Computers & Electronics

Windows 10 inconsistent user experience (rant)

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Aug 15, 2013
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Toronto

Windows 10 inconsistent user experience (rant)

The problem with Microsoft, is that they don't seem to know which is the strategy that they will follow, not only in terms of UI, but for platform development and general consistency.

Take the File Explorer for example: from Windows 8 onwards, Microsoft pushed for a new app platform, that will ultimately substitute Win32 with a plan to transfer all legacy components to it. This saw a lot of iterations over the next versions, until it reached the Universal Windows Platform, that a lot of Windows 10 components are based on. Start menu, taskbar, the new Settings app, Action Center etc. So, the logical thing was that over the next years, all legacy Win32 components would be phased out and new, UWP versions will be released. As newer Windows 10 versions were being released and Microsoft did not bother to develop a dark mode for File Explorer, a lot of people logically assumed that it had a UWP version under development. This would be the rational thing, right?

Alas, no. Microsoft again appeared out of nowhere with the same questionable strategy and just gave a beta version of the dark theme (as others have correctly put it) to the legacy File Explorer. Why, if they are developing a UWP version of it, which will support it "out of the box"? The answer: they will stick to Win32! Is there any other reason to implement and spend so much time and development effort if in the next version they will remove it completely? And if they decided to support Win32 all over again, why they developed Settings at all? Why didn't they kept the old Control Panel, rename it to Settings and give a serious UI refresh? That doesn't add up.

After all, it's not that they are inconsistent with UI. They are inconsistent even to their strategy of supporting/abandoning Win32/UWP. It's been 3 years and 6 updates and Control Panel is still out there, making the OS look ugly and incomplete. Of course, to completely phase out it is a huge amount of work but they are not even working on that way; the last time a Control Panel setting was completely (and not merely, like basic sound settings) migrated from the former one to Settings was in version 1703. Two versions before! All the other changes and additions, are just shuffling around things between CP and Settings but keeping double settings (or some basic ones to the latter and more advanced ones to the former -e.g. Fonts co-exist in both applications but the more advanced settings are only in Control Panel).

In my opinion, what they need to do, is sit down and actually PLAN the next few years, which will be the strategy across the OS. Which will be the UI language, development platform, which components will be phased out and which will stay. It's better actually to keep old but tested components and give them a new look than to develop incomplete components and have a mediocre OS.
23 replies
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Aug 2, 2004
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East Gwillimbury
I have basically abandoned Windows.

iOS tracks you
Android tracks you
Windows is worse than both iOS and Android

I am exploring Linux. I am looking for the proper desktop environment. Just haven't found one yet
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Nov 15, 2011
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Saint John
Gee wrote: I have basically abandoned Windows.

iOS tracks you
Android tracks you
Windows is worse than both iOS and Android

I am exploring Linux. I am looking for the proper desktop environment. Just haven't found one yet
I explored Linux for a few months and gave up. To paraphrase one post I read on a message board a while back when trying to troubleshoot an issue with one of the numerous releases I tried, Linux is and always will be a hobby for nerds.

If you think Windows 8-10's strange inability to get its settings consistency issues straight is bad... Linux is at any one time fragmented into a thousand different UIs, each with its own bugs and features--and its own seemingly random selection of options that can be configured from the settings UI (when actually to really configure anything beyond the most basic elements, you'll have to be ready to edit text files scattered throughout the file system [after spending at minimum 15 minutes per setting, up to 15 hours or more, Googling and reading forum threads]).

For example, care to configure how your laptop will react when you close the lid? Well about a third of the releases (and their spins and respins) that I tried had a no-nonsense UI setting for this, while the developers of the remaining two thirds apparently didn't consider this an option worth adding to their conception of a "Control Panel." So one had to figure out where the text file was to set that option -- only to find that (duh) the settings were easily accessible in /usr/bin/x/x11/1223conf/2065/power.conf but each line was commented out by default, so that when I changed all the relevant options and couldn't figure out why the f**k the default behaviour (suspend) hadn't changed, I had to spend an additional half hour Googling and figuring out that the ";" at the beginning of each line in the damn .conf file meant it would (of course) be ignored, so I had to go back and delete all those";" to make it work. And of course, all of this was AFTER I had to redo all my settings the first time because I forgot to "sudo" my text editor, so I couldn't save the file after I was finished editing. And after that (Still before the commented out .conf lines issue) I had to figure out why my modern "Wayland"-based distro wouldn't let me use *any* GUI-based text editor as root unless I set some other obscure parameter in the command line each time I rebooted if I wanted to make "sudo gedit power.conf" run at all. Starting out as a "noob," you learn a bit each time, making the next experience when you want to change a basic setting via text editor a bit less painful.

