back to article Twas the week before Xmas ... not a creature was stirring – except Microsoft admitting its Windows 10 upgrade pop-up went 'too far'

Microsoft's marketing boss Chris Capossela has confessed the infamous your-Windows-10-upgrade-is-ready pop-up that tricked so many people into installing the thing was a step "too far." Speaking on this week's Windows Weekly podcast on Twit.tv, Capossela was asked to list his low points of the year for Redmond (it's 17 minutes …

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Re: M$ Long History

The Windows 95 UI was far, far ahead of the ridiculous "program groups" pseudo-file system shell (progman.exe) of 3.0/3.1. MS put a lot of effort into the 95 interface-- they even made a selling point out of all the research they'd done into usability and how people use PCs. It worked; 95 was a quantum leap in usability. I remember saying at the time that it was the first Windows that really had a reason to exist. Its instability was a completely separate issue (among other things, it was the early days of PnP, and PCs of the era still had ISA slots, which were never designed for any kind of self-configuration).

All of that research MS did into the UI is still valid. Human ergonomics haven't changed, and the way our minds work haven't either. Evolution doesn't happen in a 20 year time frame (unless you're a bacterium or something similar, I guess). With that in mind, one might wonder why MS, after reaching the holy grail of UI development, has subsequently spent so much time trying to bury the successful and popular interface they introduced with 95. We've had to resort to aftermarket programs like Classic Shell, Old New Explorer, 7+ Taskbar Tweaker, and other similar things to undo Microsoft's often bizarre decisions to change things that people liked and that worked well for them.

Windows 2000 was the last version of Windows that didn't need considerable tweaking to get it to work the way it should (IMO). XP required only minor modifications to system settings to get it back on the right track (disable Luna, enable Classic start menu). From that point forward, each successive version of Windows would require more and more effort to restore sanity.

With Windows 10, it's simply not possible to restore sanity anymore. The UI is more similar to the "Classic" standard on the surface (no pun intended) than with 8, but it still pales in comparison to a UI made strictly for the desktop (one without any unavoidable "app" bits like Settings, complete with the oversized, simplistic controls typical of mobile UIs).

If the "am I a phone or a PC?" UI was the worst of what 10 had to offer, though, it could perhaps be forgiven... but all of the other stuff that's wrong with 10 make complaints about the UI seem like rearranging deck chairs on the sinking Titanic.

I was still using XP well into Windows 8's reign as the newest Windows. When I built a new PC several years ago, I knew it was time to ditch 32-bit Windows... but I (like so many others) took a pass on 8 and went instead to 7. That was only a short time before retail shipments of 7 (from MS) were ended-- and I was just getting on board. I had little interest in 8, from what I'd seen of it.

The irony! Win 8 failed as a product because so many others avoided it as I had. Win 10 was the answer; it was going to be more like 7 to get all of the desktop PC users back on board. Now that I've seen 10, I've rejected it even more strongly than I had 8... and now I'm toying with the idea of migrating to 8.1 in 2020 (when Win 7 security support ends) for what I can't then do in Linux (if there is any such thing I need native Windows for at that point).

It took something as bad as Windows 10 to make me appreciate Windows 8... not for what it has, but for what it lacks: forced updates, Cortana, a EULA that could be summed up as "all your data is belong to us," telemetry that can't be turned all the way off and that turns itself back on whenever it wants to, unwanted app downloads/installations, ads in the OS, unwanted uninstallation of whatever programs 10 thinks I don't need... on and on.

I never thought that having a commercial OS without ads, that didn't spy on me and phone home to MS, and where I had control over updates was even something I had to think about. Now, those formerly taken for granted must-haves have been stripped from Windows, and 8's UI (whose rough edges were softened with 8.1, and can be improved even more with aftermarket addons) doesn't seem as intolerable as it once did.

