Overall, Windows 10 has more good things than bad. It was developed over years of updates to offer a fast, robust and stable operating system. But it's not perfect, despite Microsoft's best efforts.
Let's take a look at parts of Windows 10 that are still frustrating or less than ideal, and why they're such a problem.
1. Confusion between Settings and Control Panel
Most of the Windows settings that you can change are shown live in the Settings app. However, Windows 10 still contains the classic system control interface, which is largely unchanged from Windows 7. Trying to figure out which settings appear where is confusing.
While Microsoft has moved some of the Control Panel options to the Settings app over time, there is no reliable way to tell which one has the setting you want. Some of them are duplicated in both panels, such as region Date and time display settings.
If you are causing even more confusion in the latest versions of Windows 10, go to the Control Panel and click on some options (ex Taskbar and navigation) only leads to its setting counterpart. This is pointless and feels like a leftover shortcut.
Worse, some key settings can only be accessed through shortcuts on the right side of the Settings app. For example, to open the System Restore menu you need to go Settings> System> Info and click on System protection from the right sidebar.
This opens the System properties Window that used to be accessible from the system Control Panel section. However, system in the Control Panel now leads to the Settings app, which leads to a circle of confusion.
And that menu isn't even visible. The list of items in the right sidebar is only displayed if you have adjusted the Settings window so that it is large enough horizontally. So if you're working on a smaller screen or haven't maximized the window, you may be missing out on important options.
This is one of the worst problems with Windows 10. Microsoft needs to migrate everything from the Control Panel to the Settings app and organize it better. No other operating system does this; To find the right option, you don't have to keep an eye on two different menus that go back and forth among each other.
2. Cortana is half-baked
Cortana was integrated into Windows search when Windows 10 started, so it looked as if the virtual assistant would be an important part of the operating system in the future. However, it was never a killer feature as was originally intended by Microsoft.
Searching for local businesses and the like from your desktop isn't really necessary when everyone has a web browser open with access to Google. And while Cortana can be useful for tasks like setting an alarm or changing settings, it's never seen as an integral part of the experience. Virtual assistants are much more convenient on mobile devices, where text entry is slower and you are guaranteed to have a microphone.
Microsoft has recognized this and discontinued support for the Cortana app for Android and iOS from April 2021. Now Cortana no longer supports third-party capabilities or smart home integration in Windows 10, so Windows productivity is limited. We suspect that most Windows 10 users barely noticed Cortana, which isn't a huge loss.
3. The Microsoft Store is disappointing
The idea of having a place to find, install, update, and remove apps is great. However, the Microsoft Store has not realized this potential.
Many well-known apps are not in the Microsoft Store (Discord, Signal, Todoist) – even if there are no company offers such as Visual Studio Code. And the store is full of fake apps. Some of the best results for Audacity are fake versions, both of which cost a few dollars. This makes the experience all but useless to the average user.
If you're using the few supported apps, the Microsoft Store comes in handy. For example, the best option is to use iTunes on Windows because it doesn't contain any additional junk. But it's a far cry from the one-stop app repository it should be, and pales in comparison to alternatives like the Mac App Store.
4. Lack of a consistent user interface
The influences of older Windows versions are not limited to the control panel. The Windows 10 user experience is fraught with conflicting design choices that are inconsistent across apps.
Right-clicking an item on your desktop or in File Explorer displays a completely different context menu than right-clicking an item in the Start menu. Utilities like Task Manager seem to come from a completely different operating system than the Settings app.
Microsoft's Fluent Design philosophy is supposed to shape the way Windows 10 looks, but it's been years since the company introduced it and Windows doesn't follow the standard well at all.
Microsoft has tweaked some parts of the Windows 10 user interface over time, but the incremental change makes it feel like an everlasting work. Compare this to other major changes to the operating system's user interface, such as: For example, if Android has switched to Material Design or if macOS has changed its icons to a flatter look.
Like it or not, these changes were made all at once, so users didn't feel stuck between revisions.
5. Annoying built-in advertising
Windows 10 wants you to use many other Microsoft products. There are various popups, banners, and other ads in the system that annoy you about it.
You might see warnings asking you to use Microsoft Edge, ads about saving your files to OneDrive, prompts to buy Microsoft Office, "recommended apps" on the Start menu, and more. These are all annoying and feel slimy in a paid operating system.
In addition, Windows 10 does not include classic integrated games such as Hearts, Minesweeper and Solitaire. It now offers the Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Minesweeper in the store. Both contain ads and want you to pay an annual fee to have them removed, which is ridiculous. You can play these two games online for free instead.
We've shown where to find ads in Windows 10 and turn them off so you can fight back.
Windows 10 can certainly improve
These are the biggest high-level problems with Windows 10. There are definitely minor problems, such as: For example, how Windows tends to change your default apps with every major update, or how out of date File Explorer looks.
However, the above points are all major issues that keep Windows 10 from doing the best it can. Hopefully Microsoft addresses them in future updates. Until then, you have many options for optimizing Windows yourself.
Photo credit: Triocean / Shutterstock
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About the author
(1684 articles published)
Ben is the Assistant Editor and Onboarding Manager at MakeUseOf. He left his IT job to write full-time in 2016 and has never looked back. For over six years he has been a professional writer covering technical tutorials, video game recommendations, and more.
By Ben Stegner
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