back to article Windows 11 unable to escape the shadow of Windows 10

Many users are still steering clear of Windows 11 as Microsoft continues to shovel AI into its flagship operating system and prepares updates to mollify regulators. The latest figures from Statcounter – there are no official numbers from Microsoft itself – paint a grim picture for the Windows vendor. Windows 10 does not appear …

  1. Jim Willsher

    The hardware requirements are the only thing stopping us upgrading. Our fleet is W10 and W11 has a few beneficial features, but we're not about to replace good hardware to do it.

    1. bradavon

      You can install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware. Just requires a registry key to be changed.

      You get Windows Updates too.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        And then it is considered "unsupported" by Microsoft

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Since when has MS Support

          been worth a bent penny?

          Come on now, don't be shy... When exactly?

          Their support unless you are a mega corp is worthless.

          Much like their QA really.

          1. Grogan Silver badge

            Re: Since when has MS Support

            "Support" doesn't necessarily mean calling tech support. It means your system won't get support for any specific problems. It means your systems aren't certified for running Windows and if you have driver issues or anything, now or later, a fix may not be coming.

            Don't think like a home user, things like that matter more in companies where they have to answer to boards of directors etc.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Great idea - lets just fudge a reg hack onto an enterprise estate so we can force Win 11 on users who will do nothing but complain that it looks different.......

        No Thanks!

    2. Grunchy Silver badge

      I’m not “upgrading” to Windows 11, why would I? Windows 11 has no beneficial features (of any value to me, anyway).

      The most beneficial feature has been to run Windows inside of Qemu/Virt-manager inside of Linux, because now my entire Windows environment is encapsulated inside a single qcow2 file, so backup has suddenly become utterly painless — after decades of being jerked around by Microsoft. Second feature is the snapshot function. Windows can suffer all the b/s of failed updates or whatever incompetence they are guilty of, and I can recover no matter what bungling Microsoft does to it. And now security updates are wholly irrelevant because I run Windows sandboxed from the internet: I use Linux to access the internet.

      What does Windows 11 do? I really couldn’t care less, to be honest.

      Microsoft is, frankly, just another vendor to avoid like the plague. Same as like Simpson Sears down at the mall, when Craftsman and Kenmore were no longer providing compelling value.

      These companies have become obsolete, and I have moved on.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        I agree there is exactly zero reason to upgrade to Windows 11. And there never will be, as the only reason for leaving Windows 10 will be lack of support - and by that time Windows 12 will exist so Windows 11 will be skipped by everyone upgrading from Windows 10.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We were perfectly happy with Windows 10 but our MSP accidently pushed out Windows 11, I asked it to stop but turns out the package they use couldn't block it anymore because Microsoft kept changing the patch name for Windows 11 to stop people avoiding it, arsehole MS. I've managed to avoid it, can't stand Windows 11.

  2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

    "... Extended Security Updates to keep the lights on a little longer"

    I'd be surprised if there's not almost immediately an "unofficial" way found to access them. I'd certainly use it if so. You won't get me onto a new version until they fix the fuckups in 11 (bring on 12?).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Probably will be, it was certainly a thing with Windoze eXtra Pitiful, just a registry entry so it would pretend to be a POS system. I mean, it was already a POS, so it's not like it was a lie.

    2. Dave K

      I expect there will be, unless Microsoft tighten things up. For Windows 7, a simple script would do it. After all, Microsoft made the ESU updates freely downloadable to all via the Microsoft Update Catalogue, it's just that they'd fail to install if you didn't have an ESU key (the installation failed part way through then rolled-back). Didn't take long for people to work around that.

      It also opened an interesting ethical question - is it wrong/illegal to use a 3rd party script to allow a freely downloadable file to install correctly on your PC? Certainly the ethics were a bit easier as MS refused to sell ESU keys to ordinary people. Not sure what approach they'll take with W10.

  3. Snake Silver badge

    indeed

    I have both Win10 and Win11 installed and can dual boot between them, giving me a choice.

    I don't bother booting into Win11 beyond keeping it patched with MS's updates. There's just not enough incentive especially once you add in the continuing stability questions, never mind the continuing privacy questions.

    Maybe one day I'll be forced into Win11, once MS stops updating Win10 and a serious security hole is left open. But, from here, I'm not in a rush for that day to ever come.

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: indeed

      Call me a cynic but I wouldn't put it past them to accidentally slip a security problem into W10 to 'encourage' users to upgrade to W11.

      There's a reason for the engineering maxim "If it works don't screw with it".

      1. simonlb Silver badge

        Re: indeed

        to accidentally slip a security problem into W10 to 'encourage' users to upgrade to W11

        They've already done that shit. I did notice Win7 start to get a lot of 'updates' rolled out just after MS tried the GWX shenanigans which had royally pissed people off. These subsequent updates removed options to choose whether to install all or some of the updates - it was then all or nothing. Then after updating, one or more things in Win7 stopped working, as if MS were hoping you'd just throw in the towel and download Win10.

      2. 9180 Observer

        Re: indeed

        I’ve been a MS Windows user for decades. MS is notorious for their greedy products. If they throw a security hole, what I started doing make sure my virus software (Windows 10 compatible) is up to date. From what I have read there is a lot of W10 users digging in and not upgrading. I hope this continues.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    would bring its AI-infused assistance, Copilot, to Windows 10.

    I really hope that's something I get offered to install ignore as an option and not something bundled with an update and installed by default and so needing specifically uninstalling

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: would bring its AI-infused assistance, Copilot, to Windows 10.

      I think we all know the answer to that one.

      Prepare to be disappointed!

    2. GioCiampa

      Re: would bring its AI-infused assistance, Copilot, to Windows 10.

      "specifically uninstalling"

      Assuming you get the option to do so...

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: would bring its AI-infused assistance, Copilot, to Windows 10.

        Assuming you get the option to do so...

        That option is always there, it just might require uninstalling Windows and replacing it with something that works, preferably with less spyware.

