Why Windows 10 Sucks or
Everything Wrong with Microsoft Windows

Table of contents

Polskie tłumaczenie


It's funny and equally sad that year 2015 marks the end of the Windows OS for a lot of people. There are several issues with Windows which, at present, make Spyware/Malware OS 10 inappropriate and even outright dangerous for a lot of people. The most egregious, of course, is a total abandonment of any form of privacy and control.

Firstly, Microsoft openly stated that pervasive data Microsoft: 'We finally fixed everything in Windows 10'
View this page source code to find the source of this picture collection will be present in any Windows version starting from Windows 10, and as a host of research on the Internet shows, this data collection cannot be disabled using official means. If you decide to disable total tracking (including keyboard scanning and voice recording) you'll have to disable over a hundred different Internet addresses and then no one guarantees that a new Windows update doesn't add new hosts because Microsoft surely is not interested in losing such a lucrative feature meant for Big Brother agencies. Read the rest of the article for official Microsoft statements and for various information on how Windows breaches your privacy and how you might try to control it (it's almost futile btw).

Secondly, Microsoft has stripped us of the ability to control Windows updates. It was ostensibly done to improve the user experience by keeping the system up to date and perhaps malware free, but the truth is that the built-in antimalware protection in Windows is simply horrible (according to various AV comparisons, Microsoft Essentials misses over 20% of in-the-wild malware) and said updates mean nothing for security because over 90% of infections happen due to the user's actions (like downloading and installing dubious applications). No Windows update can prevent such a behaviour.

Thirdly, as Microsoft has stated multiple times, Windows 10 will not have any service packs. Windows 10 is the final version of Windows, because Windows 10 has become a service, it will be updated over time to bring new features and remove the old ones. The Windows 10 you might have updated to in July 2015 will be a different OS from Windows 10 plus all its updates a year later.

Let me say that I've always been a big fan of Windows because Microsoft does care about compatibility, vs. many other tech companies that break backward compatibility all the time. However 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). It was created to stop Microsoft fans roaring in regard to Windows 10 and how it's better than Windows 7 in every regard - it's actually worse in most regards aside from DirectX 12 (which is actually hidden from the user and is only exposed in games).

You may probably want to know why Windows 10 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.

In a new, not that unexpected, turn of events Microsoft now foists ads as part of ... security updates for Windows 7 and 8/8.1 (See KB3139929, which says nothing about this new "feature"). People were afraid but never believed it would happen. It now has.

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 Windows 10, 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, >9GB as of Windows 10, 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 10 with its incessant tracking 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 is a codename 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.
  • Windows keeps trying to reinstall failed updates over and over (in certain cases every such cycle of "updating" can render your PC disabled for hours!). To be fixed in 2019 in Windows 10.
  • No clean state (for most OEM installations out there). This will be finally solved in new Windows 10 builds.
  • svchost.exe (the whole philosophy of preserving RAM this way became outdated years ago) - now fixed in Windows 10.
  • There's no way to cleanly upgrade your system (there will be thousands of leftovers), etc. - "fixed" in Windows 10 by a complete semiannual system reinstallation.
  • Windows doesn't support a hybrid MBR/GPT partitioning scheme. MBR is now more or less abandoned, so it's no longer an issue.
  • Microsoft has gone crazy: Windows 10 is now a recommended update for all Windows 7/8.1 users unless you're running their Enterprise versions. That means your computer will automatically update to Windows 10 unless you either disable the Windows Update service completely or set Windows updates to the manual mode.
  • In May 2016 Microsoft started deceptively updating users' PCs to Windows 10 regardless of your Automatic Windows Updates settings or the way you interact with the GWX application.

A finnish translation of the above list can be read at keskustelu.suomi24.fi.

