back to article Memo to Microsoft: Windows 10 is broken, and the fixes can't wait

Windows isn't working – and Microsoft urgently needs to change how it develops the platform, and jettison three filthy practices it has acquired in recent years. In 2014 Microsoft decided it could do a better job if it discarded a lot of software testers. This bright new dawn was lauded at the time by Peter Bright at Ars …

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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Grrrrrrrr..

    Working on Azure is the cool thing to do at Microsoft, and in the Cloud and AI Platform group under Scott Guthrie.

    Yeah, it's a supercomplexiferied frankenproduct with obscure but adequately royal pricing structure where you can practically see the seams of Microsoft Management Silos poking through the blueish facade.

    I'm pining for the AWS. Alas, Management has commanded!! after a visit by "consultants".

  2. BobChip
    FAIL

    Win 10 broken beyond repair?

    An IT salesperson asked me this week how I could possibly prefer Linux to Microsoft. I asked him if he had ever tried, or even looked at Linux, to which the answer was unsurprisingly, an emphatic NO! Why on earth should I? (Wrong religion, I guess)

    It does not seem to matter how terminally broken Win 10 is, like a car with a written off engine, unthinking fans will continue to sing its praises. Even though it is not going anywhere. Corporate users, who cough up for MS's profits, are bound to see things differently.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Win 10 broken beyond repair?

      Because staying put is preferable to going BACKWARDS (which is what everyone sees). All else fails, go off the rails and blaze a new trail.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Linux

    Speeding Up Migration

    ....from Windows to Linux or OS/X. We run a mixed environment and permit experienced users their preference. The trend has been moving away from Windows usually after they compare notes on the stability of their systems and the ease or inconvenience of upgrades, security and maintenance. Windows users resist change but those that have migrated are pleased with the increased efficiency and the reduction of the hassels that seem to increase with each major upgrade.

    Our performance goals and expectations do not diminish based on problems derived from users personal system preferences. We hold THEM responsible and while we support their preferences we do not accept as an excuse the 'system ate my work product'.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Speeding Up Migration

      "Our performance goals and expectations do not diminish based on problems derived from users personal system preferences. We hold THEM responsible and while we support their preferences we do not accept as an excuse the 'system ate my work product'."

      Does that include people over your head, or are you actually in a position to be over everyone's head?

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    How can MS compare how testing is done on a search engine compared to a whole OS update?

    As far as I know when MS make changes to Bing it doesn't require the end users to download gigabytes worth of updates which can tie up their PC for hours while they install, and then if it breaks their system they have to spend hours trying to get it back to where they were before they started the update.

  6. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Bing?

    Qulity?

    Oxymoron

  7. thomas k

    *gulp*

    I am at this very moment waiting for UPS to deliver a new HP PC. Definitely low-end - Ryzen 3 1200 with Radeon RX550 - but a step up from the Core i3 with integrated 515 graphics I'm using now. Almost afraid to connect it to the interwebs when I set it up.

    I must say, however, that I didn't experience any issues with the October update on my Lenovo.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Testing

    MS needs an army of black box testers that have ZERO to do with the development of the product. Theses need to be dedicated pros at breaking their shit and being able to tell the developers how it broke. QA is now mostly done by developers which are arrogant tools that will swear their code is perfect or that they didn't touch that code in this release so it cannot be broken. How can these guys be trusted. Well as it shows now we have beta products being released with little or no competent user level testing being done on products which ruins reputations and costs millions in overtime to fix errors making it out into production. I worked in this field early in my career and everything I warned so many about is now true. Oh and Agile can suck a #@$%^ buzzword for being cheap to get executive level bonuses.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now it all makes sense.

    Thanks Andrew. This answered a question that's being bugging me for over a year now.

    I've been a pen centric Windows PC tablet user since Vista. The digital ink/stlus conventions have remained consistent over over that ten year plus period. Windows 10 1709, foistered upon an unsuspecting pen community, completely broke those conventions overnight. Cue stylus users immediate outrage. And what did we get in return for trashing our workflow? A digital on-scren ruler.