  5. Tubz Silver badge

    I disagree with the comment "precious little in Windows 11 to tempt users away from Windows 10", it is better than Win10, same way as Win7 was better than Vista, they fixed things, tweaked, cleaned up the UI and made a bigger effort to standardise, the task is still ongoing and it's a little quicker. Most people are grumbling due to the artificial hardware requirements, to help boost sales. If Microsoft dropped that, then uptake would jump dramatically and I wouldn't put it past them to do it and then give people advance warning of hardware changes for Win12 after learning the lesson the hard way again.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      > give people advance warning of hardware changes for Win12

      AI coprocessor to make CoPilot faster…

      Just that the majority of W11 systems don’t have an AI coprocessor….

      So I suggest advanced warning needs to be, like IBM announcements back in the day, 7 plus years in advance…

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Tubz - Really ?

      Standardize what ? They're the only game in town, no need to be inter-operable with other OS or systems.

      Define little quicker please. Did you personally tried it on W10 hardware for comparison ?

      1. GioCiampa

        Re: @Tubz - Really ?

        I presume "standardise" refers to the crapstorm that is the control panel.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Tubz - Really ?

        I've had to buy a new laptop because old one died, got a brand new one with a current CPU in the same range and the same amount of memory, 8GB. Only difference is no more discrete GPU, only the integrated Intel Xe, and of course Windows 11.

        It's slower. It's got some weird UI glitches where I can't click on windows to focus them. It's got "AI" trying to improve sound, which basically fucks it up.

        I do regret having been in a hurry to get it working and not taking the time to get Windows 10 on it. At least my Linux Mint USB worked out of the box, so I can swith back to that when I need (like for upgrading the BIOS, which fails silently in Windows).

      3. Tubz Silver badge

        Re: @Tubz - Really ?

        Standardise as in more consistent look to the UI rather than having a mix of old Win3.x, Win9x, 7 and 10, control panel perfect example, just doesn't fit anymore with UI.

    3. LenG

      Better is in the eye of the beholder

      You may find Win 11 better but for me there is absolutely no feature I want and I require the ability to customise the interface for my own needs.

    4. tiggity Silver badge

      @Tubz

      Win 11 is worse in many ways, IMHO, but a key one is the context menu

      When my work machine was forcibly upgraded to W11 (from W10)

      Context menu was noticeably slower.

      All the useful stuff was an extra click away (via the show more options item) - seems nothing but irritating and slows down activities when always needing an extra click to do anything useful.

      I had to make tweaks to get "old style" context menu back

      Had a lot more (in)stability issues with W11, especially with Teams - Teams was poor with mic, screen share, camera already, but with W11 it reached new depths, rare is the week when there's not at least one total loss of sound or image for no obvious reason (i.e. not bandwidth issues).

      Most W11 updates seem to break at least one of wifi, microphone and sound settings. Whenever there's a forced update its the "fun" of what is broken this time.

      .. not out of date drivers issues causinng teh problems as mandated we run various software to ensure drivers up to date (amongst a raft of other stuff).

      .

    5. Dave K

      It's certainly prettier and more consistent than Windows 10 (although that's not a high bar to overcome if we're honest). But I've not really seen any functional ways in which it is better - and I do dual-boot it here.

      The start menu is worse, the task bar is worse (albeit a bit better with recent updates), the context menu is worse for power users, the forced requirement for a Microsoft account is worse, the adverts everywhere for OneDrive and Office 365 are worse, the system requirements are *way* worse.

      I want to like Windows 11 (I've never really liked the ugly and inconsistent W10), and with a few simple tweaks MS could easily turn it into a well-liked OS. They just don't seem bothered and seem to prefer using W10's EOL as a stick to get people to move instead.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "The start menu is worse"

        That must be quite an achievement.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          RE: Start Menu

          I've been hearing complaints about Win10's Start Menu for many years, and I've never quite understood them.

          WHY are you even depending upon Win10's Start Menu by this day and age? Why are you stuck in a paradigm from the 20th Century??

          Your most often-used shortcuts should be pnned into the Taskbar. You're secondly most-used shortcuts should be as tiles on the flyout Start Menu right-side popup. These should take care of, what, 90%+ of your application access requirements? Why are you even having to go into your Start Menu so often as to notice your annoyance with it??

          MS made application shortcut access easier...but it sounds, every time, like you people choose to ignore it. If I go into the general Start Menu shortcut access list every 5 months, that's probably a lot.

          In other words, you're doing it wrong yet still blaming MS for you not using their latest time saving shortcut usage paradigms.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Mwnelson

            Re: RE: Start Menu

            I think you're a little unfair here. Consider for a moment that many schools still have old Windows machines because they've never been able to afford to upgrade.

            I literally taught at a college a year ago that were using a mix of XP/Vista era Hardware and Windows 10 through Horizon. I kid you not!

            When talking about design paradigm I do understand what you're driving at but consider for a moment the Coca Cola logo. Over the years it's had minor tweaks but at core is still the old style that the world is familiar with. What happens when they try to modernise? Well everyone hated it (New Coke).

            The history of tech is littered with superior solutions to problems that got discarded in favour of more regressive systems.

            Most users are never going to pin apps to taskbars. Power users definitely aren't (they'd need more taskbars). Enterprise and educational users aren't going to either for the most part.

            Much like there are more efficient ways of boarding planes than the systems currently in use - it comes down to what the market and users will tolerate. The number of people complaining about the start menu should tell you quite simply that they want the old paradigm.

            That doesn't make you wrong or them right. It just makes it the most popular choice. So if windows wants market share they need to follow what their users want...not what their tech geeks and advertiser's want.

            That's my opinion anyway.

            1. Geoffrey W

              Re: RE: Start Menu

              Just another example of someone completely unable to understand that someone else might have a different way of doing things, instead of doing it the "Right" way, like they do.

          3. allyngibson

            Re: RE: Start Menu

            I've been pinning apps to the taskbar since... Windows 98. I remember the "Quick Launch" bar, though that was a great feature, and made use of it right away.

