back to article Microsoft feels the need, the need for speed in Teams

Microsoft has rolled out an upgrade for its Teams desktop app, and is claiming a more than 30 percent speed jump when switching between chat and channel threads. The upgrades Microsoft engineers made to the collaborative software's underlying framework also ramped up the speed of joining a meeting by 21 percent and in-meeting …

  1. captain veg Silver badge

    Obvious, but...

    Just put a big notice up in front of every participant stating "you are muted".

    Some of the time this will be untrue. But not much.

    -A.

  2. Sparkus

    Get that green screen capability baked in

    'edge detection' for background substitution is pretty poor in Teams.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get that green screen capability baked in

      Matches the rest of Teams then.

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Get that green screen capability baked in

      It's only a feature that was requested years ago.... why would Microsoft ever want to implement something Teams that users actually want rather than something that pushes yet more lock-in? They'll probably introduce video quality controls first... no wait, that doesn't enforce lock-in either.

      How about coding the application so it doesn't require an obscene amount of resources at login to start the damn thing up... because all the MS developers are going to do is to pre-load everything possible into memory and call this "optimisation"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get that green screen capability baked in

        nearing 1/2GB ram on mine.

        Fucking crazy for a half baked chat app

        1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

          Re: Get that green screen capability baked in

          Only half a gig? Lucky bastard. I call it a good day if my Teams processes are below 1.2 GB.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    Pricey

    Backing up Teams chats now(ish) requires you to use the Graph API instead of the EWS "backdoor" and that's chargeable. Not only that but you have to apply to be able to use the facility in the first place from a MS "committee" that operates weekly. Get it wrong, wait another week etc.

    MS are clearly testing the waters with this change. One day you will find that your Sharepoints and One Drives and the rest of Teams will cost you to backup to your own infra. It will still run at the same shoddy pace too. You'll love the sound of your wallet emptying.

    There's an old meme with regards "boiling frogs". That's you that is.

    As the MD of a MS silver partner, I'm probably off message here. Mind you I run Arch (actually) on my work and personal gear so do I give one? Nope.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pricey

      I am pleased to report that my bigcorp which already has its balls in MS' Office 365 vice, has decided to switch off SMB shares and migrate the data to Sharepoint and personal OneDrive folders.

      So apart from having to migrate megabytes of files with file types unsuited to Sharepoint and OneDrive, they're siloing off data and they won't have they own infrastructure to migrate back out to later because there'll be nothing to migrate to.

      Absolute geniuses. Ever onwards towards victory.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pricey

      Having used it as a developer, the Graph API is also horrendously complex and ridiculously slow. Create a team and want to upload a file? Ah no, you'll have to wait for a human to go in through the front end to create the file tab unless you can fortuitously guess the right folder name and create it yourself in the background while you wait.

      The fact that the documentation states (or at least it did the last time I looked) that you have to create a "Team" in two steps, and wait fifteen minutes between step one and step two would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

      Teams feels like a legacy piece of software somehow still holding out despite being outdated and in need of replacement, rather than being a modern piece of software that people are actually paying money for, for some weird reason.

      1. Keith Langmead

        Re: Pricey

        "that you have to create a "Team" in two steps, and wait fifteen minutes between step one and step two would be funny if it wasn't so sad."

        Sounds about right. Replication time for any changes in 365 always seems to be awful. Make a change to fix a user's problem, wait a few minutes and try again... still broken. OK, wait 60 minutes... still broken. Right, so did the thing I tried not work, or has it not replicated yet? Try again the next day... working!

  4. Mayday Silver badge
    Windows

    Upgrades

    “ Microsoft has rolled out an upgrade for..”

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks, “Here we bloody go again. What’s going to break this time?”

    1. Red Ted
      FAIL

      Re: Upgrades

      Combined with:

      “Where’s that bit of UI gone? I’m sure it was there a moment ago.”

      And turning back on some of the options that I’d deliberately turned off, such as the suggested replies in the chats which are among the most condescending bits of UI I have ever seen!

      1. Dave K

        Re: Upgrades

        The only bit of UI I'd like them to remove is that infuriatingly cheerful "We're opening this file in Excel, feel free to keep using Teams" every time I tell it to open a file in Excel. Dimming the entire UI to display a dialog telling me it is doing exactly what I've just told it to do is pointless in the extreme.

      2. Cuddles

        Re: Upgrades

        "Combined with: “Where’s that bit of UI gone? I’m sure it was there a moment ago.”"

        Indeed. Speeding up the software's response to clicking a button by 16% won't make much difference compared to the 5 minutes spent looking for the damn thing.

