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. Cavehomme_

      (Fr)Agile

      "you can't rely solely on insiders to do the testing"

      I can't see anyone proposing that. It needs both an inside testing department for the OS plus the external volunteers.

      Getting the OS right surely has to be fundamental, it's the building block of everything else. Using Agile on the OS is completely irresponsible, might as well rename it to Fragile for such a critical purpose.

      The Cost Accountants are ruining everything with their short-sighted, one-sided approach. I bet they'd soon change their tune if their Excel sheets were so full of bugs that their formulae and numbers were all wrong or crashed.

    2. doublelayer

      No. An operating system that deletes user data is not fit for purpose. It is fatally flawed. It remains flawed even if yours was not the data deleted. Maybe the driver issue could become the ball in a game of blame tennis, but the data deletion issue is firmly in Microsoft's court, and it is not minor.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Can they PROVE it's strictly with the OS and not something third-party like a driver? For example, can they duplicate the data deletion in a vanilla install?

        It's times like this that I'm reminded of what I call "gestfaults": problems that are worse than the sums of their parts. Each component is tested and works perfectly in their own little world, but just put them together in just so and suddenly things go pear-shaped, and they ONLY do so when put together, so it's hard to test for gestfaults.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      "MS gets plenty of telemetry data, bug reports and feedbacks."

      None of which are adequate substitutes for a solid testing process, either.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Who says it's a substitute? They're two separate things. One makes them money, the other saves them money. Unless and until it costs more to do it than not do it, business sense tells them to keep going, and if this article is any indication, they're laughing all the way to the bank with their captive markets.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    W10 'Update'

    I've reluctantly bought a new W10 laptop (8gb, i3) within the last month (work software requires windows to access) and have been staggered with how slow it is - much slower than W7P on old Core2duo desktop. Had to resort to borrowing Macbook Pro for non windows work - much better than W10.

    If W7 still available from Microsoft I'd have bought it in a flash.

  2. Dun

    dun

    First want to point out. I'm just a basic user. I read all these sites to help me correct the many problems I'm faced with. Of people that have no idea how to learn to correct situations. All of the reading and insights to the many issues are very helpful! Aside from that, MS has always had these issues. From 3.1 to current win 10. Not one OS released has ever been completed. Think about it an "update" should mean a tweak to the current system in place. The problems from one version fell into the new version and has continued. To this day. 10 is a lot harder to deal with since it has taken away the right to read what is getting downloaded into your system. It decides when a patch or an update is going to be installed or when you will receive a new OS version . Even if you choose not to have it installed right in the middle of running a program. Preventing the owner who paid for it. Or "leased" it as its put now.

    AI is great if like the basic computer the human dictating the instructions knows what the out come will be. Just faster so to give it false information means you get failure 8x as fast. . . When you look at history. You have win95 and windows 2000 NT. Both were used for many years and allowed you to developed within both of them. Many of you started with these 2 systems as well as worked with both of them hand an hand. Something to be said for software that does not require the internet to make a system work. To get a patch or and update took very small amount of time. Win 10 cripples your system to do an update or a patch. If you own 10 you need a 2nd computer with another OS version so that you can continue to work. How is that intelligent? In win10 Its seen that all software for bells and whistles are 3 party software. No problem except that almost all of the software, devices, and other tools run in conflict with win10 if the license code has not been paid to MS. History, does MS take into account the past mistakes to make them better. For the current or do they keep repeating the same mistake and put a new shiny label on it. In the past the complaint was memory or drive size or chip speed. All of these challenges have been met. Still you have dos. Running the whole system. The memory is 12 x larger the drive has 12x as much space and the chips are 12x faster. Yet Win95 on 8 megs of ram and a 40 meg hard drive and a chip Pentium 3 or 4 still to this day works cleaner and looses nothing. No cloud, no internet needed. It seems the idea is so smart, its stupid now.

    1. Cavehomme_

      Re: dun

      +10 votes from me.

  3. Technical Advisor

    You are expecting Windows to be for professional users only but most of the customer base is consumer and gamer oriented.

    You might be happier with Linux.

    1. Cavehomme_

      MS really need to produce a genuine Pro / enterprise version for business users and a "Home" version for, well, home users. Yes, it's déja vue, but it's the only way forwards, to segregate these different groups properly.

      As a Pro user I don't need Candy Crush or 3D Paint crap FFS!!! I do need my Snipping Tool and Paintbrush, not removed nor "upgraded", I'll be the judge of what I need thank you MS. I use these tools several times a week, I need them.

