that hardcore solitaire players are unlikely to want to learn an entirely new OS regardless of who made it

I turn Cortana off as much as I can as well, and still nearly every single Windows 10 Pro install so far, be it on hardware or in a VM, has gotten ads on the lock screen and in the Start Menu at some point. The only installs that were not affected are not allowed to speak to the internet directly. I don't use Windows as my daily driver, neither at work nor at home. But every time I start up one of the Windows 10s with their creepy features, I'm glad I don't have to put up with this all day.

Maybe it works for other people to continually futz around with the registry, changing values they don't really know what they are good for. But I don't want to feel like I have to fight the OS every time, just to do they same things I get hassle free from other OSes.

In fact Windows trained me to always click No when it asks for permission for anything.

> What I heard (and it seems reasonable) is that MS included games like Solitaire and Minesweeper in 3.1 as a soft way of training the enormous user base who were using PCs for the first time in mouse functions like click, drag, right click and click precision. I guess now that everybody knows that , MS sees no practical reason to keep those games free.

That's fine, take them out of the OS. I'm not sure an OS should come preinstalled with games anyway.

But don't remove the games and then show me ads for them.

Me too, i never ever seen any ad on win10 - both home and pro versions(on a side note - home version is nigh unusable when it starts it's anti-malware scan - even on fresh install))

I do always turn off every possible telemetry setting.

I've never ever seen them at my work too - we use pro version of windows10 for most PCs.

I've tended to always chose the defaults and Yes to everything :) and have never seen any kind of Ads either. I don't have the people tab either! (although it appears like something i would have instantly flicked off without thinking)

I wonder if Microsoft engages in some kind of personification of OS settings...

I suspect most of the advertisers are going for big markets, if you live in a small non English speaking country then they might not have signed any advertisers on.

Does Australia qualify as a small non English speaking country? Because that's where I am

Well, mate, you speak Australian ;-).

The article mentions this, but ads on the lock screen are tied to enabling the auto-changing lock screen image.

I suspect it is regional. Are you in America?

Australia. Which you think would be a big enough market to make toggling a setting worthwhile

How about all the ways windows goes out of its way to hide the home folder, and then is now generating multiple places it calls “Documents”, “Pictures”, etc so you’re never really sure where anything is?

Probably one of the most infuriating thing indeed. I especially hate how the special names replace the full path in the nav bar.

I think this is godsend. Before they do this people litter their files all over the filesystem. These magic folders reside in a user's home folder by default anyway.

Most Windows users don't really have much clue about the filesystem like everyone here does.

And is that desirable? Why do we want users to know less about how their computer works? Is it really a problem to know that you have a user directory with a bunch of other directories inside that hold certain classes of information by default?

When I open a command prompt (yes, I'm not the average user), I'm in my home directory, and if I create any files or folders, they'll be there by default. To access those files/folders, I used to go through the root of the filesystem (Users -> <username>), but I eventually just made a link in the file explorer to my home directory. Why doesn't that link at least exist by default? I've used enough GUI tools that default to that directory (i.e. WinSCP IIRC) that getting to it should be easy.

I think the reason that "most Windows users don't have a clue" is because Microsoft wants it that way for some reason. People were able to figure out DOS, yet these days giving them a link to their home directory is "too complicated"?

The modern developer mindset is that users are cattle. Explore pretty much anywhere developers hang out and ask them why things are the way they are and they'll tell you it's because users are morons. Developers used to want to actually help users make better use of their tools. Hell, computers used to boot into BASIC. Now developers just want to force carefully crafted single-purpose appliances on people so they have total control over what they do with it and can track everything for the purpose of making money. Then they lament that they are "forced" to do this. Jackasses.

> sk them why things are the way they are and they'll tell you it's because users are morons.

I call those sorts of devs "bad developers".

As time has gone by, more and more people are starting to use computers. Before, only technically-minded people that were willing to invest in a learning curve would buy and use computers, but now even toddlers are users. People need computers, but they have other work to do, other things to learn. They don't want to have to invest time in learning how to use a computer, and I believe that's what's driving the dumbing-down of user interfaces. I don't think this was initiated by developers, and in that sense, they are forced to comply to market forces.

I still hate developing GUI apps on Web technology. Most of the stuff I program would best be used on a CLI. It would be simpler to program and would provide much more productivity benefits to an experienced user. However, it's not really an option, when most users don't even know how to make a bookmark or have little notion of what files are, much less how to use a terminal.

There's a difference between making things easier to understand and turning them into a nigh-useless playschool-brand version of themselves. The original Macintosh is what the former looks like: coherent metaphors, expected behavior, simple design. Today's "apps" are what the latter looks like.