The "community" will never be able to get behind one--or even 5, or 10, or 50--consistently developed "flavours" and hence none of them will ever have a chance to mature. Any experienced Linux user has his own version of the OS kludged together over the years, starting from a "basic" release and then constantly diversified with different software for each component of the operating system, all of it configured via text editor and command line.

So if you're looking for a new pastime, the Linux world awaits. You can expect to spend hundreds of hours getting your system to work the way you want it to, and you will learn a lot in the process!

I wasn't up to the challenge, and I gave up after spending probably 50ish hours tinkering with various installs and never getting much actual work (or leisure) done.

There's a good reason Linux accounts for less than 1% of desktop OSes -- despite the annual proclamations that "20xx is the year of Linux on the desktop" and the cries of disenchanted Windows-7-philes that they're "switching to Linux." It's kind of like all those Americans who were "moving to Canada" when Trump was elected.

So, yeah, I get it when OP wonders why the heck MS can't -- after all these years and iterations of Windows -- decide whether to get behind "Settings" or stick with "Control Panel." Or, there's my personal peeve with basic DPI scaling, and why after all these years of "4K" this and that, "UHD-ready", blah blah blah, a good proportion of the software I use still looks like crap. But the grass is always greener... in the default wallpaper for Windows XP.
FEEDBACK: RFD HWC Heat
Deal Fanatic
Nov 17, 2004
7095 posts
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Toronto
The whole control panel and how it sticks out like a sore thumb is not a big deal.

Windows 10 IMHO has gotten better with every release. My biggest gripe with Windows 10 was that you could not get Bluetooth earphones to work properly as a headset (voice and audio), the earphone part worked, this latest windows update fixed that.
I workout to get big so I can pickup bricks and ****.
Sr. Member
Jun 21, 2008
538 posts
140 upvotes
mississauga
yep, in the same boat, tried linux in the 90's and gave up after a few months, then junior picked it up during high school and owned it. Oh well
Deal Addict
Jan 17, 2009
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Windows is so frustrating but it's so much value for upgrading.. I use it every day at work (and macOS at home) and W10 has definitely gotten a lot better, but its still got random problems that drive me nuts. Two issues that drives me nuts every single day: Their scaling sucks, i use it at 150% or 200% zoom and half the programs/features don't scale properly (like did anyone even test it? i'm talking BUILT IN COMES WITH WINDOWS stuff not scaling properly). I can listen to HD audio on my bluetooth headphones, but can't use the onboard mic without sounding like its the 1930s (my Bose QC35 and my boss' brand new Sony XM3 both have the identical problem on different computers, so i know its not just me). So when i want to do a conference call i have to take off my nice bluetooth headset and use a POS $10 logitech usb one that works perfectly because its not bluetooth.

Then there's also the visual inconsistencies (which Mac is also getting bad at). As a designer i notice this right away and drives me nuts, but it's not a big deal.

I'm needing a new laptop to replace my 2013 Macbook Pro, and honestly it's a very hard decision. How much value is MacOS worth to me? A 16" MBP configured how i like it is ~$3,500-4,000. I can get a good spec Windows laptop for ~$2,000. So i'm paying double the price for having an amazing trackpad, better build quality, and Apple ecosystem (which i love). But money is money so its hard. Anyone make the jump to a Windows laptop from a MBP and not regret it? What'd you switch to?
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Jun 1, 2006
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Microsoft sucks big time... they keep releasing new products without properly debugging their previous ones, nor they care about them
I swear to drunk I'm not God 😝
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Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
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TruBrush wrote: Control Panel is still out there,
I'd be choked if they actually kill it.
I already can't find most of the settings I need that aren't in Control Panel.

