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August 6th, 2015

More Surprises for Windows 10 Users

Yup. Gordon Kelly at Forbes is right when he writes that Windows is Microsoft’s operating system and it’s free to do with it what it wants. It’s also true that the user base doesn’t have to like it, and as FOSS Force readers are fully aware, there are other options.

Since the release of Windows 10, both network and home users have been finding a few unexpected surprises — nothing big or overly important, but all pointing to what Windows users can expect going forward from the “new,” presumably kinder and gentler, Microsoft.

Windows logoWe’ll start with the home user.

Yesterday, Forbes’ Kelly wrote an article on little pieces that have gone missing in Redmond’s latest and greatest. Again, none of them are deal breakers for him (he’s evidently a happy Windows user), but they point to Microsoft’s much ballyhooed “new way” of doing things. He points to two apps that have been included for free in Windows like forever. Now, ya gotta download, and one way or another, pay for them.

First up: Solitaire is gone. Yup, Solitaire, which has been included in Windows since 1990 in version 3.0. Solitaire. Every office worker’s favorite way to waste time when they’re supposed to be working. With Windows 10, users who want to play a game or two to while away a few hours must download and install it from the Windows Store first. Although it’s available in a free adware version, that option will probably not be acceptable to most MS Solitaire addicts according to Kelly.

“…the ads are highly invasive with mandatory 30 second video slots playing over the screen between every game.”

Yup. That would be a deal breaker for many. I know that before I broke my addiction to Solitaire, sitting through a 30 second video ad between each and every game would be intolerable.

The good news, I guess, is that Windows users can shell out $1.49 per month or $9.99 per year to Microsoft to upgrade to premium, which features “five variations, more card designs, daily challenges and tournaments.” Oh, and users shouldn’t fret about figuring out exactly how to make that upgrade, as Microsoft will constantly be serving nag screens in the freemium version urging an upgrade.

Will this have an impact on Microsoft? Probably not. But I’ll tell you this: It took me five years to get my roommate to make the switch from Windows to Linux simply because she couldn’t find a Linux version of Solitaire she liked as much as the version that came with Redmond’s finest.

What else is missing from Windows 10 that users might be excused for expecting to be included? How about Windows Media Center, which leaves users with no way to play DVD’s?

Again, of course, Microsoft has risen to the occasion with a “terrific” new app that can be downloaded and installed from the Windows Store. It’ll return the function of playing DVD’s to Windows computers, as well as…well, actually nothing — that’s all it does.

“Microsoft has now announced the launch of ‘Windows DVD Player’. It is no WMC replacement and its full feature list is simply:

  • Plays DVDs on your PC
  • Simple controls for disc navigation

Windows DVD Player also won’t play Blu-ray discs nor DVDs from file backups, it is 100% optical discs only.”

For those who upgraded to Windows 10 from 7 or 8, Windows DVD Player will be “free for a limited time,” with no indication of how long this limited time might be. After that, users will need to purchase it for $14.99. Users who perform a clean install instead of upgrading will need to spend the bucks immediately — or find a better DVD player elsewhere for cheaper.

But it’s not just the poor home user who is finding surprises. Business users, spending big bucks with Redmond to keep Windows networks up and running, are also being hit with a surprise or two.

In an article by Nick Heath published today on TechRepublic, we learn that many businesses are in an uproar because Redmond is prepping machines its customers don’t want to upgrade by downloading 2GB to 3GB’s of Windows 10 files — evidently just in case — slowing networks down to a crawl in the process.

“One sysadmin who looks after a network of about 250 machines said the downloads were, ‘Basically using all the bandwidth on our network. We usually get around 50mbps down and now we are at around 5mbps. As soon as a few finish 10 to 11 more computers start going,’ adding, ‘I can’t believe Microsoft is pushing this automatically’.”

Evidently, this pushing of Windows 10 to network computers not slated for upgrades comes as a surprise to the admins.

“IT pros managing these networks had been under the impression that Domain-joined PCs would not receive any downloads without the upgrade being initiated by an administrator – based on guidance issued before last week’s Windows 10 launch.”

Yup. It’s the “new” Microsoft all right. Sort of reminds me of the ending of the old song: “Meet the new boss; Same as the old boss.”

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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19 comments to More Surprises for Windows 10 Users

  • Timon19

    It’s bad enough that home users are getting the “freemium” treatment, but enterprises are getting forced pre-upgrade downloads? In the industry I used to work in, that would tread very close to serious security violations.

  • Mike

    From Windows 95 – “Where do you want to go today?”
    .
    .
    .
    to
    .
    .
    .
    Windows 10 : “Where do you want your money to go today?”
    Windows 10 : “Where do you want your private information to go today?”

    I know where I want Microsoft to go today…

  • Mike

    Clueless vs. Idiots

    I feel sorry for all the clueless people who are about to be subject to Microsoft’s abuses through Windows 10. They will have their privacy and control ripped away without ever really understanding what is happening.

    On the other hand I have no sympathy for the informed IT professionals out there, who by this point should know better. If you are aware of the crap Microsoft is pulling with Windows 10 (and the list is getting longer by the day) and still choose to use Windows then…yeah…good luck with that.

  • Mike, a lot of the trained IT professionals are working with networks that were already in place long before they found their present employment and need to avoid the cost and disruption a migration away from Windows would entail. Also, trained professionals work for non tech bosses, who often choose Windows over *Nix despite the advise from their IT guys and gals.

