Windows 10 October 2018 Update no longer deletes your data

(arstechnica.com)

175 points | by ivank 248 days ago

29 comments

  • yumashka 248 days ago

    Citation: "When KFR is being used, the October 2018 Update will delete the original, default Known Folder locations. Microsoft imagined that this would simply remove some empty, redundant directories from your user profile. No need to have a Documents directory in your profile if you're using a redirected location, after all."

    Sorry for harsh language, but this is not a bug. This is a complete brain damage of those who decide to implement such behaviour.

    I have redirected Documents. And there are A LOT of programs that directly try to use C:\Users\user\Documents instead of redirected.

    • userbinator 248 days ago

      Sorry for harsh language, but this is not a bug. This is a complete brain damage of those who decide to implement such behaviour.

      That's not "harsh", harsh is what happened to the unlucky users who lost data because no one on the development team bothered to call it out. It should be an implicitly understood rule that you NEVER remove a file you did not create, unless the user explicitly asked to, but I guess MS considers it acceptable to do anything to a user's system after they convinced everyone to take forced updates as being acceptable too.

      • cesarb 248 days ago

        > but I guess MS considers it acceptable to do anything to a user's system after they convinced everyone to take forced updates as being acceptable too.

        This. Once you get in the mindset that you know better than the user, it's not a big jump to "I know these directories should be empty, any content is leftover garbage, let's remove them".

        • Bartweiss 247 days ago

          > you NEVER remove a file you did not create

          Absolutely this, with a followup of "and if you're 'helpfully' deleting an unused folder, check that it's unused first!"

          Given that this was (stupid) desired behavior, making sure Documents didn't have stuff in it should have been a screamingly obvious step. It would still have been utterly unacceptable, it could still have created weird downstream bugs when users installed things that target the now-missing default Documents location, but at least it wouldn't have set a bunch of data on fire without any warning.

          But then, I guess relying on common sense after the first terrible decision is made is never going to work. There's a reason "never break user space" is rule 1 for Linux updates...

          • ilikehurdles 248 days ago

            Microsoft doesn’t consider the OS to be the “user’s system”. They clearly see it as something they rent to the user a little bit each day. If the user wants to keep the system for a little longer, he/she has to make a special request to Microsoft that they hold off for a bit before retaking control of the OS.

            • bitwize 248 days ago

              "Windows is a service and updates are part of that service. So if you could just go ahead and reboot now, that would be terrific."

              • drbawb 247 days ago

                I ditched Windows as soon as I saw that "Windows is a service . . ." notification show up in the bottom right after an update, boy did that make me livid. (You can ask my roommates, I actually shouted at my computer; it had just spent over an hour, on a best in class NVMe drive, doing that update.) I was pretty sure I paid $200 for an operating system, not an operating service. Admittedly that was just the straw that broke the camel's back, but this is just getting insane.

                What I paid for is a HAL, some drivers, a filesystem, a handful of media codec licenses, and some basic applications to manage all that. What I got was a bunch of "apps" like "Photos" that routinely try to use up all my available system RAM, a start menu that connects to the internet, displays ads, and routinely lags on a high-end workstation, a file index service that was broken for 3 major update cycles, and an ever increasing number of "privacy toggles" in the completely dysfunctional control panel^W^W settings app.

                Microsoft clearly doesn't care about "developers, developers, developers" anymore, because I have never lost this much productivity to an operating system in my life. (I say this as someone who has used Linux long enough to remember how bad WiFi was in the era of ndiswrapper; as well as someone who has used Windows Me and Vista for significant stretches of time.)

            • mixmastamyk 247 days ago

              Recently was reading the blog of the team upgrading conhost. On it they joke several times that the developers doing the work were not even born yet.

              Well, this is the kind of thing that happens when your whole team is interns and the "senior" is 28.

              Reading the associated bugs on github I also learned that there were lots of complaints about the new console, not on features, but breaking compatibility that is. Guess no one thought to start a new project, rather than changing a 30 year-old one that hadn't been touched in 20.

              TL;DR: At least one codger is needed on teams doing this kind of work to give perspective.

              • llampx 247 days ago

                > Guess no one thought to start a new project, rather than changing a 30 year-old one that hadn't been touched in 20.

                To be fair, that's what led to Powershell and Command Prompt co-existing. I guess Microsoft wanted to reduce the number of console backends.

                • mixmastamyk 245 days ago

                  The shell(s) and console are two different things, I’m talking about the second.

                • 0xfeeddeadbeef 247 days ago

                  More precisely: at least one Raymond Chen is needed on every team in Microsoft.

                  • mixmastamyk 247 days ago

                    Not really, anyone with a decent amount of experience.

                • cheeseomlit 247 days ago

                  >NEVER remove a file you did not create

                  Seems like common sense, but Microsoft has been doing this for a while. In Windows 7 (not sure about later releases) the OS runs a 'Desktop Cleanup' periodically that deletes shortcuts to network locations it can no longer connect to. God forbid your network drives don't map one day and Windows decides to nuke all your desktop shortcuts... this actually happened to a user I was doing support for and they were understandably livid

                  • Tsubasachan 246 days ago

                    Disable windows 10 automatic maintenance.

