back to article Microsoft quits giving us the silent treatment on Windows 10 updates

Microsoft has agreed to let people know a little more about what they're downloading in their Windows 10 updates. Just a little. After effectively giving everyone the silent treatment on changes to its operating system, Microsoft has created a webpage that briefly lists stuff inside the software updates as they are released. …

  1. Cirdan
    Meh

    Microsoft... shooting itself in the foot for four decades

    I trust Microsoft to do exactly what an American corporation is required to do... increase shareholder value.

    Morality not required. "Ethics" only insofar as it is required by law. Probably.

    This makes Microsoft very predictable. Unfortunately.

    ...Cirdan...

    1. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft... shooting itself in the foot for four decades

      "to do exactly what an American corporation is required to do."

      I trust Microsoft to be incompetent at everything they try to do.

      1. John 104

        Re: Microsoft... shooting itself in the foot for four decades

        Hey, now. We are really good at making things that blow things up.

    2. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      Re: Microsoft... shooting itself in the foot for four decades

      There's more chance of a statue of Kelvin MacEnzine being erected outside the Kop than microsoft winning back anyones trust. It knows its lost its users so has to rely on corporate jobsworths to keep going. The future is mobile and cloud, and microsoft is irrelevant to both. Infesting other platforms might seem a way forwards, but a flick of the platforms owners switch snuffs that out any time they feel like it.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft... shooting itself in the foot for four decades

      "increase shareholder value" is a good thing, actually.

      Microsoft unfortunately seeks to do so by CRAMMING WINDOWS 10 onto our 7 computers, and by doing "nefarious things" in windows 10 (like the adware and spyware) and NOT listening to customer complaints (in fact, BANNING YOU (or threatening same) for being 'negative' about W10 over on the Microsoft 'answer' forums).

      So the REAL problem has NOTHING to do with seeking a good 'bottom line'. THAT is a GOOD thing. It has to do with Microsoft's attitude about its CUSTOMERS, the people who MAKE a good bottom line HAPPEN, and instead of being BURGER KING (i.e. "have it YOUR way"), they're being EVIL SOCIALIST DICTATORS (take the mediocrity and shut up).

      1. DougS Silver badge

        'Increasing shareholder value'

        The problem is too many people think that equates to short term measures that make the stock price go up. Yes, laying off a bunch of people will help your bottom line and very likely will increase your stock price for a time. But unless you are laying off people who are truly unnecessary, it is going to hurt in some way. Maybe only a little, if you really were overstaffed, or they were involved in a part of the company or product line that is no longer profitable.

        But if they were developing your future products, or providing quality support that was the reason you had such loyal customers, then eventually their loss will be felt and the layoff will have turned out to have decreased shareholder value.

        The problem is, the CEOs and Wall Street guys know this perfectly well, but don't care. The CEO can "increase shareholder value" and then jump ship to a bigger company with a proven track record of increasing shareholder value, and the company he left doesn't feel the pain until after he's gone. The Wall Street analysts who push for short term strategies like this just want to own the stock for a while, ride the gain, then get out and do it all over again with another company. They don't care about the long term future of the company, and have no incentive to care.

        There are unfortunately very few guys like Warren Buffett out there who take a long term view on shareholder value - precisely because he chooses to make investments he can hold for a very long time.

        1. Pliny the Whiner
          Pint

          Re: 'Increasing shareholder value'

          That's a remarkably astute comment for someone from New Jersey (that's a Roseanne Roseannadanna-ism, as played by Gilda Radner of Saturday Night Live, in case you didn't know). Have a pint and an upvote on me.

  2. Rústy_PC
    Alert

    Can we ever trust Microsoft and its Windows changelogs?

    Doubt it, especially if you don't want to upgrade to Win 10!

    1. Doctor_Wibble

      Re: Can we ever trust Microsoft and its Windows changelogs?

      You may be right and I'm probably far too forgiving but this at least seems to have a veneer of heading towards what they should have been doing all along. It's almost inevitable that there's some minor trivial details hiding a minor trivial devil or two that might kill your system in a minor trivial way but we won't know until the first one is spotted in the wild.

  3. Tromos

    Winning back trust

    My distrust is absolutely immovable for as long as they disrespect my HOSTS file.

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: Winning back trust

      My distrust is irrevocably immovable for the fact they disrespected my HOSTS file even once.

      1. el_oscuro
        Mushroom

        Re: Winning back trust

        That ship already sailed. Once they disrespected my host file, I considered Windows totally compromised, with no way to recover it. That was the final straw, and I'll never have a computer with Windows on it. I do occasionally boot a VM with it fortesting, but that is it. And I don't even really do that any more.

        I used to keep an XP machine around for games, but Linux game support is fine now. Microsoft has offered me a complete copy of Office 2016 for $10, but I don't want to install it on my Mac for those same reasons.

        Microsoft is for all intents and purposes, banned from my network.

        1. Chris Parsons

          Re: Winning back trust

          Same here. Windows 10 did it for me. I keep a VM for occasional Windows software development, otherwise OSX and Linux Mint. I will never go back.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Winning back trust

      It's their host file. They just license it to you.