    2. xyz Silver badge

      Re: Upgrades

      And it did... I was late for a meeting because I got upgraded... Which is tech speak for it broke.

      Note to MS... CI is a complete PITA for users. Stop it.

  5. sarusa Silver badge
    Go

    Well, every little bit helps

    I can we can consider this buggy frankensteined piece of crap upgraded from 'crippled slug' to 'drunken sloth'?

    1. really_adf

      Re: Well, every little bit helps

      upgraded from 'crippled slug' to 'drunken sloth'?

      Pretty much my first thought. When it's so pathetically sluggish to start with there's plenty of scope for improvement.

      The most amusing note to me was, "the Windows biz has apparently cut the latency involved with raising a hand by 16 percent."

      (a) The UI latency of such an action being significant enough to consider measuring in the first place says there is a problem (network latency is unavoidable, but that should apply only for others to see a raised hand).

      (b) IMHO the meaningful measurement is the time from beginning to act to raise your virtual hand until that action is completed. That increased manyfold when the UI was changed to move the button under "Reactions" and no technology improvement can ever recoup that.

      1. Drishmung
        Flame

        Re: Well, every little bit helps

        I am on mute because my fellow inmates are a noisy bunch. I need to speak. I press the [Unmute] button. Which does not change its icon. A second or two goes by. Did the click actually happen, or did Teams silently eat it? Click it again.Time passes. I am on mute. I wasn't, briefly, but now I am on mute. Or maybe I'm not, it depends on when the queued up clicks of frustration finally arrive, and are processed, in due time. In the computer's good time.

        Apparently I am in the hands of the Allied Mastercomputer. Except I do have a mouth, and I very much want to scream. But I am on mute. So no-one will hear me (except my noisy fellow inmates). Or maybe not.

        When I click the button, show that I have clicked the button. If, for whatever reason, that action hasn't quite happened yet, then show some intermediate status until the action HAS completed. It's elementary human interface design...oh wait, stupid me. I assumed you knew about such things. Or cared.

        1. LionelB Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: Well, every little bit helps

          "Except I do have a mouth, and I very much want to scream. But I am on mute. So no-one will hear me ..."

          In Space You Are Always On Mute.

      2. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Re: Well, every little bit helps

        So, I gather Teams doesn't exactly Zoom along ...

    2. yoganmahew

      Re: Well, every little bit helps

      It's soooooooooooo slow. It's unusable on a phone or tablet, the start up and synch time is measured in quarter hours. And the same for Outlook. They used to work, but now they're all broken. No off hours support chats from me then, oh well...

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Well, every little bit helps

      You just know it means they've cached everything they can in yet more memory.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Far too many meetings as it is

    Perhaps someone at MS should look at the old... no make that very old John Cleese video called 'Meetings... Bloody Meetings'.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Far too many meetings as it is

      Oh, they’ve been taking inspiration from a John Cleese film all right. Unfortunately the film in question is “How To Irritate People”.

  7. Mike Lewis

    Just getting it to work would be nice

    Only the organiser has both audio and video. Half of the attendees have audio but no video; the other half have video but no audio.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So still pushing their priorities not users then

    Well over a year ago I started a job managing an MS estate for an education provider. Safeguard was - quite properly - a key focus. Part of that was the policy that no learner backgrounds should be visible. This meant creating a policy that required users to apply a filter in order to join a meeting.

    Do you think this is possible as a sysadmin ? Don't waste your time looking. It isn't. Despite my raising it as a serious issue and being told how wonderful an idea it was. Still not implemented.

    I look forward to the first court case in the UK.

    Mind you, Google are the same. Some good features for Android Auto have been requested for well over 6 years. In the meantime the cruft continues.

  9. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    I wish Microsoft would look at their video codecs. Teams seems to eat CPU way more than Zoom in video calls.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ditch

    I support two charities using Teams. With one, it's only used for quarterly online board meetings. I've just drafted a proposal for the next to ditch Teams and switch to Zoom - I expect resistance, despite the trouble members have in using Teams, because Teams is free and they'll need to pay for a Zoom licence. However, since my proposal also gives my notice of leaving, and that someone else will need to take on the admin role, it won't be my problem if they decide to stick with what doesn't really work for them/

    The other charity has returned to in-person board meetings and they took on my suggestion to try Zoom for the remaining online meetings - and found it far easier. They still have Teams, but mainly as a front-end for file sharing.