Seriously I haven't had to google so much in my life.
Nor use gpedit because most settings nowadays are buried in there or the registry.

I miss the old days where I had control of my OS instead of having to dig into the bowels to find that one obscure place to change a thing.
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Aug 2, 2004
33323 posts
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East Gwillimbury
birthdaymonkey wrote: AFTER I had to redo all my settings the first time because I forgot to "sudo" my text editor, so I couldn't save the file after I was finished editing. And after that (Still before the commented out .conf lines issue) I had to figure out why my modern "Wayland"-based distro wouldn't let me use *any* GUI-based text editor as root unless I set some other obscure parameter in the command line each time I rebooted if I wanted to make "sudo gedit power.conf" run at all. Starting out as a "noob," you learn a bit each time, making the next experience when you want to change a basic setting via text editor a bit less painful.

There's a good reason Linux accounts for less than 1% of desktop OSes -- despite the annual proclamations that "20xx is the year of Linux on the desktop" and the cries of disenchanted Windows-7-philes that they're "switching to Linux." It's kind of like all those Americans who were "moving to Canada" when Trump was elected.

So, yeah, I get it when OP wonders why the heck MS can't -- after all these years and iterations of Windows -- decide whether to get behind "Settings" or stick with "Control Panel." Or, there's my personal peeve with basic DPI scaling, and why after all these years of "4K" this and that, "UHD-ready", blah blah blah, a good proportion of the software I use still looks like crap. But the grass is always greener... in the default wallpaper for Windows XP.
I am coming from a different place. I have been using FreeBSD for 20+ years. I don't have a problem with command lines or the lack of a user interface. I am only looking at Linux because they have a broader user interface support and more software support. Sure I can get 99% of the programs to run in FreeBSD but the experience is better on Linux.

I don't actually have a problem with Windows and their growing pains. My only concern about Windows is the telemetry, and the fact that I am slowly being forced to use the Windows Store via an email login and losing my ability to login in locally.

My only other comment is about your trouble saving a file that was owned by root. You could have saved the file under another name and then replaced the original file after the fact.

There is no way for me to completely abandon Windows. My work place is a Windows Shop and I have no choice but to use Windows. I just plan to move my personal computing to an environment where I am not handcuffed.

I understand your frustration (and others) with Linux. But there was a time when Windows ran on top of DOS. This is no different. It's just that people have grown accustomed to having everything done for them. I am not encouraging anyone to dump Windows and run to Linux. I think this is the right move for me, and that is all.
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Dec 5, 2006
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Markham
TruBrush wrote: The problem with Microsoft, is that they don't seem to know which is the strategy that they will follow, not only in terms of UI, but for platform development and general consistency.

Take the File Explorer for example: from Windows 8 onwards, Microsoft pushed for a new app platform, that will ultimately substitute Win32 with a plan to transfer all legacy components to it. This saw a lot of iterations over the next versions, until it reached the Universal Windows Platform, that a lot of Windows 10 components are based on. Start menu, taskbar, the new Settings app, Action Center etc. So, the logical thing was that over the next years, all legacy Win32 components would be phased out and new, UWP versions will be released. As newer Windows 10 versions were being released and Microsoft did not bother to develop a dark mode for File Explorer, a lot of people logically assumed that it had a UWP version under development. This would be the rational thing, right?

Alas, no. Microsoft again appeared out of nowhere with the same questionable strategy and just gave a beta version of the dark theme (as others have correctly put it) to the legacy File Explorer. Why, if they are developing a UWP version of it, which will support it "out of the box"? The answer: they will stick to Win32! Is there any other reason to implement and spend so much time and development effort if in the next version they will remove it completely? And if they decided to support Win32 all over again, why they developed Settings at all? Why didn't they kept the old Control Panel, rename it to Settings and give a serious UI refresh? That doesn't add up.

After all, it's not that they are inconsistent with UI. They are inconsistent even to their strategy of supporting/abandoning Win32/UWP. It's been 3 years and 6 updates and Control Panel is still out there, making the OS look ugly and incomplete. Of course, to completely phase out it is a huge amount of work but they are not even working on that way; the last time a Control Panel setting was completely (and not merely, like basic sound settings) migrated from the former one to Settings was in version 1703. Two versions before! All the other changes and additions, are just shuffling around things between CP and Settings but keeping double settings (or some basic ones to the latter and more advanced ones to the former -e.g. Fonts co-exist in both applications but the more advanced settings are only in Control Panel).

