Why Windows 11 Sucks or
Everything Wrong with Microsoft Windows

 

Table of contents

 

First of all, I’m sorry for the click-baitish title, in all honesty I don’t think Windows 11 or any other NT based operating system from Microsoft truly sucks and here’s the most important reason why: in your Windows 11/10 installation you can successfully run graphical applications written over two decades ago. Not that many current operating system can boast such a feat of engineering.

At the same time given the resources and money that Microsoft has they could have made Windows 11 better vs. all the previous Windows versions which have been plagued by the same decades old issues which we’re now going to discuss.

People and specially open source aficionados continue to slander Microsoft for privacy “issues” but so far no one has proven that Windows is leaking any personal information aside from applications dumps which in the end is a good thing as it allows the company and its partners to fix common issues.

I've always felt that there are no resources or articles on the web which dig deep into Windows' problems and therefore I wrote this very concise essay. Mind that it was not created to say that Linux is better (it's definitely not).

You may probably want to know why Windows 11 feels so buggy. Here's a very nice quote:

Full Disclosure: I worked at M$ from 2014-2015.

MS has some very talented programmers. They're not very common, but they exist. The problem is that the entire company is completely and totally focused on developing an absurd number of new features and products, giving them completely unrealistic deadlines, and then shipping software on those deadlines no matter how half-assed or buggy it is.

The idea is that everything is serviceable over the internet now, so they can just "fix it later", except they never do. This perpetuates a duct-tape culture that refuses to actually fix problems and instead rewards teams that find ways to work around them. The talented programmers are stuck working on code that, at best, has to deal with multiple badly designed frameworks from other teams, or at worst work on code that is simply scrapped. New features are prioritized over all but the most system-critical bugs, and teams are never given any time to actually focus on improving their code. The only improvements that can happen must be snuck in while implementing new features.

As far as M$ is concerned, all code is shit, and the only thing that matters is if it works well enough to be shown at a demo and shipped. Needless to say, I don't work there anymore.

So, there are two kinds of issues with the Windows operating system created by Microsoft. The first kind are the issues intrinsic to every Windows version starting from Windows Vista (XP is out of circulation and support so let's forget about it).

Attention: items in grey below are either outdated, resolved or no longer apply to the current edition of Windows.

Problems which are present in every version of Windows for PC

  • Devastating Windows rot (might be solved in future Windows releases if developers switch from Win32 to UWP).
  • No enforced file system and registry hierarchy (I have yet to find a single serious application which can uninstall itself cleanly and fully). The $USER directory in Windows, specially in recent version of Windows, is an inexplicable mess.
  • No true safe mode (rogue applications may easily run in it).
  • The user as a system administrator (thus viruses/​malware - most users don't and won't understand UAC warnings).
  • No good packaging mechanism (MSI is way too fragile).
  • No system-wide update mechanism (which includes third party software - to be fair there are third party applications which offer this functionality, but then such applications don't support core Windows updates).
  • In certain cases it's extremely difficult to find or update drivers for your hardware devices (anyone who's tried to install a fresh Windows onto their laptop will testify).
  • Windows is extremely difficult to debug (e.g. try finding out why your system is slow to boot).
  • Windows boot problems are too often fatal and unsolvable unless you reinstall from scratch.
  • Windows is hardware dependent (especially when running from UEFI).
  • Windows updates are terribly unreliable, very slow (to install) and they also waste disk space (Microsoft has promised to fix updates after over 13 years of constant woes from Windows users).
  • Windows cannot replace system DLLs on the fly and restart corresponding services which depend on said DLLs due to its architecture. As a result some system updates require multiple reboots (innocuous malevolence in me requires to mention that in Linux you can even update the kernel on the fly).
  • The Windows OS installer doesn't give a damn about other OSes installed on your PC and it always overwrites the MBR. In case of already existing Windows installations, it sets the newly installed Windows as the default OS - no questions asked. In case of UEFI, booting of other non-Windows OSes is unsupported and Windows actively prevents this.
  • WinSxS, though a neat idea, turned into some madness: Windows keeps the versions of files the user won't ever need: for instance the English version of Windows will have copies of files for many other languages irrespectively of the chosen locale or MUI.
  • Cryptic error messages (considering the size of the OS, >10GB as of Windows 11, this practice is simply ridiculous).
  • Most malware writers target Windows as the most popular desktop OS, so it has the biggest number of viruses among all other OSes (over five thousand new viruses daily).
  • Windows loves thrashing your HDD - Windows 11 with its incessant logging is the worst offender.
  • Microsoft programmers are still unable to cope with NTFS fragmentation thirty years after its introduction. To make things worse most Windows applications do not preallocate files thus they contribute to fragmentation even more.
  • Windows anti-virus products oftentimes make your PC less safe - so if you want perfect security and privacy, stop using Windows and migrate to Linux right away. OEM updaters make your PC wide open for attacks.
  • Microsoft has recently decided that you will no longer be able to download certain Windows updates manually. You'll only be able to get them via Windows Update.
  • "sfc /scannow" is offered as a solution to most Windows Update Service and Microsoft Installer Service errors, yet in absolute most cases it's totally ineffective.
  • Windows does not allow you to use any partitions other than the first one on your removable USB flash drive. There's no logic or explanation behind this totally ridiculous and artificial limitation.
  • Windows does not automatically clean temporary files ever, however it must do that for every reboot/power cycle - partially solved in Windows 10 1809.
  • The generic drivers Windows comes with are not always compatible with the wide range of existing hardware. Since Windows has a habit of replacing your vendor's drivers with its own newer drivers your hardware may stop working correctly after upgrading to a newer Windows release (remember that Windows 10 and 11 are codenames for major different operating systems, e.g. like Windows Vista vs Windows 7 in the past).
  • Windows keeps a large number of databases of the applications which the user runs: Windows Activity History, bam.sys, Prefetcher, Program Compatibility Assistant and others.