Now the second kind of issues is intrinsic to Windows 10 only

  • Windows 10 spies on you and even more so on your children aka phones home (welcome NSA/CIA/thoughtcrime/1984)! Microsoft added spying features to Windows 7/8.1 as well (more general list). Microsoft officially admits that automatic spying cannot be disabled in Windows 10.
    The official Microsoft guide on Windows 10 telemetry settings contains this beautiful tidbit: "Ability to gather user content, such as documents, if they might have been the trigger for the issue". Now, Microsoft states that user files can be requested only on the "Full" level of telemetry, however you need to bear in mind that this feature is built-in, it's remotely triggered, and it can be used to get any of your data any time they want.
    In April 2017 Microsoft published a list of things it's collecting from your PC at the basic telemetry setting (Web Archive copy).
  • Wow, just wow: Microsoft now openly publishes its collected data in regard to Windows 10 users:
    • "Over 44.5 billion minutes spent in Microsoft Edge across Windows 10 devices in just the last month" - we spy on Edge users.
    • "Over 82 billion photos viewed within the Windows 10 Photo app" - you're using our Gallery app, right? Great!
    • "Gaming continues to grow on Windows 10 – in 2015, gamers spent over 4 billion hours playing PC games on Windows 10" - we now know what apps you're running and for how long.
  • Starting October 2016 telemetry (spying) became impossible to disable in Windows 7 and 8.1 because Microsoft changed the way it distributes updates for those two operating systems.
  • Windows 10 Enterprise, which is the only version where ostensibly telemetery can be fully disabled, is still contacting various data collection servers despite your privacy settings.
  • Microsoft's EULA grants Microsoft the rights to use any of your content related to the services like Bing, Cortana (a built-in file indexer and search in Windows 10), OneDrive or Skype: "you grant to Microsoft a worldwide and royalty-free intellectual property license to use Your Content". You can read Microsoft's response here which paints everything in a positive light however after Snowden's leaks it's hard if not impossible to take them seriously.
  • Microsoft pushes Windows 10 so hard it actually started spreading FUD even about its own older OSes:
    • Microsoft started lying through their teeth about Windows 7: "We do worry when people are running an operating system that's 10 years old that the next printer they buy isn't going to work well, or they buy a new game, they buy Fallout 4, a very popular game, and it doesn't work on a bunch of older machines. And so, as we are pushing our software vendors and hardware partners to build great new stuff that takes advantage of Windows 10 that obviously makes the old stuff really bad and not to mention viruses and security problems".
    • Egregious lying continues: Microsoft falsely states that newer Intel and AMD CPUs will only be supported by Windows 10. If that were actually true you wouldn't be able to run MS-DOS on Intel Skylake yet you can, perfectly (edit: later, Microsoft reneged on not supporting Skylake CPUs). Perhaps they are talking about new advanced features of the said CPUs, but their wording means the opposite: like you cannot physically run any older Windows releases on these new CPUs.
    • Microsoft is getting desperate: the users of Intel Kaby Lake CPUs and AMD Ryzen CPUs will no longer receive Windows 7/8.1 updates at all. More information.
    • Microsoft unlawfully forced its hardware partners (Intel and AMD) to stop supporting previous versions of Windows; that's why you can't use your integrated Gen 7 Intel/AMD Raven Ridge graphics in Windows 7/8.1 (inf modification hacks notwithstanding).
    • Microsoft started interrupting Chrome and Firefox installations to promote Edge in Windows 10.
    • Microsoft desperately wants to install Windows 10 on pretty much all computers running Windows 7/8/8.1, even though some older hardware is not compatible with Windows 10 due to missing drivers. In certain cases, drivers for Windows 10 are buggy and incomplete, which means after upgrading you end up with a broken PC you cannot use or its features don't work like they should.
    • Microsoft has lost its mind and they now aggressively try to foist/force Windows 10 on unsuspecting users. Oh, it's now official: they will forcefully install it everywhere they can in 2016.
  • Windows 10 will forever be 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:
    • A new model of development with no Windows 11 in sight.
    • Two Control Panels (read below).
    • Microsoft hides the information about Windows 10 updates, so oftentimes you won't even know what certain updates are aimed to fix or improve. Also Windows 10 updates may have unintended consequences and unannounced changes in behaviour (it's already been confirmed).
    • Microsoft sometimes pushes half-baked updates which kill end-users' PCs or cause a lot of damage (this is a wonderful read). Make sure you also read an article about the clusterfuck called Anniversary Update - there are numerous reports that the installer kills all the partitions which Windows doesn't know about (Linux users beware).
    • August 2016 anniversary update broke millions of web cameras.
    • September 2016 security update broke print functionality for certain users.
    • December 2016 update broke the DHCP service (read Internet connection) for many users.
    • GWX application updates the PCs which are incompatible with Windows 10 because there are no drivers available for PC components or periphery devices like printers/scanners/etc.