                    Windows is going into the Apple direction I guess.

                  • gnud 248 days ago

                    How about 'delete the folder if empty'? Why on earth didn't they think to do that?

                    • Bartweiss 247 days ago

                      Yes, seriously. I would still think it's totally unjustifiable as a 'helpful' change, but at least it'd be causing problems like "hey, this install failed, how do I fix it?" rather than "where's all my stuff?"

                      That, and I'm just a bit shocked that "the folder should be empty, so delete it" didn't just naturally make people think "obviously I should check if that's true first". Even if it's not a total fix, the failure to add that is it's own layer of screwup.

                      • JohannesH 248 days ago

                        Even that could potentially be a breaking change, like if the folder was expected to be there by some application.

                        • imtringued 248 days ago

                          That can be solved by updating the broken applications. Deleted data is never going to come back unless you have a backup.

                          • mrec 247 days ago

                            Not all applications get updates.

                      • chmod775 248 days ago

                        How does that even work? Does Windows not have proper hard/soft links? Don't you maybe have to do some weird things to get around them?

                        • detaro 248 days ago

                          Windows/NTFS has links, but they aren't used for this (and software support for them is ... iffy, which can be an issue with backup tools etc, for which they aren't just transparent). These "known folders" are roughly implemented as environmental variables containing paths to the configured folder.

                          • withinrafael 247 days ago

                            Soft and hard links are only supported on NTFS formatted disks.

                            • vel0city 247 days ago

                              Soft links are supported on ReFS, but hard links are not.

                            • shawnz 248 days ago

                              They are used for the old "My Documents" folders though, right? So why not use them here too, just as a fallback?

                              • detaro 248 days ago

                                I think that works through the same principle, not through links.

                            • chapium 248 days ago

                              Links have been a feature since vista, at least

                              • pndy 247 days ago

                                Since Win 2k; I'm using Link Shell Extension[1] that puts nice and simple GUI feature in context menus and on icons (green shortcut arrow for example or chain).

                                [1] - http://schinagl.priv.at/nt/hardlinkshellext/hardlinkshellext...

                                • jki275 248 days ago

                                  Do they work though? I remember trying to use them in the past and never found them to function exactly right.

                                  • tjoff 248 days ago

                                    I use them for tons of stuff. Such as moving spotify song cache (not the same as offline storage location that you can specify in settings) so that it wouldn't use precious SSD space for cache (which was quite the inconvenience back when SSDs were very small/expensive).

                                    It doesn't work well with applications that have a habit to remove and recreate the directory that you want to link though (for obvious reasons).

                              • rbanffy 247 days ago

                                > This is a complete brain damage of those who decide to implement such behaviour.

                                I'd love to read what Linus Torvalds would say about it.

                                There are programs that have bugs before the first line of code is written. This is one such case.

                                • Ballantara 247 days ago

                                  This. How much lost time, panic, and rage did carelessly deleting these folders cause? It was a dire mistake.

                                  • yAnonymous 248 days ago

                                    This seems like a common sense thing that every intern would consider. Why the Microsoft development team didn't really raises some questions not only about their QA, but about their whole development process.

                                  • drbawb 247 days ago

                                    Tangential to this when are operating systems going to ship w/ CoW filesystems by default? Accidental deletion of critical directories has been a solved problem for years now. I take instant snapshots of my home directory on ZFS every hour, my boot environment is snapshotted before every update.

                                    You could literally remove my entire root directory and at worst you've minorly inconvenienced me: I now have to boot from a USB drive and run `zfs rollback` to the most recent snapshot. I'd be impervious to most ransomware as well: my home directory is filled w/ garbage now? Good thing it can't encrypt my read only snapshots, even with root access. Oh and I can serialize those snapshots across the network at the block level before I nuke the infected machine.

                                    Of course humanity will always invent a bigger idiot, so it's possible a virus could gain root & exec some dangerous ZFS commands, or it's possible some MSFT employee could pass the `-r` flag and recursively delete a dataset & its snapshots in their post-update script. Plus let's not forget that no filesystem in the world will stop you from just zero-filling the drive. Still it's easy for me to imagine a world where I'm completely impervious from ransomware: by way of only being able to delete critical snapshots when a hardware key is present or when my TPM is unlocked.

                                    On the whole it seems to me CoW filesystems are a major step forward in safe-guarding users from accidental deletions. At a minimum they have other benefits (serialized incremental send streams, block level compression & dedup, etc.) that make backups easier to manage. -- Yet I still can't boot from ReFS on Windows.

                                    • shawnz 247 days ago

                                      NTFS does support copy-on-write through the volume shadow copy service (which powers the System Restore and Previous Versions features).