            It took two things -- using Linux more regularly, and COVID working from home with a remote desktop -- to embrace pinning apps to my Start Menu. I don't think I've ever had many icons on my Linux desktops, so I was used to minimalism there. Using a remote desktop, my resolution at home and at work were wildly different, so the icons on my work computer would flow wildly and sometimes randomly. I had, years earlier, deleted all of the tiles from my start menus at work and at home, and then I started rebuilding the work start menu with tiles of the things I had on my desktop, eliminating icons as I went. None of Microsoft's "active tiles" stuff. Just the things I need and use.

            I think if any of my coworkers saw my set-up, though, they'd be like, "How can you work that way?" Meanwhile, I walk past desks, see a hundred icons, and feel my stomach churn.

          4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: RE: Start Menu

            "I've been hearing complaints about Win10's Start Menu for many years, and I've never quite understood them.

            WHY are you even depending upon Win10's Start Menu by this day and age? Why are you stuck in a paradigm from the 20th Century??"

            My comparison is with Linux running KDE and the earlier versions of Windows. The latter were sort of (but not very well) organised on functional lines. My KDE menu is (a) fairly well organised on functional lines by default and (b) I have complete control over reorganising it by means such as introducing functional areas and shoving less used stuff to sub menus which i take it is what you mean by fly-out menus. A default alphabetical menu as default? Who thought that was a good idea? It's about as good an idea as writing a sentence by listing what words you want to use in alphabetical order and leaving them like that.

            And, because it's a Linux box that has a lot of stuff installed by default and more installable pinning isn't adequate. Yes, some stuff is there but I need room for the multiple desktop manager, the running applications system tray.

            1. Snake Silver badge

              Re: RE: Start Menu

              Since when has alphabetical listing NOT made sense??! Isn't just about *everything* in our lives listed alphabetically, from roll call in middle school, to sorting in paperwork filing, to product listings (or at least filtering) on websites?? Are you really going to take the position that, since KDE decided otherwise, alphabetical makes no sense?!

              By Dog Linux users will see the world only through their own tinted glasses.

              1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
                Holmes

                Re: RE: Start Menu

                An alphabetical listing makes sense for a bookcase, if you know the name of the author for which you're seeking, and there aren't too many books. Otherwise, you might want to section it a little further: fiction/non fiction, thrillers, historical, westerns, science fiction, or languages, cookbooks, history, travel, computers...

                Equally, an alphabetical menu works perfectly if you know the name of the program you want to work with, and there aren't too many to scroll through. On the other hand, a menu grouped by function...

              2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: RE: Start Menu

                "Word" is under "W". "Excel" is under "E". But "Teams" is under "Microsoft Teams", "Edge" is under "Microsoft Edge", and so are under "M".

                "Powershell"? It's under "W" for "Windows Powershell".

                The alphabetic sorting is simply ridiculous. Somebody decided that the tree-structure of the Start Menu was ""ugly" or "not elegant". But you still need to search for the thing you want.

                1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

                  Re: But "Teams" is under "Microsoft Teams", "Edge" is under "Microsoft Edge"

                  That is so that they can change the name of them more easily.

                2. Snake Silver badge

                  Re: RE: Start Menu

                  Ok, that's a very good point of debate for sure.

                  But watching Linux users fester in their desktop irrelevance is so much fun! You guys are all downvoting me because you, a vast vastv minority, think that ' customizing' your desktop is this all-important, all-encompassing target of ideal fastidiousness and dedication to some target of computing perfection. So much so, you'll spend WEEKS switching between distros, trying out different desktop package, and installing theme and icon packs just to get this idea of " perfection".

                  While the rest of the known universe just doesn't give a shiate. Wec have better things to do than turn our desktops, and by extension our computers, into a hobbist nightmare of struggling for some unidentified brass ring of "perfection". Wec turn our computers on and GASP! SHOCK! HORROR! use them to get actual work done. And "work" does *not* cover endlessly fiddling with the hardwaren in some awkward attempt to prove the "superiority" of an OS...because the UI can have shiny things.

                  I recommend Linux users get outdoors, and away from their screens, more. When you wrap your personal identities so tightly into what your computer is doing, you need a good reality check.

              3. firu toddo
                Linux

                Re: RE: Start Menu

                Or you could have both. Like application grouping and a menu item that says ¨all applications¨ and is alphabetical.

                That´s how my linuxbox works. Out of the box too, no buggering about.

          5. Potemkine! Silver badge

            Re: RE: Start Menu

            In other words, you're doing it wrong yet still blaming MS for you not using their latest time saving shortcut usage paradigms.

            That's exactly the problem: MS is forcing to users' throat the way it considers better for them, whatever they may think or believe. Not listening to users is MS habit, but it's a bad one. Respecting customers should be business 101.

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              Re: RE: Start Menu

              Long ago, I was exposed to a UI design course. One of the points made there was that while there may be several demonstrable ways in which a new interface idiom might improve over an existing one, people will still prefer to work the way they always have.

              I like how I can get into any car from the last sixty years and expect to drive it without any issues; the controls are in the same places they've always been - until the last few years when things started moving to touch screens with functions buried deep in menu options.

              I like how I can use Windows the same way as I could with W95 and W2000 - because I've got twenty-odd years of muscle memory. Oh, wait... I can't. Thanks. I'll stick with Mint, then.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: RE: Start Menu

                Can't stand W11. First thing I do with a W11 machine is install Open-Shell so I don't have to use the W11 abomination.

          6. Dave K

            Re: RE: Start Menu

            My complaints:

            1) The full app list insists on putting entries for all the letters, you cannot turn this off. I can see where I'm up to via the first letter of the application without 26 blocks of space being wasted with the alphabet.