  • You've got no real control over crucial features of the OS:
    • Windows 10 will have no service packs which means it will always be a work in progress and you are a perpetual beta tester.
    • Forced updates you cannot opt out of (and Microsoft have borked quite a lot of them recently so prepare to see your Windows die after installing a new batch of updates - actually Microsoft has already borked one update, read horror stories about KB3081424). In December 2016 Chris Capossela, chief marketing officer at Microsoft, admitted that the company had gone too far with the way Windows updates are distributed.
    • Safe Mode has become impossible to access unless you've booted into ... the running OS, which totally defeats its purpose. Also Safe Mode is hidden behind almost a dozen of steps vs. a single F8 key press on boot in every Windows version from 95 to 7.
    • Windows 10 anniversary update makes it very difficult (read impossible for average users) to disable Cortana.
    • Windows 10 violates basic networking principles: it ignores the hosts files, the DNS protocol and firewall rules and sends telemetry data regardless.
  • Microsoft says that there will be at least two service updates (or whatever their names are) for Windows every year, and each update is basically a new version of Windows, so:
    • Twice per year you may reinstall software deemed not required by Microsoft.
    • Some features you grew dependent on will be removed without providing any alternatives.
    • Your preferences will be reset to default, so you'll need to go through them regularly.
    • Some Metro applications will be reinstalled if you deleted them previously. New wonderful Metro applications will be installed.
    • Expect your group policy settings and tweaks to be completely removed or changed and the only way to get them back is to upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise.
    • Certain software titles and drivers will cease to work.
  • Windows 10 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).
    • 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 10.
    • An awful choice of colors/palette.
    • Absolutely awful, childish and amateurish icons (the current release features slightly better icons) as if we live in the era of eight-bit displays (only rivalled by those in Windows 3.1 from 1992). Windows 2000 in 1999 looked better than Windows 10 in 2015.
    • A big number of Windows 10 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 sucks terribly if you are an unlucky user of a metered Internet connection:
    • It features huge mandatory system and apps updates (you cannot disable them, you can only postpone the system reboot after their installation). A note for smug commentators: certain home users/companies use a 3G uplink connection (for instance via a router which supports USB 3G modems), which means Windows 10 doesn't and cannot know how it's connected to the Internet.
    • By default it uses your free bandwidth to distribute updates to other users nearby you.
    • As if it wasn't enough, Windows 10 gets downloaded automatically if you run Windows 7 or 8.1. We are talking about 3-6 gigabytes of data some people absolutely do not need.
  • Windows 10 Pro edition has become more or less unsuitable for small enterprises because Windows 10 anniversary update removes the ability to disable the following "features" (more like annoyances):
    • Microsoft Consumer Experience: personalized recommendations or, in simple terms, ads in the start menu.
    • Windows Tips.
    • The Lock Screen.
    • Disable all apps from the Windows Store.
    To disable these "features" you will have to purchase a subscription for Windows 10 Enterprise or Education editions.
  • Interesting (read awful) features for developers and power users:
    • Visual Studio 2015 C++ compiler secretly inserts telemetry code into binaries.
    • Windows 10 anniversary update blocks all drivers which are not signed by Microsoft. At the moment the ext2fsd driver and VirtualBox will cease to function.
  • In Windows 10 certain not-so-old games and applications either do not work or have severe problems (old StarForce drivers are not supported).
  • A new shocker: Windows 10 installs apps behind your back without your approval. The first Windows anniversary update without asking first reinstalls Skype and auto-logins you.
  • Windows 10 resets your default applications to built-in Microsoft's ones after each major update.
  • As has already been mentioned, different Windows 10 releases are different operating systems altogether, so Microsoft is "free" to deprecate the support for your hardware even if it came with Windows 10 preinstalled. So, Microsoft decided it no longer wants to allow new Windows releases on PCs having an Intel Clover Trail Atom CPU inside.
  • A newly-created user profile weighs over 300MB (!) while containing zero (!) information about the user.
  • A newly-created user profile is populated with all the default apps instead of giving the user a choice.
  • Edit 2020-02-21: in recent Windows 10 builds Microsoft made it mandatory to create a Microsoft online account which can lead to all sorts of problems and it also shares your data with Microsoft automatically.
  • Windows 10 shows full-screen ads on your lock screen.
  • With Wi-Fi sense enabled anyone you have in your Skype, Outlook or Hotmail contacts lists — and any of your Facebook friends - can be granted automatic access to your Wi-Fi network as long as they're within range.
  • March 2017 update: Windows Explorer now shows ads for OneDrive.