                                      • drbawb 247 days ago

                                        That'd be great, if I didn't have to turn it off. System Restore is so slow as to be borderline unusable. (In my experience creating the restore point accounts for the majority of time Windows spends doing updates, on a true CoW filesystem this should be nearly instantaneous.) Furthermore if you have VSS enabled on a volume hosting an MSSQL database it creates entries in the backup log for every snapshot, which destroys the chain of differential backups. This makes it impossible to use SQL Server Agent's maintenance plans alongside VSS in small-scale deployments (e.g: a workstation.)

                                        I cannot stress enough: NTFS is not a CoW filesystem, any attempt to add CoW features on top of it will be poorly performant and doomed to fail, because they actually have to copy the old data blocks when you overwrite something. ZFS, btrfs, et al. are not actually copying user-data, because they don't have a concept of "ovewriting a block," every block that is written is written to unallocated regions of the disk; blocks that are not referenced by a dataset or snapshot are then returned to the allocator for later use; at no point is the old data "copied", it's just "not returned to the allocator for reuse."

                                        What btrfs or ZFS mean by "copying" is not the user's data blocks, it's copying filesystem metadata, portions of btrfs' extent tree, or ZFS' block pointer tree. There is a world of difference between volume shadow copy, and an actual CoW filesystem. -- Microsoft knows this, that's why they are working on ReFS. (Of course in typical MSFT fashion they've made a number of critical mistakes: user data checksums are optional, and volume management is not integrated so it can't even use those integrity streams to self-heal corruption. Also last I checked ReFS can't even be used as a bootable Windows volume. -- It's worth pointing out APFS also made the mistake of checksumming metadata but not user data; which in my opinion makes both of them unsuitable as next generation filesystems.)

                                        • shawnz 247 days ago

                                          > ZFS, btrfs, et al. are not actually copying user-data, because they don't have a concept of "ovewriting a block," every block that is written is written to unallocated regions of the disk

                                          Unless you just so happen to be writing over an entire block, then there still must be a copy happening. The old data, less the bytes you modified, must be written into the new block along with your changed bytes.

                                          • kayamon 247 days ago

                                            AFAIK no disk hardware (or filesystem) supports _actual_ byte writes, and never has. They all work by reading in a block (say 512 bytes minimum), changing the bits you asked it to and writing the new block out. So it's no extra effort to simply write the new block to a different location.

                                        • tomc1985 247 days ago

                                          Pretty sure its also used for some aspects of MSI (rollbacks I think)

                                        • rbanffy 247 days ago

                                          Last time Microsoft decided to replace NTFS with something modern, they took about 15 years to give up. If they start now, we can expect them to give up roughly in 2033.

                                          • agumonkey 247 days ago

                                            They tried radical, that's why it was slow and sadly painful. Now implementing CoW ideas is at MS reach easily and would bring commercial value easily, so it could go very differently.

                                            • rleigh 247 days ago

                                              ZFS has now been ported to Windows. With some testing and polishing, maybe it will be something they could adopt in the future (I know, wishful thinking, but the technology is there).

                                              • drbawb 247 days ago

                                                You could always do what I did, and drag Windows along kicking & screaming into the future. I setup Linux on a ZFS root, carved out a zvol formatted w/ NTFS, and installed Windows on top of that in a VM. I get the benefit of being able to `zfs send | receive` the ZVOL to my backup pool, I can do instant snapshots before these godawful upgrades, etc. -- Throw a second GPU in an IOMMU group and you even get near native gaming performance. (Gaming & Visual Studio's debugger are pretty much the only things I use Windows for now.)

                                                It's not perfect, but it works, the major downsides are:

                                                - Granularity is at the volume level, so you get a lot more block churn in your snapshots. I mitigate this by trying to separate the "OS" volume and "Data" volume to the extent Windows will let me.

                                                - If you're doing any heavy lifting on top of the ZVOL that expects sync writes (e.g: MS SQL) its performance will degrade slightly. Anecdotally I find this to be negligible on my all-flash pool. Besides they sell SQL Server for Linux now ;-).

                                                - NTFS is unaware of the snapshots, so your snapshots will be of a dirty state if the guest is running. AFAIK there's nothing like `xfs_freeze/unfreeze` that can be done in the guest to make these snapshots atomic. That being said NTFS' chkdsk is quite mature, and I've never observed this to be an issue in practice.

                                                • rleigh 247 days ago

                                                  I already have exactly the same setup (minus the second GPU)!

                                            • Boulth 247 days ago

                                              > Tangential to this when are operating systems going to ship w/ CoW filesystems by default?

                                              As far as I know Ubuntu ships with ZFS kernel module.

                                              Unfortunately, as you undoubtedly know, ZFS support on Linux will always be a problem due to licensing.

                                              As far as I know native encryption is not yet stable in ZFS.

                                              • jpalomaki 247 days ago

                                                ”The Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) keeps historical versions of files and folders on NTFS volumes by copying old, newly overwritten data to shadow copy via copy-on-write technique. The user may later request an earlier version to be recovered.”