      $ head -n 1 /c/windows/System32/drivers/etc/hosts

      # Copyright (c) 1993-2009 Microsoft Corp.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: Winning back trust

        It's not theirs if i completely replace it with my handcrafted version. Microsoft didn't invent the host file.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Pirate

          Re: Winning back trust

          It's likely to be de facto their fucking computer these days. They're just allowing you to interact with it until they decide it's time for you to buy a new one.

        2. arctic_haze Silver badge

          Re: Winning back trust

          "Microsoft didn't invent the host file."

          Well, they invented one that does not work.

      2. Charles Manning

        Maybe we should start charging them rent

        Dear Microsoft

        I bought a computer. I also bought a licence to use your software.

        However you are now forcing extra files into my computer under the guise of upgrades. These are not files that I was expecting to have to store for you and they are cluttering up my hard disk.

        Surely Microsoft has many servers on which you could store your surplus files.

        If, however, you persist in storing your files on my computer, I shall have to charge you a nominal storage fee of $10 per file and $10 per megabyte.

        Yours sincerely

        P. C. Owner

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Maybe we should start charging them rent

          I like that.. but you forgot about the bandwidth charge to put it there.

  4. psychonaut

    forced win 10 update

    this hasnt happened. im glad but im a bit pissed off because i have just spent 4 days patching machines....any idea why they pulled it / if they pulled it / if the original story at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/02/microsoft_ups_pressure_win_10_holdouts/ was bollox?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: forced win 10 update

      You have just been lucky, it is so true !!

      MS have been pushing Win10 by all means fair and foul.

      I now will only run Win10 in a VM that I can control.

      So far there has been NO need to even run Win10. (Win7 works fine!!)

      MS will soon be trying some other tricks when the 'Forced Upgrade' rate starts to flag.

      As for posting useless information about W10 updates, it will con no-one who cares.

      Unfortunately, the great masses generally do not care *until* it is too late.

      MS will get away with the Win10 Data Grab and will then focus on emulating the vice-like grip Apple have on the hardware front.

      (Apple are the model to emulate as far as MS is concerned and they will do everything they can to have their own 'Captive' Users to monetise.)

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Fuck Off Microsoft

    I ain't gonna put any Windows Spyware on any of my systems.

    I know that this is going to get the MS Fanbois going but their total disrespect for user privacy with all the 'telemetary to improve the user experience' crap the feed us had gone beyond a joke.

    IMHO,No one in their right mind would install windows 10 if they knew about all the data being slurped to MS (and probably beyond). to make matters worse it that they are backporint it all to earlier versions.

    They just ain't satisfied are they....

    No No No No No Never No No No No Never and No.

    I wish that someone would have the balls to sue the bejesus out of them. (a bejesus is a really, really, really large sum of money)

    Perhaps they have the same clause in their EULA that Amazon has w.r.t Zombies. Do MS want us to turn into them (under control of the Redmond borg naturally)?

    1. psychonaut

      Re: Fuck Off Microsoft

      i make my living from MS but i cant disagree with you

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Fuck Off Microsoft

        I also make my living from Microsoft, and whilst I am not defending them, they are far from the only culprits. It seems to be the way the tech industry is going sadly.

        I recently bought a Toshiba TV, which has a EULA to enable all of the smart features which pretty much allows Toshiba free reign over my network and everything on it if they so choose. EULA I did not accept and I ain't plugging a network cable into this TV. Ever.

        1. O RLY
          Big Brother

          Re: Fuck Off Microsoft

          My two criteria for my TV purchase last year were a dumb TV with at least three HDMI ports. Beyond that, I was flexible about most other things, although I had a range of sizes and other features that needed to be met. I'd be trading horrid network security and an always listening Telescreen for apps that are barely functional poor facsimiles of what I can do with a Playstation, Roku, Apple TV, or Raspberry Pi.

          1. NBCanuck

            Re: Fuck Off Microsoft

            "My two criteria for my TV purchase last year were a dumb TV with at least three HDMI ports. Beyond that, I was flexible about most other things, although I had a range of sizes and other features that needed to be met. I'd be trading horrid network security and an always listening Telescreen for apps that are barely functional poor facsimiles of what I can do with a Playstation, Roku, Apple TV, or Raspberry Pi."

            I agree. Manufacturers should stick to making dumb TVs. The "smart" hardware included will become obsolete way before the TV does. as "O RLY" said, it is much simpler to add and remove the functionality as needed using HDMI ports, and makes for cheaper upgrades.

            The primary benefit of a smart TV is with the manufacturer who gets a higher retail price, and slurped data. The consumer pays a premium for built-in tech that can usually be had for far less separately.

            Of course there are a few TVs where the "smart" tech is in a removable module. Smart of manufacturers. They know you won't need a new TV, but it keeps you buying until you do.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fuck Off Microsoft

      MS doesn't have fanbois. It has paid astroturfers.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: Fuck Off Microsoft

        > MS doesn't have fanbois. It has paid astroturfers.

        I have met about a handful actual MS fanbois in real life. Amazingly they exist.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fuck Off Microsoft

      "I wish that someone would have the balls to sue the bejesus out of them. (a bejesus is a really, really, really large sum of money)"

      So in other words a:

      bejesus = googolplex^googolplex (what, no support for superscript?)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Googolplex

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fuck Off Microsoft

        it's called "Class Action".... and yes, I do believe someone needs to bring a Class Action lawsuit against MS for forcing the Win 10 update.