In my opinion, what they need to do, is sit down and actually PLAN the next few years, which will be the strategy across the OS. Which will be the UI language, development platform, which components will be phased out and which will stay. It's better actually to keep old but tested components and give them a new look than to develop incomplete components and have a mediocre OS.
New term for this is "agile" :)
Member
Oct 12, 2005
270 posts
75 upvotes
Markham, ON
Not really a UX rant, but a rant in general.

I was a great proponent of Windows 10 when it first came out. My friends all wanted to stay on Windows 7, but I urged them to get rid of it... However, lately, I have changed my mind.

Starting from Windows 10 1909, I discovered that they no longer allow you to do long-term feature update deferrals. Feature update is defined as a major jump of version, e.g., from 1809 to 1903 or from 1903 to 1909. Although they now allow you to defer for both Home & Pro versions of Windows 10, you can only defer updates by a week, up to five times, for a total of 35 days. It's really painful for me to do major updates, as I always like to image my SSD and do a full back up of my Windows before any major changes.

My main PC (bought three years ago with a 6th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU) is still running on Windows 10 Pro 1809 which allows me to defer feature updates up to 365 days. Although Windows 10 1809 has been out for over a year, my PC has not forced me to update.

Also, there is now this "new feature" in Windows 10 Home that after the initial installation is finished, and you are in the out of box experience, as soon as you connect to a network (no matter if it's Wi-Fi or Ethernet), it forces you to use a Microsoft Account to log into Windows. Even if you find a way to unjoin your Wi-Fi, unplug your Ethernet cable, or force shut down you PC and start over, you can't create a local account. What kind of BS is that?!! (source from thurrott.com)

I have other machines... Two very old MacBooks. A 15" MacBook Pro from 2010 (which has endured two water soakings but still continues to work), and a 11" 2012 MacBook Air. Don't get me started on Apple, especially with their butterfly keyboard fiasco. I swear I won't buy a new MacBook until they get rid of it, which they are starting to do with the recent release of the 16" MacBook Pro, but these days, I can't afford any Apple products...

A few months ago, I bought parts to build a new PC as a Plex Server. I was going to build it as a Hackintosh, but due to some unresolved driver issues, I ended up installing Ubuntu. Without doing enough research, I settled on Ubuntu 18.10, and I didn't realize it was not a long term support release. It quickly came to end of life. I played with other versions of Ubuntu and Linux Mint. In the end, I picked Linux Mint 19.1. Linux has its own problems as well. Just last week, I was trying to do an update on Linux Mint 19.1. However, after doing the update, it couldn't boot anymore. As with my Windows machine, I took an image before doing the update. The second time I tried the updates, the same thing happened. After restoring the PC once again (it only took about five minutes to restore), I tried the update for the third time, and it failed... again. I never figured out why this happened or what caused the problem, but I am now on Linux Mint 19.2, which is also a long term support release. Despite the problems, I don't miss Windows for what I wanted to do on this PC. I have access to everything I need. I even set up cron jobs and use podget to automatically download my audio and video podcasts.

I do have another PC (a 4th-gen Intel NUC) running Windows 10. I just use it on my coffee table for general web surfing. I will probably install Linux Mint on it over the holidays.

I will probably keep my main PC with Windows as its OS as I have a video editing program that doesn't run with Wine on Linux. However, if I were to build a new PC for friends or relatives, I may just put Linux Mint on it. If all they need is a web browser for Gmail or YouTube, why the heck not! Maybe just get them a Chromebook and call it a day. There are too many issues and annoyances with Windows 10.
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Aug 22, 2006
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Gee wrote: I am slowly being forced to use the Windows Store via an email login
Can't be forced to use Windows Store if it doesn't exist.
-Black thinking guy

This is one of the reasons I run LTSC on every machine that runs 10.
It's slightly less infuriating than SAC, but it's still a pain in the butt to use.
and losing my ability to login in locally.
Pro at least for now still has that option.
Sr. Member
Jan 15, 2010
523 posts
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Toronto
Gee wrote: I don't actually have a problem with Windows and their growing pains. My only concern about Windows is the telemetry, and the fact that I am slowly being forced to use the Windows Store via an email login and losing my ability to login in locally.
This is driving me nuts. Rebuilt a machine yesterday with Windows 10 Home and and it was near impossible to create a local account. Had to restart the build and then skip the wifi setup step just so it would then prompt me to create a local account.