Now the second kind of issues is intrinsic to Windows 11 only

  • The home edition of Windows 11 requires an active Internet connection and a Microsoft account to be installed and used. You are not allowed to create an offline user.
  • Windows 11 requires TPM 2.0 which is relevant mostly for corporate users who use complete disk encryption.
  • With Windows 11 Microsoft deprecated a ton of capable devices by requiring WDM 3.0 compatible GPU drivers. Intel, NVIDIA and AMD are happy to oblige because this will increase their profits.
  • Just like Windows 10 Windows 11 has a much worse QA/QC than any earlier versions. Many pundits believe Windows since version 10 has become perpetual beta software (specially after they fired a large chunk of their QA/QC department and instead delegated testing to the insiders) - Ars Technica published a monumental article pertaining to the issue:
    • Just like with Windows 8 and 10 there are still two Control Panels (read below).
    • Microsoft hides the information about Windows updates, so oftentimes you won't even know what certain updates are aimed to fix or improve. Also Windows 11 updates are likely to have unintended consequences and unannounced changes in behaviour as in Windows 10 before it.
    • Microsoft sometimes pushes half-baked updates which kill end-users' PCs or cause a lot of damage (this is a wonderful read).
  • Windows 11 features terrible UI inconsistency, not limited to: Windows Evolution.
Click to view the full image
    • Two kinds of font antialiasing (ClearType v2 for classic applications and some awful dirty grayish something for Modern apps). Truth to be told it's not a problem with HiDPI monitors but few people own them.
    • All kinds of varying visual decorations and styles (some people have discovered up to seven varying styles in Windows 10 and 11).
    • Absolutely dissimilar classic and modern (PC settings) control panels.
    • Different font faces and sizes all around.
    • Different styles of settings for modern apps.
    • Absolutely different context menus and their appearance in different applications and apps.
  • Terrible hardly-configurable appearance, dubious design choices and extremely limited functionality (vs Windows 7/XP):
    • Two Control Panels with absolutely zero thought given to how they differ and why each one should be used.
    • Some Control Widgets are spread between the two Control Panels which is utterly confusing (e.g. User Management).
    • No Windows classic UI for windows decorations. Windows decorations can hardly be configured at all in Windows 11.
    • A big number of Windows 11 apps are still NOT on par with their classical counterparts from Windows 7/Vista/XP (many features are missing or many options are not configurable).
    • The start menu is an unusable abomination. Sometimes classic Win32 applications are not listed anywhere. Applications are listed as a list which is nigh impossible to scroll.
  • Windows 10 and 11 reset your default applications to built-in Microsoft's ones after each major update.
  • A newly-created user profile weighs over 300MB (!) while containing zero (!) information about the user (to be verified).
  • A newly-created user profile is populated with all the default apps instead of giving the user a choice.

Some ways to fix/configure Windows 11

  • Install Open Shell (a fork of Classic Shell) aka Windows 7 (XP) Start Menu for Windows 10/11.
  • Use ExplorerPatcher to restore the classic taskbar and Explorer behavior and appearances.
  • Do use SandBoxie+: this tiny free(!) neat utility allows to install applications separately from your main operating system, so they have no chance of damaging your Windows install or encrypting your files.
  • Uninstall/remove most built-in Metro/Modern apps in Windows 11 (quiet a lot of them are immutable and cannot be uninstalled no matter what):
    • Fire up an administrator's PowerShell (Start -> Search -> Power -> Right mouse click -> Run as Administrator).
    • Run (copy and paste):
      Get-AppXPackage -User | Remove-AppxPackage (remove the user's apps)
      Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Remove-AppxPackage (remove all system-wide apps)
  • Disable Windows 11 most spying/tracking/call home features - for deep cleaning use more powerful (and equally dangerous) utilities.
  • You can disable the built-in torrent-like/bandwidth sharing feature by going to the Start Start button icon Win Logo, then Settings > Update & security > Windows Update, and then select Advanced options.
  • The other things mentioned above cannot be fixed unfortunately (UI inconsistency, two Control Panels, very little UI customizability, etc.).

I've got Windows 11 preinstalled on my PC/laptop, I hate it, what should I do?

  • If everything you do on your PC is web browsing, watching online videos and listening to online music, give Linux a try. You don't even have to install it to try it - it can be trivially run from your USB flash drive without touching your OS or personal data. Linux is slowly becoming a nice alternative to Windows.
  • Migrate to MacOS. This is the most expensive option but the most viable at the moment because Linux is not exactly perfect.

In conclusion

Just before you call me anti-Microsoft, a Linux shill, zealot or fanatic, here's a wonderful list of Linux problems that I've been compiling over the past six years. The truth is I don't plead allegiance to any OS on the market. So, sorry, Windows 11 sucks no less than Linux sucks, it just sucks differently. So far, Microsoft has had two great modern OSes: Windows XP and Windows 7 (in the past they had rock-solid Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000).

I have no opinion on MacOS X, because I've never had a chance to use it, however from what I've seen on screenshots, this OS has the worst font antialiasing among any existing OSes - I actually refuse to try it because I don't want to hurt my eyes (not an issue for Macs with "retina" displays but they are even more expensive).

I'm not a journalist and I've never been one.

Leave your comments, additions and hatred below.

 

© 2021 . Last revised . The most current version can be found here.

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