back to article Microsoft calls time on Timeline: Don't worry, more features that nobody asked for coming your way

Microsoft is set to pull down at least one shutter on the once-trumpeted Timeline feature of Windows 10, judging by the most recent emission on the Windows Insider Dev Channel. Lurking within the tedium that usually makes up a Dev Channel build nowadays was the following nugget: If you have your activity history synced …

  1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    Having never used Windows, is Timeline similar to Handoff on Apple devices? I find that very useful as a feature, so either people like me on Windows represent a use case too small to bother with, or MS's implementation was lacking. Either way I thought the idea was decent.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      I would never want Windows doing any sort of "synchronization" with my non-Windows devices. But then I'm not a fan of integration in general.

  2. Dave K

    This is one of my typical gripes with Windows 10 - the fact that MS keeps introducing new features, making a song and dance about them, then dropping them a few years later after take-up has been slow. Meanwhile, the core UI of Windows 10 remains messy and clearly unfinished in many areas.

    So far we've seen the end of:



    Paint 3D (not completely dead, but shuffled off to the store)

    3D Objects folder


    Maybe instead of devoting so much effort to short-lived gimmicks that people largely don't use, they might want to spend some time getting the basics right first of all.

    1. Steve K

      Focus Assist

      Focus Assist is another one to turn off immediately, along with Focussed Inbox in Outlook/Exchange.

      Also (in O365 corporate) Admins can now opt in (or was it out) to linking Corporate and Personal MS IDs via Bing searches to earn MS Rewards.

      Who asked for that (apart from the Bing product team....)?

      1. Dave K

        Re: Focus Assist

        Good point, Focussed Inbox is always one of the first things I disable. Once again, instead of gimmicks like this, I'd much rather they stop the damn thing from freezing if there's a delay with server communication. Oh, and pruning some of the god-awful white space they keep adding in as well. Outlook is almost unusable on a small 16:9 laptop screen these days if you have the message pane below the e-mail list.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Focus Assist

          Yeah, more than once I've had a colleague complain that they're not getting some set of emails, only to discover that they accidentally had the idiotic Focus misfeature enabled and it was hiding them.

          Personally, I never enable the Preview Pane / Reading Pane in Outlook. There have been too many Outlook vulnerabilities that could be triggered through Preview/Reading. (And Outlook still – still – will render certain types of inline images even with all image-rendering options turned off. Despite the fact that was publicly raised as a vulnerability in 1998. Is the Windows Metafile renderer completely free of exploitable vulnerabilities? Want to bet on it?) At least when I have to open messages explicitly in a separate window, I have a moment to think about whether I actually want to do that.

        2. Steve K

          Re: Focus Assist

          Ooh and moving the Outlook search box to the top?? With no way to change it.

          It’s awkward to reach it there.

    2. Adelio

      The other thing that microsoft do is launch something, then rename it, then rename it again... and again and then finally drop it!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Forgot to include: launch a similar, but not identical, product that has the same name plus an added word or two.

        Skype / skype for business.

        Teams/ Teams Light

        Any number of "express" versions like Outlook / Outlook Express

        They'll be named similarly enough that you can't easily filter your Google search to filter the correct results (no, Bing doesn't do any better) but different enough that the results for the "wrong" software won't quite work.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      You've never had Clippy popup at you at random then.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge

      don't forget the disappearance of the Windows 7 and XP "look and feel"

      and the traditional Start Menu (not that "start thing" of Win-10-nic)

      Even with start menu replacements, there's still SO MUCH that STILL needs to go away, from ads and spyware to "the Micros~1 Logon" that you're strong-armed into using.

      So Micros~1 continues to get it "bass ackwards" with respect to Win-10-nic "features'

      And all they needed to do... ALL they needed... was to make Windows 7 more robust and reliable and to fully support newer hardware. And it would have COST THEM LESS to have done so.

    5. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      From a recent story I understand the Windows Stores and UWP are also on the way out.

      Not Win10 specific, but: Silverlight, WPF, and WCF.

      I've never used any of the dead or dying Win10 features (because ugh), but I do work on a project that -- at considerable urging from Microsoft -- made heavy use of WCF, and Microsoft's abandonment of that in its new hippie incarnations of .NET is annoying. Microsoft has maybe twice the attention span of Google.

  3. LenG

    Timeline? What the hell is that?

    Don't use it. Didn't even know it existed. Possibly the fact that I don't have an MS account shields me slightly from this sort of crud?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Timeline? What the hell is that?

      It's what happens when you accidently press Windows key-Tab. Before it was Flip 3D which was actually useful. Maybe they'll bring it back, if they actually listen to users.

