These are the things Microsoft needs to improve in Windows 10

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 18, 2015
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

I have used Windows 10 in one form or another ever since Microsoft released the first public preview build of the operating system.

While I like it more than Windows 8, it feels like an incomplete operating system in several regards as if Microsoft rushed the operating system to get it out in time for the Holiday season.

Windows 10 has some glaring issues with privacy probably the one overshadowing everything else.  We have talked about privacy in length here on Ghacks and while things are definitely worse than in previous versions of Windows, most of them can be fixed with privacy tools.

This article is not about privacy but about features or programs that feel incomplete or disappoint because of a lack of functionality.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft's Internet Explorer replacement lacks many options and features that have been part of mainstream browsers for a long time that it is difficult to list them all in a single article.

It lacks customization options, settings in general, management options to control things like cookies on the system, or tools to display information about sites you visit.

And that does not even take into accounts features such as extensions that were not the strong suite of Internet Explorer.

Microsoft is working on Edge and one of the things that the company will release soon is extensions support. It is still too early to tell how this will look like and how well it will work though.

Windows Apps and Store

windows store

If you run Windows apps regularly on your system then you have probably experienced crashes, slow downs and other issues related to apps already.

We have covered this before in Microsoft needs to fix Windows Store and the universal app platform already.

The whole universal apps system seems highly unstable at this point in time. Two of the apps crashed constantly of the ten or so applications I reviewed today for this week's best of Windows apps article over on Betanews so that I gave up on them and did not mention them in the article.

Windows Store offers similar functionality as Google Play by displaying curated lists on the frontpage and in categories which reduces a user's ability to discover apps greatly.

The problem that Windows Store has is one of size (availability of premium apps) when compared to other big stores out there plus it is largely ignored by desktop users who have often access to better choices in form of programs or web applications.

The Start Menu

windows 10 start menu
This is the smallest it gets.

The start menu is an improvement over Windows 8's Start Screen, at least on the desktop. As a desktop user however, I find it lacking in many regards.

First, these tiles don't make a whole lot of sense on the desktop regardless of whether they are live tiles or static tiles.

I don't need big squares in the start menu as I can move and click precisely where I want using the mouse.

I can see the advantage on mobile devices where you use your finger to activate these but on the desktop, they are not useful in my opinion.

Live tiles are fairly useless on the desktop as you need to open the start menu first to see them at all. Even then, you are probably not opening the start menu to find out what's new in the Pictures application or News, as there are better ways to do so. Plus, you would have to keep the start menu open if you want to get a constant stream of updates.

The start menu lacks customization options apart from that. Why is the All Apps link above the "power" options link? Why cannot I resize the start menu to my liking (there is a limit that you cannot go beyond)? Why cannot I reorder items?

Settings and Control Panel


Two tools to manage settings of the operating system. This is just confusing and will get even weirder once Microsoft decides to move more Control Panel tools to Settings.

There should only be one central tool to manage core System settings. I never found the Control Panel to be very appealing and would not mind using Settings completely, but Microsoft should make up its mind and stick with that decision.

Search is broken

windows 10 search

Search in Windows 10 fails to work at times for some users. It is unclear why and how, only that it is an issue that is affecting more than just a handful of users. While there is a fix for the issue, it is only temporary and needs to be applied whenever search fails.

Since searching is essential, it is quite the problematic bug.

Now You: What's your take on Windows 10's overall state?

These are the things Microsoft needs to improve in Windows 10
Article Name
These are the things Microsoft needs to improve in Windows 10
The article looks at features and programs of Windows 10 that Microsoft needs to improve in the near future to improve the overall system.
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  1. Bryan said on October 3, 2015 at 3:14 am

    Microsoft has now released an update designated “Important” that will install Get Windows X on your PC.. just in case you’ve missed it or intentionally avoided it as an optional update.. So if you have automatic updates turned on you’re going to get that annoying Get Windows 10 marketing push software whether you like it or not.. This is a perfect example of what kind of experience a Microsoft customer can expect to have going forward. – Automatic updates.. you get what they want you to have.. period.

    They’re going to get to their 1 billion goal even if they have to hijack their customer’s computers to accomplish it.. I’m currently telling my customers to avoid it and disabling GWX where necessary.

    In my opinion Microsoft is being unethical with their approach to get users to upgrade.. They’re resorting to tricks and sneaky tactics… Typical marketing crud..


