I thought Microsoft learned their lesson with Vista, Windows 8 and the failed Windows phone; but here we are again. I love Microsoft because I use their products daily and I have for my whole career. However, Windows 8 was the first time I was filled with repulsion. I was willing to ignore it though because I was excited about Windows phone, so I figured that they were just trying to make the ecosystems look the same even though no one wanted or asked for this to happen.

Finally, when windows phone failed and became completely unusable because zero apps were available for it I was angry. I had always heard that the problem with Microsoft is that their internal departments don’t work together and they are combative. Oh boy does it show.

I tried using Microsoft Surface 2 and that turned into a brick after they broke it with updates. I was forced to get rid of it by trading it in for a Surface 4. My first Surface 4 immediately had a physical problem with the screen, not off to a good start. I got it exchanged. It wasn’t a great experience and then I just gave it away to a friend who needed a new PC. I bought myself a Lenovo Legion and called it a day. No thank you to Microsoft hardware. I have no idea how they have missed the mark so badly on this.

Meanwhile, Windows 10 was experiencing some seriously turbulent updates. Updates that were making my USB ports stop functioning. Eventually the head of Windows update was fired and replaced. Then things starting humming smoothly again.

The Windows 10 era

Say what you want, I think Windows 10 has been one of the better operating systems despite Microsoft filling it with unwanted bloatware and most recently advertisements which is just unfathomable recently. Every time there is a new Windows operating system, people complain that they don’t want to upgrade and normally I disagree with everyone.

  • I technically started with an Apple 2, but I used Windows 3.1 and MSDOS at home.
  • When Windows 95 came out, I think it was received well despite Rundll32.exe errors being pelted at you constantly.
  • Windows 98 came out, it was a patch to Windows 95.
  • Windows ME came out and everyone was pissed because it was a real piece of garbage.
  • Windows 98SE came out and it was a patch to Windows 98 and a way to say, “Sorry about Windows ME”.
  • Windows 2000 Server was available which is based on NT5 which at the time was very stable. My friends and I upgraded to Windows 2000 and had to tweak it to work for personal use since it is server based software.
  • Finally Windows XP came out and that revolutionized everything. Windows XP was based on NT5 as well and was essentially a reskin of Windows 2000 Server. I think Windows XP was regarded as one of the best operating systems and people resisted Windows 7 when it came out.
  • Windows 7 hit the scene and it was a wonderful upgrade from Windows XP in my opinion.
  • Windows Vista showed up and we all had the same visceral reaction to it as Windows ME – I’m not using this trash, I am going to keep using Windows 7.
  • Microsoft then put out Windows 8 in order to support the Metro UI that no one asked for in order to compete with Apple and try to get their market share. The Metro UI was also what was used on the Windows Phone 8. This in my opinion is the first time they screwed their base hard. I found the stupid tiles interface so unfriendly and unusable I paid for WinStart 8 to get rid of it. That’s how bad it was.
    • Then some harebrained imbecile at Microsoft thought it made sense to force the same trash Metro UI on Windows Server, I don’t remember what version that was, but it was terrible. I think it was Windows 2012. That was a horrific experience when working with these things over RDP. I don’t know what the hell they were thinking.
  • I would say at this point, Microsoft tacitly conceded that Windows 8 and Metro UI were absolute failures by releasing Windows 10. Still, there were people I knew who refused to upgrade from Windows 7. You won’t be able to hold out forever though due to end-of-life support.

Windows 10 has been fine up until recently…

What are you up to Microsoft?

Microsoft in the last two to four years, like 2020-2024 range, has been doing things to Windows 10 that have been giving people pause. I found most of them to be benign, but as of late, with the advent of Windows 11 showing up it is becoming clear that something nefarious and profit driven is what’s happening instead.

At one point in Windows 10 the following things just miraculously started to happen:

  • New apps I didn’t install started showing up after Windows updates.
    • I would see things for Angry Birds, Soduko and X-Box.
    • All of a sudden I was being prompted to buy the premium tier of OneDrive, which was irritating because I already have the premium tier of OneDrive.
    • Most notably and the thing that pissed most people off, was being basically forced to create a Microsoft account in order to login to your local machine. In other words, local accounts were no longer an option. I didn’t think anything of this at first.
    • Forced OneDrive integration directly into Windows. This can be seen as a benefit, but odd…

Goodbye local accounts

At first, I thought, “Oh this is okay, they are just making sure my profile is synchronized to my OneDrive. What’s the harm in this?” I actually thought it was convenient, because my Laptop, Virtual Machine and Host Desktop could synchronize settings and some preferences which I appreciated actually.

