Is Windows 10 awful?

Windows 10 screenshot
Windows 10

Now the “free upgrade” period for getting Windows 10 is over, where do we stand? It seems to have come in for a lot of criticism, much of which seems to me to be rather undeserved. I’ve upgraded dozens of my customers for Windows 10, and had remarkably few problems.

The criticism seems to fall into three areas:

  1. The upgrade doesn’t work.
  2. My printer doesn’t work any more.
  3. I don’t like it.

1. “The upgrade doesn’t work.”

Almost the only problems I ever had with the upgrade were caused by either viruses or (ironically) anti-virus products such as Norton, McAfee, Avast, or AVG. Anyway, that’s history now, as most people will stick with what they have (Windows 7 or Windows 8.1) and will get Windows 10 when and if they buy a new PC.

2. “My printer doesn’t work any more.”

All hardware add-ons (like printers) need a “driver” to make them work with the relevant version of Windows. So Windows 7 needed a printer to have a Windows 7 driver, and Windows 10 needs the same printer to have a Windows 10 driver.

The drivers are written by the printer manufacturer … and some manufacturers elected not to write Windows 10 drivers for their very old printers. This is not a new thing – it’s a problem with every new operating system – and this time it’s been handled pretty well. Most printer manufacturers produced Windows 10 drivers for most of their printers in good time; if a few very old printers didn’t get drivers written for them, sometimes the old Windows 7 drivers will work on Windows 10.

The problem has typically been with printers bought for Windows XP – som maybe 10 years old or more. The manufacturer, having provided Windows XP drivers, then Windows Vista drivers, then Windows 7 drivers and maybe even Windows 8 drivers, has sometimes felt that they don’t want to write Windows 10 drivers for a very old printer, especially as new printers are now relatively cheap.

3. “I don’t like it”.

In fact, Windows 10 is very similar to Windows 7 (which most people liked). The problem – and I do blame Microsoft for this – is that Windows 10 as freshly installed (or upgraded to) tries to use lots of Microsoft products which people generally don’t want to use. People use Google for web searching – Microsft configure Windows 10 to use “Bing” (a Microsoft search engine) which most people dislike.

But the problems are easily solved – just change things back to how you like them. Once done, most people find Windows 10 is fine.

I’ve put a list of the changes I usually make to Windows 10 here.