                                                https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTFS#Volume_Shadow_Copy

                                                • canada_dry 247 days ago

                                                  > Volume Shadow Copy Service

                                                  Sure, and the first thing every WIN virus does is deletes the shadow copies.

                                                  • Spivak 247 days ago

                                                    I don't see what you're getting at, an equivalent virus on Linux would delete snapshots as well.

                                              • King-Aaron 247 days ago

                                                Out of curiosity, have you got a link to a workflow doc/tutorial/guide that could instruct someone who's a big green around the ears with using a zfs backup like this?

                                                • drbawb 246 days ago

                                                  For a great primer on ZFS (on Linux) in general there's this website[1] by Aaron Toponce that is very well laid out. Specifically see the section on snapshots & clones, as well as sending/receiving. Also don't forget that you can make a ZFS pool out of any block device, this includes normal files mounted as a loop device! So a great way to experiment w/ learning how to manage a ZFS pool is to just create a few sparse files, add them to a pool, and just start messing around with it. (For actual production pools though always put ZFS as close to the actual disks as possible.)

                                                  What's really cool about serialized snapshots is that once native encryption support lands in ZFSonLinux you'll be able to send encrypted volumes over the wire. The data blocks don't have to be decrypted to be serialized or checked for integrity, so you don't even need the decryption key to do incremental sends! You can send your backups to an untrusted remote pool that never has to have knowledge of the decryption key!

                                                  (You can also serialize snapshots to files, which is useful for say writing them to detachable media to sneakernet them. If you want to do incremental sends though the receiver does have to be an actual zpool.)

                                                  Some other helpful hints would be using something like `mbuffer`[2] on the sender & receiver. This is handy for spinning rust pools, so that your disks don't have to wait on the network before seeking to the next blocks to be sent.

                                                  Also ZFS lets you delegate permissions so you can manage filesystems as normal users, I'd recommend doing this so you don't have to login as root on the remote pool to receive the snapshots.[3] In my case I ran into this early on because I have `PermitRootLogin no` on all my boxes.

                                                  [1]: https://pthree.org/2012/04/17/install-zfs-on-debian-gnulinux... [2]: https://dan.langille.org/2014/05/03/zfs-send-on-freebsd-over... [3]: https://dan.langille.org/2015/02/16/zfs-send-zfs-receive-as-...

                                              • i88y6 247 days ago

                                                They had that 10 years ago and called it "system restore", but they couldn't figure out how to actually...make it work.

                                                Besides, msft makes money by selling SaaS. There's no financial incentive to protecting consumer data since the EULA indemnifies the company for any damages caused by their products.

                                              • tinco 248 days ago

                                                I would have been bitten by this bug. All my Known Folders are redirected to be in a separate hard drive so I can switch them to a new system more easily when I upgrade. It also stems from when SSD's were too expensive to store anything but your OS and your applications on.

                                                A whole bunch of applications do the bad thing Microsoft is talking about, and hardcode the path to 'My Documents'. I have a ghost 'My Documents' folder that has mostly app settings and maybe some save files.

                                              • thrower123 247 days ago

                                                I guess I'm glad that I don't use any of those folders... I just dump everything into category folders at the root of my data partition, e.g. G:\Code, G;\Pictures, G:\Downloads, etc.

                                                The entire Users directory ends up being such an unimaginable cesspool on a Windows machine that has seen any significant service time, with this, that, and everything else poking and prodding and leaving its detritus inside. My desktop is essentially a single-user machine, as most Windows laptops and desktops are, but even on servers where user accounts are actually used, I spend an undue amount of time fiddlefrigging to take ownership and permissions on files because some script I need is saved to a different account's desktop. Bailing out of the whole thing and running your own filesystem shouldn't be easier, but it is.

                                                • gtyras2mrs 247 days ago

                                                  I don’t use the directory myself - but plenty of programs dump data into it.

                                                  I held off updating because I didn’t want Windows wiping out all my game saves for example.

                                                • sajithdilshan 248 days ago

                                                  I suppose the developer who thought it was a good idea to delete a non empty directory was high at the time he implemented it. But, how this went pass through QA is entirely a mystery to me.

                                                  • chrisper 248 days ago

                                                    It's pretty simple. Because there isn't a QA. Microsoft laid them off and uses the "Insiders" as beta testers. But they reported this issue but Microsoft ignored it because it didn't get enough votes.

                                                    https://mobile.twitter.com/WithinRafael/status/1048473218917...

                                                    • PascLeRasc 247 days ago

                                                      They must have been storing the vote database in C:\Users\Documents

                                                      • sajithdilshan 247 days ago

                                                        Wow... This is not acceptable at all. They should have a team to go through these and at least prioritise the tickets instead of just relying on upvote. I'm pretty sure Microsoft can afford that.

                                                        • ken 247 days ago

                                                          That is literally the last paragraph of the article.

                                                          • addicted 247 days ago

                                                            I don’t believe it is. The parent said MS should have a team that manually sifts through raised bugs and sets severity. From the article it appears that MS is instead adding the ability for the bug reporters to set the severity. That’s definitely not as good a solution because everyone thinks their issue is the most severe.

