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Dear Microsoft…

Dear Microsoft…

I’m sure this wont be the last time I rant about Microsoft, it is far from the first and I’ve been using their stuff since MS-DOS days (always preferred CPM) but the Windows 10 Anniversary Update has got me angry yet again.

To me, a computer is a business tool, like a photocopier or a stapler. No more, no less. I don’t use my computer for games and I don’t use it for fun. It’s a work thing. I have other platforms for social, music, photos and all the other stuff relating to computers. Ok, so I do make use of the power of my laptop to do those things as well from time to time, but that is not the role of my work computer, it is not why I have it or what I need it for. And never, ever, games or “apps” on any of my platforms.

Microsoft has been moving Windows away from this scenario for years towards making it a more “personal” environment. More and more games, more concentration on video, social media integration, mobile integration, whizzy interfaces, tat & bells & whistles – and as this progression has been going on, Windows has become less and less useful for doing real work, earning the money to keep body and soul together.

A few examples.

Edge – the new browser, is a complete waste of time. It is unreliable in ways even Internet Explorer couldn’t manage and yet I have to make websites work in it – yet one more variable in the portability nightmare. Update: The most annoying thing about edge, apart from the fact that it is the slowest browser around, is that when it comes up, you can immediately type into the address bar but after a few seconds it throws away your typing and loads the page it thinks you should see … believe it or not, I know what I’m looking for better than the system does!

Access – Microsoft Access was a wonderful database and its replication capabilities second to none. In fact the whole internal capability of my company is based around it. Except that Microsoft abandoned it, just gave up on it and walked away. So, I have to try and keep Access 2007 running on my machines, which is really not easy. Worse still, I developed some Visual Basic tools for those databases which are even harder to manage as the 32-bit drivers need very specific environments to operate. I have spent a long time talking to Microsoft support about this, they even got one of their Access experts to call me from the States – his solution? Start from scratch with a new system, nothing he could do to help.

Accounts – why do I need to tell Windows 10 my email account? It seems like too many things now expect to hook into the internet, if not every time then at least some of the time. Well, I don’t want to run it like that, I don’t want my laptop account and my on-line account to be the same.

Bloat – too much of the power of the laptop that I have paid for is being used by Microsoft who didn’t pay for it at all. I have notebooks that no longer have the power to run the bloatware Microsoft shift out, odd as they cope very well thank you with a nice lean *nix core.

Cortana – why? Simply why? And as for making it a core feature of all searches with this latest update, well, sorry, I do not want to do things your way. Your way is not my way. I am the customer and I should get what I want but I don’t, I get what your future-boys think I should have which at the moment seems to be a laptop that models itself on a teenager’s mobile phone.

The interaction style of Windows 10 is far too “consumer” and lacks a business edge where sped and accuracy are the order of the day. Games, music, the store, apps – all these things now have pride of place when they should be optional or simply not there unless you ask for them. It takes way too long to strip the interface back down to something approaching a business environment and then Microsoft do an upgrade and you have to do it all again. Microsoft’s development team appear to believe in “if it ain’t broke, then bugger it up” when they should just fix the things that don’t work and make what does work as efficient as possible.

One good thing does come out of these updates. Each time they happen I become more and more determined to rebuild my business software and ditch Windows for ever! The time is getting close …

The Anniversary Update: It took ages. I now have to use esc rather than just click for login screen. Lots of settings changed (or just lost) in various programs. PaintShop Pro crashing when it has never crashed before (let’s hope that that is not a sign of more problems elsewhere). Over the past week I have also found Firefox crashing like never before and Internet Explorer … browsers also seem slower, are Microsoft trying to favour Edge? Skype now regularly freezes. Windows still completely re-arranges my desktop if I change from single to twin screen or back – even though all my icons are always on my main screen which never changes size.

Blue Screen of Death: Yes, now seeing it again after all these years – how nice of Microsoft to bring it back.

Update: Reboots. It would seem that the update was not quite right as my machine keeps downloading and installing updates – and each time, when I go to use my machine in the morning, something is broken. Today it was my mapped network drives; network authorisations forgotten, drives disconnected and saved drive locations cleared. Wow, thanks. I also found that IE will no longer start up but fails all by itself and FF and Chrome keep locking. So I will reboot and see if that fixes it but sheesh Microsoft you really are crap.

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