      2. Fibbles

        Re: Fuck Off Microsoft

        what, no support for superscript?

        googolplexgoogolplex

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    trust

    is lost

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: trust

      Forever.

    2. GrumpyOldMan

      Re: trust - I haven't lost it...

      Can't loose what you never had in the first place.

      Going to run all my stuff on *Nix vms in a nice little vSphere lab server. The MS thing will run a dedicated subset of applications that I can't run under Wine on it's own in a DMZ. Solitary. Thats wot it gets! And I like Windows 7!

  7. Shane8
    Coat

    Wouldn't it be nice....

    If we had this tool for windows;

    https://github.com/p-e-w/maybe

  8. MJI Silver badge

    Starting to feel vindicated

    For not bothering to move from XP on my home PC, well I am moving but not to another MS OS

  9. wattbwong
    Thumb Down

    Shove it Microshoddy

    I'm just downright sick (or "scunnered" as we Chinese say) with M$ and all this here snooping hoopla. They can shove their bloated nasty software up their rear socket, I'm done with them after Win7.

    Windows Ten? No nay never, not on your nelly Microbloodysoft.

  10. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Stop

    Question...

    How many of the above complainants have an Android phone and/or have used anything else Google-related in recent years (including websites using Google analytics)?

    For the record, I do not like being spied upon either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question...

      1. Different use cases completely.

      2. Google have been (mostly) open about data collection/usage from day 1.

      For the record, I own a Lumia (don't laugh).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Question...

        2. Google have been (mostly) open about data collection/usage from day 1.

        But they *seriously* abuse the TL;DR habits of their users, though.

      2. Chris Parsons

        Re: Question...

        Not laughing. Until someone else produces a phone with a camera as good as that in my Lumia, I shall continue to own a Lumia.

        1. cosymart

          Re: Question...

          Why not buy a camera?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. joed

        Re: Question...

        The problem is that they collect what they want and don't respect user preferences. Someone may come up with more scientific proof but for me it was enough when I found Firefox (not Edge and no Bing) searches in one of telemetry files (and Windows directory has number of these). The system (10 enterpise, off domain so no domain policies yet) had all the possible box unchecked (and few registry and task scheduler tweaks). I had no intentions of sharing my system performance data, much less letting keyloger swipe all my actions.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Question...

      I do, I do! And I don't trust them every bit as much as I don't trust MS. Difference is, Android is not the environment where I work and host my important files. Seriously.

    4. wattbwong
      Stop

      Re: Question...

      I don't

    5. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Question...

      > (including websites using Google analytics)?

      This site has google-analytics.com but it is blocked on my machine by RequestPolicy (and/or NoScript, Ghostery, and others).

      The problem, it seems, is that Microsoft can't be blocked if you run Windows 10.

    6. Roadcrew

      Re: Question...

      ...and don't forget Chrome OS, folks.

      I reckon one might use data-hoover OSes if one takes great care not to do anything one cares about on them.

      TV schedules, cartoons, reading El Reg - they can hoover all that up, and good luck to them.

      MS is pretty late to the show in that regard, but wasn't Billy Gates first transaction based on a lie?

      "Gates and Allen called MITS and lied by telling them they were working on a BASIC software program that could run the Altair 8800."

      See:- https://sites.google.com/site/billgates9004/growing-up

      Lying can get to be a habit.

  11. BugabooSue
    Happy

    I'd love to know how many Win users they've lost so far..?

    I'm so happy!!

    After many years of occasionally trying to get hubby interested in Linux (to replace Windows)...

    This morning, he proudly sauntered into my office with a big grin on his face and told me that he had moved everything over to Linux Mint - he said he, "Wanted to surprise me!"

    I almost cried - it's like a baby taking its first steps!!

    Well done Microsoft!! You've driven one of the most staunchest Windows Supporters I know, off your platform into the arms of another!

    Please don't get me wrong, I am not a Windows-Hater, far from it - I actually think Windows has (ok, had) its place and is/was pretty darn good, but this Win10 stuff just leaves a really bad taste in the mouth.

    I have had many years of fun with Windows over the years and I wish you well, but the Facebookification of the OS is way to much for even hubby. It was the hiding of update information that was the last straw for him.

    Oh, and Office365 is now cancelled too. Well done!!

    1. Grumpy_Practitioner

      Re: I'd love to know how many Win users they've lost so far..?

      Count me as another. Migrated to Kubuntu for all my personal projects & daily use a couple of years ago. Migrated my new(ish) MSI gaming laptop over a few months ago. Perhaps there is a learning curve to climb, but at least my machine & data belong to me and not slurped into the cloud.

      * Searching for new updates takes about 20 seconds on average.

      * Open Office does just about every MS Office does (still need to look at the spreadsheet)

      * Firewall settings do not change after installing updates (try disabling the MS Games & services in Windows - they come back to life).

      * Dolphin copies large files to USB drives without hanging the machine (like File Explorer does).

      Only thing left to do is to short sell MSFT on NASDAQ.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'd love to know how many Win users they've lost so far..?

      Fake!!'

  12. Terry 6 Silver badge

    I loath what Microsoft are doing

    But I also loath what Google has become.