                                                        • addicted 247 days ago

                                                          I’ve read this comment about MS getting rid of their QA in a lot of places. Is that something they actually really did or is it something that people say because their QA quality has dropped significantly (which as in Apple’s case could be due to the increased release cadence).

                                                      • iforgotpassword 247 days ago

                                                        It's the Microsoft mindset that they rule the world and everything works the Microsoft way. Not only do other operating systems not exist (yes yes Linux subsystem for win 10 whatever), but every software vendor and user is assumed to use the system exactly the way it was intended. That means no app will have the path to the original folder hardcoded instead of querying it the official way, and no user will mnavigate to the old pre-redirect location manually for any reason. By that definition, the folder can only be empty, so it's safe to delete it, recursively, since deleting an empty folder recursively is no different from deleting it non-recursively.

                                                        • PurpleBoxDragon 248 days ago

                                                          Sounds more like a business/product owner request given to a developer who has been told one too many times they are too negative when being given new stories to work on.

                                                          But I might just be projecting.

                                                          • nnq 247 days ago

                                                            YOU are their QA department if you're using a non-enterprise version of Windows! Wake up and use Linux or buy a Mac (at least Apple only mocks your wallet!).

                                                            • Yuioup 247 days ago

                                                                use Linux
                                                              
                                                              Yay and become a beta tester for life.
                                                              • qball 247 days ago

                                                                As opposed to what, being a beta tester for life _and_ paying 200 dollars for the privilege like you apparently do with Windows now?

                                                            • elboru 247 days ago

                                                              I don't think this was a single developer mistake (that would be easy to spot), instead this was a solution for a problem so it was a requirement for the new update.

                                                            • bitL 248 days ago

                                                              Title really feels like from The Onion, not fitting 2018, more like 1988. Something terrible must have happened to the Universe's hypervisor lately...

                                                              • jve 248 days ago

                                                                Looks like someone didn't do their job correctly. Carrying on a destructive action (DELETE) without first checking whether that folder contains any files (except maybe desktop.ini)...

                                                                • kgwxd 248 days ago

                                                                  Just because a folder is currently empty doesnt mean its not used and assumed to exist by some program. Delete shouldnt have been called, period.

                                                                  • stinky613 248 days ago

                                                                    I won't try to defend their execution, but I think they're trying to solve a legitimate issue. It's really confusing to an end-user if they see two Documents folders.

                                                                    And I'm certain that I've personally encountered instances where both Documents folders had the Documents special folder icon (though I'm not sure if I've seen this on Win10, specifically)

                                                                    • manigandham 247 days ago

                                                                      So move/merge the locations since that is clearly the intention if the user has a redirection setup. A simple message confirming that "there are 2 Documents folders and would you like to move them to a single location" would be sufficient.

                                                                      This is just a project management failure that somehow got through, but the fact that it did seems to show major QA issues.

                                                                      • cesarb 247 days ago

                                                                        Merging the locations can easily get complicated. What if the same file exists in both folders? What if it exists in both folders, but with different contents? What if not only it has different contents, but also the same last modification time?

                                                                      • solarkraft 248 days ago

                                                                        I have two Documents folders. It's fucking confusing. But I'd think it shouldn't have been possible for them to exist in the first place. Windows Explorer is a mess.

                                                                        • Bartweiss 247 days ago

                                                                          I've run into this on a bunch of systems, and it absolutely is a mess. Particularly since Explorer gives all kinds of special status and UI elements to 'Documents' folders - if they just had the same name in different places I'd care way less.

                                                                          But the solution to "we screwed up years ago" is definitely not "nuke one instance with no warning and don't even glance at what's there".

                                                                        • tcfunk 248 days ago

                                                                          I ended up in this situation upgrading from 7 to 8 to 10 (not sure which transition was the culprit).

                                                                          • jplayer01 248 days ago

                                                                            Maybe just fix that bug instead of deleting user data? Just a thought.

                                                                            • gruez 248 days ago

                                                                              It's not even a bug

                                                                        • makecheck 247 days ago

                                                                          There is no “check first” in an ever-changing file system environment that has no atomic operation for something this large. Any “check” is a false sense of security, convincing you that you’re about to do the right thing; meanwhile, any background process could create important stuff in the directory tree you just “checked” and you’d destroy it anyway.

                                                                          If you could lock down the whole directory tree and then check, it would be moderately safer but you are still assuming the tree contains only what you expect. It’s far wiser to have a list from the start or a file search that you can audit before individually processing files on your list.

                                                                          • perl4ever 246 days ago

                                                                            Sounds like making the perfect the enemy of the good. Why bother to do any checks of anything when a random flip-flop could go metastable forever and brick your system?

                                                                        • Endy 248 days ago

                                                                          "No longer". That's a very bad sign about QC and how confident the major retailers are that we're not going to switch to a different and more stable OS. The problem is that they're right, because Unix/Linux/etc was never and is not meant to be a single-user desktop home OS for the general public. Of course, random broken updates completely bricking your system should be no surprise to those users either.