  2. Samson said on October 1, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    I was downloading Windows 10 then decided to abort it since I recalled a friend saying it was not a good one and also opens your barn door wide open (those who care about Privacy issues). Ever since (Sept 16) my Firefox browser and Chrome both immediately began acting up, which has never been an issue on my laptop. I uninstalled and installed both one at a time but still get “not responding” every few minutes, it has become a nightmare. My FB homepage refuses to load on either browses now. So I have been wasting so much time trying to deal with FB, Firefox, and Chrome for the last two weeks. Anyone have any suggestions for me…am not a tech saavy person by any stretch of imagination but am able to grasp the basics. There is no free lunch! And thank you Martin I have learned a lit from your blogs.

  3. Tim said on September 24, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I won’t use Windows 10.

    I participated in the insider previews before it’s release, but there was nothing inspiring there and I haven’t seen any improvements since. There are a host of technical issues I encountered while running Windows 10, the worst being my programs wouldn’t run. That’s kind of a big deal. Further, the intrusive, deeply integrated nature of the OS and disrespectful behavior of Microsoft have ultimately cemented my decision to eventually move away from Windows. Windows 7 will continue to be my OS of choice until 2020, but after that I will change to a suitable alternative.

    Incidentally, Windows 10 is not free. If you are running XP or Vista, or build your own PC’s and want to use Windows 10, you will have to pay for the OS. My thoughts are if you have to pay for the software, you should be able to opt out of the information sharing (completely), install only the updates you want (like Windows 7 allows) and absolutely remove features you don’t want. I don’t know how many people in the world feel like I do, but I imagine there are some.

  4. chris said on September 20, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    Why the hell we need app stores on our desktop pc ,i’ll never know.

    1. anon said on September 20, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      Because scouring the Web for the legitimate website and having to deal with nonstandard installers is a good thing, right? Windows 10 will soon even allow Win32 apps on the store.

  5. Jupster said on September 20, 2015 at 1:28 am

    The Live Tiles work and look great on the Phone and fairly well as a Tablet OS, although oddly the tablet experience has gone backwards in Windows 10.

    Dare i say it, but the Live Tiles make far more sense as the old Sidebar/Gadgets from Vista/7. That would actually be useful.

  6. Wayfarer said on September 19, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    I moved to Win10 because I’d already tried to move from Win8 to Win7 on my Fujitsu laptop and found it problematical cost-wise. So – despite not particularly wanting to change – what was to lose, I thought, when the new OS became available.

    A month on, my conclusion is quite simply that – whatever the complaints on the one hand or the hype on the other – the problem isn’t actually about the merits or otherwise of Win10. It’s now clear to me that Microsoft are NOT all that good at doing what they purport to do best. They really aren’t. I don’t just think Win10 is unfit for purpose (in fact I think it’s a joke, security-wise at the very least.) I honestly believe that with MS’s current ivory-tower attitudes, it stands no chance of ever being fit, if for no other reason than the consumer has long since ceased being a priority.

    Despite this, I’m now more disappointed with Linux, which I use daily on a desktop. With – I’d have thought by now – a clear run at grabbing some serious market share, it STILL isn’t really up to serving the average PC user IMHO. I’d love it to be, but it isn’t (though I’d now hate to be without it on at least one platform.)

  7. XenoSilvano said on September 19, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    I regards to the violation in privacy.

    I recently installed the Microsoft Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) on the android phone that I use, after which I decided to open a document in each to test things out however before I was allowed to view the document a message popped up informing me that the document had to be sent to Microsoft for ‘processing’ (or something to that effect).

    Needless to say, I uninstalled all 3 apps shortly afterwards.

    You know you are living in a dystopia when an app denies you service unless you allow it to go through your private documents.
    How cares about privacy, it is so 20th century (pre-9/11) anyway, right(?).

  8. klarkkent said on September 19, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks Martin Brinkmann fo another very good article! As far as really making win10 work without spying (turning it into non spyware, although, still a piece of crap), it’s nearly impossible. I’ve made mine as close as possible (I hope). I’m using Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB. I have applied to it all the privacy tweeks and fixes I can find. And since it’s Windows 10 Enterprise 2015 LTSB it will not update for a very long, long time, thereby causing me to apply those tweaks over and ove again, However after all the tweeks many things are shut off, or not there anymore. One thing that was shut of with many other spying parts of Win!0 was Defender, (and yes it spys too, and phones home often, and it’s a POS also). I found out the hard way though, that much if not all, (I don’t have the time to check em all, so I only checked a couple), are going the way of the industry leader (Microsoft) and are spying on their users now, (their new versions that work with Win10). The two I tried are Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1.6 and AVG Internet Security. The reader will have to make up their own mind on this, but read their license agreement. Why mention antivirus apps? Well you the one giving away your rights by installing any of them, (Win10 or what ever), because it you do not agree, you can not instal any of them. If they all spy, you can not do without antivirus. So you just can not win with Windows, and it looks like many others are following the leader.