      Same with Office 365, it's now become full of candy crap, stuff moving about or new style every few months. It's impossible to work in a predictable manner. Sticking the consumer market under Office 365 is sheer madness, MS really need to go back to producing an updated suite of MS Works, make it availble online, a nice and simple yet effective consumer solution, this time with file types COMPATIBLE with Office.

      All this "one size fits all" trend is utter nonsense and will piss off BOTH Pros and consumers! Horses for courses FFS!

  4. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    I think it's really going to be a trust issue soon

    "Hmm... do we bet our million dollar database data centre on Microsoft or Oracle?"

    "Who made Windows 10?"

    "Ah... Oracle it is then."

    Joking aside, it didn't take long for "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" to fade into history, and the current "nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft" is probably going to go the same way. Microsoft's really reliant on goodwill and the fact that there aren't too many competitors people are willing to trust. Give them too many more hiccups - CEOs suddenly finding themselves unable to work because Windows 10 updated itself and bricked their work PC, for example - and that trust and goodwill is going to start evaporating rather quickly.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I think it's really going to be a trust issue soon

      EXCEPT the billion-dollar question remains: Where would they go?

  5. Simon B-52

    The Silence of the Lambs - The Beancounters Cut

    "It rubs the money on my skin,

    Or else it gets the cattle prod again."

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    We will not install any new W10 version at least before waiting for 1 month during which no problem was reported.

    Because MS does not listen to users, ever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Pro version allows you to select any number of days delay right up to 365 days, mine is set at maximum now. Once bitten, twice shy. Ten times bitten, a thousand times shy.

      For security updates, mine is set at 7 days delay because MS can royally feck these up too.

  7. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Pint

    I used to hate QA

    They would do things to software no one in their right mind ever would. And blow it up. Then come to Tech Docs are suggest changes to the manual, to the effect of Don't Do That. Later in life I got into PC tech support and realized, people otherwise in their right minds are capable of doing anything. Viva QA!

  8. wizzbang

    I've never used or owned a Mac before, never thought about wanting to buy and use one as my main home computer - but the complete nonsense way that MS are treating Win10 and breaking it like this is a punishment to people for sticking with them.

    Edge and IE are barely useable in the modern Enterprise, especially VDI. The amount of Telemetry that needs to be disabled and pointless faffy applications that need to be removed to get a sensible VDI environment setup is maddening

    If MS charged a small amount per month, like an O365 subscription to be rid of the crap then I'd be up for that. But you don't get anything for free and with the amount of Telemetry in Win10 and lack of common sense updates and design approach - feels like i'm selling my sould and personal metadata to whoever MS resels and shares all this to

    If they carry on like this, I'll be ditching Win10 and getting a Mac

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm at the same point as you, after 30 years of sticking with MS, must be the Stockholm Syndrome affecting me, but now waking up and realising that I should escape from being locked up in the MS basement being abused there for way too long.

      Already have an iPhone after MS royally fecked up us Windows Mobile user, and an iPad after they withdrew their tablets. Now they are fecking me around with Windows 10, I should have stayed on 7. Three times fecked, goodbye MS, you had more chances than any sane person would allow you. I think I'll "Just Do IT"

  9. Someone Else Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Hear that, Micros~1?

    Andrew states, flatly:

    Windows 10 is officially a shit show.

    I am amazed by how much I agree with bombastic bob recently, but being in total agreement with Andrew is new territory, indeed. It is not bad territory, but it is unfamiliar....

  10. BGatez

    The real fix

    1. STOP rolling updates into one big pile of poo, allow selective updates

    2. STOP forcing installation of updates

    3. ALLOW users to remove whatever they don't want- Cortana, Edge, the ton of crap you foist on paying customers.

    4. STOP slurping customer info. Keep it ALL turned completely off by default. Offer a cookie if they'll turn it on.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: The real fix

      No, the ONLY real fix is to come up with a way to FORCE them to do the above...or simply cease to exist. The way the market is now, it's too captive for many people to just throw up their arms and leave. Until that happens...

  11. BaronMatrix

    Totally BROKEN...

    And people used to tell me I was being unreasonable when complaining about the quality... I used to be an STE and a junior SDET in Windows... They started the process of eliminating QA in 2002, after XP SP2....

    I don't agrtee with the author that testers don't run automation.. I ran TONS of automation suites provided by SDETs... I even wrote some and told management you can't fully test your own code as an SDET much less as a Windows dev...

    I put off an upgrade because Win10 was killing the laptop I had it on... Every other update was a breaking change.. Sometimes my USB would go out, others the NIC would stop working, some caused endless reboots...

    Yes, Windows 10 is Broken, borked, FUBAR, and many other negative things I can imagine...