                                                                          Anybody got a suggestion for an OS I can use that exists on hard media, doesn't use kernel or base OS code that's been distributed digitally and has optional completely non-destructive updates via hard media no more than once a year, so that I'm not feeling like I'm trying to hit a moving target with the stuff I want to use, and it either works or not until a year later?

                                                                          • rleigh 248 days ago

                                                                            It certainly brings the suitability of Windows for production use into question. Not only this bug, which is outrageous, but the direction of Windows 10 in general before this.

                                                                            • klibertp 247 days ago

                                                                              Try OpenBSD.

                                                                              I actually used it as a desktop OS in the early 00s, it was a very relaxing experience. It was years behind FreeBSD (which was years behind Linux, which was years behind Windows...) in terms of device drivers, but it was incredibly stable, minimal, beautifully documented and well-organized OS that was a joy to work with.

                                                                              As an example of what "stable" means here: OpenBSD has a port collection, but it's an implementation detail that you're not supposed to use. Instead, when a release is created, all ports are built and tested to guarantee that they work. Then, they're not updated. Ever. You're supposed to upgrade to the next release yourself, and if you don't, all the packages available to you right now will be available and working the same way 20 years from now.

                                                                              (Of course, there is a -current version you can use to get more liberal update policy.)

                                                                              I don't remember all the details, but it sounds like it would fit your requirements very well.

                                                                              • Endy 247 days ago

                                                                                I may have to try it then. How does OpenBSD name drives? Logically, like A:\ & B:\ for floppies or removable media, C:\ for main HDD, D:\ for main optical media or second HDD, E:\ for second optical media, etc? Or does it name in the incomprehensible method Unix & Linux use that have no application to what I'm trying to do with my life?

                                                                                • klibertp 247 days ago

                                                                                  Physical devices are named based on the driver used. Floppy is fd0 (fd1, fd2, etc. if you have more than one), cd drive is cd0 (cd1, etc.). These are generic drivers, with hard disks it gets more specific - for example, a Western Digital disk would be called wd0.

                                                                                  These physical devices are "mounted" into a single logical filesystem hierarchy, starting at /, with user data in /home/<username>/ (vs. C:\Users\<username>\). Various disks (and partitions) can be mounted basically anywhere in the filesystem, under any name you choose. You can mount your floppy as /A, your CD as /D and your other disk as /G and the OS won't complain at all. Traditional location for that is /mnt (ie. /mnt/G), but it's just a convention you don't have to follow.

                                                                                  You can learn about all the other places in the filesystem, basically what goes where, in `man hier`[1] It's like reading about the internal organization of C:\Windows, though, and can be ignored for the most part: normally, you stick to your home directory for everything and can organize it any way you like. Some desktop environments will create (and display in a special way) a more traditional set of folders, Documents, Downloads, Music and so on, but they will all be inside your home directory. You can mount your other drive (or a part of it) as your Music folder if you want, too.

                                                                                  As a side note, I'm not sure I would call Windows naming convention logical. It's just what you're used to. A single filesystem for everything vs. a separate filesystem for every disk/media is really a minor difference, just like the different path separator (\ vs. /) is irritating for the first week and then you stop thinking about it.

                                                                                  A warning, though. OpenBSD is not a desktop-oriented or newbie friendly OS. It's meant for servers and power users. There's very little hand-holding - even the installer has no GUI at all, not even console-based, it's just a command line where you type responses to printed questions. The primary interface to everything is the command line. The OS is focused on security and stability, not convenience. That being said, the system is incredibly well-documented and discoverable, and the community is very nice and welcoming, so it's not hopeless; just be aware that you're going to struggle for quite a number of hours before you make it work exactly the way you want it. The upside is that when you finally make it, it will stay that way. Forever.

                                                                                  [1] https://man.openbsd.org/hier

                                                                              • yjftsjthsd-h 248 days ago

                                                                                A live DVD of some Linux variant (Puppy or Alpine come to mind)? I'm not sure that I would want to run it for that long unless you figure out some way to run your browser off a different device, though; security updates aren't something that's safe to put off for a year.

                                                                                • checkyoursudo 247 days ago

                                                                                  Can download the binary Moz-distributed FF and unpack it wherever, then run $wherever/firefox. I think currently needs PulseAudio if you want audio, so that might limit what distro one can use. There can also be some traps with missing libraries, so very stripped down distro might be unusable. Otherwise, just check Moz website for updates every couple months?

                                                                                • jplayer01 248 days ago

                                                                                  At worst Linux updates might screw up your system and render it non-bootable. I'm not aware of any bugs in the past 20ish years where your home folder was deleted.

                                                                                  • Someone1234 248 days ago
                                                                                    • Laaas 247 days ago

                                                                                      Apparently the bug doesn't actually delete your files that often, if you read the article. Also that second one isn't really something unique to ext4, is it? Seems like a universal problem.