    If Microsoft want proof their imbelicity hasn't gone unnoticed than I suggest they ask why HP's state of the art zBook x2 Tablet PCis ships with Windows 10 1703, with Windows Update tuned off as default behaviour.

    Utterly moronic.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Now it all makes sense.

      If Microsoft want proof their imbelicity hasn't gone unnoticed than I suggest they ask why HP's state of the art zBook x2 Tablet PCis ships with Windows 10 1703, with Windows Update tuned off as default behaviour.

      The reason for Win10 1703 is simply because the Zbook X2 G4 was released after 1703 but before 1709 came out, and HP sticks to their original preload image no matter how long they sell the model.

      FWIW, HP hasn't turned Windows Update off because Win10 doesn't allow that. And even if they managed that, they'd just gain more liabilities and some lawyer-speak from MS.

      1. panthonyl

        Re: Now it all makes sense.

        The reference to the Zbook was directly lifted from Pocketnow's review of the machine, specifically;

        "The HP zBook x2 actually ships with an older version of Windows 10. You’ll get 1703, the original “Creators Update”. Our review unit arrived with the Windows Update service disabled in order to keep Windows 10 from updating itself to a newer version. We are advised to use the HP Support app to install updates instead of Windows Update. I thought this was strange, until I remembered how terrible the Fall Creators Update and subsequent Windows 10 Feature updates have been when it comes to the pen interface.

        I decided to install the Windows 10 April 2018 update anyway, and sure enough, the pen interface turned to garbage on account of Windows 10’s new pen behavior. It became terribly unreliable to use with “Windows Ink” turned on (scrolling things instead of drawing or simply causing the whole system to become unresponsive), and still palm rejection didn’t work at all with “Windows Ink” turned off in the pen driver’s “HP Create Control Panel”. One of the later Windows 10 updates brought a registry edit option that helps fix the pen behavior only in Win32 based programs, but not the UWP apps and not the Edge browser. You can find out more about that on the Windows Ink Reddit where you’ll also see plenty of comments criticizing this change that has caused so many programs to break."

        Regardless, the point stands that Microsoft's reliance on geeks and hobbyists to QA their software will inevitably lead to wrong headed decisions, junking "boring old" stuff so as to incorporate "whizzy new stuff" that only a 15 year old would consider useful.

        As I ended up in diaogue with members of the Windows Ink team on this issue I can assure you the level of users' anger is well known within the team, but their ability to change anything, based on what seems to be system based purely on upvoting among geeks and hobbyists, is self evidently limited.

        As I said, utterly moronic.

  10. J. Cook Silver badge
    Joke

    But Andrew: Tell us how that makes you feel. :D

  11. Big Al 23

    I hope the lawyers hold Microsoft accountable for the damages

    As if to prove that the lights are on but no one is home at Microsoft... Win 10 updates have turned millions of computers into rubbish with nothing but heartache and Hell for Win 10 users to deal with. This is completely unacceptable and the result of gross negligence IMNHO. I believe consumer protection agencies world wide should sue Microsoft for billions to hold them accountable for their gross incompetence and willful negligence. Otherwise Microsoft will continue to distribute defective updates and software for huge financial profit.

  12. Thrifty Scot

    Microsoft clearly has abismal QA standards!

    This article was both refreshing and very interesting. Well written indeed and I agree with all that Andrew has written. I would add that it is not only MICROSOFT that we should be concerned about. It is indeed alarming that a huge organisation such as Microsoft continue to get it wrong again and again on such an absurd scale and clearly they could not care less. However if we combine Microsoft's failures with other large organisations that have also failed on a catastrophic scale such as TSB Bank and their disastrous implementation of a new online banking platform, Facebook's leaking of millions of users data etc. It is clear to me that the whole industry of software development is leading us all into dire straits and it needs to learn/change as a matter of the utmost urgency. Clearly QA (Quality Assurance) is non existent in these companies and they need to learn /implement the principals of right first time development. Having the Customer test your product is not QA. It is a policy of Disaster!

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Microsoft clearly has abismal QA standards!

      Of course they have QA standards! They copied them from the Complaints Division of Sirius Cybernetics! Share and Enjoy!