    The worst thing is they still need Windows to develop Azure... Putting a phone UI on my 3 LCD workstation is an insult... I MAY eventually upgrade to an expensive Svr Standard so I can put off updates...

  12. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

    "Never trust version .0 of anything. .0 or .1 if it's Microsoft"

    That was the advice I got when entering the WinTel world almost 30 years ago. People were complaining about being beta tester then.

    Yes, back in the day, Bill Gates was a crackerjack programmer. But when he took the role of CEO, he well and truly digested the cardinal rule of consumerism, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence or taste of the American public."

    At first, businesses loved Bill Gates because he screwed IBM. By the time they realized who else was on the list, it was too late.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: "Never trust version .0 of anything. .0 or .1 if it's Microsoft"

      "Yes, back in the day, Bill Gates was a crackerjack programmer"

      No, he wasn't. He was an adequate programmer. What he really brought to the table was that he's a crackerjack businessperson.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: "Never trust version .0 of anything. .0 or .1 if it's Microsoft"

        > No, he wasn't. He was an adequate programmer. What he really brought to the table was that he's a crackerjack businessperson.

        What he really brought to the table was his father who was a crackerjack lawyer and knew how to tie everyone up in contracts.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re. do a better job if it discarded a lot of software testers

    I thought it didn't, it just ubered the job and now all W10 customers do the job for free. Free soft, free testers, free enough! :D

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      ...just ubered the job...

      Citation needed.

      Specifically, you need to show that MS actually pay any attention to the feedback they get from these free testers. The evidence from the Insider program is that they don't, so it is not "free testing" but rather "no testing".

  14. TheSkunkyMonk

    Yup why bother paying people to test your product when you can get people todo it for free, same with the games industry as well just its called Early Access. Absolute joke and the practice needs to stop sadly the only way this will happen is if the kids stop parting with their cash for incomplete garbage and the chance to be the first...

  15. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

    Time to post this again?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_lg7w8gAXQ

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Time to post this again?

      I've seen him in videos on YouTube getting angry with his staff at times. Never knew he was like that. I wonder if in that video he was truly annoyed or it was part of his seemingly socially awkward side, so he didn't know how to react.

      1. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

        Re: Time to post this again?

        Nah, he's pissed. There were a couple of obvious comebacks, but the peals of laughter from the audience were not going to let him do it. He was screwing the world, everyone knew it, and this was a rare place and time that he could be made to pay, even if only a little bit.

  16. Gudieve Ning
    FAIL

    Telling me!

    I have one of the best designed computers ever - an HP ZBook X2 G4 (https://picosm.com/993919352790). Shames Apple with it's clever modularity, Wacom pen (that doesn't require charging), awesome display, ergonomics, clever Bluetooth detachable keyboard, twin TB3 ports etc etc. However, Windows destroys it. 1. Awful confusing UX - damn, just trying to do a screenshot of part of the screen requires a 'Snipping' app with a 1980s UX. 2. Slows down a lot, despite having 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, i7 8th gen etc etc. (And it's not HP's fault.) 3. Windows keep vanishing across my monitors.4. Crashes constantly, requiring a re-start. Etc. My 2017 MacBook Pro is a lot smoother and nicer to use except for the awful keyboard which is why I'm using the HP.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Telling me!

      "1. Awful confusing UX - damn, just trying to do a screenshot of part of the screen requires a 'Snipping' app with a 1980s UX."

      You're wrong there, buddy.

      Snipping Tool is going to be deprecated soon, though it's still there. There are other ways of taking screenshots in Windows.

      PrintScreen button takes a full screen screenshot and places it on clipboard.

      Alt+PrtScrn copies the active window to clipboard.

      Win+PrtScrn takes full screen screenshot and saves it automatically in the documents folder.

      Win+Shift+S gives you a built-in snipping tool without a UI - the result goes to clipboard.

      "2. Slows down a lot, despite having 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, i7 8th gen etc etc. (And it's not HP's fault."

      Slows down how? HP preloads several, rather useless programs in their computers, I wouldn't give HP a free pass that quickly.

      "3. Windows keep vanishing across my monitors. 4. Crashes constantly, requiring a re-start. Etc."

      Vanishes? I don't understand your problem.

      Windows crashes *very* rarely and you can usually point the crashes on either bad hardware or some bad drivers. Windows crashes ("BSOD") produce crash dumps which can be deciphered (to a degree) with the Blue Screen Viewer. I'd also check HP's support pages for your laptop.

      Of course, you're free to try Linux on that laptop and see if works better...

  17. IanMoore33
    Flame

    WINDOWS FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION

    It is INCLUDED IN THE PURCHASE PRICE .