    I use a Mac and, whilst I have the Teams app, I only use it for the rare video meeting that I still attend on Teams (with a few accounts with other bodies I do some work for). Most of the time, when I need to access a Teams account, I use a copy of Edge I've installed just for that purpose (Teams doesn't run in Safari without removing some of the security settings); Edge allows quick switching between accounts. I'm trying out Teams in a Win11 VM as well - but just for curiosity... and remind myself how bad it really is.

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: Ditch

      'they'll need to pay for a Zoom licence'

      Why? I use Zoom for charity committee meetings, we don't pay. We have to restart the connection every 40 minutes, no big deal.

      1. Keith Langmead

        Re: Ditch

        And as an added bonus it becomes WAY easier to control how long the meeting goes on for. For instance you can decide the meeting will only last 40 minutes, or perhaps 80 minutes etc. Or if it's gone a bit rambling at the end, rather than having to make excuses to leave you just don't re-join after the next disconnection.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Ditch

      I gave up with the Teams 'app' on both Windows and Linux. Even on Windows it borked due to stupid requirements for a MS account to install it even to accept other's requests! Linux was even worse in terms of a non-working car crash.

      So now when I find myself unable to avoid using Teams I just use Chromium on Linux, it sucks but not as bad.

      Zoom is not perfect, but so much less trouble. And no, I would not trust either for really confidential information.

    3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Ditch

      At the start of the Great Lockdown my parish council started doing remote meetings. We started with Teams, but it was so crap we tried Zoom instead - and have kept doing so. £144 a year licence is quite affordable to use and a lot of smallers parishes.

      There's loads of stuff Zoom doesn't do, won't do, gets wrong, is badly implemented, but it's miles better than Teams. Until last month it even still worked on my old XP Dev machine.

  11. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    I'd rather they fix the UI. In particular I'd like it if, when someone starts sharing their screen, Teams automatically 'focused' it and switched to full screen.

    1. JT_3K

      For me it's notifications?

      I'm *in* the bloody chat where he's just liked my post. I'm *in* the bloody chat where he's just tried to call me. I don't need two unclearable reminders of the crap I'm already watching. I've *just* replied to the bloody comment where you've notified me he's liked it...

  12. Dave559 Silver badge

    Travails through telemetry

    This smells like they are using telemetry to choose what to work on, but sometimes it's not the easily measurable things that are the most important (garbage in, garbage out). If it takes 1 second to raise your virtual hand, does it really matter if it now takes 0.16 second less?

    I'd much rather they fixed that the Linux versions are variably unreliable, and that if you access Teams via a web browser you have to permit third-party cookies (which are supposed to be going away), a sign of a login system that needs work (and don't start me on the simply ludicrous number of sites that you have to enable in NoScript for all of the MS web apps (which among the mishmash of interconnected Office 365 sites they now also seemingly include Bing in the list of sites that they try to connect to, what GDPR-non-compliant badness are they up to trying to share user activity (Personal Data) from private (hah) business documents with a/their search engine without consent?)…)

    1. SloppyJesse

      Re: Travails through telemetry

      > I'd much rather they fixed that the Linux versions are variably unreliable,

      It sounds like they're sorting that by getting rid of it.

      I expect in a board meeting somewhere they will be trumpeting "100% reduction in issues with the Linux client"

    2. Robin 12

      Re: Travails through telemetry

      Pushed to Teams during COVID-19 remote work. It is useful for our work and allowed for decent meetings between team members. Strictly Linux user and never would download the app. Always via the browser.

      A few weeks ago, Teams refused to send me bast the redirect page to the home screen after logging in using any browser. Just a blank screen after the very nice splash screen saying that I am logged in. After an hour with IT, just moved up the chain and it may be looked at, according to their schedule, Nov. 8.

      The nice thing is I have only a few weeks and I am retired so I don't care if they don't get it fixed.

  13. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    "the average commercial user spends more time in Teams chat than they do in email."

    That is a good thing??

    1. Abominator

      Re: "the average commercial user spends more time in Teams chat than they do in email."

      They are stuck in there, because it's so slow.

      No escape.

  14. Abominator

    Lets face it, it could be no fucking slower than it already is.

    1. Drishmung

      Alas, since it has got noticeably slower every release for the past few months (with this touted release being an exception), I very much fear and expect that it can get slower.

  15. PaulVD
    Coat

    Not my most common action

    "switching between ... or joining a meeting ... are among the most common actions taken by Teams users."

    Not for me: my most common action is shutting it down. I can't tell whether MS has accelerated this.

    In the meantime, if I could be bothered, I would try to work out how to stop Teams starting up at boot (I can't uninstall it because I need it once in a blue moon for a commercial client).