    2. Adelio

      Re: Timeline? What the hell is that?

      Yup, who actually wants or needs a Microsoft account. I do not and never will.

  4. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

    "Local activity history will remain on Windows 10"

    Not on my box, it won't. All of that gets disabled on machines I have anything to do with. And Timeline has long been one of my "first kills" after a fresh install of Windows 10 (along with that damned stupid and indeed dangerous hiding of file extensions).

    1. LenG

      Re: "Local activity history will remain on Windows 10"

      Hiding file extensions is, even by MS standards, an incomprehensibly stupid thing to do.

      1. Adelio

        Re: "Local activity history will remain on Windows 10"


    2. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

      Re: "Local activity history will remain on Windows 10"

      Microsoft telemetry already told them their users are disabling Timeline. That's why they are killing it. Their other option was removing your ability to disable it, but I guess Timeline doesn't generate any revenue for them...

      Agree about hiding extensions. But I use that "feature" on the network drive when I replace the icon on a batch file to make it look like a database or similar. Keeps the instructions very simple for the point-and-click users. And I think that's the same reason Microsoft does it as well. It's the same thinking behind Libraries. You don't need to know what it is, you don't need to know what it does, you don't need to know where it's saved, just click on what you're told and Clippy/Bob/Cortana will take care of the rest.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: "Local activity history will remain on Windows 10"

        Telemetry is something else I have to (repeatedly) disable. It keeps turning itself back on though, which is infuriating (and possibly not legal). O&O ShutUp10 is good for keeping on top of these things, though.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "We can't wait to hear what you think!"

    Really ? Here : TURN IT OFF !!

    I want an OS, not a circus. Stop trying to transform Windows into the most interesting thing on my PC. It's there to run the stuff I need, not to remind me that I'm using a Borkzilla product.

    Why can't Borkzilla understand ? You need to make an OS channel and a bullshit channel. The OS channel should be stable, reliable, no nonsense. The bullshit channel can have whatever brainfart you can concieve of, and users can subscribe to it if they want.

    That would make things a lot simpler.

    1. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: "We can't wait to hear what you think!"

      If these vendors designed hammers, there'd be a huge logo on the handle with a nail through it so you'd keep getting pricked into looking at the logo.

    2. LenG

      Re: "We can't wait to hear what you think!"

      The best OS is the one you are completely unaware of.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: "We can't wait to hear what you think!"

      I want an OS, not a circus

      To them, the OS *IS* the MOST important thing on YOUR PC. This dates back to the MS-DOS days where arrogant developers would silently mess up your autoexec.bat and config.sys files, which required manual intervention to fix it BACK.

      From the article: the ability to restart applications automatically following reboot and sign in

      OK - this is what phones do, sometimes, if you want them to. However, didn't we used to have a 'Startup' folder in Start Menu to start things on bootup? Aren't there registry entries we could muck with to make that happen? And I've seen 3rd party GUI tools for non-guru users that leverage these.

      So here's the thing: it's bad enough when malware takes over these "features". Let's not allow regular applications to do it, too. I may NOT want to spend an extra 30 seconds booting up to recover whatever web pages were visible when I powered off last. Or maybe I do. But browsers typically let me "recover" that state when I start them myself. Or choose NOT to.

      I can only see this causing even MORE inconvenience, having to MANUALLY SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING EVERY TIME I POWER OFF.

      1. whitepines

        Re: "We can't wait to hear what you think!"

        the ability to restart applications automatically following reboot and sign in

        My Linux boxes have all done that, locally, for the past 15 years or more. It's something I don't even think about any more, I just expect it to happen on login and very much like it.

        Did Micros~1 somehow manage to require a cloudy service backend for this basic feature?

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: "We can't wait to hear what you think!"

          I loathe it. If I want state saved and restored, I save it. Tastes differ, I suppose.

  6. General Purpose Silver badge

    "more features that nobody asked for"

    Aren't "features that nobody asked for" sometimes "brilliant ideas that nobody else had thought of"?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: "more features that nobody asked for"

      Absolutely, but the last time that happened in the world of computers was when the guy added a macro language to the spreadsheet program because he'd finished it early.

  7. Jason Hindle

    I’ve had plenty of mileage from Timeline

    I like it and it does set Windows apart from Apple’s Mission Control. It is Mission Control + history. Corporates dislike it presumably because it means details of documents opened, and so on, on Microsoft servers? Being able to stop for the day, and then continue where I left off (smaller device) on the commute was pretty cool. It’s now disabled on the corporate Dell.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like