When Windows 10 was first announced I was immediately a supporter. Oh cool! It’s got Cortana, a new browser and all sorts of extra features that made me reserve my upgrade. However, within 6 months I reverted to old reliable Windows 8.1, something I did to partly preserve my privacy, but mostly because of how unstable I was finding Windows 10.
Normally, I will upgrade as quickly as possible to a new Windows version. Back in the days of XP, I followed the development of Windows Vista (then Longhorn) and we upgraded around a year into Vista’s lifecycle. Yes it wasn’t perfect, but it was a cool OS with Aero and all the other things that Vista came with. I distinctly remember having a desktop with the Sidebar, full Aero Glass enabled and many other tweaks to show how cool Vista was.
Then came Windows 7. When I got my Windows 7 laptop (I had been using an Acer Aspire x3200 running Vista\Ubuntu and a Windows XP Dell Dimension 2400) it was really cool. Basically it was Vista ++.
I followed the Windows 8 development, running the Developer, Consumer and Release previews as my main OS on my x3200. It was good and it served me well for a long time.
Then Windows 10. The first issue I had was it’s performance. Windows 8(.1) was crazy fast on my SSD, yet 10 was really sluggish. It would take ages to boot, my software would take ages to load and all sorts of little glitches. It also would blue-screen randomly (they were completely unrepeatable), messing with may GCSE documents. And then the spying. Oh the spying. Constant, Relentless usage of my network to send data back to Microsoft. This got to be too much so I reverted back to 8.1. Thank goodness.
For me, Windows 10’s stability was awful. It was bloated, slow and unstable as I have mentioned, but I don’t see why it should be. It isn’t hard is it? They nailed performance with Windows 8(.1) and yet they mucked it up with 10. Is it the spying? I don’t know. I never did a detailed look into what was using my CPU and RAM. I had turned off all the extra features like Cortana and its “suggestions” and merely used it as a program search (I liked Win+Q search as an app launcher), much like how I use Synapse Launcher bound to CTRL+Space (Mimicing Command + Space). I don’t care about Bing and searching the web. To me, that is done in my browser, not in my OS (although Siri is good for converting between units and getting the current exchange rate, stock prices, etc.). Shame they messed it up.
Now to talk about the elephant in the room, the privacy. Quoting the Microsoft Privacy Statement:
Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to: 1.comply with applicable law or respond to valid legal process, including from law enforcement or other government agencies; 2.protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud users of the services, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone; 3.operate and maintain the security of our services, including to prevent or stop an attack on our computer systems or networks; or 4.protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services – however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement.
How nice. For those who don’t understand what that means, it means that Microsoft hold the rights to collect and retain personal data. As in your files, folders, e-mails, bank details. Basically everything you type into your keyboard, every mouse click you make and every file that is on your hard drives. They have access to, in one word, everything. That I am not OK with. My computer is MY computer, not Microsoft’s. Yes, I pay to use Windows, but I paid for Windows 7, then later 8(.1), and back then this did not exist. So why should I upgrade and be forced into this agreement? Why should I be forced to hand over my life and what will most likely become my livelihood to Microsoft? This is not North Korea, this is the United Kingdom, where I have the freedom to do what I want in my home. It’s like Microsoft took a copy of Red Star OS, removed all the tracking code and plopped it into Windows 10. Shame, because I like Windows. It’s a good OS.
What made Windows 7 and 8 great (and what continues to make Linux and Mac OS X) was that it was private and fast. Windows 10 has neither of them. Hopefully, Microsoft realises their mistake and releases a Windows 11, even though Windows 10 is “the last version of Windows”. So please, Microsoft, take Windows 8.1, put the Windows 10 interface on it, and leave it without any tracking. Thank you! (Oh and bring back Aero Glass! I miss it!)