      (or was that "Go stick your head in a pig"?)

      Sorry, couldn't resist. The coat with the HHGTTG radio play cassette tape in the pocket (yes, I am that old)

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft clearly has abismal QA standards!

        It's cheaper to lawyer their way out of it (that includes lobbying governments to see their way) than to actually do things right. And because they hold a captive market, they feel they're nigh bulletproof. After all, where will everyone go with budgets as tight as they are today?

  13. SVV Silver badge

    The problem is fundamental

    A personal computer operating system should be nothing more than a system that manages the operation of other applications, providing services such as GUI, networking, process control, filesystem, etc through a well defined set of programattic hardware interfaces. But no, they've come to see it as a means of total control by trying (and failing disastrously) to at the same time colonise the entire business and consumer IT world by adding in crap like Bing to try and get back control of browsers and search, UWP to try and reverse the catastrophic failure in the mobile space, big snooping to try and be Google, and moving stuff to the cloud to try and grab more of that too. Sure, they're making big money with Azure, but it isn't from cloud based Win 10 servers. I and every other serious IT person I know is avoiding Win 10 and thinking that this is not a viable thing to risk having in our business. There's no better alternative than sticking with Win 7 for now, but all talk seems to be of finding a different way forward for the future than Windows.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: The problem is fundamental

      "There's no better alternative than sticking with Win 7 for now, but all talk seems to be of finding a different way forward for the future than Windows."

      And yet we're not seeing much actual movement away from Windows, especially for those who seem to be stranded (like professional gamers who need top-end performance and whose software lineup is pretty much Windows-ONLY). I'll start believing people are abandoning Windows when I start people like that turn away money and moving away in serious numbers because that means the economics finally means the price is too high even to bribe.

      I'm also waiting to see if a "dilemma" moment hits at some point. Say there's a bad update in the pipe that bricks most of the systems that try to update. Yet, at the same time, a super-critical (say remote-control total-pwnage exploit that can spread like crazy without intervention) bug hits in the old version. This means computers that MUST be online face a real dilemma: get bricked or get pwned. I would think the lawyers would get involved at that point.

  14. abufrejoval

    Here are some tips on how to reduce the testing workload

    Slowing down, is not really an option, slimming down should help making the workload manageable.

    Short version: Concentrate on the Operating System, not an ecosystem of vendor lock-in that nobody wants

    Detailed version for things to kill:

    - The microsoft shop or store or whatever it's called: Never used it, never needed it, deactivated it. Nobody wants a Microsoft software tax on applications. Sell Office on Steam, make sure it runs on Linux, too

    - Edge, Internet Explorer: You are not a browser company, but more importantly: Nobody wants you to be. How many more decades do you need to understand that it's not a good thing to do what nobody wants you to do?

    - Anything Xbox: Steam works better, Uplay and Origin are ok, nobody wants yours!

    - Stop this editions crap: S, Home, Professional, Ultimate, Enterprise, Server, Client... Just create a single server edition, eliminate all that license checking stuff, because it breaks things

    - Sell the OS at a reasonable price per user independently of computers: Don't penalize people who run several perhaps even a dozen different physical/virtual computers or just OS images that get moved/swapped between PCs. The ease with which a single SSD can be booted on a handful of systems is one of the major advantages Windows 10 currently has even over any Linux, is something I have come to enjoy (with VLK enterprise editiions). Look at Android (any number of devices) or Steam (no concurrent use) for how to not penalize buying more hardware, when they only ever use one at any given time.

    - stop trying to play catchup with Apple: Why would anyone want to sink that low?

    - stop collecting user data

    - stop sending collected data to Microsoft servers

    - stop Cortana and this Microsoft specific OS embedded AI stuff: Create usable AI API frameworks which allow users to chose Cortana, Alexa, Siri or Whatnot if they want, but don't try to make it the new MediaPlayer, InternetExplorer etc.: You're evidently too small a company to do that properly

    There are also things to add:

    - support running Android applications, including Play Store, seamlessly

    - support running Linux applications, including native Linux kernel API docker containers, seamlessly

    - native Linux file system support

    I got really big machines with dozens of cores, hundreds of gigabyte of RAM, Atoms and many things in between: Every month I am banging my head on the table when I see how slowly patches get installed, while nothing, absolutely nothing is going on these machines: One core is burning hot, no network or storage I/O of any kind, just some code ruminating on: "To copy, or not to copy this file, that is the question..." Pitiful!