    1. David Hicklin Bronze badge

      Re: Not my most common action

      >> how to stop Teams starting up at boot

      Settings - General - Application (half way down General page)

      Untick "auto-start application" along with "On close, keep the application running"

      No charge BTW

  16. MrMerrymaker

    speed increase

    A 290% speed increase isn't anything when it's stuck loading absolutely still, unresponsive.

  17. Grunchy Silver badge

    I hate Microsoft Teams

    It’s just “Skype” but with another stupid name.

    Skype had this test feature where you could see how Microsoft screwed up your microphone or loudspeaker, which they had called “test call,” and which they now made into a paid-for feature.

    Amazingly, when it did work, it was the exact same British-accented lady saying “if you can hear your own voice you’ve configured Skype correctly.”

    I logged into a community college “distance education” course that used Teams, and ever since then Teams has been maddeningly broken. It keeps asking if I want to use my personal account or the college account, which doesn’t work since I finished the course 2 years ago. But Microsoft Teams is hopelessly broken and cannot ever be corrected. The service is garbage echoes anyway, they’ll never do anything about it.

  18. spireite Silver badge

    Where is the true full screen?

    To be honest, speed has never struck me as a problem.

    What does hack me off is the lack of a true full screen on viewing somebodies screen share....

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Where is the true full screen?

      Yeah. I'm intrigued by some of the comments on here. They make it sound like Teams is an unstable application that doesn't work.

      That isn't my experience. I'm not a fan of the UI but as a chat client Teams works fine. Now that so many of our staff (and all of our development team) work from home permanently it's become the primary means of communication and it works well. We don't normally have many meetings because we prefer to do real work but it hosts our daily stand-up meeting (with video) perfectly well for seven of us. And our team is quite spread out - we have people in the UK who are fifty miles away and one of the gang is in Canada. One of the team has occasional stuttering but that's because his internet connection is poor.

      It even seemed fine a year ago when it hosted an H&S meeting with a couple of dozen people present.

      It has no problems with impromptu A/V meetings for when written communication isn't enough or for screen sharing should someone need some input on a problem.

      My only real gripe with it is the poor search functionality. Otherwise it does a perfectly adequate job.

  19. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Skype#

    I remember cancelling some job interviews because they required MS Skype and it just wouldn't run reliably on a modern Linux home computer. The jobs required Linux skills so I imagined the office being a living hell of Linux apps using Excel files as transport layer.

    One nice thing about Google App Suite offices is that there's no Google file format. They also use Zoom because nobody can remember which Google video conferencing app is the right one.

  20. jollyboyspecial Silver badge

    Cache

    The thing that seems to slow down Teams the most is the cache. Like so many applications Teams just keeps right on filling up it's cache and things like jumping from one chat to another just get slower and slower. Gawd knows why developers don't actually think about how long something needs to be in cache for to keep the cache size down.

    And the problem with Teams is that there's no simple "clear cache" button. You have to shut down teams and then manually clear out the cache folder in explorer.

    It's a mess.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Cache

      things like jumping from one chat to another just get slower and slower.

      It's like people are using a different application. There is a (perhaps) tenth of a second delay in switching but it's consistent and doesn't matter whether it's from a busy channel or a quiet one. I just tried with our continuous delivery channel (several dozen messages an hour at times) and it's fine.

      I'm not trying to be a fanboi but am genuinely puzzled at the experience of some people. It implies to me that it's not Teams that's at fault but instead something about those user's configurations that they should investigate.

  21. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    The "One" True App

    Teams suffers from MBCS (Microsoft Bloatware Conglomeration Syndrome). It is defined as trying to make one App do everything for every possible user. So, Teams will soon swallow that other victim of MBCS, to whit MS Office, just as Office once swallowed Word/Excel/Powerpoint/Outlook/Access and prior to that each of those in turn grew bloated with irrelevant drivel that is useless to 99.9% of their user base. Of course it's slow. It's dragging around so much useless bloat it's a miracle it ****ing moves at all.

    I also do not understand why every single piece of software out there has to have millions of different "Notifications" to spam you with, and require you to spend an eternity disabling them. Are they afraid that you might forget their awful software if it isn't constantly bugging to react to the message that Jim in accounts has a new slightly lighter gray jacket? Why not supply software with ALL Notifications turned OFF, and allow us to select what we want?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    well

    considering most of MS 365 and associated shite is now just fancy browsers pretending to be apps, using non standard URL's underneeth not sure how they could make it any slower or crapper.

    But they seem to be trying really fucking hard.

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