My Windows 10 Upgrade

Windows-10-One-800pxMy father used to call.

“What’s up?” I’d ask.

He wanted something – but he never wanted to sound like he did, so he hemmed and hawed until I broke the ice.

“Having problems with your computer again?” I asked.

It was a given. Why else would he be calling?

“I can’t find a letter I wrote,” he said.

“On your computer?”

“Where else do I lose things?”

Over the wire, I could hear the veins on his neck throbbing. It was the frustration of a man who felt he no longer belonged in the world he built.  This was a guy who supported his mother at sixteen. Who fought in New Guinea at eighteen and who learned a trade, bought a house and raised a family.  For most of his life, he held reality by the neck with both fists – but some things never seemed real to him – like anything to do with a computer.

So I began…

“Go to the DOS prompt.”

“What’s that?” he asked. 

He owned an old IBM PC.  We bought it for him in the early 1980’s and after almost thirty years, he still struggles with the basics.  Granted, DOS commands are cryptic – but they are easy to use once you got the hang of them. 

“Type DIR /OD. This will list your files by date,” I said.


“Just do it..”

“Nothing happened…”

Working over the telephone with my father took an abundance of patience because patience was not something he had in abundance. 

Next I asked him to read me the timestamps on his files.

“What’s a timestamp?”

“It is the date and time the file was created.”

“There are no dates…”

We went around and around until it struck me.

“Dad,” I said, “back away from your computer. Turn it off and carefully box it up – then ship it to the Smithsonian. You have one of the original IBM PC’s.”

I had suddenly realized that my father’s PC did not have a clock. The original IBM PC’s, did not come with one, you had to pay extra for that and paying extra is something my father adamantly refused to do.  So for thirty years, he accomplished everything he needed to do on a computer without a clock – and for thirty years he dodged the agony of change.

Which brings me to my Windows 10 upgrade. I have decided to take a pass.

It is not that I am becoming my old man – despite what everyone tells me.  It is because I have done a simple calculation.  The comforts of not changing far outweigh the dubious promises of an upgrade.

Here is what Microsoft promises in return for an upgrade to Windows 10:

  1. They finally got it right  Pardon me for being skeptical.  I am holding out until they finally, finally get it more right than they did when they finally got it right.
  2. Speed  They say it is faster.  Finally?
  3. They brought back the Start Menu  So let me see if I can follow the thinking here.  Microsoft took away a feature that hundreds of millions of people relied on – and for no good reason.  Now after several years, they are giving it back.  Why does this remind me of the neighbor who borrowed my lawn mower and only returned it when he wanted to borrow my snow blower?
  4. It includes Cortana – (voice recognition technology).  Seriously?  Isn’t it bad enough to have a car, a phone, a dog and a wife who refuse to understand me?
  5. Touch.  Oh boy, now I get to squint through a haze of fingerprints.
  6. A Better Browser  Microsoft claims it finally, finally got Internet Explorer right.   In fact, they got it so right, they no longer call it Internet Explorer.
  7. Security  If I was worried about security, I would not be using a Microsoft product.

So here is the thing:

When I replaced my PC last year, I was forced onto Window 8, along with millions of others. This cast me into a fiery pit where I had to relearn how to do simple tricks on a radically new,  poorly thought out interface.  I lost productivity, patience and God knows what…   It made me feel as if I no longer belonged in a world that I helped build… and all of that misery was designed to benefit no one but Microsoft – and sadly, ironically, not even Microsoft benefited. 

Now they want me to trust them one more time.

Maybe in thirty years.

Author: Almost Iowa

76 thoughts on “My Windows 10 Upgrade”

  1. PS, sadly my own dad passed away some yeras before he had any access to computers but he always said he’d have loved to use one. Was your dad able to use internet on his old IBM or was it too early for that?

      1. I had an Amstrad in the late 80s that apparently had the ability to have a moden connected… I can’t imagine it would have managed anything! I was happy when I could get a real pc.

  2. I wonder if you’ve succumbed by now? I can tell you that windows 10 is shit. I am using it on a 10″ (microsoft, more fool me) tablet, my first tablet. One of the reasons I got this was because compared with getting a new pc with windows 10 already installed and spending about a thousand pounds on it, I spent a hundred instead. However, I am very fixed in the way that i like to use a pc (and that’s all this tablet is, really, a tiny pc) and so as soon as I got it, I disabled Cortana and installed Firefox. I use a keyboard that the tablet docks into and as it has a couple of USB ports, I use a mouse instead of the touch screen or touchpad thingy (I hate them).