They really are forced to do this. That's how Eternal September works.

> Why do we want users to know less about how their computer works?

It's not what we want, it's an appreciation for reality. You can want all kinds of things, like people to read documentation, not install malware toolbars, not click reply-all, not answer "I don't know" to product questions on Amazon, use their turn signals, I could go on for hours if not days.

How does making things more complicated make it easier? How does windows explain to users that folders they can see don’t actually exist and ones they can’t do?

You need to step beyond yourself.

It's complicated to you (and me, and probably literally every single reader of HN) because we understand that it's an indirection and the reality is hidden. We are accustomed to that reality and virtual folders without a "physical" root are, to us, an obfuscation.

But step into the shoes of someone who doesn't understand what a file even is. Someone that would be more at home on a tablet, without a filesystem at all. Home folder? What's that? For that user, just having a Documents folder is great. They don't need to know, nor do they care, where it is.

You've apparently never had to support someone whose desktop is clogged with all their files. They know a file by its location on the desktop, not by its name. If it moves for whatever reason, they are screwed. It is for these people, who are surely now the majority of users, that removing the link from "Documents" to some actual location in the filesystem, is a win. To those of us who know better, it took all of 5s to figure it out the first time you encountered it.

Why does the user need to know about file systems and home directories and symbolic links if all they want is to save a file and then find it later?

Do you feel the same about cars? Are we dumbing things too much down by making driving as simple as pressing a pedal and moving a steering wheel?

The "find it later" part is kind of important.

Agreed. The average user loses a file when it falls out of the recent documents list, so it'd be nice if a power user at least had some clue where it might be found. Windows "search" is also buggered, as mentioned in the article, and only shows a handful of documents and a thousand irrelevant Bing search results when you're looking for a document.

Of course. But "remember where you placed the file in this filesystem hierarchy" isn't the only way to accomplish that.

> To access those files/folders, I used to go through the root of the filesystem (Users -> <username>), but I eventually just made a link in the file explorer to my home directory.

I just don't use the folders at all, and create my own directories off of the root, instead. It's much more convenient and has never caused me a problem.

> And is that desirable? Why do we want users to know less about how their computer works?

Because we'd complain ourselves if using a hammer required knowledge about metallurgy.

Imagine what it's like to write user manuals and other documentation for products that have to run on this shitshow. Welcome to my life...

As long as there is proper support for a virtual folder, I as a user don't care. I can have a unified view of local and cloud documents.

As a developer I would settle for accurate and comprehensive documentation.

I think a user does care if they can’t easily know if a document is on the cloud. Like you’re at a conference where you discover your desktop wasn’t saving to the cloud for some reason. The interface is identical between cases.

That is a UI problem. Overlay icon or something like it - or setting to make sure all documents are also present on your machine. I absolutely do not want to know how it's implemented and where to look if it's cloud or not.

They did sort-of roll back the Library stuff that Windows 7+ (or Vista+?) had. They’re still there but they’re no longer in “This PC”. So that’s now okay IMHO.

You can quickly access your user folder by going to the address bar and starting to type your user’s display name.

I don't actually mind this, and it's been around for quite some time? It's certainly convenient to segregate "Downloads" from everything else.

OSX tends to do this too, but at least you still have a unix terminal and they don't screw with the paths to things...

The "they don't screw with the path to things" makes a world of difference, IMO.

In macOS, the Music folder is literally ~/Music, and the Downloads folder is literally ~/Downloads. While your home folder isn't listed in Finder's sidebar by default, it can be enabled very easily in Finder's preferences.

It’s hard to believe how despite all the telemetry, Microsoft still manages to be so out of touch with their users’ actual needs. It’s almost like there’s a hidden agenda somewhere.

The fundamental problem is that there is no singular, unified Microsoft; there is instead a loose confederation of warring tribes that happen to share a headquarters and a ticker symbol. And Windows is the battlefield on which these tribes hash out their disputes.

Tribe A thinks Windows should appeal to people who use and love open source software. Tribe B thinks Windows’ ubiquity makes it a great platform to run ads on. So instead of what most companies would do, which would be to figure out how these goals line up against a broader strategic vision of what Windows should be, at Microsoft they just let both tribes do their thing simultaneously until the leader of one tribe rises up high enough in the org chart to raze the other tribe’s villages and scatter its people to the four winds via a reorg.

This of course results in a deeply schizophrenic product, but that only matters to customers, and Microsoft gave up customers as a false god long ago. Now the only god that matters in Redmond is the God of Battle, and every PM sees his peers as obstacles that need to be cleared away for him to meet his destiny in Valhalla.