Windows 10 pro at lease lets you go through a few extra prompts to create a local account.
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Aug 2, 2004
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East Gwillimbury
GavinCampbell wrote: This is driving me nuts. Rebuilt a machine yesterday with Windows 10 Home and and it was near impossible to create a local account. Had to restart the build and then skip the wifi setup step just so it would then prompt me to create a local account.

Windows 10 pro at lease lets you go through a few extra prompts to create a local account.
Don’t plug in the Ethernet cable or connect to Wi-Fi

More importantly, don’t use Windows Home
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There are probably just as much telemetry security concerns with linux than windows 10 only it gets patched up more slowly no? You're putting your trust on an individual instead of a company now.
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Windows 10 is doing everything it can to force people off local accounts and on to their always tracked online BS. I'm pretty sure it's tracking all of my local use and reporting it to Windows even though I'm trying to use my system in the classic offline manner I could with previous Windows versions.

Mac users, does Apple force you to use an online account too? Or are you able to use your computer in the classic 'offline in every way but the browser' fashion? I'm genuinely considering switching because of this.
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Nov 29, 2011
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Milton
Ecsta wrote: Windows is so frustrating but it's so much value for upgrading.. I use it every day at work (and macOS at home) and W10 has definitely gotten a lot better, but its still got random problems that drive me nuts. Two issues that drives me nuts every single day: Their scaling sucks, i use it at 150% or 200% zoom and half the programs/features don't scale properly (like did anyone even test it? i'm talking BUILT IN COMES WITH WINDOWS stuff not scaling properly). I can listen to HD audio on my bluetooth headphones, but can't use the onboard mic without sounding like its the 1930s (my Bose QC35 and my boss' brand new Sony XM3 both have the identical problem on different computers, so i know its not just me). So when i want to do a conference call i have to take off my nice bluetooth headset and use a POS $10 logitech usb one that works perfectly because its not bluetooth.

Then there's also the visual inconsistencies (which Mac is also getting bad at). As a designer i notice this right away and drives me nuts, but it's not a big deal.

I'm needing a new laptop to replace my 2013 Macbook Pro, and honestly it's a very hard decision. How much value is MacOS worth to me? A 16" MBP configured how i like it is ~$3,500-4,000. I can get a good spec Windows laptop for ~$2,000. So i'm paying double the price for having an amazing trackpad, better build quality, and Apple ecosystem (which i love). But money is money so its hard. Anyone make the jump to a Windows laptop from a MBP and not regret it? What'd you switch to?
As a designer as well, I left Apple years ago without issue.

But the difference was that I've never been able to use trackpads for actual design work (even for basic browsing I find them annoying), so always used mice with laptops. I also prefer working on desktop so didn't really use a laptop at all for around 5 years (just got a new one last year).

I also switched to Android after only around 1-2 years on iPhone, and this is around 2012, so switching was easy because at least at the time iPhone had a ton of arbitrary restrictions that didn't exist on Android. Android could do everything iOS could and more. Not sure how it is these days, I never went back.

Basically a lot of it isn't so much an Apple or Apple vs Windows issue, but how you use the products, personal preferences, etc.
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Oct 9, 2010
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Microsoft's problem is their users are idiots, and IT guys are dumb. They're stuck having to support legacy garbage because the users of their OS are too dumb to handle change gracefully.
One who is offended by truth, has no place among those who seek wisdom.
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vivibaby wrote: There are probably just as much telemetry security concerns with linux than windows 10 only it gets patched up more slowly no? You're putting your trust on an individual instead of a company now.
While I'm sure there is probably a distro maintained by one person, most of the big ones are maintained by hundreds if not thousands of people.

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