Some ways to fix/configure Windows 10

  • Do not install it or upgrade to it if you're running Windows 7/8.1. If you did, read further.
  • Install Open Shell (a fork of Classic Shell) aka Windows 7 (XP) Start Menu for Windows 10.
  • Uninstall/remove most built-in Metro/Modern apps in Windows 10 (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 10 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, disabling of updates, etc.).

Why was Windows 10 spyware? (stopped being so after July 29, 2016)

Because it has all the attributes of spyware:

  • Downloads itself to your machine without you specifically asking for it? YES
  • Aggressively attempts to install itself taking over your computer in the process? YES
  • Sends unknown and/or encrypted data to known and unknown third parties? YES
  • Sends personally identifying information to known and unknown third parties? YES
  • Difficult to remove? YES

In short, it looks like spyware, smells like spyware, walks like spyware and talks like spyware. Windows 10 is spyware.

As a bonus, Windows 10 has the features of a PUP: it shows ads in the start menu including full-screen ads on the lock screen.

Busting Windows 10 myths

There seems to be a good number of myths which are spread on pro-Microsoft forums and websites and I want to take a bit of your time to debunk them.

Windows 10 is faster

According to this, this and this there's no discernible difference between Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. Windows 10 features improved memory handling for certain multithreaded applications like WinRAR, but most other applications have the same performance.

"I have installed Windows 10 and it feels faster", right, like with every Windows release it feels fast when you install it from scratch. Then, strangely, it slows down significantly.

I have nothing to hide - let them track me!

Robin Doherty has a nice piece on this issue: "Why privacy is important, and having 'nothing to hide' is irrelevant". Also you might want to read about the implications of real-life surveillance.

Here's an insightful comment I cannot agree more with:

"Microsoft has given themselves the right to do remote administration and data gathering ... and for all but the ones which can select Security, they'll do it in such a way that they can personally identify you. Oh, and apparently they'll gather some of your documents as well. No fucking way we can trust them with this, because as soon as they have the ability to tell your computer to package up some data and send it to them, some asshole in law enforcement is going to demand they misuse it. And don't say they won't, because that's exactly the kind of shit law enforcement and the security agencies are doing. No way they won't show up with an NSL demanding information and forbidding Microsoft from admitting to it."

I've got Windows 10 preinstalled on my PC/laptop, I hate it, what should I do?

If you do value your freedom, privacy and ability to control your OS, not the other way around, you've get these options: © 2017 Frode Lindeijer. Licensed under CC0 1.0.

  • Downgrade to Windows 8.1 which contains zero privacy invasion features. Make sure you have automatic updates set to "Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them". Review and research every non-security update before installing it. Also you might want to disable telemetry bits and upgrade elements in Windows 7/8.1 - use with caution.
    Mind that Microsoft stopped offering Windows 7/8.1 updates to the owners of new PCs with new Intel/AMD CPUs.
    Also mind that finding drivers for older Windows releases has become extremely difficult for new hardware (released after 2015).
  • 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.

Free upgrade to Windows 10 (updated)

How to save money and upgrade to Windows 10 for free after the free upgrade offer expires? Activate any assistive technology in your Windows 7/8.1, for instance, click Win Logo + U and enable the onscreen keyboard and follow this link.

Officially in January 2018 Microsoft ended this offer. But not really - read on.

Update: it turns out the offer is still valid and you can upgrade to Widnows 10 for free if you own a copy of Windows 7 or 8. I've just saved you up to $199.

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 10 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.

P.S. If you want to reinforce your love towards Microsoft and Windows 10 go to neowin.net - this website has thousands of raving idiots who dribble and moan with excitement over everything made by Microsoft.

Some guy from game-debate dot com rewrote this article in an easy-to-understand way.

Leave your comments, additions and hatred below.


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