    Windows 10 is no improvement on any of the other versions as you guessed. That said, this is the last version that Microsoft are going to be making so if we want to continue to use Windows’ pcs, then we’re stuck with it. As each version reaches the date on which it is no longer supported, it’s a good idea to switch to 10. All in all, we’re… well, I’ll leave you to choose your favourite expletive.

    1. I upgraded then backed up to Windows 8.1. Windows 10 does not support my large monitor (which is only two years old) nor does it support my (fairly new) printer.

  3. You are so right about all of this. Beyond drivers, I have refused thus far to go to Win 10, even though I really could use some of its features, because of its effing nosiness. I don’t trust Microsoft, or any corporation today, enough to believe that the features provided which allow you to turn off the nosiness parameters actually turn off jack.

    When my PC died last fall, I wondered whether to go Ipad. I instead bought a notepad/tablet convertible. Were I to choose again, I would choose the Ipad. Were you aware IBM has switched all its staff to Apple now, and their staff calls to internal tech support have dropped hugely–I think of the calls rec’d, 90+(?)% are resolved in the first call.

    Enjoyed reading about your dad. Impressive that he was able to manage a DOS machine, even with your over-the-phone support, into his senior years. I wrote a post long back about my own male parent’s PC expertise, and the fading of my own:

  4. I am too computer illiterate and I’ve heard too many horror stories about Windows 10 to do it – I think I’ll wait until I absolutely HAVE TO!! 🙄
    singed: “Old Dog Too Tired to Learn New Tricks!” 😉

  5. The guy in our village who fixes computers is making a fortune out of Windows 10. People ring him up saying it’s free and should they install it. He advises no, they do anyway and three days later they’re on the phone begging him to come immediately.

  6. Um,… I have a question. What’s a computer?

    OK, obviously Im joking, since obviously Im typing on one. My Dad was a lot like yours, (including his history) with one exception, he was a technology fanatic, and I ended up asking him for computer help. Now that he’s gone, I ask my son. What does this say about me, I wonder?

    1. A computer is a device that you put time into and get nothing out. Think of it as relativity’s black hole. I admire people who keep up with the curve of technology, though not being one of them is no disgrace, it just means you put your time into something that pays you a dividend.

  7. Boy, I bet this post is going to strike a chord with lots of people! How computers can confound so many people, especially intelligent, hard-working senior citizens who were simply not raised on this stuff. (And a certain middle-aged woman I know very, very well is not too far behind….) I have a Mac, just because my IT-educated son told me to get one, but I avoid upgrading the operating system whenever possible. My main question is, do all of us bloggers have to upgrade to the new WordPress app? I have just figured out the old WordPress, why would I want to struggle with a new one????

    1. do all of us bloggers have to upgrade to the new WordPress app

      I hope WordPress does not try to force us all onto their new editing tool. I really dislike it. I am staying with the old one until they provide a new tool that is as useful.

  8. Windows 10 isn’t bad, in my estimation. Of course, I’m not a programmer by any stretch of the word. It goes as fast as my one hand that works needs it to go. (Sometimes I need to adjust my glasses or sip my coffee, you know.) The one thing I don’t like about the IE browser is I’m so sick and tired of the color blue as the accent color. One thing I really do like is the ‘Tablet Mode’. When I write, I can have all windows open and at my disposal without having to constantly minimize one to see another. Kinda cool.

    1. I like what you say about Tablet Mode. Too often the value of an interface is trumpeted as “NEW” rather than useful. I am glad you have found something that works for you.

  9. I’m of the Mac Camp, but the upgrade nonsense seems to be the same–very little benefit for the user, more money in Apple’s pocket. I’m with Don. I only upgrade when I get a new computer, which is about due. Sigh.

    1. I absolutely agree about not upgrading. My father’s pc lasted for thirty years, for all I know, it still works. But I would be careful to distinguish between updates and upgrades. The major reason to update is security. If you are not hooked to the net, don’t worry about it. If you are, worry about it.