    Unforgivable sins:

    - Knowing "better": At one point in time, Microsoft decided that users who click "shutdown" on their computers, would rather 'hibernate' their systems, even if that is a different button on my Classic Shell (without which Windows 10 would be unusable). So whenI then take that SSD and start it on a different computer, it looses all the data and changes in the hibernate file, because the new computer has different hardware and cannot just blindy resume a suspended image. I knew that this would be the case, which is why I hit "shutdown". But Microsoft knew better and after a couple of swaps forth and back I finally figured out I had to hit a greyed out option somewhere deep in the energy settings...

    That's how engineers just following manager's orders get shot on their way home

    - Forced Windows upgrade etc.

    Generally:

    - Don't go for world domination, try being better than the competition for a change, that might just be enough to ensure a leading position

    - Concentrate on slimming down

    - If you really think the world needs a new file system, make sure it also works with Linux

    - work with open standards e.g. Vulkan instead of DX12. If Vulkan is worse, make it better

    1. fung0

      Re: Here are some tips on how to reduce the testing workload

      Excellent list - you hit all my favorites, and added a few.

      Isn't it odd how game developers have failed to support DX12? Years after Win10 shipped, still only a handful of games with DX12 (optional) support, and no particularly dramatic benefit.

    2. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Here are some tips on how to reduce the testing workload

      > I finally figured out I had to hit a greyed out option somewhere deep in the energy settings...

      +10. Been there. It was worse though: not in the energy settings proper but under 2 levels of unlabelled GUIDs in the Registry - there was Sleep-related Boolean to toggle ;-) No, I didn't figure it out myself: this idiotic setting is all over the web, because it's been putting machines to sleep at unwanted moments ever since Windows 7.

      Say whatever you want about obscure Linux settings: they usually have cryptic names, not GUIDs.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Sell Office on Steam, make sure it runs on Linux, too"

      Oh, the Linux dreamer who believes MS should work to kill Windows (and itself) and make Linux dominating the world...

      Steam? LOL, why should they ever give money to another store, which implies other cruft to install, and be tracked by? They can simply sell Office directly or through resellers like they always did.

      Is Google more a browser company than MS? Actually MS started well before to develop browsers, and Chrome just became the new IE - a trojan horse to try to dominate web applications development, plus slurping data.

      Just a single server edition? Why? Even under Linux you find different editions. Not all users are equal. And from a commercial perspective make full sense. Can the actual one be improved? Sure. But it also allows lower prices for entry level users.

      What is a "reasonable" price for you? I'm afraid it's very low... right? There are licenses to run several images. If you ever only used OEMs one, it's only your fault.

      Android apps? Why should someone run crappy phone apps sending slurped data home on a PC?

      Containers can be run on Windows - supporting Linux apps? Which ones? One reason people don't use Linux is the lack of applications. Why spending a lot of effort to run non existent apps? You can still run Linux in a VM under Hyper-V, and 10 has some Linux support, if you need to run the few server ones you need.

      There are also the GPL issues - how far you can go to support, say EXT4 (but why?) without falling into the GPL trap? You just need to write a file system driver for Windows to support them, why no open source project did it?

      Vulkan is not a "standard" - it's just a library - and while both Apple and MS are members of the consortium, why both shouldn't develop their own ones (Metal and DirectX)?

      I really fear a world where there's no competition and everything is controlled by a single entity. It was wrong that could be Microsoft, but another entity would be no better.

      Linux wasn't written "by God", and has its own issues - healthy competition stimulates improvements.

      One OS to rule them all would just bind everybody in darkness.