    1. anon said on September 19, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      If telemetry is “spying”, then please do stay away from Apple or Google products. It’s for the sake of your mental health. And Windows Defender is good enough since if you need to use it (along with rkill), then you already failed at preventing your PC from getting compromised:

      1. klarkkent said on September 19, 2015 at 9:33 pm

        I already do stay away from Apple and Google products. And I will not get into any OS or even the definiton of telemetry pissing contest. Macs suck and now Windows does too. And Linux, I don’t really know enough about yet to say.

  9. happysurf said on September 19, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    In addition the W10 UI is crazy, for understand I suggest to read this interesting article:
    In W10 there are 8 different types of context menu!!!
    Microsoft also missed the easiest thing, the UI consistency.

  10. marius t said on September 19, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Do you people even use windows 10 or you configure your stuff so poorly that everything crashes!I mean I’m a Windows insider on the fast ring,I have the latest build 10532 and I don’t have any of your stupid lagginess or crashing,it’s pretty stable for a beta software OS(mind you I’m talking about Windows 10 preview),you people are supposed to be power users,how come you can’t configure your windows to work as it should,or turn off those privacy invading options…Oh and about Edge,Microsoft never said it’s a finished product!

    1. Corky said on September 19, 2015 at 6:17 pm

      Ahh so it’s dumb users and not that Windows 10 is a privacy nightmare, or that it’s using its normal customers as beta testers for its corporate customers?

      1. Corky said on September 22, 2015 at 12:28 pm

        What an eloquent reply from you, marius t , if you can’t hold a conversation without having to resort to insulting people how do you expect people to take you seriously? So far your responses have come across as a prepubescent teen that knows nothing of the subject hes talking about.

        The reason no one is talking about the other companies is because this article is about Microsoft, not Google, Facebook, or any other company that invades peoples privacy, just because other companies do this sort of thing doesn’t make is acceptable, to use that as an excuses justify bad behavior just goes to show how immature you’re.

      2. marius t said on September 21, 2015 at 3:37 pm

        Corky the f***ck are you talking about?Stay on the subject and don’t be so P.C. sensitive,Jesus Christ you privacy zealots stay of the internet if you don’t want to be spied,that’s the thing you people are all biased,you talk s***it about Microsoft but ignore all the other companies that do this sort of “non ethical” bull**it for years and then complain that you shouldn’t talk about others cause you know Microsoft is always the big evil…pff whatever man!

      3. Corky said on September 20, 2015 at 10:17 am

        You can always tell the nutters when they have to resort to swearing, while some privacy can be reclaimed in W10 not all can, plus the default settings are to gather as much data as possible, most people, being people, just accept default settings.

        And using the tired old Google, Facebook, Twitter et al does it just doesn’t wash, two wrongs don’t make a right, just because someone else is acting like an A hole doesn’t suddenly make it right to be an A hole.

      4. marius t said on September 20, 2015 at 9:21 am

        F###ck your privacy nightmare if you’re so lazy to turn it off,I bet you all whiners are using Google services at maximum and don’t complain that much about it!

  11. inab said on September 19, 2015 at 10:37 am

    hahaha happysurf, your comment is the best, everything summed up in one line ;D

  12. happysurf said on September 19, 2015 at 8:18 am

    W10 is a big spyware in beta testing.

  13. Pants said on September 19, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Microsoft’s Law: Each iteration of MS operating systems doubles the “menus/menu levels, clicks, scrolls, items, tab-keys, up-down/page-up-down keys, and time to achieve the same result as the previous operating system.

    This has held true since Windows 98SE .. and is a self fulfilling prophesy that the MS engineers and devs worship. Until the number of actions exceeds the atoms in a given space, we are bound by this law.

    1. andy said on September 19, 2015 at 11:21 am

      Don’t forget the extension to Microsoft’s Law: Move things around with each new version so that users have to hunt for them, effectively negating experience with prior versions.

  14. Steve S said on September 19, 2015 at 2:24 am

    Upgraded our four machines to ten. My wife’s laptop, and my sons desktop were crazy laggy. My laptop had major driver issues. My desktop ran it fine. Reverted my wife’s machine to 8.1, and the rest of our machines are running Mint Linux now, which is a vast improvement, and no privacy issues.

