Today is the tenth day that the world, or at a minimum 14 million users plus 6 million Windows Insiders, have had the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 since its official launch on 29 July.
I spend a lot of time watching social media for trends around tech subjects. Nothing scientific – I just watch the conversations and they can reveal a lot of info. We have also had a steady stream of comments on the SuperSite for Windows in the past week since the launch plus my email inbox has been peppered with questions about Windows 10 and various issues surrounding individual experiences in getting the new OS up and running. After all of this there are of course the questions that come in directly to my Twitter account.
So based on all of the above I wanted to run down a list of areas that are hot topics relating to Windows 10 as it passes its tenth day of availability.
This is probably the biggest area of discussion about Windows 10 over this past week. It has resulted in a range of stories from pure fear mongering to purposeful looks at what the settings really mean.
I fall somewhere in between myself however, I find the granular level of control that Windows 10 provides by default over the privacy of my data as the most comprehensive I have ever seen in an operating system. Rod went over those settings, all 20 areas worth, this past week to show just how extensive the control is in Windows 10 relating to privacy.
Of course there are consequences in turning some of those settings off when it comes to functionality such as Cortana because she needs to learn some things about you and read your email in order to provide you features such as tracking flights, packages and reading your calendar to recommend when you should leave for an appointment based on traffic.
We asked Microsoft to comment about privacy and Windows 10 and this is what a spokesperson provided us:
“Windows does not collect personal information without your consent. To effectively provide Windows as a service, Microsoft gathers some performance, diagnostic and usage information that helps keep Windows and apps running properly. Microsoft uses this information to identify problems and develop fixes. More information on the Microsoft Services Agreement and Privacy Statement for consumers is available on our blogs.microsoft.com website.”
Ultimately the choice is in your hands. Should Microsoft make these choices more obvious for everyday users who upgrade to Windows 10? Absolutely!
They need to do so with a clear explanation of what the information is used for and how it enhances the user experience in the OS. They should also define what limitations that lack of information will result in as well.
Privacy is an area that ambiguity is seen as the enemy and so clarity alongside of control is paramount.
Right now Microsoft seems to have 50% of this equation sorted out with Windows 10.
Windows Update Delivery Optimization (WUDO)
Known as WUDO for short, this is the new feature in Windows 10 that optimizes the delivery of Windows Updates through a form of Peer to Peer sharing. A local cache of updates to Windows and Windows Store apps are stored on your local system and that cache of updates can be delivered to other PCs on your network or other machines running Windows 10 on the Internet to help speed up delivery.
The concern over WUDO is not security related since only downloaded updates are shared. The larger issue with WUDO is bandwidth related. WUDO is activated by default when Windows 10 is installed and it also defaults to sharing updates with PCs on your local network and those on the Internet.
That basically means your Windows 10 system is a Content Distribution Network or CDN for Microsoft updates which uses your bandwidth for delivering those updates to others.
At a minimum the default settings on WUDO should be to only share those updates with other PCs on your own network. Let the user decide about going beyond that.
Microsoft does provide a thorough FAQ about WUDO but if you want to use my bandwidth at least ask first.
Default Web Browser
Another area that got a lot of attention was related to a user’s choice of web browser and retaining that choice during an upgrade to Windows 10.
It all began with an open letter from the CEO of Mozilla to Microsoft’s CEO and an opus relating to the apparent backwards steps Microsoft was making when it comes to browser choices by the user.
Thanks to a short video from one of our readers and a how to that showed it takes less than 60 seconds and five steps to change default web browsers the claim of it being too hard by the Mozilla CEO was debunked.
The ability of a user to retain their previous browser of choice during the upgrade to Windows 10 is right on the screen as shown in the video – even if they choose to use Express Settings. However, since many skip right over the options in this day and age of rushing to completion Microsoft may need to make it more obvious with an entry like Do you want to keep using XXXXXXXXX browser as your default after the upgrade to Windows 10.
If they miss that then it only takes five steps to change it once the OS is installed.
Activation of upgrades and clean installs
Information about this process was not readily available prior to 29 July and it was only through testing various upgrade scenarios that we finally found the secret sauce of making sure your free Windows 10 upgrade was properly activated.
Upgrading to Windows 10 over top of your eligible Windows 7 or 8.1 system was the way to reach activation and gaining the ability to keep that hardware activated for the lifetime of that device even after a subsequent clean install.
This revelation came in after many decided to use the Windows 10 installation media creation tool from Microsoft, which was released on 29 July, to perform a clean install on their devices and found they would not activate.
Yes, there was an issue with the activation servers in those first couple of days after Windows 10 was released but this subject is unrelated to that.
When users hit this non-activation road block it meant they had to revert back to Windows 7 or 8.1 and then perform an in-place upgrade to Windows 10 so the OS would activate properly.
Many users wanted Microsoft to simply allow them to enter their product keys from the eligible OS to validate their eligibility for the free upgrade but with the rampant availability of pirated keys out there I imagine Microsoft was looking for the best method to validate that eligibility.
Still – a very labor intensive process to get that free upgrade to Windows 10 activated but it is a $120 value in the long run.
The last area I will cover is the convoluted licensing and usage rights when it comes to the free Windows 10 upgrade.
If you want proof of how important this aspect of Windows 10 is to upgraders, then look no further than our series of Q&A’s about the upgrade process here, here and here. There are hundreds of comments and requests for understanding individual upgrade and licensing scenarios.
This is another area that Microsoft could have made great strides in for clarity and understanding but it did not happen.
Many of the questions we have been seeing remain unanswered but I am working with Microsoft to define some of the basic licensing scenarios relating to the free Windows 10 upgrade offer and what end users are able to do with it.
There are other areas of concern when it comes to the Windows 10 upgrade such as the delivery of updates through flighted testing, improperly provisioned apps, upgrades causing Office document issues and the discovery that app updates might very well be mandatory for Windows 10 Home users along with system updates.
Windows 10 is not all bad at this point in its public life either. Numerous users who are thrilled with Windows 10 and are expressing that on social media and in our comments. In my house five systems are upgraded and running Windows 10 with minimal problems that I would describe as hiccups as opposed to serious issues.
Windows 10 is forcing us to change our mindsets about the Windows operating system.
No longer is it a finely polished operating system but a work in progress and with that comes various stages of success and failure when it comes to its operation and day to day use.
Windows 10, when it was released on 29 July, was a starting point. It is prompting a new cadence for Microsoft when it comes to maintaining the OS and it will take the Windows team at Microsoft a while to get used to that process and approach.
I am ready for the ride.
How has your Windows 10 experience been so far?