    1. tygrus.au

      Re: WINDOWS FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION

      Windows 10 has so many parts that no one in Microsoft can understand how it all works together. Components and teams change so often that you can't keep up with the changes. The bowl of spaghetti just becomes bigger every year.

  18. DROP DATABASE

    well said

    Last update broke my system and lost me a days productivity. if there was any way to turn these shitty updates off I would do it instantly

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This just further cements my decision to ditch Windows and move to Linux.

    It started with Windows 8 and its horrible attempt to break into the mobile market.

    Instead of admitting their mistake, they sort of made a half-a$$ed attempt to fix their horrible UI but still ultimately went in the same direction. Now it's just an inconsistent mess.

    Then they added spyware to Windows 10, removed the users ability to control their own computer in several different ways, and broke people's trust with updates by pushing their GWX malware.

    Meanwhile, AMD came out with Vulkan, and really improved their open source Linux drivers.

    Then, people started developing things like DXVK, and then Valve threw their weight into it.

    Gaming on Linux was a joke previously, but now it's gotten legitimately good.

    Linux is just getting better, and Windows is just getting worse.

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Then, people started developing things like DXVK, and then Valve threw their weight into it.

      DXVK is a game-changer, no pun intended. I've used it and seen Windows-like framerates where WINE alone would have them at half of that. I never liked Steam much in the past, given that among other things, it's a platform for DRM, but no other entity has done more for Linux gaming than Steam has, and now with their new commitments to the Linux platform, I am cheering them. Gabe Newell's comments about what MS is trying to do with Win 10 and the MS Store are spot on, and making a platform that no one company can ever control into a viable alternative to Windows is the best way to ensure that MS never accomplishes its goal of a captive, iOS-like walled garden for Windows.

      Steam, though, is only a gaming platform, so even though the same principles apply across the software spectrum (MS can't close up the walled garden if there is an alternative it can't exterminate), someone else will have to step up for non-games.

      Given that MS Office is the 800 pound gorilla of business applications, and that the company that develops it is the very same one trying to set up this walled garden, that seems unlikely, at least in the short term. If MS is truly serious about becoming a cloud company, which I think they are, they really should not have a problem offering a Linux version of Office that is on par with their Windows offerings. After all, Linux users can be customers of cloud services too, right? If it's all about the cloud, what difference does it make how one gets there? Linux users are not users of a competing platform-- they're potential cloud and application software customers.

      If that ever happened, it would be down the road a bit. Right now there's monetization to inflicted upon the Windows-using community, and MS very much wants all of those recalcitrant Windows 7 users to move to 10 to be monetized for a few years before they get fed up enough to overcome the barriers to leaving the Windows prison. Once the Windows-using community has been monetized and abused to the breaking point, only then can MS start being serious about Linux applications.

      I don't know that MS will ever do that, but it seems clear to me that they love the cloud and want Windows dead, but only after squeezing Windows users for all they can. Nothing else makes sense... it's not plausible that MS really thinks they can treat Windows customers like this and keep them long-term. Vendor lock-in will keep them in the line of fire for a while, but that won't last forever.

      It naturally follows that MS would offer a version of Office for whatever platform(s) take over after they leave the OS market.

  20. Updraft102 Silver badge

    What crisis?

    Wish I would have thought of this when the topic was new...

    "Three urgent changes Redmond must make to stop the QA crisis..."

    Microsoft: What crisis? Everything is working perfectly. Our beta testers caught all of the bugs before they made it to our valued customers. Nothing needs to be fixed; working as intended.

  21. steviebuk Silver badge

    They really need....

    ...to bring back the option for people to decide when they do updates and not force it on people.

    I like some aspects of Windows 10 but sticking with Windows 7 on my main home laptop at moment as I know everything works. But I do like using Windows 10 at work, but managing it is a bit annoying with all the crapware it includes. You remove with Powershell, only to discover a few days later some of the same crap has automatically downloaded and installed again.

    The ironic one, and the link maybe a shameless plug, is Edge when it claims "The fastest, safer way to get things done on the web." But it doesn't turn on site blocking by default, so as you can see, even though Chrome and Firefox blocked this phishing site, both IE and Edge let it through.

    https://youtu.be/kd_0O0aUBDk

  22. David Tallboys

    I've rejoined the Dark Side, dropped ubuntu installed Windows 10

    Sorry guys, I'm too dim to cope with ubuntu.

    A couple of years ago at someone's suggestion here I tried Linux. I bought a new Dell laptop which came with ubuntu 14 already installed - £200.

    All I used it for was some short documents and spreadsheets using Libre Office; and Firefox for browsing.