    And I object to the cost of the "Apple Tax" as a way to avoid the other two.

    I have Mint on one of my computers. But for the rest of the family, and for work stuff it's still WIndows.

    Ironically, for phones it's the other way round. I have the Winphone, which I really like.* And they have Apple/Google.

    Sigh, my Lumia is almost two years old. Do I just keep it, ( it is one that will not be made into Win 10, probably a good thing), get a Google Spy, or a new Windows Spy?

    Or do I just pay the Apple Tax?

    Maybe I should just go and live in a cave somewhere.

    *The Lumia talks to my car's handsfree really well, which my Wife's Ithingy doesn't. It also talks to my Outlook calendar, something which Google stopped a few years ago, to my enormous resentment.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: I loath what Microsoft are doing

      My Lumia 950 can't connect* to a lot of Bluetooth devices that my old HTC 8X could, (including the car) so you might want to take that particular feature for a test drive, so to speak, first.

      * I haven't tried it lately with the latest updates.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: I loath what Microsoft are doing

        No idea why you got a downvote for trying to be helpful, so have an upvote to balance it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I loath what Microsoft are doing

          @TonyJ

          No idea why you got a downvote for trying to be supportive but it seems to be some oddly sentient recursive downvote phenomenon which went on to infect your splaff too, so have an upvote to balance it. ;o)

          1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

            Re: I loath what Microsoft are doing

            @AC

            No idea, etc., etc., so have an etc., etc.

            Carry on!

    2. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: I loath what Microsoft are doing

      *The Lumia talks to my car's handsfree really well, which my Wife's Ithingy doesn't. It also talks to my Outlook calendar, something which Google stopped a few years ago, to my enormous resentment.

      Given how fickle car handsfrees can be, if you're otherwise happy with the Lumia and it does its job well, I'd say keep it (especially since you already stated it won't get W10 downgrade either).

    3. Captain DaFt

      Re: I loath what Microsoft are doing

      "Sigh, my Lumia is almost two years old. Do I just keep it"

      Sure, why not if it does everything you need.

      I was in a similar position with my phone. I didn't like the looks of the alternatives, ended up just replacing the battery.

  13. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Even the Windows 7 updates are becoming coy

    I've just been jumping through hoops (it would go away and come back) to remove and hide KB2952664 which describes itself as "Compatibility update for upgrading Windows 7", but whose intention is actually to install Windows 10.

    Shysters.

    1. Kurt Meyer

      Re: Even the Windows 7 updates are becoming coy

      @Warm Braw - I sympathize with the effort required to jump through those hoops, and I despise those shitheels at Microsoft for forcing us to do so.

      I must say, however, that the label "Compatibility update for upgrading Windows 7" caused a red alert the first time I saw it.

      Upgrade? I did not, do not, and will not, want to upgrade!

      I want to update my Windows 7, that is all. If Win7 hangs on 'til 2020, I'll be content. Hell, I might not make 2020.

      Good luck.

  14. MJI Silver badge

    Mobile phone

    I am currently trying to get my old N8 operational again.

    1. GrumpyOldMan

      Re: Mobile phone

      BB Z10. Luv it. Secure. No Android or Windows in sight! Ahhhhh... that's so nice. It's a good phone, good OS, subjected to bad publicity by a lot of journos and android fanboys who've never used it. Sick of hearing about mobile phone security. It's available now if you really want it. And I'm not sold on the Piiv OS either...

  15. staringatclouds

    I used to be a Microsoft fangirl, I'm not any more.

    I paid for my machine, I'm the one who says what it does, not some random in Redmond.

    1. Captain Badmouth
      Thumb Up

      "Random in Redmond"

      That's a great little catchphrase, possibly a book title?

      Aldous Huxley, thou shouldst be living at this hour.....

  16. Palpy

    A bit off-topic.

    But given the level of no-more-MS sentiment, I'll give a shout out to a rather new distro, Q4OS. It's Debian-based (so a large variety of software is available), with the Trinity desktop. For potential Windows refugees, niceties include Win 7 (or XP) styling and certain menu items -- Documents, Control Panel, My Computer -- that are reminiscent of Windows. (But no, it has no "C" drive...)

    For my purposes, though, the main thing is that even on a 32-bit laptop from the Noughties it goes faster than a scalded cat. And is stable. Installation is easy, updates run smoothly, software center good. Yadda, yadda.

    Might have a lookie as an alternative to Mint.

    1. Kurt Meyer
      Thumb Up

      Re: A bit off-topic.

      Thanks Palpy, it's always good to have alternatives. I haven't cast my gaze at Distrowatch for while.

      "main thing is that even on a 32-bit laptop from the Noughties"

      I have many friends and some customers (mostly older folks) with laptops of that vintage which they don't want to, and in some cases can't afford to, replace. Q4OS might be just the thing for them.

      Again, thanks for the heads up.

  17. matchbx
    Unhappy

    I've said it before

    and I'll say it again....

    Back the 80's and 90's and continuing to this day, retail companies realized they could make more money putting you into debt than they could selling you their product. They no longer care about the products they sell, only the amount of debt you rack up on their charge cards.

    Today software companies (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook... have I forgotten anyone) have realized they can make more money selling your online habits to the advertisers than they can selling software.