      1. You’re absolutely right. I do those updates as they announce themselves. At least I don’t have to relearn a program when that happens.

  10. I work on a Mac at work. I work in the library of a University and most of the students have Macs. At home, I am on a Windows 7 Lenova PC. And I have a Nexus 7 tablet with a bluetooth keyboard. For a while I was doing a rough draft of my blog on my Nexus 7 when I was out and about. I found the screen too small for what I wanted when I was typing up my blog. Now that I am doing the nanowrimo this year, I am using my pc. Also for a while I had a small Acer tablet with Windows 8.1 which died on me. It was much too cheap. So you can see I have some experience with a variety of computers. Bout the only thing I haven’t been on is an iPad. Here are my conclusions:
    1.These days there isn’t much difference between a PC and a Mac. It’s like the difference between being a Catholic and a Protestant. They both can get you to the same place. Or a Chevy and a Ford. It all depends on the operator.
    2.If the Mac is a Ford and the PC is a Chevy, you are driving a very expensive Ford. My Lenova laptown has 750 GBs of storage and 8 GBs of Ram. For the same Mac, doing exactly the same thing as my PC, I would have paid three times as much. I got my PC for $600 two years ago. A Mac at that time with the same Ram and Hard drive storage was about $2100. See why I went with a Lenova.
    3. In addition to what I said in # 2, Macs have their own set of issues. There are as many dissatisfied Mac users among the students where I work as there are satisfied ones.
    4. I enjoyed my experience with Windows 8.1 on the Acer. Just as I had completely acclimated to the 8.1, the tablet died on me.
    5.I never upgrade to a new operating system. I think it causes more problems than it solves. I was thinking I might upgrade to Windows 10. I did some research and came out convinced that I should not upgrade.
    6. The only way I upgrade is to buy a new computer. This policy has served me well in the past and seems the way to go for the future.
    7. Years ago, in the early ’90s, my first personal computer was a Mac. I found the experience not very user friendly. I had two issues. Back in those olden days, the Netscape browser was embedded with the Mac OS, (This was back in the days when Microsoft was being sued for embedding the Internet Explorer browser in Windows. Apple never was sued for doing the very same thing. Never understood how they got away with that.) So I used the Netscape browser to access the internet. After several sites, the darn thing crashed. I had to go in clear the cache to use it. I was attending an Apple Support Group monthly meeting. I asked a number of the so-called fanatics why this occurred. I didn’t get an answer. Finally I downloaded the Internet Exlorer browser and my problem was solved. A second issue with the Mac was that I had to figure out how much memory I needed to give each program in order to make it continually work. Talk about a pain. So I went to a Windows PC and didn’t have either of those problems.
    8. Even with all the complaints with Vista, I found that I didn’t have the issues other people seemed to have. I came to the conclusion that many had problems with Vista because they upgraded from XP on their computer.
    9.One thing the Acer experience taught me is this: I will not buy a tablet that serves as a laptop. I will buy a laptop that can serve as a tablet.
    10. My Nexus 7 was $200 cheaper than an iPad. Guess you can understand why I bought that tablet. I have had my Nexus 7 for two years and I have had nothing but a great experience with it.
    11. I have come to one conclusion about the reason to prefer one operating system over another: software. Even today, there is software that will only work on a Mac and software that will only work on a PC. Having worked on Microsoft Word on both a Mac and Windows, I prefer the Windows version. Plus I get One Note. Talk about an amazing product. One Note is awesome if you are trying to write a novel. I think the fact that One Note does not come with the Mac version of Office is the big reason a lot of writers on Macs ended up using Scrivener. I can do much of the same stuff on One Note that Scrivener does.

    As you can see, Microsoft, thus far, has not broke my heart. So I am sticking with Windows. Plus I l do find working on the Nexus’ Android OS is enjoyable.

    1. Oh, and one thing I forgot. Apple is now coming out with a new version of its OS about once a year. Since 2012 it has done three upgrades. About the time the software providers catch up, Apple has a new operating system it wants you to upgrade to. They are rushing them out too fast. You can blame Tim Cook for this.

    2. Almost everything you said resonated perfectly with me. Where we differ was driven what we did for a living. I worked as developer and system architect for most of my career and it was always important to stay as far ahead of the curve as possible. If something was new, I literally had to have it.