            2) The flashy shortcut area either get messy very quickly, or take a lot more effort to drag around, re-size, categorise etc. Win 7's simple idea of pinning to a list at the top left was much simpler IMO

            3) The same-old Win10 issue of monochrome and samey icons down the far left that are not easily distinguishable from each other

            4) Shutdown/Sleep via keyboard requires way more key-presses than it did in Windows 7

            5) It looks really quite ugly and boring

            6) As a "Metro" app, it doesn't obey Windows Accessibility settings, so cannot turn off smooth scrolling for instance (it gives me motion sickness)

            7) "Search" doesn't just search the menu like it did in Windows 7, by default it searches your PC, the internet and so often returns way more junk than search in Windows 7. Hence opening the menu and typing a few letters isn't as useful as it used to be

            8) No "Computer" entry in there which I regularly used for Right Click > Manage to get into Computer Management for event logs etc.

            Don't get me wrong, I do pin my daily apps to my taskbar, but none-daily-but-frequently-used get pinned to the start menu, and it's just more messy and ugly to do it with Windows 10. On the odd case I need to go into the full list, it's even messier.

            1. X5-332960073452
              Headmaster

              Re: RE: Start Menu

              "4) Shutdown/Sleep via keyboard requires way more key-presses than it did in Windows 7"

              Windows Key + X then tap U, then I , S , U or R for sIgn out, Sleep, shUt down, Restart.

              "8) No "Computer" entry in there which I regularly used for Right Click > Manage to get into Computer Management for event logs etc."

              Windows Key + X, G = computer manaGement

          7. DJV Silver badge

            Re: Your most often-used shortcuts should be pnned into the Taskbar

            My most often used shortcuts are pinned to my Quick Start toolbar, which has a much greater capacity for icons than the restricted taskbar. Even though MS tried to remove Quicj Start in W7, too many programs relied on it being there and, until W11, it was always possible to resurrect it easily. Under W11 it can still be added but it takes a few extra hacks. The taskbar is just for the RUNNING programs, like in W95 to XP, which is how I want to use my computer.

    6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "give people advance warning of hardware changes for Win12 after learning the lesson the hard way again."

      If they've really learned their lesson the hardware change for 12 will be to drop the hardware requirement blighting 11.

      1. Sir Adelaide

        Philosophically, the OS is only there to let you load other programs, ie word processors, numerical simulations, games, web browsers. The OS shouldn't have any hardware requirements, other than needing a bit of ram and a 32/64/arm CPU.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          I think some memory and peripherals would come in handy. There's not a lot you can do these days with just the amount of memory in the processor cache.

          But, yes, the TPU raises the question "T" means "Trusted" but who is it that's trusting it? Not somebody I trust.

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Whilst I agree with your addition I do get confused by a lot of the posts I see on elReg which imply that people spend their entire life (or at least their working day) just doing things with the OS and never touch an application.

            I also just love the "its faster" comments. Unless yoou're doing something computationally intensive who cares. A major (very large major) part of a cpu's capabilities are wasted waiting for the fleshware to do something anyway.

            1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

              Re: spend their entire life just doing things with the OS and never touch an application

              That is not necessarily by choice.

        2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: Philosophically, the OS is only there to...

          The x10 Upvote button is still absent.

    7. Yorick Hunt Silver badge

      The grumbling comes from too much lipstick on the sow. Much like Windows 8, which was at its core better than Windows 7, was ruined by a UI which wasn't fit for purpose - so too, Windows 11 takes it another notch towards "let's hide everything so idiots can't break things."

      It might be fine for the average home user, but for power users and admins it's an absolute abomination. Add to that Microsoft's insistence on getting the masses to test (always forced) updates instead of retaining a dedicated (and capable) testing team and you'd have to be a fool to put Windows 11 into a critical production environment for at least another year or even three.

      1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        -- Much like Windows 8, which was at its core better than Windows 7 --

        Please list the features that would be of any interest to your average user. Please differentiate between work, school and home.

        1. Yorick Hunt Silver badge

          I was talking about the operating system itself - measurably faster, markedly less prone to crashes, suprisingly less demanding of system resources.

          The GUI though was not only worthless, it functioned as a very good disincentive for people to use it.

      2. irrelevant

        Idiots

        My mother-in-law is on windows 11. About all she uses the laptop for is watching Netflix, and she still manages to break things on a weekly basis. (I think the worst was getting it into Airplane mode, high contrast monochrome display, and switched everything to Albanian!!!)

    8. Chet Mannly

      I have to disagree that they have 'cleaned things up' or 'standardise' they hove done the exact opposite.

      I use a spanish keyboard with english as the system language. In Win 11 half the windows apps are in spanish, including notepad, despite the fact the system language is english. Some entries in system settings are in spanish while others are in english. The menus are all over the place - the context menu in windows explorer literally has a mix of spanish and english menu items in it!

      Zero such problems in any version of windows prior to Win 11 - Win 11 is an absolute dog's breakfast, it is anything but standardised.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        So they've lost knowledge about how localisation works in their own OS but who cares since everything at Redmond is set to US English...

  6. Roland6 Silver badge

    Fingers crossed copilot is optional…

    CoPilot, AI is likely tax older and more constrained hardware, .. expect W10 on such platforms to start performing like a dog…

    Given MS don’t currently produce hardware in any real volume, I see little real value to MS shareholders of having users upgrade their (non-MS) hardware…

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Fingers crossed copilot is optional…

      "expect W10 on such platforms to start performing like a dog"

      Start?

    2. PRR Silver badge

      Re: Fingers crossed copilot is optional…

      > Given MS don’t currently produce hardware in any real volume, I see little real value to MS shareholders of having users upgrade their (non-MS) hardware…

      Who buys Windows? Not "people", mostly. The vast majority of sales comes from HP, Dell, Lenovo, ASUS, Geekom, Fred's PC & Bait, et al being obligated to pay a Windows license on EVERY machine they make. PC sales slow, MS's income slows.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Fingers crossed copilot is optional…

        "being obligated to pay a Windows license on EVERY machine they make"

        Not every manufacturer. There are a few that will provide an OS-free machine. My and SWMBO's laptops were both bought on that basis.