I even pay for Office 365 because I love the idea of just having the latest version of Office always. No more major purchases, uninstall, reinstall incompatibility nonsense. Frankly, it works great.

Windows 11

Finally, Windows 11 showed up and I will be honest, I was excited for it. I was excited because I like new things, updated software, especially bug fixed software, safer software due to security fixes. Also it’s a free upgrade so I can’t complain about that right? I paid for each of my Windows 10 installs.

I installed Windows 11 on my laptop first as a test. Sadly, still wasn’t great. Maybe it was just undercooked? Because Microsoft can’t seem to learn from their mistakes they had to screw with what works again:

  • Labels were missing from taskbar items. Why? Why would you do this? This is horribly misguided and your designers are morons if you thought this was a good idea. Not everyone WANTS A MAC EXPERIENCE SO STOP IT. At least make it a choice you idiots!
    • They fixed it, but I am sure not without a lot of angry customers first. Feedback is a gift, wouldn’t you agree Microsoft?
  • The Windows shell is unstable and it still is at the time of writing this (06/08/2024). Sometimes I see parts of a file explorer window become discolored for some unknown reason. I don’t know what causes it. I have seen toolbars I know I disabled re-appear. I don’t get it.
    • This experience is even worse on a VM. The file explorer just ceases to render all together. You fix this by killing explorer.exe and restarting it. Not ideal. So they need to fix this.
    • I have an example of abnormal/unexpected window behavior next to a “normal” window.
  • Finally – they just had to fuck with the right-click context menu because apparently it was broke so they decided to fix it. Now, when I need to look for something, I have to constantly click on “Show more options”. Who wanted this? Who asked for this? STOP IT.

Copilot+ PCs

At this point Microsoft made me make these faces, in this order, when I heard about Copilot plus PCs:

Microsoft… if you are listening… PLEASE STOP. I don’t totally know what you are trying to achieve, but for the love of god we all know that taking snapshots of your desktop is only going to lead to some serious privacy issues. It’s bad enough we have to worry about the NSA spying on its citizens, you doing something like this makes me lose all faith in Microsoft as being even remotely a company I can trust anymore. We all know you are lying when you say, “The images are on your local machine.” That’s total nonsense because those images have to be uploaded in some format so they can be analyzed by your Machine Learning algorithm (it’s not AI).

If you have no watched FireShip’s reporting on this, I recommend it:

My Hypothesis

Honestly Windows 11 isn’t so bad. It’s okay. The fact that I had to upgrade my BIOS to enable TPM 2.0 really pissed me off because it caused me all kinds of misery, but that isn’t a Microsoft fault that’s an ASUS Motherboard issue. Long story short, after upgrading my desktop, my computer refused to boot and would stay on a black screen. I was forced to clear CMOS to fix it and I think it’s stable now. Again, not a Windows 11 issue, that’s a firmware issue with ASUS, but still a sour upgrade experience.

My hypothesis on what is happening is with the following…

  1. Microsoft has built out Azure tremendously and it is a money printing machine. Good for them.
  2. Microsoft forced everyone to move their local Windows accounts to Microsoft online accounts. That’s kind of weird, but maybe it’s just for convenience (doubtful).
  3. Microsoft pushing OneDrive advertisement inside the OS.
  4. Microsoft pushing Office products into the browser to give you a half-way decent experience of using Office.
  5. Microsoft unveiling a PC that spies on you to help you “complete tasks”.

…to me it sounds like Microsoft is trying to push customers into the cloud, where you will use Microsoft Windows in the cloud. You will access your Microsoft virtual machine from basically any dumb-terminal. It’s the only reason I can think of them forcing so many things into the cloud and eliminating local accounts.

I don’t like where this is going

I am watching carefully, but Microsoft has already kind of lost me at this point. I am going to do what I can to move over to Ubuntu and leave this dumpster fire as far behind as possible. It will be an impossibility for me to not run at the very least a Windows virtual machine, but I think for my day to day host machine work I might be able to make something work. I have been researching using Wine and finding a way to use OneDrive on Linux.

I think Microsoft is really screwing the pooch here and is alienating their base users again driving them right into the hands of Apple or Linux. I frankly don’t understand what they are trying to achieve here other than pissing a lot of people off. People who aren’t tech savvy are going to use whatever, those are not the people I am concerned with. I am concerned for developers and gamers. In other words, power users. In my opinion those are Microsoft’s core users outside of Enterprise.

Since dot net core is cross platform, I have very little reason to keep developing on a Windows machine for any newer development. The only reason I have stuck with Windows for this long is there was no cross platform support and there are various programs I absolutely depend on in order to get my daily work done. However, I am going to setup an Ubuntu VM for the millionth time and try to make it work this time.

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