    MS can suck it along with all the rest of them.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 10

    Try this. Open a folder and switch to Details view (no, forget the old Alt-V-D shortcut, that's no longer allowed!).

    Select a number of files (shift click). Now change the sort order. Ooops, the selection has gone!

    Used to work fine in XP.

    Sigh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 10

      Working perfectly for me.

      (Ubuntu 16.04 nightly)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Win-10 reviews...

    As a consumer sample take a look at the user reviews on Amazon.com...There are about an equal percentage of 5-star reviews as 1-star reviews for Windows-10. Even with all the robot voting and fake reviews... I've never seen that kind of backlash before. I think its interesting. Not that M$ will listen, because until there more rulings like this one. The Micrsosap monopoly will just go from strength to strength...

    'Top beaks slam bundled OS as 'commercial policy of forced distribution'

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/09/12/microsoft_hp_italy_windows/

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Total Desperation...

    - In a tricky place... My lady got a new job this month. She's stressed and wants a new laptop to help productivity, as the old one is showing problems. I offered to buy a laptop and put Linux on it. But she said, no thanks! She just wants it work as she knows, because there's no room for surprises right now.

    - I gave her a Linux laptop a year ago (Ubuntu / Mint) to play around with, but it hasn't gelled with her. I'm afraid the longer I delay, the more likely she's just going to come home with something that's then my problem!

    - WTF do I do now?

    - Its not just Win10 either, she also needs Office, which probably means Office-365 and some BS perpetual subscription 'software renting' model!

    - Where I now live, its common for Xbox-360's to be re-chipped. A large proportion of Windows 7 installs are fake too I believe (rigged to get around activation).

    - But I'm seriously considering going to the black market just to get Win7 and Office 2007 back. Yes it'll be cracked, yes it'll get zero updates. But this is total desperation...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Total Desperation...

      Do what I did - get Mint (or whatever else you prefer), change the theme, and describe it as "the new Windows". Damn Microsoft, always changing stuff. Well, at least they've fixed the updates and got rid of the ribbon.

      1. Robert Moore

        Re: Total Desperation...

        I did exactly this to my 67 Year old nontechnical mother.

        Using Mint with KDE and LibreOffice. with Chrome. Configured to automatically pull updates once a week. Support calls dropped to nothing.

        Your mileage may vary. :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Total Desperation...

          >Your mileage may vary. :)

          Indeed.

          Straight Ubuntu/Unity, Firefox, nontechnical mother of 75 yrs, "exactly the same sort of thing as windows but altogether more reliable and needs much less looking after" rather than "the new windows." All other parameters identical. :) She genuinely loves it. Calls GIMP's "Wilbur" "my little friend" (I've duly made a mental resolution to NEVER tell her to install a development version)

          1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

            Re: Total Desperation...

            Swambo has Linux Mint on her laptop, dual boot with W8.1 (not allowed to connect to the Web). She handles most of the updates her self. I only have to handle the more involved issues.

    2. Roadcrew

      Re: Total Desperation...

      > WTF do I do now?

      One option is to pick your/her favourite flavour of Windows (Win 7?) and install this on a VM under the Linux of your choice.

      Make certain that it cannot contact the web, and you have a safe environment in which to work offline using mature Windows tools.

      We did this in 2008 using KVM and Win XP, for the usual business software legacy reasons. We used a reasonable 2007 Acer laptop with VM-aware CPU, and compared the performance of the installed-on-bare-metal XP with the virtualised one.

      Surprisingly, on many benchmarks XP applications under KVM on LInux ran fractionally faster than on bare metal, which was spooky. Turned out that all the anti-virus/malware/whatever stuff was the reason. These were no longer needed on the VM image - that was scanned 'offline' by Linux.

      Web browsing/email was all done in Linux, and it all worked surprisingly well.

      Don't recall the knotty details, sorry! The need for it went away, and we no longer have that system up. Might have an HD image somewhere, but can't be sure.

      Nowadays there are a host of virtualisation things around with fairly friendly GUIs - a light LInux with some VM software and Win7 installed might be the answer...

      Good luck!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Total Desperation...

      It appears nobody dares to state the obvious, so I will.

      I work with clients that are seriously *not* IT literate, but who need to have basic functionality anyway. Due to circumstances, the use of Microsoft products was not advised in this group.

      We switched them all to Apple, for 4 reasons:

      1 - decent hardware. Apart from the occasional glitch which you have with any volume manufactured device, we found the kit to work well. In our situation, the fact that everything is soldered in is actually helpful because it makes it impossible to reformat (so theft is pointless, and less risk due to the built-in encryption). That it looks fancy helps too (let's be honest), but fancy and not working isn't going to fly. It depends on context, but the hardware refresh on this project is 4 years and it appears the Apple devices will manage that without too much hassle.

      2 - low cost software. For a start, all of them are now on LibreOffice, but that may not work for you (if you go the Linux route you will not have much in the way of options). For the rest, unless you buy specialist software you will not spend much. The most expensive application I've installed so far was OmniPlan Pro for integration with Microsoft Project, but for the rest applications are not only sensibly priced, but also sensibly licensed (Carbon Copy Cloner, for instance, allows multiple machines per license) - I have to caveat here, the app store model differs from the 'external supplier' model. Mixing applications from multiple Apple IDs on one machine is a headache you really want to avoid. In this context, low cost is bizarrely slightly better than no cost because it creates a barrier to too much experimentation. One of the worries I have on Linux is that users start to install stuff like Zenmap and do things they better leave alone :).

