back to article In Windows 10 Update land, nobody can hear you scream

Somebody got a little trigger happy with the big red Windows Update button last week as a broken Intel audio driver was unleashed on users “by mistake”. It has been a hellish couple of weeks for the Windows giant following the launch of the troubled October update for its flagship operating system. Not content with Display …


  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it still a choice...

    If all the options are garbage? I'm blind. I use a screen reader, it speaks what happens on the screen. I have the following options.

    1. Windows 10: makes me feel like I'm walking down the street naked; updates I can't stop destroy audio so whenever I boot the machine, there's the chance it won't talk; one update damaged the speech synthesis software, again, the machine wouldn't talk, whenever the machine doesn't talk I have to bring in, or get a camera feed to, someone who can see, basically make myself an annoyance for people I like because MS, which I don't like, will neither test their product or let me avoid it.

    2. Windows 7: approaching EOL; can't turn updates on without feeling like someone is going to yank off my clothes and leave me just as naked as when using 10; installing on USB 3 motherboards is an experience from hell, installing on GOP only motherboards is impossible.

    3. Linux: accessibility is a bad joke.

    4. OSX: Accessibility is slightly less funny than Linux, but not much less, it's still a joke, just a bit less of one.

    5. Blindness products: expensive; full of bugs; designed to take advantage of people who think it's a miracle computers can talk.

    6. Hermitage in the desert: obviously the best available...

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Is it still a choice...

      >3. Linux: accessibility is a bad joke.

      I'm sure you're right, but there are people trying to address it. Here's a fairly active project and I note that they're asking for problem reports from users to help direct the devs.

      What are the difficulties ? Are the solutions adequate or are they too hard to install ?

      It's always worth considering what you can do yourself to help improve Linux - it might be writing code, but it can also be testing, writing bug reports, project managing, project championing. They're all needed to keep something on track.

      As people have noted about other Linux problem areas : at least when they get fixed, if they're used, they tend to stay maintained for long periods. Not just dropped or accidentally broken like Windows.

      It's not so long since Wifi was potluck on Linux. Now it pretty much always works but I never know if the Windows 10 box is going to connect.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Is it still a choice...

        It's always worth considering what you can do yourself to help improve Linux - it might be writing code, but it can also be testing, writing bug reports, project managing, project championing. They're all needed to keep something on track.

        Wish I could provide more than a single upvote.

        People can't expect GNU/Linux to be run with the same unified vision Apple has for its product or Microsoft tries to have it weren't so cross-eyed, long and shortsighted and only able to discern dollar signs with any clarity.

        Desktop GNU/Linux is still mostly a community project, despite the corporate sponsorship it can garner these days.

    2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Is it still a choice...

      From another blind user requiring a screen reader, I can't upvote you enough.

      Let's find a sighted person that wants to take a break, have them lead us to the pub, & I'll pay for drinks until we can no longer maintain a proper grip on the floor to keep from sliding off this spinning world. =-D

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Is it still a choice...

        accessibility is less of a 'thing' than it used to be, when nobody had the screen readers (etc.). I remember seeing some effort towards this in Gnome 2. Not sure how it's handled in Mate, as I don't use acessibility features. It's probably about the same as gnome 2 was.

        But... I might consider the effect that "light blue on blinding bright white" has on the eyes. THAT hideous color combination, so typical of 'UWP' and 'The Metro' and Chrome and WAY too many web sites, deserves a FREAKING LAWSUIT under some 'Disabilities Act' clause, because that color combination is HARD ON THE EYES. It could make people GO blind! Well, contribute to macular degeneration, at any rate.

        Blue light depletes the macula of its orange pigment. I did some work for an optometrist a couple of times, one project involving a 'flicker' test. It's used to test for macular degeneration. Light blue on bright white is likely to CONTRIBUTE to macular degeneration, which is why [on my FreeBSD system] I 'off white' the background colors a bit, so that they're slightly yellow - easier on the eyesight. [but I have to complain about this edit window as the font is WAY TOO FREAKING SMALL and everything looks like BLUR - I make a LOT of typing mistakes because I can't read it easily - hint hint hint - needs fixing, El Reg!]