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

For a start, many/most installed programmes place themselves in the Start menu in alphabetic order, often as a folder rather than even the programme link. But since many programmes have remarkably unhelpful names, since the publishers think that their company name is more important than what the programmes do ( e.g. Hornil Stylepix, Abbyy Finereader and so on) it's likely that you are only going to remember what it's called if you use it frequently which makes locating, say, a graphics programme that you only need from time to time much more difficult. But Microsoft, in their "wisdom" have made reorganising the start menu slightly more difficult than eating porridge through a straw. The menu itself can't be accessed by right clicking on a folder where they've been installed, only on one of the links inside the folder. The menu itself is stored across more than one place, and the locations of the various items managed through a database that doesn't always seem to realise that a programme link has been moved into a different folder unless you actually edit the name. It will continue to display the icon for the original folder, with the programme link apparently still in it and functioning, even though when you explore it is in the new location. Of course this also makes removing programme links that you'll never start from the menu (like the pdf reader that will only ever be started by clicking on a pdf) very difficult. And if that isn't complicated enough, they also have their own apps' links in the alphabetic list, unmovable. So that if you want to keep a Microsoft app in the same folder where you've placed programmes that do a similar job - tough sh*t. It can't be moved. Camera, for example, will be there filed under "C" no matter how much you want to move it and file it with other photograph related programmes that you have neatly placed in a folder called "photographic".

Or to put it another way; they've made sure that for most users the Win 10 Start menu is a total Horlicks. Completely cluttered with an alphabetic list of often obscure programme names and useless obscure folders containing their programme names, with any other crap such as links to other software they want to try and sell to you) that the publishers choose to stick in there, whether you want or need them or not.

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

no windows 7 is what Vista should of been (making sure stuff that should be a background task does not interfere with the operation of the PC)

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

Adam 52

very good post

also Vista HDD problems have come back to windows 10 as well (a lot of the servicing tasks that run in the background are not been ran as background disk priority they are running as Normal, resulting in slow system sometimes, tends to be norm within first 10 minutes of the system starting up)

Fast startup needs a 10 day time out so if the system been booted up using fast start up for more then 10 days it should make sure it does a full shutdown

got that bad there was notification on MS website to press restart instead of shutdown , as people's internet stopped working as shutdown does not shutdown the computer on windows 10 or 8 (its hibernate shutdown i been seeing some people's systems have 30-50 day uptimes), restart does a full shutdown or tapping the power button on the computer if its set to shutdown on button press

automatic driver updating that then Brakes the driver or the system if its the Video or SATA driver it updates (why do it, once its installed it should Not be updated automatically was never a problem on windows 8 and lower)

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Linux

Re: M$ Long History

>It's easy to criticize Microsoft but I think they did magic getting Windows to run at all on the friggin' huge variety of hardware and different manufacturers drivers out in the PC wild world.

Unlike the BSD chaps and the Linux guys... I mean, you could never do it without charging money, right?

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Re: M$ Long History

My first impression on seeing the W95 UI was that it had adopted many features of the AmigaDos 2 UI.

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

You turn it off, you turn it on, fix the start menu, reboot a couple of times...

TFTFY

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Headmaster

Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

no windows 7 is what Vista should of been

*sigh* Merry Christmas all!

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Re: M$ Long History

My first impression on seeing the W95 UI was that it had adopted many features of the AmigaDos 2 UI.

They hoisted bits out of a number of UIs, it seemed. There were quite a few similarities with RISC OS as well, for example. Then, of course, Apple fanbois would probably have a list of rip offs they could invoke...

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Re: M$ Long History

"Unlike the BSD chaps and the Linux guys... I mean, you could never do it without charging money, right?"

Well, if you want to get a working product out the door which doesn't require its users to bugger about compiling their own drivers and the like at the time, and ensuring their system has all the dependencies needed to get things working to a reliable and acceptable level, then you DO need to pay a proper dev team to spend their time and effort in ensuring it can be done to a shorter timescale, with less hassle and greater compatibility out of the box. Just because BSD/Linux is great at that now, doesn't mean it always has been, as we all know too well.