  15. XenoSilvano said on September 18, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    As with all recent Windows operating system releases, this one is just as buggy as the rest.

    Sometimes the explorer bar stops working and restarting it through the task manager does not work either.

    Sometime the system goes into a click spasm.

    And of course lets not forget that search does not work at times.

  16. hirobo2 said on September 18, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    I’m staying away from WX for the sheer ludicrous reason that it’s the only OS I would have to configure extensively (ie. privacy settings/hacks) just to gain some sort of control over it out of the box. W7/8.1 are relatively simple — I only need to turn off automatic updates and away I go!

  17. Mark said on September 18, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    As a developer, I look at the Event Logs every so often. There are many DCOM-persmission-related errors showing up and I have seen this reported by others on various sites. So there is more that needs fixing than just the visual things that regular users see. I can’t imagine they have fully tested Win 10 before releasing it. Either that or they don’t have a good test suite and use production as their test bed.

  18. flyli5411 said on September 18, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Will try Windows 10 when it is complete and ready to use!
    this sucker makes windows 8.1 look great
    Yeah il wait!

    1. Belga said on September 19, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Me too !

  19. Bryan said on September 18, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    What Microsoft needs to add to Windows 10 is the return of update details and control over driver and feature updates. Period. Having been left with an inoperable system from a faulty or misidentified driver update more than once has taught me to not trust Microsoft update…at all. I like 10 but won’t upgrade to it because of this single issue. My time is important to me and Microsoft has demonstrated time and time again that they care nothing at all about customer’s time. “Please wait…..”

  20. Robert Swift said on September 18, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I think in spite of the minor complaints, Windows 10 is a breath of fresh air. I like it better than OSX now and certainly find it far more usable than any of the Linux distros (my favorite is mint and ubuntu). I get that there are some unfinished features, but moving to a base that allows incremental feature improvement is important and necessary. I completely disagree with Dave who said “It shouldn’t come with cloud storage, skype, or an app store. ” I love those features. Cloud storage is a wonderful tool to help leverage the mobility of experiences. Skype is a wonderful communication tool that is used by more of the world than any other tool. The app store is critical for delivering trusted applications and reduce the crapware, spyware, malware that infects so many of the applications on the web today. The app store will be getting desktop apps too in the future which will be a huge boon. Even Apple acknowledges this fact with the Mac store on OSX, although if you want to talk about barren…lol.

    I do wish Edge was further along when they released Windows 10, but just like Chrome had to grow up over time, so too will Edge. I’m impressed with its speed and its memory efficiency….something that Chrome seems to have lost sight of lately.

    It is easy to point out all the missing features from Windows 10 but that is a disservice to it as you gloss over all of the great features it has introduced….and the promise of more to come.

    My overall assessment of Windows 10 is that it is a slam dunk win. Haters gonna hate, but I think the overwhelming majority of consumers are really enjoying Windows 10.

    1. kalmly said on September 19, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      You said: “It is easy to point out all the missing features from Windows 10 but that is a disservice to it as you gloss over all of the great features it has introduced….and the promise of more to come.”

      I haven’t tried Windows 10 because it promises to take complete control of my computer and make it ugly to boot (no pun intended). So, I would really like you to tell me, what are the “great features” it has introduced?

  21. Ai said on September 18, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    microsoft is not obligated to do what you want – it needs to have a vision and execute. Whether they choose to conform their vision to conservative users or not is their choice as an entity in the free market

    1. Jeff said on September 18, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      Who has claimed MS is “obligated” to do anything? They are free, as you say, to do as they please, and the end user is also just as free to complain about MS’ choices or to make suggestions for improvement.

  22. Brian said on September 18, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Another thing I really dislike about the start menu is the large tile icons beside every app when you go into the All Apps menu. Even on a just installed machine, I find myself scrolling multiple times to see all of the apps. My machine is pretty clean and I have to scroll six times. In the previous start menu, I had to scroll twice. This is a very inefficient use of space. It makes using the start menu a painful process which is probably what MS wants to push us toward those stupid tiles. It’s pretty sad that MS brought back the start menu but did such a poor job that I’m still considering buying a start menu app like I had to do on Windows 8.

    And I especially agree with your comments about Edge. I was initially excited about it but it is so barren that none of my users are going to use it. My first reaction to seeing it could open pdf files was that I could finally stop installing Acrobat reader and the endless stream of updates across thousands of computers. However, after using it myself for a few weeks, it is not an acceptable replacement and my users will still insist upon having Acrobat reader.

