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An IT pro is no stranger to computer issues, but Windows 10 comes with some particularly difficult hurdles to overcome.
Windows 10 issues range from invasive and poorly tested automatic updates to bloatware and application incompatibilities. Here, IT pros discuss the biggest challenges they face while managing Windows 10.
William Warren, owner and consultant, Emmanuel Technology Consulting
The biggest thing is the lack quality of control these days. Windows 10 has a long history of update after update causing issues. The QA [quality assurance] testers for Windows 10 are the users, and these issues only get fixed if the users scream loud enough.
Every biannual update is pretty much a new version of Windows, and it has never been a good idea to install Windows on top of itself. After I see my computer say, 'We have the new feature update,' I just reformat the whole machine and reinstall. Businesses at least have some control; we can control and delay those feature updates.
William WarrenOwner/consultant, Emmanuel Technology Consulting
Businesses that have [Windows 10] Pro are still stuck with all that bloatware. I have no idea why Microsoft wants to push apps like Candy Crush on Pro users. They've even begun advertising for Windows Store games in Pro and below.
Admins were using Group Policies to turn the ads off. Then, Microsoft said, 'Those Group Policies no longer work unless you have [Windows 10] Enterprise.' You can imagine how happy that made people because only the largest enterprises will buy Enterprise. Usually, businesses with 10 to 15 users are using [Windows 10] Pro. You have a company that is forcing games, advertising, bloatware and bad code on its customers. I have automatic updates turned off, and to be honest, I'm not unique. A lot of other admins are doing this.
Steve Athanas, associate CIO, University of Massachusetts Lowell
One of the challenges managing Windows 10 is the speed of adoption [of updates]. I see Microsoft's vision of getting the PC to have an upgrade cycle much like an iPad. Microsoft has made some impressive strides to that end; however, not all application developers have. There are a couple applications that have blown up when we've done an update. Those applications are generally fixed pretty quickly from the app manufacturer, but not all apps have that kind of support.
A major application caused a problem. That application vendor had a fix maybe the next day, and that was easy for us to deploy. Smaller applications simply do not have viable support in the outside market, and for those, what we've done is spun up a virtual desktop for the users, and they can run that application from there. If the application vendor doesn't fix it, we usually choose a different delivery method -- VDI, [Remote Desktop Session Host] or another way to stream the application down.
We've been more aggressively upgrading because we want to get all of our users on the same environment. One of the things that has gotten quite a bit easier for us is deployment. Images and application packages have gotten simpler. We're less gun-shy about installing updates. The mantra several years ago used to be: 'Test it, test it, test it again and then deploy.' Now, it's: 'There's an update. Run a quick cursory test, and get it out there in the field.' The risk of zero-days is so much higher than it used to be.
Daniel Beato, director of technology, TNTMAX
Sometimes, users don't like the constant updates of Word or Excel, and if it's an application issue, it's often not because Windows 10 is a bad program, but it's because [the organization] has not invested in their applications. Perhaps, it's already 10 or 12 years old. They need to contact their vendors and get a roadmap.
Updates are forced; there's no way to prevent it unless we put parameters in place. Maybe someone is on [Windows 10] 1903, and they don't want to upgrade right away because my application is not compatible with the new update. There is very little testing done on Microsoft's end. Users can't keep up when their computer reboots in the middle of the day, and then the updates will last for an hour or two. However, we tell them to keep updating, because the overwhelming amount of cybersecurity breaches that we see is due to users not updating. We try to keep them at least one version behind the features upgrade.
Printers have also been a major [Windows 10] issue, especially when people work remotely and they're connecting to a remote server. The new version for Windows Printer Driver really causes a lot of problems, such as printer redirection, printers not being compatible and some printers don't even work.
Bloatware is also a pain point. We try to remove [bloatware], but if we talk to the user after the fact, they have all of these games that they're never going to use. To [remove bloatware], we need to have the computer beforehand. It's a lot of manual work.