  7. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    It's not difficult

    Make the hardware requirements optional, not mandatory. Continue supporting older CPUs perfectly capable of running the OS.

    Provide an easy method of using all parts of the OS (except the Windows store) by using a local account

    Stop including adverts, unless the Windows version is completely free, in which case have a small charge for removing adverts.

    Enable granular news feed control so it's possible to switch everything off, or everything except a small selection of user choices

    Stop the discontinuation of WMR - or at least continue SteamVR support. You're basically getting 10 years of support, and then it's completely dead. It's not as if open source is very effective there.

    Enable the search facilities to easily disable sending queries to the Internet or AI - amazingly when you search for something, let it search locally

    Allow easy per device driver auto update disabling, to account for vendors with awful drivers (*cough* AMD GPU *cough*)

    1. Sloth77

      Re: It's not difficult

      I agree with every one of your points.

      Consider though - how would that benefit M$, other than perhaps a less grumbling power-user base?

      Most of those points you raise are mandatory because they provide M$ an indirect form of income, or reduce their costs.

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: It's not difficult

        Microsoft dug their own grave by allowing free updates to Windows 10. There's nothing that says they couldn't charge for new releases.

        Given that I paid lots for Vista Ultimate years ago (I wanted multi language & XP support), again for more than one version of 7 and 8, I'm not averse to paying for products that are worth it.

        Even if Windows remains free or effectively free for many people, adoption of 11 is clearly not moving in the direction Microsoft wishes fast enough, and there is a cost to that.

        Bring back charging for Windows, put the customer at the centre of the design, and in control of the OS.

  8. JoeCool Bronze badge

    Windows 12 could be a winner if ...

    it provides "the ability to uninstall Edge and web search via Bing" in all markets, not just the EU.

    That would tempt me.

  9. Flicker

    Forget Windows - buy a Chromebook!!

    Microsoft has created a massive problem, and for no good reason. I'd go further than the article states and say that Windows 11 is a significant downgrade from (current) Windows 10, foisting a bunch of AI "features" which few people want and which make it harder to do simple things simply, together with ever more intrusive upselling and insistence on hooking you into their cloud services.

    I help at a weekly session in my rural village trying to enable the mainly elderly population to exist in the digital world, with banking, health services, shopping and pretty much everything else dependent upon some level of IT competence and Internet access. Most of them have elderly Windows laptops, some still on Windows7 and a smartphone or iPad (usually donated by concerned children or grandchildren). NONE of these people will derive any benefit whatsoever from Windows 11 and I find it hard to believe that even more IT-literate users want any part of it. My advice to our "customers" happy with iPhones or iPads is to get a second-hand, not too old MacBook Air and to everyone else - buy a Chromebook.

    On impulse I bought a cheap (£140) Chromebook in the Currys Black Friday sale and after a lifetime using IBM/370, MS-DOS, TPF, Windows, a bit of Linux and some OSX / MacOS I can honestly say that a cheap Chromebook is the by far the best option for most people to do the things they need to do on a computer - especially if navigating a tiny on-screen smartphone keyboard has become a problem. It doesn't do "gaming", video-editing or any of the minority pursuits which the friendly Currys salesperson will try to convince you are essential, but boy does it work well with the basics. It doesn't grind to a halt every time an update is applied, it's far less insistent on selling you new nonsense than recent Microsoft software and boots up / shuts down and renders websites in a flash - with a decent, offline-capable email, document and spreadsheet editor included.

    I've seen a couple of references to Microsoft being in fear of the "Chromebook threat" and they certainly should be. Just like the old, brilliant spoof video showing how Microsoft would package an iPod they seem to have completely lost track of how 95% of the general population actually need (and want) to use IT in their daily lives, encumbering their products with so many useless and unwanted "features" that the basics have been forgotten and buried under bling. Hopefully the world will wake up, reject the nonsense and maybe get back to basics - and perhaps buy a cheap Chromebook!

    1. johnnyblaze

      Re: Forget Windows - buy a Chromebook!!

      I'll second that. Most people don't actually need Windows these days - it's heavy, bloated and a nightmare to secure. Chromebooks are great for general internet access, and if you have an old laptop kicking around, try ChromeOS Flex.

    2. theOtherJT Silver badge

      Re: Forget Windows - buy a Chromebook!!

      I'd upvote you twice if I could. Microsoft just don't seem to know what they're doing with Windows. They're so determined to foist things that interest themselves on their users that they don't want or care about that they have completely forgotten that there are things the users do want and do care about that they're completely ignoring. Windows is a mess, and an increasing mess with each version it seems. More adverts. More accounts. More "always online". More intrusions. More getting in the fucking way.

      A wise man once said that it's impossible to get someone to understand something as long as their job depends on them not understanding it.

      This appears to be very much the case at Microsoft right now, which seems to be being run entirely by a sales and marketing team determined to push constant changes so they have something to market beyond "This is an operating system. You need one. You should use this one." which is basically all that 99% of people actually want. Just run my applications please and get out of my face.

      They just can't grasp that we don't want all this shit because if Windows was allowed to just fall quietly into the background and get on with being an OS they'd all be out of a job.

      1. hedgie

        Re: Forget Windows - buy a Chromebook!!

        And really, outside of business installs, there's really little reason for Microsoft to be heavy into sales and marketing.[1] Very few people actually love, or even like Windows, especially in comparison to the Mac cult or Linux fanatics.[2] They use it because it's what came preinstalled on their computers, or it's what they use at work[3] or they need something specific that requires running it. If it wasn't for their dominant position they'd be losing more of the overall OS market share than they already have. ChromeOS is good enough for the less technically inclined or those who just need something very basic. Both obviously do a lot of marketing, but they also have to make a product to a higher standard; they have to make something that offers a compelling reason to leave the Windows world. Thanks to Steam, Linux is becoming a more viable option for gaming as well. As soon as I can be arsed to do it, I'm even going to dual-boot the desktop Mac with Linux specifically for that purpose.