    1. anon said on September 19, 2015 at 1:26 am

      Sumatra exists, there is no need for Adobe Reader.

    2. hirobo2 said on September 19, 2015 at 12:54 am

      OMG, pratically all modern browsers today come pre-packaged with their own PDF plugin. Using Edge just to view PDF’s without installing Adobe Reader is a very poor excuse to adopt a new browser!

      1. Pants said on September 19, 2015 at 8:03 am

        Please don’t recommend Acrobat Reader – it’s a major security headache. As anon has mentioned, there is Sumatra and numerous other free very lightweight readers

  23. yannikkohm said on September 18, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Martin, you sound like you aren’t sure but Microsoft really did release Windows 10 prematurely to catch the holiday season. Everyone, including Lisa Su, the AMD CEO, knows that.

    And yes, a lot of things in Windows 10 are half baked and unfinished. Microsoft should know it was stupid move and their reputation would take a hit for it. I suppose they knew this but were prepared to suffer the consequences. Well then errr… so be it.

    1. Jeff said on September 18, 2015 at 9:52 pm

      They knew they could release prematurely because of the whole ‘free’ thing.

      Free goes a long way in the realm of public opinion, and a lot more will be forgiven. If people were paying $100+ for this “upgrade”, then a lot more angry people would be shouting.

  24. anon said on September 18, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    The Control Panel is already set to go away when Settings is good enough to replace it. This was officially confirmed even before Windows 10 hit RTM.

  25. ilev said on September 18, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Windows 10 is shaping up to be the most unstable release since Millennium Edition (ME)

    1. anon said on September 18, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      >using BetaNews as valid source
      >implying that the Windows ME instability issues aren’t exaggerated

      Byron Hinson and Julien Jay writing for ActiveWin took an appreciative look on the operating system. On the removal of real mode DOS, they had noted “The removal of DOS has clearly made a difference in Windows Me in terms of stability (Far less Blue Screens Of Death are seen now) and booting speed has greatly increased.”[46]

  26. Boko said on September 18, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Privacy concerns make it a dealbreaker for me. I try to be forgiving towards each Windows release. I’m stuck to my choice of apps I have carefully picked up for selective tasks over the years. But Windows 10 made me downgrade back to Win 7. By the time Win 7 goes out, I’m sure a Linux distro will be mature enough to switch over to. With Steam, apps moving to cloud and Flash being phased out, Linux is looking like a more viable workstation everyday…

  27. ddk said on September 18, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    “What’s your take on Windows 10’s overall state?”

    Awful. Becoming like Linux. Something could break at any moment. It’s free to many users so it was rushed and the final product shows a lack of detail & polish that was evident on their previous os…Win XP and 7.

    Switched to Mac and OSX.

    1. andy said on September 19, 2015 at 11:06 am

      “Becoming like Linux. Something could break at any moment”

      Funny that. If you asked my why I switched to and have stayed with Linux, I’d tell you that one of the main things is stability. In five years with three different distros nothing ever “broke”. Just switch on and get on with your work. Some distros are more bleeding-edge than others and you can expect problems with those, but stick with the more conservative Long Term Support versions and you should have a trouble-free experience.

  28. insanelyapple said on September 18, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Microsoft in first place need to change and fix how “telemetry” is working: it should be truly (no, now it’s not) optional in default everyday installation and mandatory in Insider Program.

  29. Dave said on September 18, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I would have liked if they’d updated the core OS with all the improvements, and not added all the crap to it. It’s an OS. It shouldn’t come with cloud storage, skype, or an app store. They should all be optional. Arguable the entire modern runtime environment should be optional too, in the same way that .NET used to be. Install it by default if you must, but let me remove it.

    The world really needs an open platform to gain a footing. Ideally something based on BSD.

    1. anon said on September 18, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      WinRT is not going to be an optional component when it’s going to replace WinAPI (including Win32) in the long term.

  30. ccdrop said on September 18, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    I think it can pretty much be summed up with:
    They tried to rebuild a bunch of stuff, and add a whole lot of new stuff.
    Then stopped in the middle and said: Lets force this down the publics thoat and see what happens.

    One thing that made windows 7 such an wesome OS is that it really felt mature straight out of the box. It had been build very solidly on top of vista and the codebase before it, whereas Windows 10 didn’t do the same with Windows 8…. In many ways Windows 8 actually stands out as being better then Windows 10 just by virtue of having a decent excuse.

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