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January ’18 Win10 Foibles & Follies

The Internet and the news media have been abuzz with consternation and complaints about Windows 10 lately, but the current state of affairs didn’t really register with me until I saw this statement on TenForums.com today: “I have never hated something that’s not alive as much as I hated windows 10.”  This came up in the context of what you might call a “bad driver problem” in Win10. That scenario works something like this: User X has a specific graphics card, usually one from Nvidia or AMD/Radeon. Windows Update decides to update the driver, but that designated driver doesn’t work. A worst-case version of this, well-documented, is that the driver causes the PC to black-screen and renders it unusable. Why is this a problem? Because the fix is to roll back the driver to an older, working version. Given that Windows Update thinks a newer (non-working) driver is needed, it keeps attempting to install it, which once again renders the PC unusable. This makes users in general unhappy, and provoked the reaction quoted earlier from User X. Not a pretty story, eh? Right now, the Windows 10 forums and sites are awash in this kind of thing.

But Wait! It Gets Better…or Worse…

I often like to turn to Windows experts for insight and info. One of my faves in this category is Woody Leonhard, who writes a column for ComputerWorld called “Woody on Windows.” Here’s what he had to say in a recent (1/19) column entitled “Patching Meltdown: Windows fixes, sloppy .NET, warnings about Word and Outlook” (emphasis mine):

With (hundreds of?) thousands of PCs bricked by bad patches this month and (hundreds of?) millions of Windows customers bewildered by the avalanche of patches — we’ve seen bucketloads of patches on Jan. 3, 4, 8, 9, 11, 12, 17 and now Jan. 18 — you have to wonder when it will all straighten out. Best I can tell you is to turn off Automatic Update, and wait for some semblance of sanity to return.

That’s about as close to “batten down the hatches” as I’ve ever seen Woody come in the nearly 20 years I’ve been following his work. But really, what does it all mean? Having worked with Windows since 3.1 came out in 1992, I’ve seen things get weird, or even downright awful, from time to time over the intervening 26 years. Somehow, we always manage to muddle through and keep on working.

Right now, some of my Windows machines are what I must describe as “slightly flaky.” That means I encounter some occasional, but not terribly serious, interface glitches and the odd stability problem here and there. So far, I’ve been able to sail around them and keep getting my work done. Most of my Windows PCs are pretty solid and reliable, with nothing much (or at all) to complain about. But when I read about what other people experience — including our own Kari, whose recent war stories on installing Build 17074 (Part 1 & Part 2) and Office 365 (Part 2 is coming), are truly hair-raising — I have to count myself fortunate.

For me, the bottom line is that Windows 10 is what I have to work with. I’m going to use it as best I can, and make the most of what it brings to my desktop and my life. I’m not in love with it, but I can live and work with it day-in, day-out. And that’s what really counts.

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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2 Responses “January ’18 Win10 Foibles & Follies”

  1. January 24, 2018 at 03:11

    To hide / refuse specific Windows Update is much easier using PowerShell module PSWindowsUpdate. Especially with GPU updates, it can really help you to keep your working drivers. I’ve written a tutorial about PSWindowsUpdate on TenForums: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/76207-update-upgrade-windows-10-using-powershell.html

  2. January 27, 2018 at 20:05

    I really wish Windows would put more effort into end user education rather than into developing software that takes the control out of the users’ hands, trying to do everything for them.

    Made a post stating how much of a problem this has become with regards to an ongoing discussion about the Meltdown / Spectre vulnerabilities at tenforums, and all I can say is the lack of education is a sore point with me – but that extends far beyond Microsoft, to just about every software developer out there these days – from big ones Like Microsoft, Google, Mozilla and AV vendors, to little single developer outfits across the globe.

    Thanks for the article, Ed, and the tutorial link, Kari.

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