Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Windows 10 and the daily mess

Here is my history:

In 1981, I got my first computer, an Atari 800 with 16 KB of RAM, no disk(ette) drive, and only a TV as an output device.  It was an amazing gateway to programming in assembly language and gave me the enthusiasm for a career in programming.

Along the way, I'd got an Atari ST (Motorola 68000), IBM L40SX (80386sx), a Motorola 68LC040/68040-based Mac, a Power Computing PowerCenter 225 (Motorola 604e) Mac clone, and more.  I worked with Windows 3.x and later at work, mostly as an aside to my programming duties.

A couple of years ago, I bought a Lenovo Flex 3, 14 inch touchscreen-capable machine with a dual-core i7 processor and 8 GB of RAM.  It was for someone else who kept borrowing my quad-core i7 MacBook Pro that I needed so much.  I even bought one later, feeling impressed by its usefulness.  I ended up giving it away to someone in need, and I didn't mind.

It was a learning experience.

A lot of life has happened since then and the mid-2012 MacBook Pro is dead and I'm currently using an Omen by HP gaming laptop--quad-core, 7th generation i7 with 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive.  It's a 15.6 inch machine with Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics hardware.  Potent but not supremely powerful.  It's not so different from the MacBook Pro, except that machine had a 480 GB SSD and 16 GB of RAM.

Oh, and Mac OS X was quite different from Windows 10.

When Windows 7 arrived, it was obvious that Microsoft intended quality to be more of a priority.  It happened.  Then, Windows 8 and 8.1 seemed to be a typical mess, and then, Windows 10 would solve it all.

Between the Lenovo and the HP, I can hardly fault the hardware.  They worked as planned, most likely.  Why the software is such a pain is beyond me.  Doesn't Microsoft hire all of those H-1B visa-enabled people because they just can't find talented U.S. citizens?

While searching the operating system, I end up in displays that look as though they come from Windows NT 4.x--I spent a lot of time using that.  The startup routines seem about as smooth as WinNT, as well.  That wasn't praise.  It takes quite a while after the user interface has been loaded to where it's actually, fully operational.

Also, it's taken me months of crappy internet connections to get the machine to take all of the updates.  Why is a mobile hotspot or other metered connection so difficult to use?  Mac OS X was fine with a mobile hotspot, but it wasn't always clear about connection problems, either.  Generally, it didn't try to download the same update 3 times and continue to fail because it would put the update in a holding area once it downloaded it correctly.

It's been a pain to update because you have zero control over what's being updated.  HP has tried to give me some control through their Support Assistant software, but it can't override every system update.

I look at HP Support Assistant and Update and Security control panels first.  Then, I look at Windows Defender Security Center.  Last, I look at Microsoft Store.

Regardless of the connection, I've never had a secure feeling that updates were going to work.  I had trouble with the fall (1709) update, as well as the spring (1803) update, plus much of it in-between those two.  Even virus patterns were difficult to download at times.  I would think that it would download something, make sure it was ready to be used for the update and let it be installed.

This morning, I left the machine idle for a little while and when I returned, it wanted to install more fixes for Adobe Flash, as well as some of the typical monthly items.  That went rather smoothly, probably because I didn't need to use the computer.

Update 2018.07.30: Microsoft Store continues to break.  Whether it's on my phone's mobile hotspot, Comcast/Xfinity, or various other internet connections, it doesn't seem to be happy, especially since the Spring 2018 update.

I'm still unsure why it won't display my camera's raw files.  The Lenovo machine did.

Update 2018.10.04: I am anticipating the 1809 update.  It's already available to some but I suppose it is constrained with so many people requesting the download.  I'm not in a hurry because I don't want to deal with problems.  There was some notice about Intel Display Audio drivers not being up to date and that caused the update to be delayed for some.  I don't have that issue, and I checked and found that the WiFi and Bluetooth drivers needed to be updated.

Update 2019.03.30: 1809 was such a mess and at some point, the updates changed 1809 to 1803 for whatever reason.  1809 is apparently solidly in there now, though.  Supposedly, fewer than 50% have 1809 and will just see 1903 instead.  Hopefully, someone will test it and test it and test it before it gets to me.

Even with the M.2 drive and 32GB of RAM, Windows seems to struggle.  I had higher hopes, after all these years of being on a Mac.  Things work but things don't work consistently and it shows that they have teams for so many different applications but without one set of specifications for the user interface and user interaction.  It looks like Windows NT 3.51 in certain places, as well as Windows 98SE in others.  I thought that, with Windows 7, that it would be ONE system.  Certainly, there are plenty of people sticking to that version, even though time is running out.

Having a better connection through Comcast/Xfinity helps, also, but nothing seems certain.  Hopefully, it improves with the Spring 2019 updates.