For a moment there I thought this post was written by Bryan Cantrill.

About the camps and their goals, the open source one is to some extent present, obviously, but the ad one I don't really see because I run Pro. There is a third camp that unquestionably won, though:

The "UX/UI designer" camp. I assume all the garbage running in the background behind obscure registry toggles (because real configurability is bad for UX) that's meant to make it easier for grandmas and end up making it worse for everyone else, like your computer isn't really fully yours (neither the resources of it or the freedom to decide to not run these daemons) comes from misguided UX designers who think they know better than you how a computer should be used and that they can earmark a fifth of your CPU at any time to do whatever they want.

The UI designers also won. Everything is a soulless black or white with one contrasting color. They managed to make this "There are two places you can modify settings with two disparate styles" because somehow that's better than one older looking but consistent place.

Even they lost. You cannot customize the colors in light mode even. Only dark mode allows it, and there of course the color is darkened.

The whole thing feels like a beta version. In fact, even Whistler betas were more polished than this.

OS cannot afford to break things, which apparently is MS modus operandi now.

It takes about 5 minutes of playing in settings to hit broken functionality. Bonus points if the breakage is forced by unchangeable domain policy in company.

I like the help buttons which open a web browser with a page saying help is not available.

If you want to blame this on some UX/UI designer boogeyman that's fine, but you're heavily misrepresenting UX principles here.

UX designers are the problem of the Windows OS. Hilarious!

I'm reading a book about the Vietnam War, A Bright Shining Lie, and it's making me realize how many problems are born out of how complicated large human organizations are.

I mean, it's obvious when I write it like that, but I think we have this platonic ideal of a company (or a government, or the military) somehow being this omniscient creature when instead it is filled with flawed humans who are seeing the world through various soda straws pointed in different directions.

Speaking of telemetry: I'm surprised Windows 10 is even allowed to be used in government or big corporations outside the US. If people were as paranoid as the US administration is about Huawei, Windows 10 would be on a black list of never to be installed software. Yet here we are.

I could be wrong but I think it's already the case in french administrations. Or at least some of them.

I’ve wondered the same thing. Everyone told them not to remove the Start button. They did anyway, and Surprise! everyone hated it.

Or, maybe they aren't. Maybe their telemetry keeps them in touch with all their users, while the rest of us see only own own little echo chambers.

Nah, can't be. HN is surely an unbiased sample of the population. /s

As time goes on I feel more and more like this is the case. Not just in Windows, but in any application, power users are a minority.

There's also the issue with power users generally turning off as much telemetry as possible. To Microsoft we're much less visible than the average person who leaves everything on the default setting.

>It’s almost like there’s a hidden agenda somewhere.

It's not so much as a hidden agenda as sacrificing their primary product to be advertising for a different product and concept that consumers soundly rejected, and Microsoft's been trying to clean up the mess ever since. Ads and telemetry were just things that their new features supported, but weren't the driving force behind those features.

Wind the clock back to 2011. Desktop and laptop PC sales are declining and tablets are the new consumer hit. People are buying iPads (and to a lesser extent Android tablets) at an alarming rate, and this might be the end of a reliable revenue stream for Microsoft if people are replacing their old desktops and laptops with said iPads.

So, Microsoft comes up with the vision that their products will do more than an iPad can. Instead of having a standalone tablet as the home's primary computer, you'll buy a Microsoft tablet- which will not only be Just As Good as the iPad, but it'll also function as your main computer when you need it to. They even went so far as to create their own brand of tablet, but the extra hardware that needed to be provided for Windows to run smoothly (and the keyboard) meant that it would cost twice as much as the iPad (there was a neutered version that was comparable, but had no applications and outside of Office wasn't a suitable desktop replacement).

But there's another problem. Windows isn't a good tablet OS- the interface has been designed for a mouse and keyboard. So they come up with Metro and the brand new WinRT API with which to create applications, and spend a lot of time getting it ready.

Of course, since the entire vision of the future is "one Windows for everything", it made perfect sense for any system running this new version of Windows to use Metro. After all, they had just spent millions of dollars developing it and didn't want it to turn into another dead product.

So they made the fateful decision to deprecate the (already very much existing) desktop UI support in favor of Metro. It didn't matter that the interface was wholly unacceptable for desktop use, though it was Good Enough for the majority of the userbase- because people would be using Windows tablets and touchscreens in the near future anyway, in addition to their new Windows Phones (which would get quick application support because WinRT was a cross-platform solution).

