Anyone use Windows recently?

I retired a few years ago. The last couple of jobs were in Java shops where most developers had Macs or Linux desktops.

The last version of Windows I really used was Windows 7 which I thought was a great improvement over the previous versions. There were still interface inconsistencies. There were weird things like the 254 character limit for names even though the file system could handle 32,000 characters. But it was getting pretty good.

Today, I got a taste of Windows 10. I was at my wife’s work, and her computer was extremely slow. Plus, there were popups everywhere. Whatever you did, something new popped onto the screen. It must be infected with malware.

Turns out the malware was Windows 10 itself. There was Microsoft News. Popups to use Edge and Copilot. Popups reminding you to do this or that. It took me about a half hour turning off all the various toolbars, popups, and live tiles. After that, the machine was way faster. I still can’t seem to turn off all the popups. For example, I can’t shutdown the popup that keeps asking if you want to use Edge when you open Chrome. But, overall, it was way better.

Then another person came in. We tried to connect her computer to the WiFi network, but failed. Again, her machine kept popping up windows and videos all over.

I can’t believe people live like this.


Quite honestly, Windows 11 is the first version of Windows that I can say I can actually tolerate, maybe even like.

Yes, it wants you to use all the Microsoft “services” like Copilot. I use Edge over Chrome because in my opinion Edge is Chrome without the Google cruft (but one could argue that there’s the Microsoft cruft, but at least they are not Google).

Windows 10 never won me over. It still carried over the UI bifurcation that plagued Windows 7 and 8. All of those releases couldn’t decide what kind of UI it wanted to be, and there were still way too many places where you needed to switch from the “new” UI paradigm to the “legacy” control panels, et. al. to get things done.

Windows 11 seems to have cleaned up a lot of that confusion and just seems “cleaner” to me. I do not see any of that “popup” behavior you are seeing, but I did have to spend time to turn off things that I didn’t find really necessary, useful, or “none of their business”.

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I think there’s no doubt that Windows, on it’s own terms, has improved tremendously.

The issue, for me, is the way-of-working. Which is alien to me at this point. When I hit up against it as @david19 seems to have, and you end up stumbling over all its many edges… it’s mindbogglingly frustrating.

But for fluent Windows users… it’s great these days.

I have students for whom my class is the sole time they ever use a Mac. There’s the gamers who resist but mainly I have students who stumble over the Mac experience “why is the menu at the top”, “where is everything” etc… Every now and then, I get a migrant out of it “this is better, I’m moving to Mac” but mostly folks stick with what they know.

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I have no doubts that Windows as an OS is much improved. Windows’ window tiling is better than on a Mac. I’ve always liked the way almost every menu item had a keyboard shortcut. I also understand that Windows and macOS have differing design philosophies, so that Windows users and Mac users would find the other system strange.

What got me are the constant flashing and popups that is the default setup. Maybe in corporate settings, these are turned way down, but to think that the average consumer puts up with this crap. My wife is so happy that not only is her system faster, but way quieter. To think it had been like that for the past five years since Windows 10 was installed.

I have Google Maps on my iPhone, but I don’t use it because every time I go in, it asks me to let it use my microphone. I said no once, I mean it. I’ve also noticed that little ads are popping up on the map itself. I’m sure the next time I ask for directions on a trip, Google maps will automatically setup a trip break by including a stop at Starbucks and preordering a vente caramel Frappuccino for me. And god pitty me if I attempt to use it not logged into my Google account.

Am I the only human being left who gets annoyed by my own computer giving me a hard sell?


It’s true Edge sends less information to Google than Google Chrome…but Microsoft has actually made Edge worse for privacy!

For instance, below is a comparison of six popular browsers that was done by a Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland) academic. Yes, it’s a few years old now but I don’t think it is unreasonable to assume MSFT–and GOOG for that matter–have not become better on privacy.

“We measure the connections to backend servers made
by six browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari,
Brave Browser, Microsoft Edge and Yandex Browser, during
normal web browsing. Our aim is to assess the privacy risks
associated with this back-end data exchange. We find that
the browsers split into three distinct groups from this privacy
perspective. In the first (most private) group lies Brave, in the
second Chrome, Firefox and Safari and in the third (least private)
group lie Edge and Yandex.”

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That article is interesting, but as you say it’s 4 years old now. Much has changed, although I can’t say for sure if it’s for the better or worse.

Admittedly Edge has many “features” that purport to be convenience, but in actuality increases the amount of data that Microsoft is obtaining. I think a lot of that can be disabled, but it’s very annoying that a user has to go through the maze of settings to control that.

I’m a firm believer that software vendors should default to opting-out of any data collection, then fully explain that if you opt-in to features that collect data here’s what they collect, what they’re using it for, and how to stop them from sharing/selling with others.

@david19 is there a reason you don’t use Apple Maps for driving directions.

I almost always use Apple Maps while driving. However, Google maps is more likely to have a business address and street view which is handy to help recognize a place.

I use to use Google maps a bit more, but their maps have become clogged with stuff and it will show ads while I’m navigating which is distracting.

I grew up with commercial broadcast TV, but ads have become more ubiquitous and distracting lately.

These days, I use Waze. It’s the most active reporting on traffic and incidents, never had an issue with routes on it. I prefer the visual experience of Apple Maps to all (by far…) and find Google Maps too ad heavy, but… if you want a cafe or a petrol station near you, it’s unbeatable.


You’re not wrong: ultimately Microsoft is now a services company whose computing platforms are largely targeted towards enterprise and the consumer and small business editions of Windows are part of the revenue generation engine for that company. I’m experienced with Windows, in part because I have a long history of dependency on it, but I’m not a fan of the current direction and wish M$ would build a SKU for people like me who want to use an OS instead of a pay-for-play app and ad delivery platform that’s trying way too hard to capitalise on the success of smartphone distribution of revenue-collecting app stores, and failing miserably.