  • I read this.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3184827/Is-Microsoft-reading-emails-Windows-10-threaten-privacy-watchdogs-warn.html
    Have now advised my son not to up-grade to W10.
    I know Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. do the same thing, but you do at least get the choice whether or not to use them. W10 is an operating system, so no choice at all if you do not know how to disable these ‘services’.

  • Mike

    Christine,

    Sorry I should have been more clear:

    If you are an IT professional aware of the ever growing list of privacy and other concerns with Windows 10 and you use Windows 10 outside of work, then…well…you get what you deserve.

    I called out IT professionals mainly because they are most likely to have read and/or investigated the many issues, as opposed to typical home users.

  • Mike

    In other words, you may have the excuse of needing Windows for work if your employer insists, but at home is another matter. As I said, they should know better.

    It’s amazing. It wasn’t all that long ago that Microsoft sending data from your PC to their servers would have been met with howls of protest and they would have backed off (it’s happened more than once), yet today they take the baby and the bathwater and there’s barely a peep. Sad.

    Well, Windows users: Get used to “Pay to Play” with your new operating system. It only gets worse from here on in.

  • Tyler Olson

    I was checking Windows Updates history on a co-worker’s PC and found two instances of a “Failed” attempt to install Windows10. I asked him why he had tried to install Win10, and he told me “I DIDN’T! I just hovered over the icon in the tray and the installer started up! I canceled it, then it started up again when I was trying to click on another icon in the tray; had to cancel that one, too!”

    I tested and he was correct. Plus it doesn’t seems that the icon can be removed or disabled. Looks like we are going to have a lot of unintentional Win10 users.

  • Duncan

    My mailing list signature quote says it all, and we’re seeing it in action more than ever with W10:

    “Every nonfree program has a lord, a master —
    and if you use the program, he is your master.” Richard Stallman

    MS Windows users are simply letting MS be their master, and if they continue to use it instead of switching to something else, they’re apparently willing to live with that.

  • Eddie G.

    These are not “surprises” for people who have found Linux. Only for the sheeple who claim “..I don’t care what OS it is, as long as I can get to Facebook / Twitter / Google+..” I for one have left the world of Windows forever, and I’ve seen to it that my family has as well….both my younger brothers use it daily, my Mum, my older sister, my nephew, my cousins and their Mom….the list goes on and on. And I notice once a person goes Linux?…even if they find the interface a bit klunky or they miss a particular application from Microsoft, they usually don’t go back.

    As for Microsft’s latest offering? People don’t realize it’s not a BETTER oerating system, just a FANCIER, and more POLISHED one then the previous version. The loss of Solitaire should be enough to wake people up to Microsoft’s crap, but I guess the more you convince people that your way is the ONLY way, the easier it is to control them and get them to do exactly what you say….Windows’ tag-line: “Where Do YOU Want To Go Today?” should be changed to “Where Are WE Taking You Today?. I’ve even got my 14 yrear old son using Fedora Linux on his laptop!!

  • Mike

    Windows has become a huge threat to privacy and freedom, but only if you are dumb enough to use it.

    Here’s a new slogan to replace Micosoft’s lies:

    “Don’t be dumb; don’t use Windows.”

  • JustNiz

    Yep Microsoft already know they are safe to abuse their own users as much as they like because most Windows users are so brainwashed that they refuse to beleive anything else could be better.
    They won’t consider switching to an OS that doesn’t screw them over, even if its also free, works better, has more professional features, and is far more secure.

  • Robert

    For all the people that want to stop the background upgrade: fire up autoruns and unhide all windows entries. Remove all task scheduler jobs containing GWX “get windows 10”. I found the installer files cached in a root directory temporary folder. Of course, most of us Linux people won’t have that problem, unless you’re a computer tech like me.

  • jymm

    I doubt Windows 10 abuses will change anything. Enterprise tied itself to Microsoft years ago and change is costly, even to open source. Most home users don’t want to take the time to look at and learn to use Linux, which is very easy now days. Many haven’t even heard of Linux.

    Apple is the other alternative, yet the cost of Apple will keep many from that switch. MS figures they have a corner on the OS market, and they just may be correct.

    (I use Linux myself)

  • Joe A

    Allow me to offer up a counter perspective. In the case of a DVD player – most of the market has already ripped their DVD’s, or bought them through iTunes, or through Netflix. This fact is underlined by the second fact that many laptops are being sold WITHOUT DVD players. Also, anybody can download VLC – an open source solution. As for solitaire – anyone I’ve seen playing solitaire is not using the original version on their PC, but playing more visually rich versions on their iPhone/iPad/Android Device. There’s a security argument that can be made. One only need to look at security flaw that a legacy floppy driver provided to malware to break out of the virtual machine that the malware could find itself in! That’s pretty serious. So, by removing stuff that is being used less and less, its less code you need to patch, and one less vector that malware writers can use. The charging of a price creates a “reality check” – do I really need solitaire on the machine, or, do I really need to play this DVD on my PC? What is more serious, is the forced upgrades thrust upon IT departments across enterprises. That’s where I need to give kudos to Robert for showing where in the autorun, how to disable get Windows 10. Allowing the average enterprise worker to upgrade to Win 10 without proper testing of the many legacy custom programs that exist in enterprises can wipe out any time that IT had planned to tackle other technology and business issues.

  • Taylor

    Another surprise is after a successful upgrade, if you change any hardware, such as a GPU, you have to do a full paid reinstall because it’s no longer the same machine the upgrade was done on. This was confirmed by a microsoft tech with apologies and a too bad so sad, I know how you feel.

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