      1. abufrejoval

        Re: "Sell Office on Steam, make sure it runs on Linux, too"

        Edge, Chrome etc.:

        I guess what I dislike most about Edge is that it's Windows-only. If it were simply another browser besides Firefox, Opera and Chrome it would be worth a try, but tying it to Windows and pushing it they way they do is just not doing anyone a favor. Every time I switch the preferred browser to Firefox, I have to click extra and confirm that I really am not interested in even trying Edge: I won't try, because they don't make it a simple choice. And I won't try, because they overwrite that setting on every upgrade for every user: An upgrade is supposed to maintain the previous settings, but they overwrite them every time. It shows lack of respect for user choices and I won't even consider using one of their two browsers precisely for that reason.

        Of course I am also not using Chrome if I can avoid it, for the exact same reason: They make it hard to do what I want. I want to delete all cookies when I close the browser. Chrome makes that extra difficult and you're left thinking, that "delete all" actually means "delete all non-Google cookies" to them.

        That's at least lack of respect if not downright fraud, so I treat Chrome with the respect it deserves.

        Everybody has a bias, but I tend to use what fits best. I do prefer running my desktop on Windows over running it on Linux, because it tends to be snappier and I am quite simply more used to it. In fact I like it so much, I'd love to run Linux Docker containers on Windows without having to switch the OS. They come with a Linux base, because that's what developers use and because it does a rather good job at most things servers: Even Microsoft seems to agree. Does that make me a Linux dreamer? Not in my book.

        I own Crossover Linux and regularly try running Windows applications on Linux as well, just to see how or if things are progressing. Typically that doesn't last very long and I am back to Windows. Actually these days I even prefer RDP over X11, even if X-Windows originally (except perhaps for SunView or NeWS) was the only proper remote GUI environment und much better than the first MS terminal servers.

        Have you tried Microsoft Office for Android? I cannot see it being any worse than the Windows variant. And there is plenty of other software out there, which gives a much better desktop experience than some of the 'native' Linux apps. I run PhoenixOS, an Android-x86 variant for PCs as one of the many operating systems I regularly track for their evolution. It's perhaps the best desktop OS I have found for low-power Atom computers: Much snappier and flexible than any CentOS/Ubuntu/FreeBSD/PC-BSD/Hackintosh or Windows.

        I actually run ext4 on Windows via a Paragon Systems add-on. It's just that they tried to position ReFS against ZFS and Btrfs and failed somewhere mid-way, wasting a tons of engineering time they could have spent on QA. AFAIK file systems can be dynamically loaded on NT and thus not risk violating the GPL. NT at its base was very much designed by Dave Cutler to be a multi-kernel-API OS, supporting OS/2, Posix, Win32 and NT from what I remember.

        I have an MSDN subscription so I typically run Windows server editions on my machines, if only because that way the store and all the data forwarding are disabled by default. I like any-2-any RDP, NFS services and some other stuff the server editions activate, but I hate drivers which fail, because they won't support 'servers' that are actually also workstations: Either way there are annyoing restrictions which are all politics.

        And unfortunately Hyper-V is about the worst hypervisor, Virtualbox wonderfully consistent across Windows/Linux, while it will actually use KVM as hypervisor on a Linux host and dropped whatever hypervisor they originally had. I guess if Hyper-V as type 1 hypervisor could be used with VirtualBox the way KVM is on Linux, I would prefer that to using VirtualBox as type 2 as I do now: Because I move VMs between Windows and Linux hosts quite regularly.

        Did I say that I need access to Nvidia GPUs in the Docker containers for CUDA applications? Not sure that's anywhere close to working on Windows.

        Vulkan is a standardized API. If Microsoft had serious quality concerns about the quality of the API, I am quite sure the Khronos group would welcome their contributions, especially for a new Ray-Tracing extension or Augmented Reality.

        But instead Microsoft is pushing their proprietary derivatives, the way they have always done. And I give them the respect they deserve for that.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: "Sell Office on Steam, make sure it runs on Linux, too"

          Most of those things are things that I'd really like Microsoft to do, and that they could (and should) do. However, that list contains some random stuff that while potentially desirable, is not logical for Microsoft to write. Running android apps? You might want it. I'll put my vote in the no pile. Why would Microsoft want to do that? Is there any benefit to their spending a ton of time doing something Google's having trouble with with the result that Google's platform gets a stronger market purpose? For making office run on Linux, why? Not only why do you want office to run on Linux when you don't seem to like either, but also why would Microsoft go out of their way to support a competitor to their product. As for selling it on steam, no thank you. Steam may support Linux more, which is always nice, but I would not like to use it for buying random stuff (I'm not a gamer and so I don't have an account) but also it's not some independent place making open source software for us; it's a business in its own right that is no more trustworthy than others.

