Windows 10 Deprecated Features with Alternatives

Windows 10 Deprecated Features with Alternatives

Recently, Microsoft posted and then removed a Windows 10 specification page. Why the company decided to remove it is unclear, but it's probably due to the buzz generated around a list of features that exist in Windows 7 and 8 that won't make the cut in Windows 10. A couple of those features left many with concern despite Windows 10 introducing a slew of new and enhanced technologies. Richard wrote about the loss of the features HERE, but all is not truly lost. There are alternatives available already that can be used to replace many of the missing pieces.

First off, Windows Media Center, which has been a rallying cry for those that have become accustomed to using it is officially dead in Windows 10. I used WMC in the past and really liked it, but used it only to stream live cable TV through a connected USB digital tuner. There are a few alternatives that exist already, including XBMC and Plex, but the closest you'll get to the Windows Media Center experience is MediaPortal. MediaPortal sports a very WMC-like interface and offers the standard PVR features for playing, recording, and pausing live TV, playing DVDs, and watching online video services.

The next bit, and one that seems a bit strange to me, is that Windows 10 will not offer the software ability to watch DVDs. Microsoft has promised to offer a solution later on, but this capability will not ship with Windows 10 when it releases for upgrades on July 29. Think this is not important to users? I just spent time researching a good USB DVD solution for my wife's Surface Pro because she needed this capability. For now, you can invest your time in VLC, GOM or MPC-HC. All of these are free alternatives.

Desktop Gadgets is the next piece that won't see the light of day in Windows 10. Desktop Gadgets are those small widgets that can be pinned to the Windows desktop. Personally, I pretty much gave up on gadgets a long time ago, but some still use them for things like stay-resident calendars and ornate clocks. If this is something you just can't give up, there's a solution. provides an app to install and a catalog of available 3rd party gadgets.

Next up, Microsoft will be removing the games Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Hearts during the upgrade to Windows 10. Why not just leave them during the upgrade? It's hard to say exactly, but probably has to do with compatibility or the new UI in Windows 10, or could just simply be that there are better alternatives already available. Microsoft is already providing alternatives in the new Windows 10 app store called Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Minesweeper, so you won't have to relinquish personal joy over spending downtime trying to master a card deck or navigating a bomb-infested minefield. And, as a bit of clarification from one commenter, these apps were removed in Windows 8 already, so the removal will only happen for Windows 7 upgraders.

Isn't it time we let the floppy drive fade off into obscurity? Apple did it years ago, but due to users and companies holding on to decrepit hardware and Windows XP, floppy drives still exist today instead of showing up in archeological digs. Windows 10 will not include drivers for USB floppy drives, except over Windows Update, and if you need better functionality for some reason, you'll need to contact the manufacturer to get an updated driver. But, do it discreetly and quietly. There are those of us that will poke fun publicly.

Lastly, per Richard's list, if Live Essentials is found, pieces of it will also be removed during the Windows 10 upgrade. Live Essentials was actually retired in 2013, but you can still get it HERE. Live Essentials has been around since 2009, and was Microsoft's first foray into supplying OneDrive (which was originally named SkyDrive). The suite of consumerized apps included Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, OneDrive, Family Safety, Mail, and LiveWriter (blogging software). Each of these have already been replaced many times over, and will either be included with Windows 10 or available as free installations from the new Windows 10 app store.

So, as you can see, even though Microsoft may be deprecating some features in Windows 10, there are some pretty good alternatives already. Don't think of it as Microsoft taking things away, but only providing opportunities to use something better.

I've highlighted only some of the alternatives that I'm aware of. Let me know if you already use, or know of, alternatives that are even better solutions.

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