Plus, Windows has always been a commercial product, Linux itself has never been. Only the pretty coloured layers that each distro company puts on top have been anything near commercial. And even then, the money was in the support, so ensuring things work properly is kinda at odds with that approach, weirdly.

Pay to have it work well enough from the get go, or pay to have someone explain how to fix it when it doesn't work. Fixing things quickly and easily never comes cheap, be it time, money or both.

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Re: M$ Long History

" which doesn't require its users to bugger about compiling their own drivers and the like at the time"

That'd be Linux then ! Seriously how many users have compiled anything to get a fully-functioning system ?

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Facepalm

Re: Win7 is a fix of Vista

So? Firstly, referencing the popular opinion of Vista as a failure is a disingenuous appeal to the masses. Secondly, Vista was clearly the harbinger of good things to come. Yes, it was initially badly broken. Yes, after two service packs it was still stodgy. But a fully patched Vista install contains the Win 7 driver model and much else from Win 7, and is pretty solid. Vista / Win 7 sharing the same DNA is a bad thing only in your worldview.

And what is wrong with Aero? Do you even know what Aero is? It is *not* solely the transparency effect that everyone supposes. It is a fundamental move to modelling the 2D traditional desktop using 3D GPU power, instead of using old, slow raster blitters, and is still very much fundamentally part of the Win 8 and 10 GUI.

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

"But Microsoft, in their "wisdom" have made reorganising the start menu slightly more difficult than eating porridge through a straw."

I think you're referring to Windows 10 here, right? Previous versions of Windows (before 8) had a start menu that could be easily edited in just the way you want by means of simple dragging and dropping. Alphabetical, non-alphabetical, system file, folder, it doesn't matter-- drag it to a new place, delete it, do as you wish! Double click on the folder in the start menu and you get the actual folder containing the links (shortcuts) to the files in the program group the folder represents. It's very flexible and easy to do.

Windows 10 is a major step backward in UI in more ways than this, for sure.

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Re: M$ Long History

The Windows 95 user interface was widely recognized as superior to anything else available.

But it is a poor copy of another UI, with most of its features either missing or implemented badly.

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

Updraft102

Yes.

Pre Win 8 I was quite happy with Windows.

And I'd even tolerate telemetry if it was just accumulating machine statistics and analysing crash data etc. ( i.e. what telemetry is supposed to be as in this definition http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/telemetry )

But not when it really means monitoring my computer so that they can get valuable marketing information, push crap "targetted" ads in places where there shouldn't even be ads or sell my data to the highest bidder.

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Windows

Re: M$ Long History

@Version 1.0

>I think they did magic getting Windows to run at all on the friggin' huge variety of hardware and different manufacturers drivers out in the PC wild world

I beg your pardon ? Seriously, I beg your pardon ?

Linux runs more efficiently, on a larger variety of hardware, with most (something like 95%) drivers contributed by enthusiasts, with hardware manufacturers trying to torpedo these same drivers since day one ... this has changed somewhat in the last, what, 5 years, with manufacturers developing their own set of drivers for Linux, but still ... Get a clue or change profession ... I heard they were looking for window cleaners in Hull!

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Re: M$ Long History

@ JC_

Keyword "CDE", for example, had not one, but 7 or 8 (cannot remember, too lazy to look it up) "start" menus ... no, they were not called start menus ... I am also too lazy to look up the patents MS holds on that thing, all I can say is, there is prior art all over the place.

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Joke

Re: M$ Long History

>That'd be Linux then ! Seriously how many users have compiled anything to get a fully-functioning system ?

Lets ask a Gentoo user!

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Joke

Re: M$ Long History

"Lets ask a Gentoo user!"

Yes, let's ask him/her !

To whom it may concern. I've used Linux since ~ the beginning. I use it all the time & nothing else since ~2006. I compile lots of stuff but the last time I compiled a kernel was ~~1997 and even that was a matter of ticking boxes and pressing the 'go' button.