          My list for Microsoft includes various modifications to windows that you include as well, but could best be summarized as "Make windows good. Act like a normal business that competes on product quality and turn your efforts to actually increasing product quality. If you do that, I'll decide on the products' merits which ones I'll use and for what. Accept my decision when I make it, and try to change it by making your products better rather than torpedoing me." I don't demand or expect that they'll do something that's insane from their business perspective.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: "Sell Office on Steam, make sure it runs on Linux, too"

        "Linux wasn't written "by God", and has its own issues"

        True. All nontrivial software has bugs, and the more nontrivial it is, the more bugs are there. That said, Linux is certainly more solid than Windows, and it comes with the considerable benefit of not forcing you into Microsoft's (or anybody else's) "ecosystem".

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "Sell Office on Steam, make sure it runs on Linux, too"

        "Oh, the Linux dreamer who believes MS should work to kill Windows (and itself) and make Linux dominating the world."

        So why do they sell Office for MacOS?

        Big hint coming up: sell means they charge money for it whatever the OS..

      4. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: "Sell Office on Steam, make sure it runs on Linux, too"

        > Actually MS started well before to develop browsers

        Actually MS paid Spyglass to develop IE. No, wait, it was only Spyglass that thought they were going to get paid to do the work. MS had this plan where they weren't going to pay. Eventually the courts had to order MS to pay Spyglass.

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Here are some tips on how to reduce the testing workload

      " I knew that this would be the case, which is why I hit "shutdown". But Microsoft knew better and after a couple of swaps forth and back I finally figured out I had to hit a greyed out option somewhere deep in the energy settings..."

      Just as a heads-up, you probably want to check that setting from time to time. The last couple of six-monthlies have reset the switch on my systems.

    5. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Here are some tips on how to reduce the testing workload

      "Slowing down, is not really an option"

      Why not? Even if every release was perfect, I still think that they come far too fast to digest.

  15. Updraft102 Silver badge

    No one likes their name misspelled

    Woody Leonhard said that Windows is on a vicious downward spiral.

  16. Neoc

    Home networking broken

    Sometime in the last 6 months, Windows10 stopped handling my home network correctly, refusing to see other PC on the network via their name (and sometimes even their IP address). Before anyone says anything please be aware that

    1) My Linux PC still works properly.

    2) My Raspberry Pis (plural) still work properly.

    3) My Win7 HTPC still works correctly.

    4) Both my Win10 laptop and PC have stopped working properly.

    While it may not be possible for me to regress my Laptop, I still have an old Win7 Ultimate licence I can use to "upgrade" my Win10 PC to Win7.

    1. fung0

      Re: Home networking broken

      Beware - if your Win10 PC has recent Intel hardware, it may be impossible to load Win7, owing to the (deliberate) lack of motherboard drivers.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Home networking broken

      I think that is because they've switched off SMBv1. Those other systems you mention will still support v1 even if they are willing and able to run later versions, but MS (wisely, from a security point of view) have recently chosen to disable it. This change then collides with a decision (starting in Win7) to move away from NetBIOS-like browsing towards Function Discovery. FD doesn't seem to play nicely with non-Windows systems, so the disappearance of SMBv1 has broken the network neighbourhood for several zillion users.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Home networking broken

        "I think that is because they've switched off SMBv1"

        Current Debian & Devuan have also switched it off which was why my ancient NAS disappeared. I found I could work round it by setting up an FTP network drive instead....

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least the Stasi had ...

    ... superb German Engineering.

    "Wir mussen alles wissen".

    1. abufrejoval

      Re: At least the Stasi had ...