    It upgraded to 16 and I had a bit of aggro getting 2 printers to work - a Canon 3550 and an HP1102w.

    Last week it upgraded to 18 and after hours and hours of trying and following web advice I can't get the printers to work.

    I thought I would try a dual boot and used the Windows 10 usb I had and it installed within about half an hour (had to change some partition thingys) and both printers worked.

    Sorry Grub or sodu or whatever.

  23. hoola

    Aglie

    Two words for this "Agile Development", a sorry excuse for rushing out substandard, poorly tested software but everyone is happy because it is quick. The solution to the poor quality is to fix or the broken bits in the next sprint, this never happens as the result is just more broken bits and so the spiral goes on,

  24. zxc123

    Agree Windows 10 is nowhere near as good as 7.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be fair the 'insiders' did spot the file deletion flaw but microsoft didn't listen.

  26. rmullen0

    Remote Desktop problems

    Is anyone else having problems with Remote Desktop after upgrading? I use the Windows 10 legacy Remote Desktop Connection application, not the Window Store one because historically I have found it to work better. After upgrading, I now have to try at least a couple times usually to connect from home to work. This is over a 80 Mbps Comcast connection. The problem is that it hangs on connection and I have to close the app and try again. I am hoping that Microsoft fixes this as I rely on this to work remotely. Luckily it has never completely got stuck like I have seen in Windows 7. Until this update, Remote Desktop has worked great on Windows 10. The other issue I've ran into is the Task Manager CPU usage being wrong.

  27. Jove Bronze badge

    User Error ...

    ... in using Windows in the first place. They have no one but themselves to blame.

    These people should be neutered to stop them breeding.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: User Error ...

      Even if there are no alternatives to the stuff they use everyday? OR if they're forced to by forces beyond their control (like, say, BOSSES)?

  28. fredj

    I would like to see a cost centre app which times and rports every users non productive windows time. I have been around since dos 2 and i have probably used a year of my life fighting their ++++++ OS. I am no ludddite. I worked mainly with scientific instruments and windows has been a fantastic resource BUT the time wasted is ublelievable.

  29. Frank Thynne

    Microsoft won't even hear

    I have tried to send the following message to the CEOs of Microsoft and Microsoft UK. It has fallen on deaf ears.

    <<

    I am astonished and deeply disturbed by Microsoft's current development and maintenance policies.

    Software Development is an Engineering Discipline. Yes, Creativity and Design are vital components, but Quality Assurance is every bit as vital. I believe that Microsoft must have enough employees who recognise this but regrettably they are not being heard, and the risks of dispensing with QA are terrifying.

    The attractive prospect of rapid development has left Microsoft blind to the limitations of continuous delivery and DevOps. DevOps is very good at producing working prototypes and demonstrations, but it encourages development teams to evolve requirements as a project proceeds. Those requirements therefore tend to match what has been developed and often do not include matters such as design limits, data protection, maintainability, and robustness in the face of user error and malicious attack. If a replacement product is being developed, poor specification can lead to features of the original products being forgotten and omitted or diminished. The inclusion of Quality Assurance in a DevOps team is a sound policy, but the approval of a product or a change must rest with a Quality Assurance function independent of the Design function.

    The consequences of inadequate Quality Assurance can be seen in practice. For example, many Windows 10 programs are inferior to their predecessors, new features are added while long-standing errors remain, programs fail without explanation or helpful error messages, updates are delivered that damage user settings and preferences, and insufficient validation of user input takes place. Community websites show huge numbers of dissatisfied users and a lack of support staff in Microsoft able to diagnose faults, let alone fix them. The advice, frequently offered, that a dissatisfied user should reinstall a product is not a solution -- it is an admission of defeat and product unreliability.

    Quality Management requires careful and precise specifications and robust test and measurement of prospective products and changes against them. It is as important in a software product as in a tangible product such as an aircraft, a car, a building or a bridge. It cannot be delegated to users. The QA team must have the capability to say "not fit" or "not ready" to the Chief Executive Officer regardless of marketing demands

    To diminish the Quality Assurance role in software development is dangerous to a development enterprise and to its user community. But there is enough evidence in Windows 10 of such a diminishing role to make me fear that Microsoft could be brought to ruin by unmanageable maintenance costs and lawsuits, and that the world's economy would be severely damaged as a result.

    The remedy? Put a properly constituted QA function in place. Allow it to require and look for reliability requirements in the design specification, to test against them, and block the work and release of new versions until all errors in all current versions have been corrected. Microsoft will recover its tarnished reputation if it does this, but will be cursed as a modern-day unreliable rust-box if it doesn't.

    >>

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