                                                                                      • jplayer01 247 days ago

                                                                                        (first link) Well, it was a one-off bug that was quickly bug-fixed, but still it managed to be released in a stable kernel and resulted in terrible and rapid data corruption. It mentions restarting twice in quick succession (or even just remounting the volume) was enough to trigger the bug, which seems just as unacceptable to me as the recent Windows bug.

                                                                                        That's the kind of thing I'd expect from btrfs, not the quintessential Linux filesystem.

                                                                                    • Karunamon 248 days ago

                                                                                      Well.... there are a few really nasty issues that come to mind, usually surrounding filesystems. Not too long ago, if you were using a certain version of systemd on certain laptops and did a rm -rf / (which as a new user is not hard to mistakenly do), not only would you lose your files, your hardware would become unusable as well.

                                                                                      (Systemd mounted an EFI partition read/write, and nuking / also nuked critical firmware information)

                                                                                      Some cursory googling reveals some other issues, but everything I can find is either very old (ex. https://lkml.org/lkml/2012/10/23/690) or reference utilities that an average user won't have (ex. https://www.spinics.net/lists/linux-bcache/msg05290.html)

                                                                                      That said, given that Microsoft charges money for this, goes out of their way to render themselves not liable when their code breaks your shit, and doesn't test a use case that's not exactly uncommon, it's still unforgivable and not comparable to Linux.

                                                                                      • zaarn 248 days ago

                                                                                        Linux usually breaks when the hardware lies about having written something to disk or flushed the disk (both are more common on consumer hardware than you think, especially cheap SSDs), though I don't think any FS would fare well if the hardware starts lying to it.

                                                                                        There is also this[0] short blog post on FS reliability on Linux where they analyze the source code for cases where error codes are dropped (code like "if(err) { /* ignore */ }" counting as handled error here) and there was some significant amount of problems across all FS in the kernel.

                                                                                        Though, I don't think the other OS' out there are much better, FS are hard. Getting them right is harder. Getting them right while being compatible with existing implementations is very harder.

                                                                                        0: https://danluu.com/filesystem-errors/

                                                                                        • jplayer01 248 days ago

                                                                                          Fantastic link, thanks. Though I'd just point out that ntfs and apfs are as bad, if not worse, and that we're all in the same boat when it comes to filesystems.

                                                                                        • jplayer01 248 days ago

                                                                                          Oh god, the EFI bug. I thought it was utterly absurd that some people on that mailing list defended that behavior and it really put me off Linux culture and the Linux community.

                                                                                          • wang_li 248 days ago

                                                                                            Linux also destroy intel e1000 nics for a while. And up until ext3 it lied about synchronous writes. Linux has been far from safe for storing your data.

                                                                                            • v_lisivka 247 days ago

                                                                                              If you are not experienced, you should not use root, because it's dangerous. Your experience confirms that. When you need to use root, plan for disaster.

                                                                                              You opened command terminal. You entered user mode using sudo. You entered command manually instead of using a user-friendly file manager, e.g. Midnight Commander. You disabled user-friendly interactive mode for rm. Literally, you said "system, delete everything and don't ask any questions". Yeah, sometimes sheet happens. I did that too once on production server with about a hundred of web-servers because I hit enter in the middle of the command. But I never blame system for my errors. Now I write tested scripts to make changes, use RPM to deliver updates, and use file manager to manage files manually. Learn from your mistakes. It's price for performance. For example, I needed to erase my partition recently. Using Linux, I erased it in less that minute.

                                                                                        • nnq 247 days ago

                                                                                          This is what you get when you adopt the "let users do the qa/testing/beta-testing for us for free". The whole attitude behind Windows 10 "continuous updates" instead of actual releases that are actually alpha-tested and beta-tested by actual hired testers on multiple machines is disgusting and offensive to the user! An operating system needs to be a boring "rock-solid foundation", it doesn't need frequent updates and experimentation, that's what apps are for.

                                                                                          Use Linux or buy a Mac. Microsoft always is and always will be horrible to end-users. They maybe cool in the enterprise sphere, and when it comes to open-source, and when it comes to developer tools and languages (I use lots of MS stuff... but run then on a Linux system!), but they don't care about regular end users since most of them "can't cast a vote" in deciding the system they use and where money goes to.

                                                                                          • dvfjsdhgfv 248 days ago

                                                                                            That's good progress - congratulations, Microsoft!

                                                                                            Frankly, I can't understand why - having a dominant position on the market - they seem to do everything to drive people away from their platform. It's not like we're in the 90s and there is no other choice.

                                                                                            • pjmlp 248 days ago

                                                                                              During about 10 years in the late 90's, early 2000's, I was a kind of Linux zealot, with anti-MS signatures on my emails, which survive on some BBS and Usenet archives.

                                                                                              Nowadays with the exception of a travel netbook, I mostly run Windows or Android on my computers.

                                                                                              Because GNU/Linux never managed to get their act together what means to have a full stack experience for UI/UX focused developers, specially on laptops.