        So, for those "not yet blind", Micro-shaft needs to GET RID OF those HIDEOUS 'UWP' colors, and LET! US! CUSTOMIZE! THEM! OURSELVES!!! In fact, going back to a 3D skeuomorphic appearance would help a LOT with readability... and no WORSE THAN HIDEOUS 'dark themes' or so-called 'high contrast' themes, either. MS devs wouldn't know a nice looking readable easy-on-the-eyesight desktop if it BIT THEM IN THE ASS!

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

          Re: Is it still a choice...

          At least Linux devs are listening to blind people - and this also applies to those with motor control difficulties for whom a mouse or touch screen is unusable.

          I'm part of a small group of amateurs working on a soft-synth that now has extensive CLI control with minimal typing and context sensitive responses.

  2. onefang Silver badge

    Christmas is coming.

    Windows updates, the gift that keeps on giving. I'm expecting something spectacular for the December update. Spectacularly bad that is. Luckily the only place where I'm responsible for Windows updates is closed then, so I'll just sit back, relax, and eat my popcorn.

  3. Ronome

    Windows 10 what could go wrong? Having no way to stop windows update is why i am not on it.

    1. TomG

      I guess I don't understand. In settings if you show that you are downloading over a metered connection you can download manually. Am I confused and don't understand what is happening?

  4. Colin 29

    No warning

    Closed the lid on my laptop over the weekend and returned hours later to be greeted by the "Finishing installing updates" screen. Windows had installed the update and rebooted, closing all my running applications in the process.

    No warning, nothing.

    This is unacceptable. Why do Microsoft find this stuff so hard to get right?!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: No warning

      "Why do Microsoft find this stuff so hard to get right?!"

      Simple: they don't actually get WORK done in the Halls of Redmond. At least, not what _I_ would call 'work'.

      And as such, they can't POSSIBLY comprehend what REAL WORKING PEOPLE need a computer for, or how it's typically used.

      Couple that with their desire to MONETIZE THE CUSTOMER, the general attitude that THEY own the hardware too, and the ARROGANCE that goes with being an effective MONOPOLY on operating systems.

      Let us not forget GWX. That kinda says it all.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably because Microsoft has accidentally negligently disabled your audio

    As far as I am concerned, Microsoft have run out of goodwill as it relates to their "test it in production" update paradigm. Let's start calling this what it is.

  6. Flak

    What is new about this update?

    New bugs!

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: What is new about this update?

      Bug Tuesday!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love W10 updates!

    They pretty much guarantee that I'll have 45 minutes on FB and Twitter every time they update my computer at work - I can get a fresh cup of coffee, sit back and relax ... nervously.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: I love W10 updates!

      Unfortunately, deadlines don't get pushed out just because Windows decided that I shouldn't be able to get anything done for a couple of hours.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do you people work in I.T?

    Ah, it's that time again. Another Windows bitchfest with people complaining how difficult Windows 10 is to use, how they struggled with 2000, Vista, XP, ME etc.

    Get a grip guys and girls. You're all sounding like a bunch of inept broken yesteryear vinyl records. A lot of you sound like you've just discovered the basics of using a computer. Waaaaah I can;t find control panel, waaaaah some of the settings are in a different place. Do you not find computers intuitive enough to just have a tiny hunt around and remember where the settings are when they move. Cry me a fecking river you bunch of whingebags. Dry your tears and suck it up. Life changes sometimes. Either adapt or die from moaning yourselves to death in a huge echo chamber circle jerk party that is el reg comments section.

    1. Groaning Ninny

      Re: Do you people work in I.T?

      I guess you're new here...

      1. hplasm Silver badge

        Re: Do you people work in I.T?

        And you either don't work in IT, or don't work in IT- ie a PHB.

        Sod off you troll.

    2. TomChaton

      Re: Do you people work in I.T?

      You are Steve Ballmer and I claim my five pounds.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Do you people work in I.T?

      "Waaaaah I can;t find control panel"

      You seem to have trouble finding your apostrophe key. You were just as bad in your last attempt. Go and find a grown-up to show you where it is. There's probably one working in IT.

    4. Unicornpiss Silver badge

      Re: Do you people work in I.T?