That didn't turn out so well (Windows Phone is no more, UWP won't see further support as far as exclusive features go, and the only noteworthy Windows convertible tablet remains the Surface Pro) but it took a few years for that to become apparent- cue Windows 8.1 and later Windows 10 (the return of the Start Menu being a token gesture, since it lacked most of the functionality of the old Menu out of the box). There have been no major UI redesigns since, and everyone there's probably just trying to pick up the pieces until the next version arrives, if it indeed ever does.

If the telemetry says that many people use these features, are Microsoft out of touch? These are features we don’t use. But other people might.

My dad rang me once said that when playing solitaire it kept playing ads. I said he can buy it so the ads go away or find another app that doesn’t have ads. He’s like “ah what ever I’ll watch the ads”. He’s happy and content. Just wants solitaire.

> He’s happy and content. Just wants solitaire.

Would he not be happier without the ads, then?

Sure, but he doesn't want to pay and doesn't want some other app. So just accepts it.

I had no idea this was the case. This is awful. Microsoft got so much good will out of those free games and now they choose to nickel and dime people.

I'd love to know how much money they make out of this stuff, my guess is not very much at all.

I guess the ads in Solitaire may be less about making money off those ads themselves but more about reinforcing the idea that "ads are everywhere and that's OK" to get the masses used to ads (so they accept the other ads everywhere else).

I wouldn't call it being content, I'd call it being stuck in a situation that sucks.

I mean, if I gave you a script that would patch up Solitaire executable to remove any and all ads and telemetry with a single click, wouldn't your dad want it if you offered?

There's almost certainly a free app for Windows that's even better than the Microsoft version. He said his dad doesn't want "some other app," for whatever reason, but he's not stuck if they are available.

Hell if push came to shove you could probably get GNOME's solitaire running which at least has the advantage of supporting something like 100 different solitaire games.

Lastly I was curious how much the Microsoft solitaire costs and OMG. They want you to pay an ongoing subscription for it. Wow.

> I wouldn't call it being content, I'd call it being stuck in a situation that sucks.

It is as content as they'll get unless they spend $$ to remove the ads. Clearly it isn't worth the upgrade so they must be okay with their decision.

I'm talking about the obviously stupid features like the people hub or Bing search in start menu interfering with local results the user actually wants. Telemetry should obviously show that nobody uses these features successfully right?

Does he have a pack of playing cards?

They are the largest company by Market Cap. They're hardly out of touch with their users' needs. I use Windows 10 as my primary development system and it works great. Maybe you're out of touch?

Market cap has nothing to do with a company being in or out of touch with their users.

I think its a valid assumption that a company which is out of touch from their users will lose market cap soon enough

I disagree. The history of business is full of counterexamples to that.

Visual Studio is a great debugger and an "ok" editor. Step outside the GUI, though, and it is in my view a pile of unnecessary complexity.

A pile of unnecessary complexity? cough Javascript ecosystem cough

Seriously, though, I don't think you can avoid a lot of complexity if you build a product such as VS.

Did we forget illegally sabataging competition?

Standart folders, does anybody really use them?

I upgradet one Notebook at home to from Win7 to Win10. Besides of other things I couldn't believe the added Candy Crash in my Start Menu. In a home edition maybe .. but on Win Pro, serious?

I played back on the Win7 image pretty quick.

I'm anyway mostly Linux, but I don't think I'll ever move any machine to Win10.

> I couldn't believe the added Candy Crash in my Start Menu. In a home edition maybe .. but on Win Pro, serious?

Are you surprised? The file search on Windows XP Professional used an animated cartoon dog. This is just what Microsoft does.

As Steve Jobs once said, "The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste."

At least the dog was cute and not an advertising vehicle.

Haha, I totally forgot about that one. Though even using XP I used search without the dog, I forgot how.

You might think it's silly. Microsoft thinks it has massively cut down on malware installation. One of these is an aesthetic judgment. The other is a security judgment.

These judgements are orthogonal, one doesn't preclude the other.

That's very viewpoint-centric.

If your viewpoint is that of a power user who thinks everyone else should be one too, then it'd be fair to say they're orthogonal.

If your viewpoint is that of a product manager trying to give the most people the best experience you can, they're not orthogonal at all. You're trading a bit of scorn from a very small percentage of users for a larger number of very different users keeping their computers secure. Reducing the number of compromised windows installations is not silly at all.

The most critical useless feature (as it is now) is actually the Windows Store. What is Microsoft doing wrong that makes nobody use it? It could be a revolution (selling + updates).