      3 - usability. With all respect to Linux, the applications are still too focused on users with technical competence. As a matter of fact, I personally think that Microsoft's main hold over the market isn't Excel or Word, but Outlook. Rubbish as it is, there is nothing coming close in integration on any other platform. Usability wins out over any other factor every time because it simply saves a lot of time and hassle. The GIMP is in this context a classic example of an astonishing amount of power let down by an equally astonishingly complex interface. On the Mac you'd install Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo or Pixelmator and actually get things done during the day.

      4 - relative security of the platform. Updates generally work, backups are easily made in a multitude of ways including methods that allow bare metal restores, and app store applications get a decent amount of screening. That doesn't represent absolute security (as there is no such thing), but it simply means it takes little effort. This is where modern Linux also works well - user controlled patching is a matter of entering a password.

      From a pure cost perspective, Linux is quite simply your best option although you will need to invest some time in making it all work, and easily so. I do think that Apple makes a sensible and safe second option - it did for us.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Total Desperation...

        > LibreOffice, but that may not work for you (if you go the Linux route you will not have much in the way of options).

        I am not sure why you think that "not have much in the way of options)."

        http://www.techradar.com/news/software/applications/best-office-suites-for-linux-5-reviewed-and-rated-1146417

        https://alternativeto.net/software/ibm-lotus-smart-suite/?platform=linux

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Total Desperation...

          > LibreOffice, but that may not work for you (if you go the Linux route you will not have much in the way of options).

          I am not sure why you think that "not have much in the way of options)."

          I suspect the need to stay a bit interoperable with the rest of the world counts for something. Good list, though, I'll have to store that somewhere.

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Total Desperation...

        The Outlook thing certainly holds me with Windows. I can keep my calendar on my phone, the family desktop and my laptop in sync. I can get a degree of interoperability with an email account shared on all three (and some message rules for forwarding from other email accounts to it).

        A few years back I was able to synch via a Gmail account, until Google pulled that option, But now I find myself relying on Outlook. Not for the email, but for the calendar.

        Anything else, I don't use Microsoft s/w anymore anyway. It's Libre Office, Pale Moon and various open source or freeware products for graphics and the like. But calendar keeping and carrying across devices and I'm tied to Outlook- as ghastly as it is. And it is ghastly. Contacts handling alone would qualify it in the grim to crappy range.

    4. Grade%

      Re: Total Desperation...

      "...[..]wants a new laptop to help productivity, as the old one is showing problems."

      The word 'new'? How new exactly? New new or would a high powered business class laptop from the refurb market cut the mustard? There are good Latitude E6420 i7 machines still out there as are thinkpads and all sundry of others coming off lease. Good base machines for installing SSDs and RAM coupled with an Office2010 business version and you're cooking with gasoline. Guard against Microsoft upgrade attacks and you're road warring with a decent Win7 beast. Okay, it's a pound or two heavier than the current offerings but I'd say you aren't losing too much in the trade off.

  21. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Well its nice that they reconsidered their policy of keeping mum on the updates. The thing is I'm still highly sceptical of the stuff they're NOT gonna tell us. And I don't have time to play whack the Spyware Mole, at their leisure. Nor to wait until each update had been vetted, as such. One might try counter arguing that *nix updates are just as unkown. But, then we don't have stories in masse about how some single update, that would get snuffed out faster the you could spit a lightly fried Stoat in a Bun. Has somehow managed to do what Windows X does outta the Box, and its older brother Windows 7 also now does. Should you be lax on applying such updates that aren't Windows X related as such.

    I have to say this whole Telemetry malarkey, has probably done wonders for getting people off of priated Windows, more so the Activation ever did.

  22. regadpellagru

    Windows at home ...

    is reduced to a legacy VM on my Mac, no network, and hardly booted 4 times per year, plus the dual-boot setup of my gaming machine (WIN7/SteamOS) for when I absolutely need it.

    XCOM 2 just being released on SteamOS, I'm playing it nice and good without any MS ...

    Windows is a thing of the past now and never did it feel so good to use a computer.

    Good riddance.

  23. wsm

    A trip down memory lane...

    Back in the days of Windows NT4, when the blue screens of death were a joke repeated by the clueless, the numbers on the screen actually meant something. Of course they where unintelligible to users, but us support people could read them and figure out which driver to remove or replace.

    When Microsoft introduced Windows 2000 and said, repeatedly and with great emphasis, that they were improving error messages, we knew the days of interpreting the errors were over. What they did was remove the actual error and simply log something like "An Error was reported by asdf_service." All of the detail that could have given some meaning to the message was lost.

    It's the same thing now. When Microsoft has all levels of minions repeating their latest "improvement" mantra, you can be sure that they've just disguised their errors in some new package.

    In this case, the total package is called Windows 10.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: A trip down memory lane...

      Using an Arch Linux derivative (Antergos), I had some updates from the AUR (Arch User Repository). For those not familiar with AUR, it is a repository of software supported by the user community and is not officially in any distro repository. Had a wonky install of an update, which occasionally happens with the AUR stuff. There was an explicit error message said what exact problem was, easy to fix, and it was fixed.

