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Why Windows 10 isn’t ready for a July release

Windows 10 Build 10130

Barry Collins fears Microsoft's soon-to-be-released OS is nowhere near ready for the public

A full six months before Windows 8 was released, I had the beta operating system installed on my day-to-day work PC. It wasn’t perfect, it still had irritating flaws, but the most revolutionary redesign of the operating system since Windows 95 was reliable enough to run on a my workaday system half a year before launch.

Yet, he we are, little more than six weeks before Microsoft is due to launch Windows 10, and I wouldn’t let Microsoft’s latest effort anywhere near a mission-critical PC. Not even in the same postcode.

I’ve tested every single version of the Windows 10 Technical Preview since Microsoft launched the first effort back in October last year. Instead of making fewer and fewer changes as the operating system edges closer to launch, Microsoft continues to fiddle with major parts of the OS: the Start Menu, the web browser, the desktop, Cortana. The result is a crash-prone, bug-strewn shambles of an operating system that is nowhere near ready for release to the general public.

Before I could even install the latest version – Build 10130 – I had to completely wipe my test PC and start again. The previous build had completely banjaxed my Surface Pro, failing to do anything when you pressed the Start button or even let me access any part of the operating system that was built out of the “modern UI”. And that’s on Microsoft’s own hardware. A full restore to Windows 8 and reinstall of the Technical Preview was required to even get my Surface back into a workable state, which is three or four hours of my life I’m never getting back.

Now fully refreshed with the latest build issued to the “fast ring” – admittedly, the most experimental, least stable of the test releases – my Windows 10 installation is still desperately wobbly. Here’s just a sample of the problems I’m facing on a daily basis:

  • Jerky scrolling through web pages and apps, most likely due to wonky touch drivers
  • Cortana correctly transcribing voice commands but delivering blank results
  • Windows Store apps repeatedly crashing, with the People app refusing to load properly at all
  • Regular Wi-Fi dropouts that can only be resolved by rebooting the PC
  • An explorer.exe message appearing on the shutdown screen every time I try and perform said reboot
  • Persistent failure to automatically install updates

It’s not only these fixable bugs that worry me, but the general direction in which the operating system is heading. The Start Menu now scrolls vertically as well as horizontally, with tiles awkwardly falling off the bottom and side of the screen; the four (four!) button presses it takes just to shut down or reboot the device in touch mode (yes, they’ve removed Power options from the Start menu again); the continued confusion and duplication between the old-fashioned Control Panel and the new-fangled Settings menu; the dreadful new layout of the Windows Store and indeed all of Microsoft’s default apps (such as News, Money, Sport) which have gone from beautifully designed flickbooks to hideously overcrowded web pages.

I love Microsoft as a company, and I’ve used nothing but Windows for my day-to-day work system for my entire career. But with only weeks to go until the big day on 29 July, I’ve never been more tempted to move to Mac.

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