Why I'm going back to Windows 7

Like many others, I jumped to my free upgrade of Windows 10. Almost exactly one month later, I'm going back to Windows 7.

Posted 31st August 2015 • Business • #business

About a month ago I took advantage of Microsoft's free upgrade to Windows 10. Up until now I've been running Windows 7 on my desktop (just ignore Windows 8 like it never happened). Although it took a while to get used to, I actually liked the design. I even managed to put up with the horrendous privacy issues surrounding the new OS. Yesterday though, something happened which made me realise why it just wasn't worth it and to stick with what currently works well: Windows 7.

Windows 10 no longer gives you the option of "Check for updates, but let me choose whether to download and install them", it just installs them when you shut down without asking. For many users, I can understand why this might be useful (I used to know someone who never installed Windows updates because he "didn't like Microsoft messing with his machine". Go figure.). However, what you might not have realised is that Microsoft do occasionally release updates which break people's machines. Whether through bad testing, unusual hardware setups or whatever, it happens. And yesterday it almost happened to me. At least if you know an update is faulty, you can choose not to install it, or boot in to safe mode and restart. Yesterday I had neither option. The update was forced on me, and it bricked my computer.

I had a problem with my push-to-talk button on TeamSpeak (the software my friends and I use to communicate while playing games), so I thought I'd do a quick reboot to solve the issue. When I restarted, Windows 10 jumped in and installed some updates it had been waiting to install, without asking. After that, the machine wouldn't boot. Updates installed, screen went black, PC would no longer turn on.

Thankfully in this instance I managed to solve the problem by semi-dismantling my PC; unplugging the graphics card, sound card, RAM and hard drive, then plugging them back in (admittedly, this isn't something most users would know how to do). This forced Windows to get past it's black screen and boot back in no problem, but it did highlight the problem for me that it could easily happen again, and has happened to many others already. Automatic updates are a time bomb waiting to happen.

So today, I'm reformatting and going back to Windows 7. I'd managed to ignore the minor issues I'd put up with in Windows 10 until now, but as I'm writing this I may as well detail them here too. The operating system as a whole feels generally 'unfinished' and rough round the edges.

  • Sometimes the start menu just won't open for 3-4 clicks
  • Programs sometimes won't open when you press enter on their icons
  • Several games/applications don't work because the drivers are incompatible with W10
  • They've removed the option to "keep both files" when you paste files with the same name in the same folder
  • There's a Settings screen and a Control Panel, both do different things. They haven't actually finished combining the two
  • They've changed Windows Explorer again so it's now even more difficult NOT to use the "My..." folders
  • It takes a lot longer than W7 to generate thumbnails of images
  • You can't use folders in the start menu anymore (also, the Startup folder doesn't seem to work)
  • There are a bunch of apps installed with the OS
  • Solitaire is ad supported and prompts you to pay MONTHLY to remove them (I don't care, but my mother will!)
  • Searching the start menu often doesn't show the app you've just typed the name of, even if you know it's there
  • Once you delete a folder in the start menu folder in windows explorer, it takes several minutes for the start menu to realise it's been deleted and stop showing it

And that's not even counting the privacy violations that come with this OS by default. Here's an excerpt from their Terms of Service:

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 protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services. - Microsoft

If you're set on using Windows 10 yourself, at the very least correct the privacy settings. Out of the box, Microsoft basically has free reign to access your data at any time, for any reason.