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

I dont get the downvotes...

I dont particularly have any issues with windows 10.. It works and all the software I use all works.

I have had less issues running windows 10 than any othe OS since windows7

yes, IT does have some annoyances, but not so many as would make me abandon ship and go with a linux desktop.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: M$ Long History

Actually Windows 95 was still the same crap with a new overcoat, if you want something from the time to compare it with then try a real multitasking OS like AmigaOS or even the mac rather than the prettied up old DOS bolt on.

IMHO Intel and M$ have been bolting crap on top of bad design since the PC came out and any systems of the time that were actually were a designed before sale were vastly superior.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: M$ Long History

The start menu was just another program list drop down, nothing new, RISC OS had one first for example

To be honest I am hard put to think of anything technical that M$ actually invented rather than just bought up/copied.

same goes for their applications, nothing new just rubbish imitations of existing products with an M$ badge stuck on and the original product either purchased or hounded into non-existence.

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Thumb Up

Re: M$ Long History

Version 1.0 proposed a toast:

> a big Christmas Cheer to the unsung coders

If I remember correctly, most device drivers were written by the device manufacturers, not by Microsoft. Before the internet was a useful channel for software distribution, one got a floppy disk [1] (maybe even a Compact Disc <gasp>!) with drivers thereon, bundled with the hardware device. The ISA card manufacturer (per your example) would have been on the hook for supplying and debugging device drivers, not Microsoft.

I subscribe to the sentiment re the unsung coders, though!

[1] Exhibit A: ftp://ftp.msan.hr/drivers/LAN/3COM/3C509B-tpo/README.TXT

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

Terry 6 - couldn't agree with you more.

Classic Shell makes everything a BIT easier, but changing things around to the way you work is virtually impossible. I prefer to group apps by functionality - Sound/Music, Languages (Python, Pascal, C++ etc., Browsers, System, Odds and Ends, and so on. It just declutters the Start Menu and makes things easier to find. Plus, I have so many little specialised apps installed that some things no longer fit on the screen!

Yes, you can do it and with Classic Shell it seems to work, BUT, if you then run SFC /verifyonly it finds loads of integrity violations and encourages you to repair 'em.

Back to Square one...

This aspect alone drives me nuts - I have a few other beefs (why is my biggest drive filling up with draft upon draft of of old .py files! If I needed that I's use proper version control!), but the overall OS seems OK.)

I was one of the lucky ones who MS, in it's wisdom, decided to upgrade from Win7 without my permission. What a tangle THAT turned out to be! Eventually I gave up and did a full reinstall, but even then I keep finding leftovers here and there and unexplained behaviour (but maybe that is a feature....)

Finally, I am one of those odd people who prefer to keep their System and Data on separate drives on separate buses. That means that I shift cutterman to the D: drive and leave a Junction to the real cutterman in D:\Users - Win 10 copes with this pretty well, but there are a number of apps that get very confused - debugging shows that it is Win10 that is confusing them and that the apps are not at fault.

I could go on all day like this but I won't.

God knows what a mess the next big upgrade will leave...

Happy New Year!

The cutterman

BTW: Yosemite is not nearly as bad, though it adds a lot of junk that I don't use but can't remove without borking the system. One youngish (non-essential) app now INSISTS that it can only run on Intel processors, which I have (and yes, I do have the right version of the app - it worked perfectly well before the upgrade). I'm putting off the Sierra upgarade as long as possible

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

Thank you cutterman

I had begun to think I was the only one who needed an organised start menu

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2767594/2016-12-29%2022_10_23-Greenshot.png

And wanted my data on a different drive, or at least partition(s) from software and settings...On the main family machine I have partitions for family documents and photos which are shared for all of us. I want them to simply be there for us all to find. Then we have partitions for backup1 and individual family members' stuff. I do not want these buried in c:\....\username. Or even on the hdd that contains the OS. If that gets corrupted, my data isn't on there. I just like all that precious data where I can find and secure it easily, and keep it safe.