        The short version is yes, Microsoft absolutely needs to focus more on actually making a good product, because right now, users have few enough reasons to stay with Windows, let alone buy a new version that forces logins to a Microsoft account and has the OS shoving adverts into one's face.

        [1] And in either case, should budget more into actually making a decent product, because the competition *does*.

        [2] I say this as someone in both these camps.

        [3] In which case they'd "upgrade" if their workplace does.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Forget Windows - buy a Chromebook!!

      " together with ever more intrusive upselling and insistence on hooking you into their cloud services."

      In this respect isn't switching to Chromebook jumping from the frying-pan (or frog-boiling pot) into the fire?

      1. Flicker

        Re: Forget Windows - buy a Chromebook!!

        I'm aware that this is a bit of a contradiction, but would say that the level of intrusion and upselling from Google seems several orders of magnitude below that from Microsoft on recent Win10 Feature Packs and the Win11 "upgrade". Maybe because I already had a Google/Gmail account for my Android phone the whole onboarding process seemed frictionless and unlike the constant in-your-face demands from MS to take out an MS365 subscription the Google One prompts are low-key and infrequent. It also seems easier to disable the "helpful" email scanning on Google than it is on consumer Outlook. A few years back I would have happily endorsed Microsoft as being far less "evil" than Google in their desire to hoover up and analyse your data but I think now that the positions have reversed - either Google have become better at hiding their level of intrusion or they've moderated it.

        If both are equally bad from an enforced Cloud / data gathering perspective then to me it comes down to which platform is better at doing simple things simply and efficiently, and here, especially on moderate hardware, Chromebooks win hands down. They have some annoying restrictions (for example not playing some codecs without installing VLC and inability to select arbitary default applications for File / MIME types) but for most of the things 90% of people actually use a computer for a Chromebook will do the job far quicker and more simply at a given cost than a Windows or MacOS machine. I don't plan to give up my main Windows 10 X220 ThinkPad but certainly won't be upgrading it to something that can run Windows 11, and have migrated to the cheap Chromebook as something to use away from the house. For attendees at the weekly sessions, bamboozled by the monthly, machine-freezing Windows updates, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Chromebooks, even given some of the data-migration challenges.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Forget Windows - buy a Chromebook!!

          It also seems easier to disable the "helpful" email scanning on Google than it is on consumer Outlook.

          I'm sure Google will be glad it seems easier to you.

          But as to the more general aspect - store locally on your computer and nobody gets to scan. It's perfectly possible. It uses to be standard and for some of us it either still is or the remote storage via NextCloud is no more distant than the office just upstairs.

      2. theOtherJT Silver badge

        Re: Forget Windows - buy a Chromebook!!

        To a certain extent I'd agree with that. That being said, I'm much more comfortable being advertised at and being aware that the OS is the lure that's meant to hook me onto the metaphorical fishing line of profitable additional services if I don't have to pay for the OS in the first place. Something that makes me personally get really angry about Windows is that it's not free, and I do mean as in "Beer".

        I was quite happy to pay for it when I paid once, got a CD with some software on it, and that was the end of the matter. Having to pay up front and still be bombarded with advertisements and "Hey, if you'd paid more you could have the super-duper-extra-special-delux version, and then you'd be allowed to turn this setting off, but you didn't so you can't... nope. I'm not having that.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Forget Windows - buy a Chromebook!!

      We sent my 84 year old father-in-law a refurbished laptop with Mint on it.

      Prior to this, he went out on his own and bought a new Windows 10 laptop without checking with us. He had a Windows Vista desktop, and knew he needed something newer. After a short while, my wife called to find out why we weren't able to get him on Skype recently. He told her that he was so fed-up with Windows 10 (all of the forced updates and crapware shoved in his face all the time), that he just put his new laptop away on a shelf. He told her it's just not worth the hassle anymore.

      He loves the "new" laptop with Mint on it. The Mate version has a UI that is much closer to his original Vista PC's UI. It's a little ironic that Linux is more Windows-like than actual Windows is now.

      He is half-way around the world from us, or I would have just gone over and installed Mint over Windows 10.

    5. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Forget Windows - buy a Chromebook!!

      I'm reading this on a Chromebook I bought refurbished/cheap ($74) that I use when travelling (I'm currently "somewhere in the Pacific" on a cruise ship). It works fine for general mail/web/whatever -- adequate performance, no Tuesday update lottery, no great value tied up in a iThingy so if it gets lost, stolen or broken its no big deal. It's perfect for pretty much every home user. The only thing that would limit its usefulness would be running proprietary software from the likes of MS or Apple that's deliberately designed not to work with it.

      Chromebooks are very big in education in the US. Probably elsewhere as well.

  10. johnnyblaze

    Nope

    Win11 offers little or no benefits in the Enterprise. We may consider it when MS eventually release Win11 LTSC, but not before then. I'm assuming whatever happens, Win12 will probably be worse again and in reality only be an incremental .1 upgrade masked as an entirely new release.

    1. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

      Re: Nope

      Running a mixed fleet of W10 on Dell Optiplex hardware from 2014 and W11 on recent Dell and Lenovo hardware. We are doing simple email, office and web stuff. I upgraded the Optiplex with a SSD. There is no difference in performance that the average user can see, and in fact I think the Optiplex is more responsive.

      What the hell have MS been up to for the last 10 years?

  11. Tron Silver badge

    Someone needs to tell the boss.

    Everything MS has done to Windows for more than a decade has made it worse. Especially adding AI.

    I would rather use an offline PC with Win 7 (SAAE - software as an executable - yay) and a tablet for online stuff than Windows 11. Of course, if MS released a secure revamp of Win 7 as a current OS, I'd bite their hand off, pay them double and put them on my Christmas card list.

  12. Zibob

    "Despite the updates lavished on Windows 11 during that twelve-month timeframe, Windows 10 still reigns supreme"

    More Because of the updates in the time. It has become clear over the past decade, no one like Microsoft poking around with the OS you use for personal use. There has been no shortage of articles in the same 12 months about bad updates and things just being broken.