  11. All so true. My wife’s laptop died and I got her a Mac. They work and only her children can be tech support. Windows 10 killed the pc for me

  12. Ah, Microsoft. It’s a love/hate relationship with me. I’m growing weary of the pesky blue Windows 10 box popping up all the time, offering it for free. To use your hysterical words, I think I’ve “dodged the agony of change.”

  13. After reading your post & all the comments, I glad I went MAC! Had years of PC glitches! It ended with an iMac, iPhone, iPad Air! All hooked up & happy. No more PC horror stories. Sorry to blast your PC into space! Chryssa

    1. “Sorry to blast your PC into space!”

      Hey, anytime. I can build you a launch pad in the gravel pit up the road. Just tell me when you will be needing it.

  14. NVIDIA haven’t developed compatible drivers for Windows 10, so I can’t install Windows 10. Oh the incompetence of non-Windows companies! It means that eventually I will have to purchase a new computer, because updates will cease on old technologies. My computer is 2 years old. These days change happens so fast.

    1. You can visualize how the business case review for updating the drivers went at NVIDIA.

      SUIT AND TIE: Hold up there, why did you say we needed to update the drivers?
      POLO SHIRT: Because our customers need the new drivers to upgrade to Windows 10.
      SUIT AND TIE: What do you mean “customers”. Customers are people who are buying stuff from us, not people who “bought” stuff from us.
      POLO SHIRT: Oh…
      SUIT AND TIE:Next item: our declining market share. What can we do about this?

  15. Good points. They did ‘get it right’ but not nearly enough to get me back from MacBook. I cant understand why people keep fighting the Windows battle. There is a far better alternative.

    1. I have been tempted to go over to the make but after the experience with my iPad (described in a response to Mike Fuller, upthread), I am a bit gun-shy of dealing with them too.

  16. I upgraded. I love it. I’m just weird I guess. Then we upgraded the windows in our house to double glazing. That went well too (mostly). And next I’ll upgrade my personal windows with cataract surgery. Haven’t persuaded my husband to try Windows 10 yet though. I think he just enjoyes swearing at Windows 8.

    1. “I’m just weird I guess.”

      Well, that would make weird a wonderful thing. Glad your window renovation went well and I hope the surgery goes equally as well. As for enjoying swearing at things, heck, a guy’s got to do what a guy’s got to do. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  17. Hubby had to buy a new computer for the car lot last week. It has Windows 10. It took him a day and a half to get everything running. He had to install a new driver for the printer. It worked for one day. The next day the computer told him he needed to reset his password. He was on the phone for seven hours with customer service to fix it. After the seven hours, he was told to not use a password. Apparently Windows 10 doesn’t play well with passwords. And this was with a computer that came with win 10. You don’t even want to hear about the nightmare we are having with our home computers that we upgraded to 10.

    1. “After the seven hours, he was told to not use a password. Apparently Windows 10 doesn’t play well with passwords.”

      I have heard similar complaints. Suspicions are that the problems derive from Microsoft trying to rope you into their email/desktop/shopping/phone eco-system. It is all about them and not about you.

  18. You have reaffirmed my decision to daily X out of that pop-up Window which keeps trying to lure me to Windows 10.

    Just for the record, I understand your dad. My 21-year-old computer science major son has zero patience with me and my computer illiteracy. “Google it,” he tells me. Perhaps I should tell him that when he needs money.

  19. Another excellent piece, Almost Iowa. There’s a reason Apple products sell a lot better. Windows is a real pane… 🙂 I once sat behind Bill Gates at a conference, and SO wished I had a cold so I could give him a virus, too. 🙂

  20. I read the title of your post and eagerly anticipated your trials and tribulations of the upgrade to 10. But, you didn’t do it. I was sad. 😦

    My oldest brother is 81. He’s pretty good with his Windows machine. Recently, he upgraded his 24K dialup modem. Now I can send him a photo without his complaints of it taking a long time to download.

    I’ve been a Mac user at home since 87. I used the Apple II in my physics classroom in the late 70s to early 80s. You could open the hood and stick wires into printed circuit sockets and interface lab equipment.

    1. I should have mentioned that I tried an upgrade on one machine and found that Windows 10 lacks drivers for a surprisingly wide number of peripherals.

      “I used the Apple II in my physics classroom in the late 70s to early 80s.”