To me having everything on a family/SOHO PC on one hdd in one partition, with so many files that we have in common - not just the holiday photos but also correspondence etc. buried away in a system folder is just plain crazy.

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Re: M$ Long History

How long have you been using Linux? 'Cos when Windows 95 came out, it was a nightmare to get an entire system working with linux at all, let alone automagically. Soundcard? Bare support. Graphics? Sure, but good luck getting anything more than 640*480*16 out of it. DUN...yup, but you're gonna need to shell out another 100 notes for an external modem-and hope your MoBo's serial port is adequately supported. Not a big MS fan; But yes, what they did with HW support in Win95 *was* impressive.

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Re: Microsoft has been getting it wrong with user interfaces

> You turn it on, then you turn it off.

And you leave it turned off, if you have any sense.

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Re: M$ Long History

" which doesn't require its users to bugger about compiling their own drivers and the like at the time"

I've been using Linux (Ubuntu then Mint) to run my business as my only OS since I lost it with Vista (2009). Never had to compile anything. Might have had to edit the odd config file for the odd esoteric issue (like running CrashPlan Pro headless on a Synology DiskStation) but other than that, all plain sailing. When Win 10 was announced I was nearly tempted to return. I saw it as a fixed Win8, but they shot themselves in the foot with all the privacy and update nonsense. Happy with Mint, as are a few friends that lost it with Win10 when updates screwed them up :)

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Anonymous Coward

"not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried"

~~ Don't kid yourself sleazy Microsoft marketer, you seriously damaged your brand. I've held off buying new tech and am actively checking out Linux-app alternatives.

~~ Meantime, no reason to buy Windows. At best its going to slurp you, and worst its going to reset all the privacy settings after each update. No thanks!

~~ There's still plenty of time to hold off too (2020). Lets wait and see if your hand gets called by a regulator / consumer agency / legal case etc.

~~ It didn't have to be this way. MS could have just sold Windows as before. But the people @ Redmond are Facebook-Google-Ad-Worshipping-Imitation-Bitches!

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FAIL

Re: "not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried"

Windows 10 could have been a great success..

Except for the updates to win7 machines

Except for the data slurping

Except for the "Update or else" thing

Except for the crummy desktop

Oh and will m$ give me back the 45 mins 3 weeks ago when our CAD machine decided to update and locked everyone out when it did it, and the 30 mins after a Win10 machine crashed, then the screen showed a silly smiley and please wait while m$ downloads data about this crash.

The computer has crashed, 3 finger salute, wait 3 mins and I'm up and going again... sheesh how hard can it be.

PS Part of my Mint 18 desktop crashed the other day .. error message was "Panel bla blah blah is not responding, restart application y/n? " whats so ^*%*%ing hard about that m$ ?

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Re: "not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried"

>Except for the crummy desktop

Agree totally with your other points and hate Microsoft as much as the next guy but ironically if not for its other huge showstoppers Windows 10 is actually IMHO the best Windows desktop by a long shot. Sadly I find myself using it more and more due to the Xbox steaming app. Of course I am posting this message with a browser running in a Whonix VM to avoid the data slurp and because surfing the web with windows native browsers is like bathroom sex at a bus stop without a condom.

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Re: "not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried"

Not saying btw Win 10 is great just sadly it has for me what's a unreplaceable app (and fsck Sony for releasing PS3 firmware that reduces fan speed so you buy a PS4 due to sudden PS3 reboots, pissed me off so much actually went Xbox this generation). Just saying at least with VMs you have options even if you need to use Redmond's desktop garbage.

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Re: "not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried"

Wait, what?

I haven't powered my PS3 up in ages - I only ever use it once in a blue moon - it's not even currently connected up. Is this fan speed reduction a real thing?

