Monday, 28 March 2016

Windows 10 - still rubbish after a clean install

It seems like I'm not just that I only the only one having problems with Windows 10, but everyone else loves it! Steve got a whizzy new computer and - having been married to XP for nigh on 14 years or more and refusing to even look at another operating system - suddenly Windows 10 is the new big thing.

My laptop had got to the point where it was intolerably slow. Ten minutes after downloading a file and Windows Defender would still have hold of it, making it impossible to open, copy or move. At points throughout the day, the laptop would completely lock up for minutes at a time.

It was pretty much decided that my laptop was borked.
Or, at least, my Windows 10 install was.

So with a bootable USB version of Windows 10, I went for the nuclear option.
And at first it seemed to work. The laptop booted up much quicker than at had done since the days it first arrived at Nerd Towers with the shiny new Windows 8.0 operating system. Apps (really? apps? not applications, or programs?) launch quicker than they have done in a long while. And moving files about doesn't invoke Windows Defender for twenty minutes any more.

For the next few days, it was all about installing the software I'd forgotten I had.
Stuff I forgot I used quite regularly. Like Notepad++. And HeidiSQL. And lots of weird little programs - not just VB6!

But then, just as I got comfortable with the new Windows install, I noticed a few things had changed: my default scheme colour was green, not blue. That's ok. I quite like it. But there were some other things I didn't like quite so much.

Microsoft Edge (which is a half-decent browser, but it's no IE11) doesn't like loading local html files, and always tries to find a live internet connection, even if there isn't one (loading pages from a Raspberry Pi server is painfully slow on my Windows 10 machine).

The double-finger scroll option (using two fingers side-by-side on the trackpad to scroll a page or panel up/down) stops working intermittently. I hadn't realised how much I use this feature, until I had to keep using the mouse pointer to grab the scrollbar in frustration.

But the most annoying thing - on a device I'm trying to use to program apps for an interactive guitar - is the godawful sound. Previously, 50% volume was LOUD. Now, I've got to run the speakers at 100% just to be able to hear voices in a Youtube video - and even then turn down the radio otherwise it's difficult to make out what they're saying!

It's not an uncommon problem. It was reported back in Oct 2015 and is still not fixed. Worse than that - I found some old Realtek audio drivers and installed them, and did get a little "boost" to the volume. Then rebooted the machine. And Windows "upgraded" the drivers - to their own crappy quiet versions, and made the audio super-tinny and quiet again.

Honestly, Microsoft.
You should have  stopped at 7.
XP even.
And left us with computers that actually worked.

My old boss tried to compare computers over the years to cars.
Computers have got easier to use, and any old idiot can get on the internet with one (that wasn't always the case). Cars have got more and more safety features, and anyone with a laptop can diagnose faults when they go wrong. Things have got easier.

And at the same time, the experience- for people who know what they are doing - has got worse. Cars may be more fuel efficient and less likely to skid when you hit the brakes. But on a racetrack, in the hands of a knowledgeable driver, they're horrible to drive.
The same goes with computers - they're easier and more accessible, but also much more difficult to actually get them do anything the providers haven't allowed for (try running your own programs using Windows subclassing on Windows 10 - Defender goes beserk, even if it's fairly harmless stuff!)

Or, as my old boss put it - "with Windows 10 it's like they've made an automatic, put the brake on the dashboard and the bloody steering wheel off and left it in the boot". I know exactly how he feels!