      We bitch and complain because things could be better, so simply, with a modicum of care and effort from MS, yet every time patches or 'features' are released it's a new flavor of pain for IT departments and end users, and it just doesn't have to be that way.

      Sometimes I wonder if the management at MS was offered a deal with the devil: "You will have the world's most used software and be rich beyond your wildest dreams, but your payment to me is to cause aggravation to all of mankind."

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Do you people work in I.T?

        "We bitch and complain because things could be better"

        Not only "could be" better, but actually was better.

  9. MrTuK

    Thank you Microsoft.

    Than you Microsoft for forcing me to leave your ECO system of Windows in Feb 2016, it has been such a pleasant time using my Laptops since then, with no hassle of wanting to reboot after simple security updates. I dont get BSOD's and my laptop seems like it has had a performance upgrade that was somehow for free !

    I have no worries with viruses - life is such a happy place on Linux with Cinnamon desktop GUI.

    What really surprises me is the amount of software that is totally free and even games are working in steam :)

    I am sorry to hear some of your current users are not having a nice time at the moment and I am sure your shenanigans of late will also help them to reevaluate what OS they should be using going forward !

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gross Negligence at it's finest

    How anyone especially a court of law could conclude that the multiple defective Windows updates distributed by Microsoft constitutes anything short of gross negligence, incompetence and malice is beyond me. Not a single one of these defective updates should have been distributed without proper validation which would have disclosed the defects. Microsoft has inflicted untold pain, suffering and financial losses on Windows users world wide and IMO Microsoft should be fined billions of dollars to deter future willful negligence in their updates and software products.

    1. File Not Found

      Re: Gross Negligence at it's finest

      Fair enough. Only problem I have with this attitude is that I can’t actually remember when I last actually paid for a MSft product - 10 years ago? 15? So demanding damages etc seems a little over the top. You get what you pay for.....

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Gross Negligence at it's finest

        "Only problem I have with this attitude is that I can’t actually remember when I last actually paid for a MSft product"

        You paid last time you bought a PC unless you bought one with no OS installed.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Gross Negligence at it's finest

          ...and you're paying for Windows 10 through being spied on.

  11. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

    MS vs HP?

    First it was the HP keyboard driver, now the HP audio driver. Is HP doing something in the Surface space that MS isn't happy about?

  12. Stevie Silver badge


    No-one could be this witless as to release two idiotic brickware updates in as many weeks.

    I see two possibilities:

    a) A counterfeit Chinese Microsoft Corporation is now pushing out updates derived from stolen fragments of the real Micorsoft's git-housed codebase

    2) Foreign agents have infiltrated Microsoft's coding force and are working from within to undermine this formerly trustworthy bastion of A Job Well Done.

    There are no other possibilities.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      Suggested additions:

      3) Exceedingly poor DevOps processes

      4) The staggering amount of work required to push out quality updates isn't getting done because the millennials that make up the bulk of the workforce go running for a safe space if asked to work more than 35 hours per week

      5) The only thing that Microsoft truly cares about with its updates is tightening its slurpy tentacles on your machine and data... sod your audio driver

  13. GetMeOuttaHere

    Even by Microsoft's standards their QA testing is Keystone Cops standard at best!

    Whomever their QA manager is should be made to walk the plank of shame because these update bloopers are beyond a joke.

    W10 is yet another half-baked operating system following on from possibly the worst OS ever in W8 and W8.1 (great title, guys!), and that includes the appalling Vista.

    I suggest Microshite move on from W10 and go to W10.1 (ha!). Or better still dump W10 altogether because it is now a complete joke, and its developers and testers clearly have no idea what they're doing other than giving its customers more anxiety and repeated utterances of FFS!

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      "I suggest Microshite move on from W10 and go to W10.1"

      But Win10 is that last version of Windows *snicker*. As if refusing to update a version number on subsequent releases means that those releases aren't new versions. Microsoft clearly couldn't be more full of shit than they are around All Things Windows these days.

    2. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Windows 8.1 is far, far better than Windows 10.