      No they didn't, they had shitty commuist stuff. I am ever so glad they didn't and keep waking up drenched in cold sweat, imagining "what if?" they had today's technology at their disposal. As with the Nazis, it wasn't the brightest who ruled at the top of this repressive organzation, if only because Mielke was little more than a shifty bastard and brute.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS BS

    When choosing this path, Microsoft got arrogant and thought they are too big to fail. The IT industry doesn't forgive though, last 30 years have plenty of examples like this. Microsoft need major shake and reality check.

    At home I kicked last Windows OS out of the door few years ago.

    At work, not so lucky, I still need to support this piece of s***. Every, literally every, Windows and Office update is messing something up. When we see the update window popping up we know it's a sign to fasten the seatbelts and wait for the incidents to start pouring in.

  19. Tom Melly

    Contrarian view (sort of)

    Not disagreeing with the general thrust of the article, but didn't the testers find most of the bugs? The problems seem to have stemmed more from MS then not bothering to investigate the reports.

  20. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Joke

    Let's go back to OS/2 then :p

  21. John70

    The rush to bring immature software to market has clearly deteriorated software quality

    Isn't this today's culture because of the Internet? Release something and fix it later in an update.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I actually don't think they got arrogant

    I think they got scared.

    The iPad and the sudden rise of tablets scared the bejeezus out of MS. They had faffed about for so long with their own touchscreen system and wen't down so many blind alleys (I tried out MS touchscreen desktop prototypes at a Birmingham NEC hosted tech show 20+ years ago) that they thought they had no good answer to the rise of Apple and Android.

    Everything they have done in the personal computing space since then has been a reaction to that fear. The purchase of Nokia Telephony, the rushed and incomplete W8 (and subsequent release of W10), the Surface have all been about trying to keep control of the personal computing market, and forgetting that their core revenue was actually the corporate computing market.

    W10 still isn't a corporate ready O.S.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: I actually don't think they got arrogant

      The thing is, tablets have been and gone and all MS have to show for it is an OS with a crappy tablet UI bolted onto it and no tablets.

  23. Multivac

    Am I missing something here?

    History of Windows:

    Windows 95 - This is cool, excited about Windows 98.

    Windows 98 - This is rubbish, can't wait for Windows 2000.

    Windows 2000 - This is really rubbish, so looking forward to Windows ME replacing this junk.

    Windows ME - OMG this is rubbish, please please please release Windows XP.

    Windows XP - This almost works, we may be heading in the right direction at last.

    Windows Vista - We'll just stick with XP until Windows 7 comes out..

    Windows 7 - Well it's better then Vista?

    Windows 8 - This is so bad we're going to need an 8.1 before we even consider looking forward to Windows 9.

    Windows 8.1 - It'll work as a sticking plaster until Windows 9 comes out.

    Windows 9 - hello, hello, is anyone there?

    Windows 10 - Where'd my Windows 8.1 go, and why did everything stop working after the update?

    And at no point did anyone think, is there an alternative to Windows that just works?

    1. fung0

      Re: Am I missing something here?

      Multivac, dId you actually USE any of these OSes?

      Windows 3.x - amazing, breakthrough platform. A solid, usable GUI environment, but with full backward compatibility to DOS, which no one was prepared to give up at the time.

      Windows 95 - refined in every way, brilliant new UI; Windows 98 - even better than 95, in endless small ways.

      Also, omitted from your list:

      Windows NT - sheer genius: crash proof, rock-solid, albeit with the older UI. Possibly THE greatest achievement in the history of desktop OSes. Win2k was just NT with the Win9x UI, an absolutely superb OS in every way - I relied on it for years, even after WinXP shipped.

      Windows CE/Mobile - the breakthrough mobile OS, way ahead of its time, with a huge third-party ecosystem. Abandoning it was Microsoft's single biggest mistake, which Apple quickly capitalized on with its own vastly inferior mobile OS.

      Credit where credit is due - Microsoft didn't rise to power by building crappy products. Alas, once its competitors were all exterminated, the company rapidly went to seed.

      And yes, many companies did try to find alternatives to Windows, but all failed. That's how it is with monopolies. Even IBM couldn't break free, at a time when it owned the hardware side. Not because OS/2 was a bad OS, but because the lock-in of Windows was already too strong.