      If a Linux distro can provide useful information to a user why won't Slurp?

  24. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    Lets look at the facts!

    New features in Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon - http://www.linuxmint.com/rel_rosa_cinnamon_whatsnew.php

    2,140 words required to describe fixes

    Windows 10 update history - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/update-history-windows-10

    602 words required to describe fixes

    That's right, there are 2,140/602 or in other words a massive 3.55 times as many bugs in Linux Mint as Windows 10. Fact.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Lets look at the facts!

      J J Carter =--------------->

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Lets look at the facts!

      Again let's assume for just one brief moment, that bovine excrement was able to hold some cred. Again I still have a modicrum modicum of trust for say Canonical. Who have themselves made some poor decisions regarding user privacy in the past. Unlike MicroSoft however that setting was both simple to opt out of, and having turned it off, rest comfortably that it would go sneaking off when you've forgotten about it. And, then go and turn itself back on again. 'Cause its you civic duty to keep the Ad Men fed, and wattered.

      Which is why I insist on Ad Blockers on all of my Devices. Fork Ads, and Trackers!

    3. Kurt Meyer

      Re: Lets look at the facts!

      Jesus Christ.

    4. Antonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: Lets look at the facts!

      Looks like someone forgot the golden rule: You CAN'T do sarcasm in type - you WILL be taken literally. I suspect JJ was trying to invoke the spirit of the joke alert and troll icons, but, apparently somewhat ill-advisedly, plumped for the windows user with only the finest satirical intent. Whoops!

      Don't be too hard on him peeps!

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Joke

        @ Antonymous Coward -- Re: Lets look at the facts!

        This forum does support a "Joke Alert" icon...it looks like this --->

        And with it you can do sarcasm in print.

        1. Soruk

          Re: @ Antonymous Coward -- Lets look at the facts!

          Unfortunately, El Reg doesn't show (or allow you to choose) icons on mobile view.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Pint

            Re: @ Antonymous Coward -- Lets look at the facts!

            Ah! Thanks Sourk.

            Explains a lot.

            ..and useful to know.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lets look at the facts!

      I believe the J J Carter 'Facts' post was a joke!! :)

      Surely !!!!!!?????

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    while we are on the subject

    Put KB3123862 on the shit list. It appeared and -2664 reappeared again after being hidden again. If I'm going to have to instruct non-techs on how to dodge these bullets, I might as well be instructing them how to click yes and type their password when some popular Debian derivative is about to download a bunch of fresh packages.

    1. Oldfogey

      Re: while we are on the subject

      Thanks for the headsup on KB3123862, whichdoes indeed look suspicious.

      Personally, having several machines to update, I find it easiest to use Portable Update. This enables me to scan a PC for available updates, download only those I want onto a USB disk, and install from there to all my machines without having to check the numbers again.

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: while we are on the subject

      Put KB3123862 on the shit list. It appeared and -2664 reappeared again after being hidden again. If I'm going to have to instruct non-techs on how to dodge these bullets, I might as well be instructing them how to click yes and type their password when some popular Debian derivative is about to download a bunch of fresh packages.

      Well assuming anyone still actually uses a PC for anything other then checking their eMails, Fleebay items, anymore I'm sure they'd be mighty thankful about it. Those still hell bent on Office (ya know from the bad 'ol days when it was off-line), could just run that though WINE, and not know any better.

      Again the Astroturfers, and Trolls might like to say that *nix is somehow more bug ridden. Hell I'm certainly not gonna sit here and, call it perfection. Since its clearly not the case. But, again when was the last time anyone here has read about a rouge update via Apptitude, or Mint Update. That has gone on to log every keystoke into your Bank Account? I'm gonna guess probably never. I'm not gonna say MicroSoft are that low.... Yet... Since we really still don't have a clue as to exactly what they are logging. Other then the fact that they are logging us.

      Which is bad enough in, and of itself. But, this incessant need to push everyone onto Windows X no matter what! And, most of the time without any warring See KB3123862 for example, amongst the other dozen or so attempts at sneaking Win X onto Systems that DO NOT WANT IT! Downloading Gigs of useless Data chewing up peoples Bandwidth, and Caps without any say in the matter. And we're still supposed to trust these 455clowns?

      Well I for one trust that Windows 7 was damed well my last Windows. Mores the pity, that they had to leave such a huge pile of crap over it to um... Encourage those hangers on to go take a hike, or move to Win X, and join the borg.

  26. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    And now they can retroactively re-word an upgrade

    "Anyone upset with Microsoft's pushy attitude with forced Windows 10 upgrades and mysterious data slurping will assume any and all nefarious changes are omitted from the feature lists – or are disguised as innocent-looking tweaks."

    Descriptions on a website can be easily changed or even removed.

    "This patch has always been at peace with your system."

  27. Halloween Jack

    Mint

    I'm interested in why so many people specifically mention the Mint distro.

    I've used many distros over the years (RedHat, then SuSE, then Ubuntu, then Mint - and I'm occasionally still forced to suffer Fedora for certain toolchains that I have to use). But, when I get the choice I'm generally back on Ubuntu (Unity these days is really quite good - though I suspect it will pain the future me that they are going with 'Mir' rather than sticking with Wayland - why??). When I want a "traditional" WIMP environment (for a development box or VM), I go with Xubuntu.

