An open letter to Microsoft about Windows

The Windows logo, looking frayed and distorted.

Dear Microsoft,

I'm frustrated, I'm angry, I'm sleep deprived, and it's your fault.

Yes, another Windows update has happened.

I was going to write a immense tirade about this. It was going to go into intricate detail about the dozens of hours of my life wasted by frustratingly inconsistent progress meters. I was going to rant about how broken your operating system is, and how instead of adding new features (that I don't care about at all) you should instead concentrate on more important issues, like performance, and reliability, and user interface inconsistency.

I was going to yell. I was even considering using CAPS lock. But I realised that all of that is just shouting into the wind. Let's face it, there's enough criticism of you on the internet already. Why should you listen to one more angry voice?

Instead, I've decided to simply tell you what being one of your users is like. Despite paying for both the hardware and software on my computer, I feel like I don't own it. I feel like I'm at the mercy of a careless and haphazard corporate entity, who at any moment could take away my PC on a whim, even if I'm in the middle of using it for something really important. I feel like I have no control, even though I should.

Of course you need to update your products. There are bugs to fix and vulnerabilities to patch, and new features to add that presumably someone somewhere cares about. I get that. You have to force this on us eventually as the majority of users can't be trusted to manually check for updates, and you have a responsibilty to protect all of us from those who would exploit flaws in your OS for their own gain.

But surely there's a better way. Can't you separate new features from bug fixes, then make them optional? Can't you be clearer about what's going to happen, and how long it's going to take? Can't we choose to not install all the updates all at once? Can't you hand some control back to us, your users? Aren't we important?

Maybe we're not. Maybe you're so wrapped up in making money and trying to control the world of computing that you don't care how your users experience your products, as long as they get locked in to using them. Maybe even trying to change things is pointless.

But I want to believe that you're human too. That you get frustrated by the same things we do. That you want to improve Windows, and that you can. I want to believe that things can get better, even if only a little bit at a time.

Because if that's not true, I'm just going to chuck my PC in the bin and buy a Mac.


Your user


This article is tagged with