    More Quantity than Quality.

  13. Press any key

    Make it look like windows 7 with proper borders on windows, a decent start menu and a control panel that isn't made mostly of empty space, then I'll fork out for new hardware to run it.

    As it is, my 4th gen i7 without TPM is still running just fine although windows 10 is quite ugly.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nostradamus' predictions for Windows versions says that one out of every two major versions is an absolute turkey.

    7 was OK, 8 was a turkey, 10 was alright, thus eleven gobbles and smells of cranberry sauce.

    1. BenMyers

      Let's go back further

      With Windows, Microsoft seems to be echoing Intel's tick-tock CPU strategy.

      Windows NT - good but limited

      Windows 2000 - even better, but still limited to 32 bits

      Windows XP - another improvement, but XP x64 is a disaster

      and now, tick-tock kicks in.

      Windows Vista - a world-class horror show

      Windows 7 - a very fine release, thank you, with excellent 64-bit support, finally!

      Windows 8 - a disaster, not know if it wants to be an OS for tablets or for desktops.

      Windows 8.1 - a mild recovery, not well accepted

      Windows 10 - another very usable release

      Windows 11 - using Windows 11, I am better off typing in program names than using the convoluted start button. Lots of useless eye candy and inflexibility like MacOS.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Let's go back further

        Windows XP was only better after SP2. Until that time Windows 2000 (with SP4) was better. And somehow I managed to miss both Vista and 8.

        As far as I am concerned, I will keep Microsoft to its promise that Windows 10 will be the last version, at least for what I personally use and support for family.

        1. legless82

          Re: Let's go back further

          Except that Microsoft never promised this - it was an out of context soundbite from one of their developers that seems to have propagated wildly.

  15. Rich 2 Silver badge

    MS, bloat and crap software

    If an OS insists on needing the kind of highly specced machine that W11 does (assuming it’s not actually a supercomputer or something) then one has to ask why? An OS should use the minimum amount of resources it can to leave as much as possible for the applications to run. MS have turned this idea completely upside down. If the OS needs such a powerful machine to run then that’s an excellent advertisement for why you should avoid it at all costs.

    MS has always written shite software and (with the possible exception of excel and word) Windows is the shining beacon of steaming this pile of ordure. It always has been and always will be

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: MS, bloat and crap software

      The key thing here seems to be the addition of this "trusted" lump. If Microsoft trust it then I certainly wouldn't.

  16. Paradroid

    As usual, a problem of their own creation

    If I understand the Windows licensing model correctly, Windows 11 upgrades are free, but they collect a licence fee when new hardware is sold. You can see where I'm going here.

    It was said that the artificially restrictive hardware requirements were to help PC vendors sell more hardware, but it's at least as much about Microsoft bringing revenue in.

    Just CHARGE MONEY for Windows upgrades like the good old days. Then you can let it run on any reasonably modern hardware. There is a condition of course - if it's paid software, stop milking users with aggressive pushes for data grabbing apps and complimentary services. Offer them, but once a user makes their decision, leave them alone.

  17. PenfoldUK

    My personal take on Windows 11 was that it was launched to early in its development cycle. Giving it a reputation as a buggy mess that has never really gone away.

    And I think they released it too early as Intel bounced them into it to make their new p and e cores work.

    Of course the ridiculous hardware requirements, in the middle of a global economic downturn haven't helped either. I doubt most enterprises have reached return on investment for the kit they needed for Windows 10 yet.

    1. bradavon

      How is Windows 11 a buggy mess?

      The complaints have been due to Start Menu elements being removed, not it being buggy.

      It isn't.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        You seem to forget about all the additional spyware.

      2. FirstTangoInParis Bronze badge

        > The complaints have been due to Start Menu elements being removed, not it being buggy.

        It isn't.

        Oh yes it is. There’s a persistent bug in the security system that bitches about insecure/out of date drivers and then fails to provide any evidence. The old screensaver control panel is still there but only one control has any effect. Plus there’s the usual boatload of monthly patches. And it still runs like a teenager with don’t want to get out of bed syndrome. I think a 1980s Sun 3/60 was more responsive.

  18. bradavon

    The same happened with Windows XP when Windows 98 was still in support.

    The same happened with Windows 7 when Windows XP was in support.

    And the same certainly happened with Windows 10 when Windows 7 was still in support.

    Of course Windows 10 has more usage, it's not out of support for nearly 2 years.

    Computers are expensive for most people.

    1. Ian 70

      I even remember this argument from people saying they preferred Windows 3.1 over Windows 95

  19. Mwnelson

    It's not the hardware requirements!

    Look, this nonsense narrative of users not upgrading because of hardware requirements...I don't agree.

    Windows 11 is an objectively less suitable option for productivity. It requires effectively relearning your way around the Start Menu and taskbar...something that ordinary users interact with most. Microsoft should have learnt this lesson with windows 8, but have repeated it with Windows 10.

    It is not an upgrade in any way to have to click five times to do something I used to be able to do in two clicks. Integrating the bloat of their ad supported search options aren't upgrades.

    Fact is that the majority of home users don't use bitlocker as standard. They never did. For a home desktop it doesn't even make all that much sense. For laptops and enterprise...that's a different story.

    Problem is that companies don't like it when they have to lose hundreds of thousands of hours to their poorly IT literate workers relearning how to navigate a new system. This has always been the case.

    Other than the added security benefits that TPM brings to Win 11 there just isn't a UX improvement for the normies in the world. Microsoft for decades now have chased after features that are like Apple, or Android, or Chrome, all the whole forgetting that often those people likely wouldn't have bought a windows machine for their purposes in the first place.

    The UI will be alienating to most Windows 10 users. And the extra steps to do simple things in Windows 11 make it a dreadful UX. That's the reason behind the poor uptake...well that and users being told Windows 10 was the last version they'd need!

    1. Paradroid

      Re: It's not the hardware requirements!