      1. abufrejoval

        Re: Am I missing something here?

        Windows NT 3.51 was ok, especially the multi-user variants from Citrix and NCD (X11 support).

        But NT 4 was a nightmare: Any cheap printer driver that wasn't thread-safe could crash a terminal server with 50 users on it just because they decided to go against everything Dave Cutler had been preaching and put device drivers at ring 0 to make them fast enough to beat Apple.

      2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Am I missing something here?

        > Windows 3.x - amazing, breakthrough platform. A solid, usable GUI environment, but with full backward compatibility to DOS,

        Most went to Windows 3.x so that they could run multiple DOS boxes - Lotus123 and WordPerfect. Solid?? if you didn't get 'Unrecoverable Application Error' with 3.0 every day then you weren't using it. 3.1 was much better but simply replaced UAE with a different message.

        > Windows NT - sheer genius:

        And that genius was DEC's David Cutler

        > Windows CE/Mobile - the breakthrough mobile OS,

        Now you are being ironic, maybe you misspelt 'broken'. CE was the equivalent of MS-DOS: single core, single tasking with something like the TSR system. It may have been fine for embedded systems (which is what it was designed for: CE=Consumer Electronics) but it was a stretch to call it an operating system.

        > way ahead of its time

        No it wasn't, it was from the mid 90s and was all that Microsoft had.

        > Abandoning it was Microsoft's single biggest mistake, which Apple quickly capitalized on with its own vastly inferior mobile OS.

        They didn't abandon it until far too late, it was still in Windows Phone 7, though this was completely incompatible with the previous CE Windows Mobile 6.x.

        > Credit where credit is due - Microsoft didn't rise to power by building crappy products.

        No. It rose to power by buying products or companies, rebranding them and making them crappy.

        > Alas, once its competitors were all exterminated, the company rapidly went to seed.

        Many competitors were all exterminated by MS contracting with them or buying them. The current competitors survived by not being able to be bought, either because they were too big in other areas or because they can be forked and survive.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Am I missing something here?

          Windows CE wasn't great, perhaps, but it was stable and did run for mobile PDA-type things. You could use the applications on them, and you could load others. It provided a common platform for applications that would run regardless of device peculiarities, and with some support for modern (of the time) hardware. You could also get some interaction between the mobile device and computer that actually worked, sort of. What other mobile OS had that at the time? As I recall, most of them worked but only with their own programs, or weren't compatible with much else. I think it could have provided Microsoft with a very good entrance into mobile computing, although we'll never know because they threw it away with Windows Phone 7. Still, there are a lot of embedded devices that still run it (I don't know why).

          As for normal windows, I've never really loved it, but most versions were acceptable until windows 8. That's when they didn't just alter the interface, but instead crumpled it up and started over. I'd have to give windows 10 a slight edge over windows 8 in the interface department, but that's like saying that it's closer to the top of Mt. Everest because it's standing on a phone book. Meanwhile, everything else still managed to get worse with the release of windows 10.

    2. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Am I missing something here?

      Windows 98 - This is rubbish, can't wait for Windows 2000.

      I thought it was pretty bad because of its obnoxious "everything is a web page" UI, designed to blur the line between Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer, but it was generally popular and considered decent by most. It was more stable than 95, which isn't saying much.

      Windows 2000 - This is really rubbish, so looking forward to Windows ME replacing this junk.

      I don't recall a lot of people thinking Windows 2000 was rubbish. It was the "pro" answer to the consumer equivalent, Windows ME, released later the same year (2000). They were never intended for the same market.

      Windows 7 - Well it's better then Vista?

      It's a bit more popular than that now. It's the one everyone wants to keep using.

      Windows XP was a juggernaut. I used it from c. 2002 to its end of support on one or the other PC, for well over ten years. If they could have just stuck with that UI and just changed the minimum possible to accommodate newer technologies, I'd have been as happy with it as I had been for the first ten years.

      Windows 10 is the first Windows I have really and truly despised. I avoided Vista, but I would have rather used it then than I would use 10 now.

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