It’s Time to Criticize Windows 10 While We Still Have a Chance

Windows 10 is a huge step forward into the future! Or wait, isn’t it a step back? Either way, it’s a technical preview that isn’t finished yet, which gives us a huge opportunity to help shape what the final version might look like.

Let’s face it, Windows 10 is basically just Windows 8 with a Start Menu and windowed “Modern” apps, which you can get with third party software like ModernMix. Even the new Virtual Desktops that were integrated are not much different than what you can get with third-party software.

And the whole reason we have a Windows 10 is because Windows 8’s reputation is terrible, and the changes forced on power users were so annoying that many people just jumped ship after 20 years of using Windows.

So why are so many tech people acting like we should defer to Microsoft and wait to see what the final release is like? The whole point of a preview is so we can give feedback!

We Shouldn’t Trust Microsoft to Eventually Fix Things Because It’s a Preview.

Every time I’ve complained about something in Windows 10, I’ve received a flood of responses from the usual trolls saying things like “This is a technical preview and Microsoft will fix that in the final version.” When you consider their history, it’s ridiculous to assume that Microsoft will just “get it right.”

Maybe we should take a quick look back at just a few of the recent mistakes…

Remember how the Windows 8 Preview had a registry hack to bypass the Start Screen and take you straight to the desktop? And then remember how Microsoft shut that down in the next update? People clearly didn’t want to boot to the Start Screen, but Microsoft ignored all of the feedback that was submitted. Thankfully they did listen afterward and allow booting to the desktop in Windows 8.1, but by that point the damage was already done.

Do you remember the Technet program? You could pay a yearly fee to have access to most Microsoft software for testing purposes — it was an invaluable tool for system administrators, tech writers, and anybody else who was just a Microsoft software enthusiast. Sadly, they shut that down, frustrating power users everywhere.

Remember how Microsoft released Windows RT despite the fact that you couldn’t load any software on it other than “Modern” applications? People bought the Surface RT tablet only to figure out that you couldn’t load anything good on it, and Microsoft eventually just stopped promoting Windows RT.

And what about all those scam applications that took over the Windows Store? Many of them were sitting out there for months if not longer — nobody spoke up publicly, and despite many apps being reported by many of our readers, Microsoft did nothing to fix the problem.

It wasn’t until we started a campaign to make them fix it that they finally responded and cleaned it up. Public feedback works.

And now?

Microsoft has integrated a Search button into the Windows 10 Taskbar that can’t be removed, and when you click it, you see annoying tabloid nonsense like pictures of Justin Bieber. And just in case you are wondering, there’s also the normal local search built into the Start Menu that allows you to search your apps and documents, but this new search button is only for the web. It’s slow, clunky, hangs sometimes, and is generally useless.

So why would we trust Microsoft to allow us to hide that button?

That’s not the only problem with Windows 10, of course. Modern applications aren’t properly resizable and all of the controls are awkward to work with. They still haven’t figured out that having separate PC Settings and Control Panel and randomly splitting up settings between the two doesn’t make sense. Lots of settings pop out from the side of the screen in “Metro” style even on the desktop version. There’s a Task view button that can’t be removed from the Taskbar (although at least it is somewhat useful).

Microsoft Needs Your Feedback: Badly, Publicly, and Honestly.

It’s time to criticize and complain about Windows 10 as much as possible, or else we’re going to end up with another Windows 8 fiasco on our hands. Too many people kept silent and only left their feedback on the “official” channels, which Microsoft promptly ignored, and handed us another Windows Vista.

There’s no reason to hold back. If something is stupid, call it stupid. Have a problem with that word? Maybe you should look it up: “lacking intelligence or common sense.” Don’t you think that Microsoft integrating a new button into Windows that can’t be removed, and takes up space on the taskbar… is at least lacking in common sense considering the whole point of Windows 10?

We’re not advocating an all-out hate war on Microsoft, but perhaps based on their history we should make sure that we’re getting out point across, and stop worrying about hurting the feelings of a giant multinational corporation. (cue the jokes about corporations being people).

Public Feedback Works: Remember the Xbox One?

If everybody had kept their mouth shut and only submitted feedback through “official” channels, we’d have an Xbox One that required always-on Internet, had really restrictive DRM that prevented sharing or selling used games, and there would be no option for using the Xbox without Kinect.

It was an outcry from gamers everywhere, before the product was even released, that caused Microsoft to change their strategy:

“You can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360.” 

You can use your Xbox even when the internet goes out, thanks to people complaining publicly, and even ridiculing Microsoft on late-night TV.

You finally have the Start Menu back, albeit after a few years, because of the outcry of users and tech writers that dislike Windows 8 or find it really annoying and hard to use.

Maybe, just maybe, Windows 10 will have the greatness of Windows 7 combined with the under-the-hood improvements of later versions. But you can’t be afraid to talk about it.

Definitely Use the Official Feedback Mechanism First

There’s nothing wrong with complaining about things you don’t like in Windows 10, but you should start by reporting them directly to Microsoft. Even though they don’t have a good track record, it’s still our responsibility as Windows Insiders using a preview version to give them feedback through the official mechanism.

And if enough people do give them feedback, there’s a lot more chance that they will listen.

Just don’t feel like you need to hold back with your opinions. Microsoft is a corporation selling products to you. Make sure they are selling the products that you actually want.

If you care about Windows, you should complain loudly and often.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.