      The best thing that Steve Jobs did was open the world of computing to the right side of the brain. In the 1960’s when I went to high school, only the “math kids” were allowed near a computer.

      1. My brother-in-law does a lot of work and system management of Win machines. He thinks 10 is a good thing. We have a Dell Melanie uses for a few jobs. We’re holding off on 10 until later.

    1. My father contracted a tropic disease in New Guinea. It cost him his sense of smell and taste along with vision in his left eye. It save his life in the short term but ironically, it later cost him his life. If he had not gotten sick, he would have continued onto the Battle of Manila where his unit was wiped out. Later, at age 89, the damage to his lungs caused by the disease took him down.

      Like so many of his peers, he never talked much of the war. In his last year, I took him to the VA almost every week where he met other veterans – and that’s when the stories came out!

  21. Well, among the guilty secrets I live with, here’s one. I still use Vista. I started out with Win98, AOL, and dial-up. After a few years of that, Vista sounded like — well, a new vista. It’s given me no problems, since I upgraded my printer/scanner and etc. right along with it. As for its tendency to nag (“Are you sure you want to do that?”), it can’t even come close to my sainted mother. I just take the same approach. I ignore it.

    I’ve listened to my friends gripe through WinXP,7, 8, and now 10. I’ll stick with what I have, and keep saving for whatever I have to have when this one bites the dust.

    1. At least for me, the wonderful thing about living with guilty secrets is that I will never live alone. The challenge is how to escape the crowd.

      I had Vista on one of my computers and never had a problem with it. At the time, I had four computers vying for my attentions and found Vista to be if not the most pleasing of the lot, at least a good companion.

      ““Are you sure you want to do that?””

      Some questions are never a question.

  22. I went over to the other side. No, I still pledge to Old Glory but after XP, Windows was like that girlfriend in high school who had the guy from across town waiting around the corner for me to leave. That and a brother-in-law who is smarter than me. Thirty minutes on his Macbook and I was glad I had not enriched Best Buy for a new Toshiba PC. It took a leap of faith but with a low buy in cost it was worth a try. The first generation Macbook was used but “refurbished” and guaranteed. And it works. It’s faster and easier than any PC I’ve owned and crashed since the 90’s. Now if only those big book royalty checks would start rolling in I could get the new Macbook Air Mini…

    1. I am waiting for Google to come out with an Android machine that accepts peripherals like a mouse, large monitor and printer – then I will make the leap in that direction. I own an iPad and do a lot of journaling and first draft writing with it because I can easily carry it out to a lawn chair by the pond. I use a lightweight bluetooth keyboard and find it very comfortable to use – but for editing and polishing of a piece, I still use the pc.

      Hey, good luck on those royalty checks!

      1. I will likely add the ipad and keyboard to my backpacking equipment list. I can’t see the darn phone screen let alone type on the laughable little “keyboard” and if I don’t write it down it gets lost in the fog. Of course, a little notebook and pencil is another option. Works even when jostled and damp.


          I made the mistake of tossing my iPad and keyboard into a backpack without remembering to shut off the bluetooth feature on the iPad. Somewhere on a portage in Ontario something in the pack nudged the clever little button on the keyboard. With the keyboard on, thousands of keystrokes were sent to my iPad which were interpreted by the security module to be a brute force attempt to override the four digit keylock.

          So…..Apple in all of its wisdom shut down the operating system on iPad PERMANENTLY. In effect, it turned my iPad into a lump of metal, plastic and glass. I lost everything on it.

          Fortunately, I only use the iPad for rough first drafts and a journal that I keep to maintain my writing fluency – which is not meant to be read.

    1. I lot of it depends on what you have grown accustomed to. After a year with Windows 8, I understand its quirks and am resistant to learning new quirks. Actually, the real reason I have not upgraded is that HP has not developed drivers for my large monitor or printer. I would have to wait for the drivers or replace the monitor and printer to upgrade…

      1. True to form my idiocy re PC’s caused me to glaze over re that last bit…I am, in truth u/s in respect of all matters technical…although I must add that when 10 comes up with a ‘fatal’ fault message (about 3 times a week) I was grateful my lad told me ‘it’s no problem, it happens all the time, just log in again’ Why the **** do they name it ‘fatal’ I ask myself!

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