Friday, September 23, 2016

Windows 10 - the first big update

I'd read some worrying things about the latest major update to Windows - the so-called Anniversary edition (more prosaically known as 1607, because launched in July 2016) and wondered if it would screw up my or Mrs C's computer when our time came. It did not, though the upgrade process was its usual irritating self. I had scheduled mine for half past midnight. Imagine my surprise when I tottered into the study at 9:00 the next day to see a pathetic error message saying it couldn't manage to do the update and would I like to restart? I did, the system put up its little whirly thingy for the next hour and then told me it was all over but it still took another twenty minutes or so before I could do anything useful. So what was the point of the scheduled update?

Microsoft is unable to comprehend that some people know more about computers than others and consequently it designs everything for the lowest common denominator. I know exactly what every icon on my desktop does. I don't need, and dislike the look of, the little arrows that are overlaid on each one to denote it as a "shortcut". I had used a registry tweak to remove them in Windows 7. Windows 10 put them back. I used the registry hack again. Blow me, but after this latest update there they were again and once more I had to delve into the registry to convince the system that I really, really don't want them. I can choose my colour scheme and I can plonk icons wherever I want and make all sorts of other customisations with Windows' blessing, but am I sufficiently mature and knowledgable to know which icons are shortcuts and which are files held on the desktop? Not in the opinion of the lads at Redmond, that's for sure.

The real test of this upgrade will be when I next play the game Cities: Skylines, a fascinating diversion in the great tradition of Sim City but with an irritating habit of crashing and locking up the PC when it does because it uses up all the system memory. It staggers me that this is even possible with a modern operating system.

I was unchuffed to be told that the update has improvements for touch pads ( I use a PC; it doesnt have one) and to voice recognition ( I use a PC; it doesn't have a microphone) and something about Skype (see previous) and that it has lots of school friendly features (Duh!) and how wonderful Cortana is (whenever I type in a question it merely loads up Edge and does a search on Bing. Yeah, thanks, I can do that myself, except I use Google via Firefox). There are also improvements to security, I was informed whilst waiting for the little whirling thing to sod off during the setup process but they haven't bothered to tell me what they are so I am unable to comment. Which, seeing as that may be the single most important feature of the upgrade, is a shame.

Postscript a few days later:
The update has changed the system defaults for the web browser in favour of Edge. So I will change them back to what I had before. It is amazing that Microsoft has still not learned that people don't like being told to do and still thinks it knows better. 

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