Oh, Microsoft… where do I even begin?
I had a wonderful trip through hell on my first encounter with Windows 10, but the bad thing is that the problems just kept on coming. And they still are. I’m currently writing this article on a Windows 10 PC and who knows what could happen as I’m doing so.
Ethernet Driver Issues
Let’s start with something I thought wasn’t Windows’ fault, but turned out to be one — Ethernet. Although I initially thought my ISP was to blame for my poor connection and frequent cut offs, but that’s not the case at all. Apparently, my Ethernet driver randomly fails for no reasons at all. It’s absolutely unpredictable – sometimes I can play a three hour intense game of Grand Theft Auto Online without any hiccups, but other times my driver would fail even when just casually browsing the web.
And please, please don’t tell me I should be fine using just Wi-Fi on my laptop. Wireless is unreliable and completely unsuitable for gaming or high-speed data transfers of any kind.
GPU Driver Issues
Even though I thought I’ve fully dealt with my share of Adobe-related issues, but I was beyond wrong. It wasn’t long before each and every time I opened Photoshop I was greeted with this message:
And this completely baffles me. All my games run just as good as they did on Windows 8.1 (if not better), but something as simple as Photoshop fails to befriend the new GPU drivers. And trust me, I keep checking the NVIDIA app for updates every single day. To be fair, I feel like some of these updates only made matters worse, as I encountered this issue right after updating to the latest version of my driver.
On a side note, a friend of mine with a 17″ Alienware laptop experienced problems even worse than mine. His laptop has a 980M GPU which is an absolute beast, but his latest driver update prevents him from even starting his games, and his laptop crashes as soon as he launches any game. Although he easily solved this issue by installing an older driver, the whole experience of installing a driver that downgrades the performance of your system is something I’ve never really seen before.
But we’re not done with the issues I experienced just yet.
I constantly use my laptop kind of like a desktop. I have an external monitor plugged in whenever I’m at home. But Windows 10 doesn’t seem to like my multi-monitor habit, as it often flickers at random times as you can see in the video below.
And it happens more often than you might think. If I had a dollar every time that I saw the message shown below, I would have a stable enough money to hire my own software development team and make my own OS.
At first I was mad at the driver developers over at NVIDIA for not fully testing their drivers before releasing them to the public, but later on, I found out that this issue isn’t exclusive to NVIDIA graphics cards. My cousin’s Lenovo laptop with an AMD R5 M230 also bumps into the same problems, even when he’s not using a multi-monitor setup. Talk about issues.
Even though it’s been quite a long time since I shared my audio driver issues with Windows 10, there is still no official fix for this problem. Forums, discussions, driver updates, and supposed fixes have brought me nowhere. And the problem is insanely annoying. Even at just level 20 on the system volume, the audio comes out over-amplified and distorted. It doesn’t matter if I’m listening through the laptop speakers, headphones, or external speakers. It’s all the same.
To be fair, this hasn’t bugged me too much since I own an external audio card. Luckily, that works just fine and I didn’t have to do anything. Of course, this solution only works if you primarily use your laptop at home, where you’ve got plenty of desk space to work with. But what if you’re on an airplane and want to watch a movie with proper sound? Should you lug around an external audio card? Obviously not. So, please, Microsoft and Realtek, get it together and fix this once and for all.
“What is this freezing you speak of?”, you might ask. Well, let me introduce you to these two articles:
Every Cloud has a Silver Lining (It’s not all bad)
Windows 10 isn’t all bad, however. Although I’ve had a terrible experience running it on my primary laptop, I had little to no issues using it on desktop computers. There are also a number of features which really do help the OS stand out and clearly indicate that this is the next big step for Microsoft. Here are a few of the Windows 10 features I really enjoyed (in no particular order):
From DirectX 12, to the new Xbox-related features, everything new that Windows 10 brings to the table in terms of gaming is sure to please.
The Dropbox Integration
Giving Dropbox it’s own spot next to OneDrive in the file explorer is a rather big step, since I’m not sure how much people use OneDrive that actively anyway…but I know that Dropbox is definitely popular.
The New Start Menu
I would have been absolutely mad if Microsoft got rid of the live tiles it introduced in Windows 8. But they didn’t. Instead, they combined both form and function in the new Start Menu, which is already considered one of Windows 10’s main highlights.
The New Minimal Settings UI
It’s fresh, it’s tidy, it’s functional. The new UI of Settings shows exactly what a modern OS has to look like.
A separate notification tray-ish feature is exactly what Windows 8 was missing. Luckily, Microsoft got that figured out and brought us something even better.
Battery life in Windows 10 is as good as it gets. No further comment needed.
In my earlier unplugged article I mentioned that I’ll give Windows 10 a spin and will decide if I want to downgrade to 8.1 Pro. Well, I believe I’ve given Windows 10 all the chances I could and it’s failed plenty of times already. Sadly enough I can’t make a simple downgrade to my old version of Windows because I rushed and deleted my windows.old folder. You know…I was running low on space on my SSD (thanks, GTA V!).
I’ve already purchased my Windows 8.1 key and Windows 10 is pretty much living its final days on my laptop. I’m sure many of you will disagree with my downgrade decision, but as a university student who is going to work on a lot of media projects, I need maximum reliability and functionality. Windows 10 has failed to give me that so far, and thus I have no other choice but to downgrade.
This is by no means a final goodbye. After seeing Windows 8.1 a few years ago I swore I would never use it again. But here I am, several years later, rather happy with what it has to offer in comparison to Windows 7. I’m sure this will also be the case with Windows 10. As more and more updates are being rolled out Windows 10 will eventually become just as stable as its predecessors (or maybe even more stable). But until then, I’m afraid this relationship is over.
Goodbye Windows 10. I’m sorry it didn’t work out between us, but you just didn’t live up to my expectations. I’ll see you in a few years. I hope you’ll have improved for my needs by then.