      If that's your experience of using it then I won't disagree with you, but I see it the other way round. Why would users be positive about a new UI if they can't even run it? And aside from the UI changes, is there really enough to convince people to go out and buy a new computer? Of course not.

      You are 100% right that the aggressive advertising and disrespect of user preferences is a major turnoff though. I blew away the partition and went with Fedora, can't be bothered with it all any more.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's not the hardware requirements!

      "Problem is that companies don't like it when they have to lose hundreds of thousands of hours to their poorly IT literate workers relearning how to navigate a new system. This has always been the case."

      And yet, in the long run, they will do this because as long as they're beholden to Windows, they will have to bend to Microsoft's whims. But suggest that they voluntarily take the hit once and enjoy consistency thereafter by switching to Linux and they won't do it.

  20. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

    Due to a shortage of Macbooks, at New Gig, I received a Win11 laptop, so have had to actually use it in anger (lots of anger! :P )

    Having admin rights, one of the first thing I did, is install Stardock's Start11 (still better than any of the free alternative, alas). That goes a long way of fixing the worse of the "we soooooo wanted to be MacOS, but still need a Start Menu that we can shove ads into). However, this is arguably the first version of StartXX that doesn't manage to fix all the annoyances of 11. They can't fix the feeling of sluggishness and lag. (*)

    Alas, Quicklaunch is gone, which I still use on Win10 on my own machine. Still hoping to find something there that doesn't break every time MS shoves out an update and/or plays nice with Start11.

    (*) of course that could just be the laptop, which apparently was an emergency purchase to give to contractors. that thing has the fan running at full speed at the slightest bit of load and still manages to feel like I need to get out and push. :(

    1. ChrisElvidge

      Start 11

      I tried (paid for) Start 11 on my Win 10 laptop. Soon reverted to Start 10.

      If Start 11 is any indication of the state of Win 11, I'll stick to Win 10.

  21. ldo

    What’s The Difference, Really?

    Seems like the only significant differences between Windows versions these days are down to the GUI, and hardly anything else. Move some icons around in some Control Panel or other, and suddenly that’s grounds for calling it an “OS update”.

    I’ve said elsewhere, this idea of tying the GUI layer inextricably into the OS kernel is one that should have been left behind in the 1990s.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I upgraded to Windows 11 awhile back and it worked ok sat first. I didn't we much difference from Win 10. One day after an update go Win 11, my computer started acting up. My screen would get a bunch of lines going through it, it would flash on and off, did all sorts of weird things. I went back to Win 10 and have stayed with it since. Win 11 doesn't really have anything to offer me

  23. Kev99 Silver badge

    The only reason I ever "upgraded" (and I use that term euphemistically) was because mictosoft compelled so many of its sycophants to modify the software and hardware so it would not run on win7. In all the years I ran win7, I never had any security lapses, slow repsonse time, or weekly updates fixing things that should never had to have been fixed in the first plce because mictosoft's coders paid no attention to CVEs or industry newsletter, or were just plain sloppy.

  24. Jotrav

    Who needs an OS?

    What we need is an 'Application Environment', that while it has all of the underpinnings that are part of an 'OS', the user need never know about them. Finding the app you want to use? Make 'the menu' a customisable and replaceable app just like any other, listing only what you have on YOUR machine (it belongs to you or your employer, not Ms!). Updates - politely notify you once a week (or month!) that tested & verified updates are available. More often for urgent security updates.

    For most users the OS should be a largely invisible, behind-the-scenes, application helper.

    I have a lot of this in Linux Mint, not quite all, a categorised menu rather than a long alphabetic list of apps, look and feel sort of familiar to classic windows, even most keyboard shortcuts the same. Even use of the terminal is gradually dwindling away for normal daily use.

  25. frankyunderwood123

    Hardware restrictions? - foot, meet gun.

    It seems possible that the hardware restrictions imposed in 11 were an attempt to shift sales of PCs and thus the OEM tie-in = more bucks for micro$oft.

    I can't see any other reason for it. It clearly failed. There was no compelling reason to upgrade, plus punters had got burned with the disaster that was Windows 8.

    Either way, windows 11 aside from this stupid restriction, seems akin to the likes of Windows ME, Vista and Windows 8.

    Almost every other release of windows has been terrible.

    Microsoft are still trying to recover from "chasing the market" numerous times and failing dismally.

    Windows 8 was a classic example of "Oh shit, this Tablet thing is really taking off, quick, drop the netbooks, make a tablet OS, heck, make the entire OS tablet based, the punters will love it!"

    We all know how that one turned out.

    In terms of the hardware market and the other reason for Microsoft's woes with windows 11 is that PCs got very powerful, very quickly.

    A bit like peak smartphone - the devices shipped were so powerful, nobody needed to upgrade for years, which broke the cycle of upgrading hardware to meet the demands of the OS or software.

    "Hey, let's impose some arbitrary hardware restrictions to shift sales."

  26. BenMyers

    Microsoft remains tight-lipped about Windows 11 CPU requirements. Give Microsoft a BIG FAIL!

    The issue of where Microsoft drew the line on supported CPUs has been raised countless times, with Microsoft remaining moot instead of explaining with some credible details. All we have heard is some whining about degraded performance with older processors, but no specific benchmark data.

    I am quite certain that my 10-core Xeon with 64GB of memory and TPM 2.0 and all SSDs would run Windows 11 very nicely, and replacing it in kind would cost me a lot.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    that reminds me...

    I should probably upgrade my in-laws computer from Win 7 to Win 10 pretty soon...

  28. Tubz Silver badge

    W7, W10, W11 UI, everybody has their likes and dislikes, it's always going to be compromise but whatever they do we probably all agree Microsoft screwed up with 10.

    They had the perfect opportunity to go through the code, remove 32-bit support, anything else considered legacy and force old apps to die of incompatibility or rewrite, create a lean and fast OS for the future to build on, based on install only what you need principle. I suppose they could still do it, if they say Win12 is the last old school windows and that gives them 5-10 years of development time before Win12 is EOL.

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