Re: The cost of Win10 is far too high.
Unfortunately, I've come to the conclusion (some time ago I might add) that MS simply doesn't care. Windows 10 is an object lesson in MS doing what they want and to hell with what the customer wants.
The result is I've stuck with Windows 7 for as long as I could, but I have to admit that unfortunately a change will soon be required. Windows 10 can be made relatively usable, it just requires a shitload of faffing about and 3rd party utilities to fix. Hence, as I slowly (and sadly) begin to downgrade computers in the house to Windows 10 (sorry Linux fans, I just have too many games/apps that don't like Linux - although I do use it on a couple of systems where possible), here's my list of remedial actions to beat Windows 10 into shape:
1) Install Windows 10 LTSC. No feature updates, up to 10 years of security fixes, plus a lot of the bloat and crap such as Edge, Cortana, Store etc. is absent. Upgrading to new builds of LTSC is actually quite easy - but you have full control if you decide to "upgrade" or not. If you want to remain fully legal or use Office 365, then this isn't an option of course because MS refuses to sell LTSC to normal folk and deliberately hobbles O365 not to work on LTSC Windows 10 builds.
2) Install ShutUp10 - allows you to bin all the telemetry and other spyware you don't want. My advice after configuring it is to save a copy of the settings you've applied, then create a scheduled task to run at every start-up which silently re-applies the settings. Useful in case MS ever try to sneakily revert any of them when you install security updates.
3) Install OpenShell - it's a fork of ClassicShell and gives you a Windows 7 oriented Start Menu which is far more user-friendly than the Windows 10 crap.
4) Install ONE (OldNewExplorer) - allows you to bin the ribbon from Windows Explorer, add the status bar back, switch to classical grouping of drives, basically makes Explorer much more Windows 7-like.
5) Install WUMgr (Windows Update Manager) - basically adds back a proper GUI for Windows Updates so you have full control of when and where updates are installed, and allows you to hide any you don't want.
6) Install WinAero Tweaker - optional, but allows a lot of easy control over the Windows GUI, such as setting colours for inactive title bars (no more white, white, white), plus a lot more.
7) Copy over the Windows\Media folder from a Windows 7 machine to banish all the irritating "bongy-bingy-bong" sounds that Windows 10 introduces. Of course if you don't like Windows 7's default sounds, replace with a sound theme you like.
Of course, it is a lot of faffing about that shouldn't be necessary, but the result is a Windows 10 that I do feel reasonably in control of and which is far more user friendly than MS likes it to be...