On 25 December 2015 I purchased a Microsoft Surface tablet/PC in the Amazon Christmas sales. Just a few months later on 15 March it went missing at Atlanta airport partly I’m sure down to my own stupidity and carelessness. Whilst I have been kicking myself for the last few months about this I have also been wondering how I have never lost any of my iPads, Android Phablets, Blackberry’s or iPhones for the past 6 years and yet I offered this machine much less protection in its short time with me on my travels. I have come to the conclusion that the reason is that Windows 10 is malware, pure and simple and while I am not psychologist it is clear the upgrade or new install processes for Windows 10 are doing my head in. I drove that tiny tablet out of my life! I now recognise that I have a subconscious aversion to Microsoft Windows 10 which one of the world largest corporations has let loose on an unsuspecting global user base way before they should have.
This short note gives five tips for PC users to avoid my mental state as Microsoft gradually withdraws support from earlier Windows versions and stops the free Windows 7 to Windows 10 upgrade offer on 31 July, so making Windows 10 eventually unavoidable.
Tip 1: Don’t accept automatic upgrades to Windows 10 without reading the four other tips below. A month ago my 85 year-old mum was force fed a Windows 10 upgrade which mean that I had to scurry round there and spend a few hours sorting out her desktop. It is so confusing for her now that I have said that she must do all her Silver Surfing from her favourite chair with a new iPad Air (but please, please remember to close all those Safari Windows Mum, you must have the record for opening new ones!)
Tip 2: Remember the pre-install Windows 10 ‘Compatibility Check’ is as about as much use as balls on a mosquito! It seems only to check disk space and memory. It has never been able to comprehensively assess whether the peripherals/drivers on any machine that I have upgraded are suitable for Windows 10 – particularly if you are upgrading from Windows 7 or have multiple monitors/more than one graphics card onboard. (Check out me having to take out a graphics card above before a Windows 10 upgrade will start up after an install from Windows 7. I tell you I want to stick that card somewhere up or on a Microsoft director!). In short if you are upgrading from legacy windows expect to be frustrated until you can plough through issues. This is particularly true if you have a notebook with lots of pesky OEM bloat software (Lenovo has to be the worst!) which itself has to be upgraded or amended to adapt to Windows 10.
Tip 3: Be wary of Microsoft support blogs which say you should hack the Windows registry as a solution. Seriously, I lost a cursor (it just vanished from the screen) on one Windows 8 to 10 laptop upgrade late last year and actually found this as a prescribed solution on a blog whilst working out of the Premier Inn in Chester. The hack worked but proves that this software was not ready for a mass audience. Microsoft say Windows 10 is FREE. I should bill the blighters for all the time I have spent fixing it. I have not found the missing cursor bug in any of the installs I have done in 2016 so...Instead of upgrading just before you head off for a road trip and have to do things like registry hacks follow tip 4….
Tip 4: One of the issues with Windows 10 is you never know which version of the operating system you are downloading or have bought (particularly on eBay) and what issues have been updated and fixed unless you plough through detailed release notes and become a Windows 10 Aficionado. Plan a few days when you don’t have to use your updated PC for drop dead tasks and let the software settle down. Turn the device or PC on for 3 hours at a time, use gently and then restart and let the automatic updates take effect. You may waste your time trying to fix one issue that you have found early on only to find that it would be fixed by the next update.
Tip 5: Beware the war for your eyeballs and patronage. Microsoft have been losing the browser wars and are using Windows 10 (and their Edge ‘browser’ in particular) to try to ram their way to the top. If you are a Google Chrome user like me, you will find this very irritating. Even on the latest install of Windows 10 I’ve done (a month ago) driving those multiple screens behind me in the photo above, Chrome is unstable. It is obvious that Microsoft are out to stuff Alphabet (Google) and people (like you and me) are collateral damage.
I said 5 tips, I would add another more personal one: if you find problems with Windows 10 - Don’t call me unless you are prepared to pay for a Therapist!
Follow Gary on Twitter @GarysBalls