      You can de-stupidize Windows 8.1. I'm a purist when it comes to UIs (Windows 2k is my reference for a nearly perfect UI), and even I liked Win 8.1 with Classic Shell (Classic style cascading start menu), Old New Explorer to ditch the ribbon, 7+ Taskbar Tweaker, lots of registry edits, app eradication via install_wim_tweak, and a custom theme (Classic in appearance, but uses WDM). Classic Shell has an option to block the Charms, and I used Metro Killer to make sure it never darkened my doorstep.

      Once you scrape off that tablet crap Microsoft tried to tack on, it's quite solid. It sounds like a lot of work to get to a usable UI, and it is kind of stupid to have to fight MS so much to be able to be a happy user of their own product, but I had used almost all these things in Windows 7 anyway, even though 7's out of the box interface is far, far better than anything that came after it. If I was going to use all these tweaks anyway, why not use them on 8.1 and get three more years of support? (It turns out I didn't need them, as the migration to Linux that I started in 2015 is already done more than a year before 7 goes out of extended support, but I didn't know that would be the case at the time.)

      Win 8.1 doesn't come with huge, time-consuming, buggy updates twice a year, and the updates that do come are fully controllable and don't cause the kind of issues the 10 updates pretty much always do. It shuts down when I want it to shut down and it can be left idle forever, and it still won't start installing updates. It doesn't try to serve MS or monetize me. It never uninstalls the programs I want installed or installs programs I do not want installed. It never removes my drivers and replaces them with whatever ones it thinks are better. It never changes my settings back to those that serve Microsoft... not to mention that it doesn't have 100 settings you have to change to get it to (partly) stop serving Microsoft. The telemetry MS backported to 7 and 8.1 is easily removed, since it was just kind of tacked on, not baked in as it is in Windows 10.

      The loss of control over my own computer is the worst thing about 10, the real deal-breaker, so there's just no way that Windows 8.1 could be worse than that. I don't consider the 10 interface to really be any better than 8.1... they both boot to the desktop, not the start screen (option added in 8.1). One has a full-screen start menu with ridiculous tiles, the other has a partial-screen start menu with ridiculous tiles. Neither of them are any good, but I don't particularly see any big advantage in the Win 10 one. Win 8.1 and 10 both use the hated ribbon in File explorer, and they both have a ridiculous Settings app... though in 8.1, you can get by without Settings. There are only a few things moved to Settings in 8.1 (like Bluetooth stuff), but I have always found alternative ways of doing things. Not so in 10, where MS is gradually phasing out the good and desktop-appropriate Control Panel in favor of the bad and desktop-inappropriate Settings.

      Windows 8.1, suitably modified, is the answer for people who can't migrate to Linux at this time but who want to keep getting updates for Windows beyond the drop-dead date for 7.

  14. alexp55

    Even the updates are coming after a reasonable time period, they yet becomes problematic...

  15. bobjimwhit

    i don't know what i'm doing wrong

    started with windows 7,

    bypassed 8

    straight to 10

    never missed an update or upgrade and everything works

    hunky come it fails for so many peoples.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      "how come it fails for so many peoples."

      Probably because those people are using a different arrangement of hardware and software than you.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "how come it fails for so many peoples."

      Shhh. Your turn may be coming.

  16. Martin Howe

    Windows 7 "outdated"?

    Windows 7 seems to have evolved into the sweet spot for Windows OS. A bit like how all automobiles, bar a few special cases, have four wheels, a steering wheel, a shift stick or drive setting handle, and brakes.

    Why change what works so well until something truly a huge step up, something that makes the pain of learning something new justifiable, becomes available?

    Change for changes' sake makes no sense. The only thing obviously lacking in Windows 7 is a good touch UI for non-desktop use, but that could added on as an installable component for those who want it.

    So by what objective metric is Windows 7 supposed to be outdated?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Windows 7 "outdated"?

      "So by what objective metric is Windows 7 supposed to be outdated?"

      That one is easy. Its kernel support for hardware that post-dates its final service pack is pretty poor and only going to get worse.

      Fortunately, the fix is also easy. Run Linux on the metal and put your Win7 OS into a VM running on top. This also makes upgrades to new hardware really easy because all of your tortuously convoluted Windows settings are in a virtual disc image that doesn't get touched by the upgrade process.