In Windows 8, the Store and the not very good WinRT apps launched together. If they had launched with support for Win32 maybe it could have gotten traction. All your favorite desktop apps could be updated in a fell swoop without leaving junk on the system tray, extra updater services, or prompting you. But they assumed that WinRT would be successful and have popular apps, and instead what they got was a store to install mostly a bunch of apps nobody wanted.

All they needed to do was get a few popular apps available and people would get used to using the store. On a fresh Windows install, I usually want to following:

- Firefox - office suite (Libre Office for me, Office for my wife) - games (Steam) - backup software - video chat - image/video editing

Some of these could work just fine with WinRt, others don't. If most of my frequently used programs aren't available through a store, I'll complain about the store. If most are and a couple aren't, I'll complain about those apps.

Most apps people want don't currently use WinRT (AFAIK), and many apps probably will never use it (heavy software like games, maya/blender, photoshop/gimp, etc). It's really telling that Microsoft's motivations are when they prioritize the least used platform (and the most beneficial to Microsoft) in a new app store.

> All they needed to do was get a few popular apps available and people would get used to using the store.

Maybe. But personally, if the store was successful then it would make Windows even more painful than it is now, because inevitably applications would just release to the store and not supply standalone installers. And I really, really want standalone installers.

I think the only thing I've used it for installing Windows Subsystem for Linux

Also the beta version of the new Windows terminal

Yes! And Python.

What’s the advantage of the store version of python over the normal installer?

Auto Updates.

Automatic updates, I'm guessing.

I believe it only works for UWP apps, thereby making it almost completely useless.

Also, nobody wants to give Microsoft a cut of the software price if they can help it.

Thankfully, it seems the store is improving slowly.


I think the Windows Store is incredibly important. Worked as a technician for a while, and the amount of garbage people installed from random sites is mind-boggling. Or programs that hadn't been updated in five years. Non-tech people need a safe source for installing software (that also automatically updates it) and as long as the store wasn't providing a significant amount of useful software (all of which is Win32), it wasn't ever a viable solution. It might be soon.

The problem is that Win32 apps are inherently unsafe. If you want a safe source for installing software, you need a sandboxed app model, which on Windows means UWP or web apps. Unfortunately the Windows store eventually decided to compromise safety in the hopes of attracting more apps (the container format that Win32 apps in the store use isn't a real security sandbox).

Win32 apps have been supported in the Store for a couple years now. You'll find ("real") Office, Paint.NET, Inkscape, VLC, iTunes, iCloud, Photoshop, and more in the Microsoft Store today.

It does a simple word search, with some sort of sorting based on popularity on the store itself.

What MS should do is do a Google search (or a Bing search in their case) and filter out just the app results. Then find the download link, and get you that.

And that way the store becomes a storefront for not just "store" apps, but also non store apps, and therefore a comprehensive directory.

MS can still provide certain benefits to devs who store-ify their apps, such as updates, easy payments, slightly better placement, etc.

But the store needs to be a comprehensive directory for all apps.

The store couldn't have been great for enterprises too, replacing custom scripts, click once etc but it's gimped in a few critical ways, like cloud reliance and no way to push upgrades.

This is one of the reasons Linux is so popular for cloud clusters: it's really easy to completely control updates. Basically, host your own package repository, update on your schedule, then tell all your servers to update as well.

Windows has similar tooling for the OS, but it doesn't have an answer for everything else other than a ton of hand-rolled scripts. If the store doesn't make that easier, the enterprise won't use it. This seems like a huge missed opportunity. It should be trivial for an enterprise to curate the store like they can on Linux.

Totally agree. But also on workstations. It would simplify so many maintenance tasks (updates, new installation, synchronisation, reinstall, etc.). I cannot even grasp the potential.

There are some nifty apps, like Grapholite (Visio "lite") and it's reasonably priced as well.

How about giving us back the features we lost with Windows 10?

Like if I want a desktop shortcut to Notepad in W7 I open the Start menu, begin typing Notepad, and when it shows up in the search results I drag the icon onto the desktop or right click on it and hit "send to desktop". Neither of those work in Windows 10. Clicking and dragging does nothing, and right clicking doesn't let you make a desktop shortcut either. You have to add it to the Start menu, then drag it to to the desktop, then delete it off the Start menu.

Yeah, they keep making trivial things harder to do for no reason. You used to be able to right-click the icon and go directly to the classic control panel. Not anymore. The whole start menu is a failure and they need to overhaul it.

Or right click the item in search results, open file location, right click on .exe or shortcut, Send to > Desktop (create shortcut)

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