But, and I think it’s significant, you can fix all that stuff. You can make it less awful, and you can tweak it and theme it and even bolt substitute UI onto it. Apple’s paternalism means you get what you get, and worse, you get the bugs and QA issues that go along with it with no recourse. When Windows goes wrong, it makes the news and it’s not long before there’s a fix or a workaround; when macOS goes wrong, we all just suffer. It is the platform features of macOS, like the general level of polish, the integration with the hardware and across the ecosystem, and the somewhat higher regard for privacy that mean many of us will choose it regardless the issues and Apple’s own selectivity when it comes to hawking their own products and services. I don’t begrudge them that, but it’s probably not for nothing that I always keep virtual machines of Windows on standby, my iMac has a Windows partition on it, and I sometimes find myself recommending Windows to others when I think their particular workflow would be better served by it. It’s a good idea to keep your options open—to have a parachute, if you like—in case you need it. At this point I think the thing that most keeps me on macOS really is the hardware, but I’m not an apologetic fanboy and I honestly think Windows can sometimes be the right choice.

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I use Windows on my Mac for three reasons:

  • iTunes, for downloading iPhone/iPad apps to back them up. The App Store terms of service says it is my responsibility to backup apps and this is the only way to do it
  • Microsoft Access
  • Running old games. Even when the game was hybrid (both Windows and Mac versions on the same CD), it is easier to run in a Windows XP virtual machine than in an old Mac VM.
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In 2018 I moved to macOS and relegated my Windows 7 machine to security cameras. Then 2 years ago I got a job in an office that is Windows 10 only - with the OS locked tightly down. I don’t have popups. I don’t have weird issues. I do miss tabbed explorer/finder of macOS. And built in stuff that works well like Preview and Photos for minor editing. It will be interesting because Microsoft will drop Windows 10 support in October of 2025 and I honestly don’t think our IT department will move us to 11 before that. They are incredibly slow and replace computers every 6-7 years with out dated Dells.

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Coincidentally, I just got the e-mail from my company’s IT department that they’re going to start phased deployment of Windows 11 this Friday. I don’t know if I’ll be in phase 1, but they did mention that I will need 64 GB of free space in order to install the upgrade. That’s insanely massive and a pain in the neck because the corporate-standard SSD is only 256 GB. At least all my documents are on OneDrive so I can (hopefully) expunge the local copies and pull them back later, since I doubt I can make that much space available simply by emptying trashes and caches.

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My bet is that massive amount of free space is artifact of their imaging/deployment system. Plus updates to whatever corporate crapware that they require in their standard operating environment.

I’ve upgraded a Windows 10 system to Windows 11 using the vanilla Microsoft process on a 64GB virtual machine disk and it didn’t take anywhere near that amount of space.

If I remember, upgrading Windows makes a copy of the current C:/Windows folder as Windows.old or something like that. Perhaps that as well is part of the driver for the upgrade requirements.

The only time I work in Windows is when I have to be the “in-house IT dept.” to fix something in my wife’s HP laptop. Right now I am migrating her stuff from a dying Windows 10 machine to a new Win 11 HP.

Turns out that Win 11 is designed to save everything to OneDrive. The idea is that nothing is saved to the computer itself, so everything is available everywhere. We absolutely do not want to work that way.

Took me forever to figure out how to rewire the saving pathways. Along the way, I was reminded of how Windows prevents the user from seeing the file structure. Everything in Windows uses a ‘wizard’ that is profoundly annoying and unhelpful.

I assume that rule is for a worst-case scenario. In order to hold the unpacked packages for every component that will be upgraded (which may well be more than just Windows itself - we use the full MS365 suite and I’m sure they’ve held back updates, which may be installed with Windows). And they may well be storing a full backup of the system, in order to revert the upgrade if something goes wrong.

I’m hoping that most of that usage will be temporary and will be freed after the upgrade completes. But I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

My wife uses Windows 10. There were never any pop-ups. My son uses Windows 10 too. Also no pop-ups. Both of these systems are installed from the standard media. Connecting to Wi-Fi has always been a simple matter of selecting the correct one, then entering the password. After that it connects automatically.

On my own machine I run Windows 11. It wanted to be connected to the internet while installing, but I easily bypassed that nonsense. It does have something that comes up after each update, but I just skip/decline and it goes away. Otherwise it all works really well. Different to MacOS, but not worse.

I did try Apple Maps for a while on my phone, but it had a tendency to come up with truly idiotic convoluted routes.

I also use MacOS daily, but I don’t find it as compelling as I once did. Apple’s astronomical prices mean I’m unlikely to bother spending my own money on their hardware again.

Strange. I just launch the standard file browser and it shows me everything. The structure is right there. If I want to know where a link points I can see it. It was actually the Mac that used to try to hide everything away.

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I find neither hides it, the insistence, presumption really, on OneDrive, is interesting, it is the sole pathway my College permits for saving files. I had assumed this was built into a security approach, perhaps a motivation for MS too.

My corporate PC was just upgraded to Windows 11 from Windows X. I mean 10.

Being an Enterprise version of Windows, I think, helps to avoid some of the worst of the nags. Being a corporate environment, it’s already entangled with Office 365 and OneDrive completely – so I don’t have to fight that.

I did end up disabling the winOS 11 widget feature entirely, because it was flooded with clickbait articles. There appeared to be no way to disable the “feed” function without disabling all widgets. So out they went. No huge loss. I rarely use widgets on the Mac, either.

I referred to this article to try to head off lurking annoyances. Hope I got 'em all.

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