      As a side benefit, you can also run lots of Linux software on the "outside" machine and gradually wean yourself off most of the Windows-only applications. If, before 2020, you get to a point where the only apps you are still using on Windows are ones that don't need network connectivity, you can probably remove the virtual network adapter from the Win7 VM and keep using it indefinitely, sans patches.

      1. doke

        Re: Windows 7 "outdated"?

        "put your Win7 OS into a VM"

        This has many other advantages. You can snapshot the VM before an upgrade, and roll back bad ones. You can filter the network connections. You can filter which usb devices are allowed to communicate with the VM. The virtual hardware is standardized, so you never need to worry about weird, broken drivers. You can clone the VM for a special purpose, or for two pieces of software that don't cooperate on DLLs or drivers.

        The downside is VMs use a lot of memory.

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Windows 7 "outdated"?

        +1 for the VM suggestion. That is what I do: Linux host and a few VMs for w2k, XP and win7 for all Windows-only software. Added advantages are you can choose how many CPU cores a VM gets, how much host memory, etc. Also many of the nastiest malware will notice you are running on a VM and refuse to act in case you are a security researcher.

        What it won't work well for is games, but increasingly they are available on Steam for Linux or folk simply buy an Xbox or similar for the single task of gaming. Also you should be looking at at least 8GB of host memory for a good experience (keep at least 2GB for host, rest can be given to VMs). But hey, that is what web browsers seem to need these days anyway...

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Windows 7 "outdated"?

      "So by what objective metric is Windows 7 supposed to be outdated?"

      Not enough sales. Need to sell "upgrades"; sales on new PCs only aren't enough especially with the PC market reaching saturation.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Windows 7 "outdated"?

        'not enough sales' 'PC market saturated'

        This is NOT because of Windows 7. This is because of WINDOWS 10! People see Win-10-nic on a new machine, and they're like "how is this BETTER than what I already have?"

        You want to increase sales? UPDATE Win7 for the newest architectures, and RE-INTRODUCE it into the market, shipping NEW MACHINES with Win7 on them, instead of Win-10-nic!

        Yeah. it's obvious to anyone with a CLUE.

        When 'Ape' (8.0) released, MS read the tea leaves wrong. they saw Moore's law NOT driving new computer sales any more. They saw an uptick in slab sales. They *FELT* that everything would be a slab, now, regardless of whether it was a desktop or laptop. And they were *WRONG*. They were *SO* wrong, 'windows for phone' fell ON ITS FACE as an EPIC MARKET FAIL. And we're stuck with the "phone-y" Win-10-nic user interface with UWP which will NEVER be used outside of Win-10-nic.

        And, they're too embarassed to go back and do it RIGHT. So they keep going over the cliff, towards the icebergs, etc. because stopping and turning around makes them LOOK BAD.

        But regardless of how they *FEEL* about it (the 'F' word, 'feel'), reality says they've SCREWED THE POOCH and it makes them look even WORSE by PERSISTING at it! The occasional lipstick on the non-oinky end of the boar, as well as the 'forced update' cockups, just re-enforces how bad things have gotten.

    3. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Windows 7 "outdated"?

      The only thing obviously lacking in Windows 7 is a good touch UI for non-desktop use

      That's not a bug, it's a feature.

  17. Howard Hanek Bronze badge


    ....Windows doesn't name it's versions like Ubuntu. I can think of dozens of 'Noisy...(fill in the blank) names for this release.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Pity

      "Naming" versions instead than numbering them is just plain mean, and I'm glad that Microsoft hasn't adopted that particular nonsense.

      Well, maybe not. Even "named" versions are better than the current "no versions" approach that Microsoft has taken.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Pity

      sounds like a top 10 list...

      Top 10 ubuntu-like name suggestions for Win-10-nic releases

      10: Nosy Ninny-Nanny

      9: Unscheduled Upgrade

      8: Flatso Failure

      7: Slurping Snake

      6: Tracking Tyrant

      5: Arrogant Adware

      4: Bandwidth Bandit

      3: Crappy Cortana

      2: Hideous Hog-OS

      and the #1 ubuntu-like release name suggestion for Win-10-nic releases:

      Worthless Win-10-nic !!!!

      1. Unicornpiss Silver badge

        Re: Pity

        "Nagging ass-cheese"


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