    Anyway, back to my question - the problem I found with Mint (after I'd installed it on several "customer sites" [elder family members' PCs]) is that the update mechanism was screwed. I would have to do a manual "apt-get update" periodically to ensure that new stuff was actually picked up (it's like the GUI tool did just the 'apt-get upgrade' part without the update first and Mint changed things often enough that it kept breaking - often silently). It turned out that one "customer" PC was unpatched for many months because of that and the GUI tool was reporting that all was well.

    Maybe it was a bad install somehow. Or maybe there are lots of Mint installs that are actually out of date. I didn't have the time or inclination to work that out.

    Anyway, for F&F installs (usually on less than stellar hardware), I opt for Xubuntu or just stock Ubuntu these days. Switch off the Amazon search stuff, obvs ;)

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Mint

      The most common view is Ubuntu brought Linux to cusp of the masses and Linux Mint finished the job. Besides some minor internal differences the major difference between Mint and Ubuntu is Mint includes many codecs by default while the same have to be selected by the user for installation. Also, Mint uses a different desktop, Cinnamon, than Ubuntu (Unity).

    2. Steven Roper

      Re: Mint

      I think it''s more to do with Cinnamon than Mint. Cinnamon provides a very easy-to-navigate UI that shares much of its layout genetics with Windows 7 (and visually it also bears a passing resemblance to OSX), so it's easy to migrate to from either platform.

      A friend of mine who is a Gentoo fan has successfully got Cinnamon running on top of Gentoo, since he had the same issues with automatic updates on Mint that you've described here. For my part, I've had no problems updating my Mint install, so maybe there was a particular revision that bollixed things up?

    3. Whistlerspa

      Re: Mint

      I agree. Found Mint quite buggy. Ubuntu has been more stable and less prolblematic for me.

    4. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Mint

      Are you sure your doing it right? For starters, are they even on v17.3? I know older, or even some ~slightly older~ versions loose their sh-- when the repos eventually get the yank. But, as a devotee of Mint Linux which I first read about on this Site um about Two Years ago now? has never given me any problems with its update system. I generally hit this Terminal only a few time each month. because I need to do something that I can't do directly on my Phablet. So I'm almost constantly bombarded with updates I click the Sheild bit, punch out my password and click Ok.

      End of story. About the only thing to my chargin that faild to update was the Pale Moon Browser. But, I downloaded that manually and, used its installer. So I can't fault the updates for that one. Having reran the Pale Moon Browser Updater again I was able to get my Update(s). I just kinda wished I had a better wanning then Youtube stating that the Browser was outta date, and would I kindly be interested in installing Chrome.

      1. John Arthur
        Thumb Up

        Re: Mint

        @ Michael Habel: Have an upvote for using Pale Moon. I use it with Mint Cinnamon 17.3 and find it a great replacement for Opera 12.xx.

      2. Halloween Jack

        Re: Mint

        > Are you sure your doing it right? For starters, are they even on v17.3? I know older, or even some ~slightly older~ versions loose their sh-- when the repos eventually get the yank.

        When I installed Mint for them, my "customer" wanted something that looked and behaved like what they were used to (*). As the unpaid sysadmin, _I_ wanted something relatively modern that was supported (which is why I needed to upgrade them from the old version of Ubuntu they were already running).

        My point was that while Mint seemed to be the "Ubuntu without Unity" holy-grail at the time (either Cinnamon or Mate - to my end users either was fine), I ended up in a position that I could either install something that looked different but the core update mechanisms worked (Ubuntu) or that looked similar but had a broken updates (Mint). Of course, I didn't KNOW that the update mechanism was borked until much later and so "looks the same" won that argument.

        It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but knowing what I know now - and yes, perhaps it was one specific version that was broken - it has just turned me off of Mint. They changed and then didn't test that basic, important functionality properly. Hence my current swing towards Xubuntu which seems to do the same job with the desktop (for my personal use-case, anyway) without touching other parts of the system.

        Yes, I'm sure I'm doing it right ;)

        (*) Actually, I'm grateful to Microsoft a bit for the whole Win8.x, WinX thing - I no longer get people _specifically_ asking for a Windows install because "Windows is Windows". Now, it's not - they have fragmented the UX. However, with Linux, it's entirely possibly to choose a particular flavour of a distro that is close enough to what someone is used to that it's actually a shallower learning curve to go to a carefully selected Linux distro than it is to update to the latest Windows. If you're going to have to deal with a change anyway, then why not try the free option ...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've wiped & installed Zorin on an old Compaq C500, I'm very impressed with it's performance now.

    However, as people are of the opinion that Mint is good I think I'll give that & Q4OS a shot too

  29. PeterM42
    FAIL

    Microsoft going down the pan big time

    NT6.1 (Windows 7) wasn't broke, so they "fixed" it, so now it's SERIOUSLY broken.

  30. Dave Bell

    This is just to say...

    I switched to Linux

    There are programmers there who are as bad at communication. Abusive personalities are common. But I don't feel trapped. I can switch to another Linux version. I am not stuck with One True Desktop.

    And the Linux version of Kerbal Space Program is pretty good.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

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