I have an awful lot of games (PS1, 2 and 3) - a very large number of which I have yet to play - so upgrading to a PS4 is absolutely NOT something I want to do.

So if it's a real issue, I guess my best bet might be to lock it out of the network so it doesn't pick up any updates the next time I use it. (I don't play online anyway).

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Trollface

Re: "not stepping over the line of being too aggressive is something we tried"

the Xbox steaming app

Doesn't that invalidate the warranty? ;:

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Anonymous Coward

'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

Security? Don't you actually mean 'from a SLURPING perspective' M$ shill???

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Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

Why ? For the earlier versions that are still supported I would expect security patches. He seems to be saying that they can't be bothered to fix security problems in older versions. Other operating system distributors offer 10 years and 13 years support, these are smaller companies than Microsoft - but they can manage it; why don't they ?

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LDS
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Joke

Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

When your machine DHCP doesn't work, you're more secure. Unless you plug-in an infected USB stick, of course...

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Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

"A security perspective! Yeah! That's it! We'll say it was a from a security perspective!"

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Childcatcher

Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

But it's for the children! -> see icon

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Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

It was the job security he meant.

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RW

Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

This reminds me of some dealings with my bank.

Advertising bumf arrives from bank announcing that now I can do my banking from home, hip, hip, hurray!

I phone bank and say "disable online banking on my account." "Why?" "I consider home computers inherently insecure." "Oh, no, our online banking system is completely secure." "Oh? Then how could it have been enabled on my accounts by some marketing wonk without my permission?"

[silence] "We'll disable it as soon as possible, sir."

The analogy is not exact, but it's much the same spirit: "hold still while we do you this unasked-for favor."

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Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

More Secure?

So why STILL by default almost every service on?

I can see no genuine real world improvement.

Making sure Autorun is off, that a VM client (the default in Win7's XPmode is atrocious) has no WAN and only one data only or no host directories, that a browser has Noscript or alternative, external firewall (use a 3G/4G dongle via WiFi with firewall or via router with firewall), firewall/router has no uPNP, all are more important than any MS security feature.

MS seem to be clueless.

Oh and WINE (a security flaw, I know) on Linux Mint + Mate (redmond theme) works with more of my old programs than Win7 or Win10 does and XP in VM with no network for test gear (/dev/ttyUSB0 mapped to COM1:) is a better user experience than Win10 or even Win7.

Office gone downhill since 2003.

MS has lost the plot on UX and GUI and privacy.

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Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

Or automatic issue of NFC debit cards by your bank (they are insecure, in reality no faster). Bank "But you'll lose features and security using the old card"

"What features? Also my old card doesn't let passing strangers read my banking details or take up to €20 without asking"

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Bronze badge

Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

"American Tech Companies have lost the plot on UX, GUi and Privacy"

There, fixed that for you..

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Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

why? Microsoft didn't before - that why you end up having to run so many different "virus" applications.

Microsoft just didn't bother to fix the security problems.

Quite obviously Microsoft cannot manage it.

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Devil

Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

That entire statement deserves dissection:

"We know we want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective"

i.e. Micro-shaft "more secure" in their pwning you as a revenue generator

"but finding the right balance where you're not stepping over the line of being too aggressive"

i.e. not getting caught nor being criticized too much

"is something we tried and for a lot of the year I think we got it right"

i.e. didn't rock the boat enough to make water come in

"but there was one particular moment in particular where, you know, the red X in the dialog box which typically means you cancel didn't mean cancel"

i.e. "we got caught and it's obvious now"

Everyone who gets caught is SO sorry afterwards...

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Alien

Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

"my old card doesn't let passing strangers read my banking details or take up to €20 without asking"

you need tin-foil in your wallet to act like a mini faraday cage and block the RFID.

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Re: 'We want people to be running Windows 10 from a security perspective'

Remind me - is 2020 less than ten years after 2009? Is 2017 less than ten years after 2007? How about 2014 being less than ten years after 2001?

My maths skills may be failing me in my advanced age.

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