                                                                                              And I just won't pay the Apple prices for less hardware than I can get with a Thinkpad/Dell/Asus workstation laptop, usually about 500 euros cheaper.

                                                                                              • andai 248 days ago

                                                                                                I've heard it said, with Linux, you pay with your time, with Apple, with your money, and with Windows, you pay with your dignity.

                                                                                                • B1FF_PSUVM 248 days ago

                                                                                                  That really explains neatly the success as standard office equipment, now that whips are out of fashion.

                                                                                                  • pishpash 247 days ago

                                                                                                    Sounds like Apple is the least of three evils. Too bad some people invested in programs or hardware that only run on Windows.

                                                                                                • enraged_camel 248 days ago

                                                                                                  For most people there is no other choice.

                                                                                                  I mean MacOS requires a relatively expansive machine to run it, and many business-critical software either doesn’t run on Macs, or has drastically reduced functionality.

                                                                                                  Linux isn’t even worth bothering with if one isn’t technical.

                                                                                                  So really, we are left with Windows.

                                                                                                  • blackbrokkoli 248 days ago

                                                                                                    Linux one is just untrue.

                                                                                                    If you're not technical, just go with Mint. Looks like Windows 7, behaves like Windows 7, doesn't break. You don't have to leave GUI environments once, neither in installation nor in usage. Doesn't break. Gives you the opportunity to optimize your workflow if you want to.

                                                                                                    • Endy 248 days ago

                                                                                                      Mint broke all over the place on all the machines I've ever installed it on. Couldn't get graphics, sound, or networking running smoothly. Complete disaster with my built-in Bluetooth and my BT mice & keyboards. And doesn't behave like Win7 when it comes to actual programs. .deb is not .exe, .bat files didn't work, programs needed to come from a central app store or else be "compiled". Drive names were completely whacked as well. My optical drive wasn't D:\ and I had no idea how to find a DVD through that version of VLC, my main HDD wasn't C:\; and my USB floppy drive (yes, I still have one) didn't plug in as A:\.

                                                                                                      No version of Linux "behaves like Windows 7". At best, it's like Linux wearing a bedsheet-ghost costume labelled "Windows 7" and screaming BOO! at you every time you do anything from a DOS/Windows background.

                                                                                                      • quantummkv 248 days ago

                                                                                                        All of it works flawlessly as long as you run only Intel/Amd. The moment you go to nvidia(which unfortunately has a near monopoly on laptops) is the moment you start paying with performance on nouveau or major features (wayland) and battery on proprietary driver. And this is before we even get to optimus and prime.

                                                                                                        Yes, there are solutions for these problems but you need to be technical for them.

                                                                                                        • tonyedgecombe 248 days ago

                                                                                                          Mint isn't great on high-dpi displays, KDE is probably best for that but has other issues.

                                                                                                          • jsmith99 248 days ago

                                                                                                            This thread is about OS upgrades. Mint's support of in place upgrades at all is... mixed.

                                                                                                          • yAnonymous 248 days ago

                                                                                                            I know completely computer illiterate people who use Ubuntu. Your opinion says a lot about you.

                                                                                                            • FooHentai 248 days ago

                                                                                                              Hmm. I'm skeptical that those 'computer illiterate' people don't have a computer literate person providing them with support that's key to enabling that situation.

                                                                                                              I've had Ubuntu running on a few cheap desktop machines for some years now used for light duties in a few living spaces. So far we're at 100% failure rate on version upgrades: Both LTR release upgrades have bricked both the machines.

                                                                                                              When they switched the window manager on one of the recent ones, the UI simply died and the simplest resolution was to just re-install the OS from scratch.

                                                                                                              Steady state, with apps installed and running and only doing basic patching via the GUI, Ubuntu is 'operable' by avg. Joe. But app installs and beyond are fraught with problems.

                                                                                                              • AnIdiotOnTheNet 248 days ago

                                                                                                                You know, when I go shopping for tools what I do is I find people who know nothing about tools and ask them what they use.

                                                                                                            • titanix2 248 days ago

                                                                                                              They are still not many choices out there: either Apple with high-priced defective keyboards and no desktop solutions or Linux which is still a gamble especially on laptop. In some regards, the situation is worse than a decade ago.

                                                                                                              On Microsoft side, as soon as they announced Windows 10 would be rolling release OS (i.e. a perpetual beta one) I knew I was done with it on bare metal.

                                                                                                              • m_mueller 248 days ago

                                                                                                                What other choice though? I mean especially for Laptops. I find Macbooks now completely unacceptable, as a 13 year mac user, and Linux still seems to have the old issue of unreliable driver support.

                                                                                                                • setquk 248 days ago

                                                                                                                  There are other choices but they all have limitations as well therefore it always ends up with better than devil you know.

                                                                                                                  • saiya-jin 248 days ago

                                                                                                                    There are choices, better than ever before, but to vast types of users this doesn't matter.

                                                                                                                    Some examples - corporate users (nobody big seriously considers Linux for desktops for various reasons, Apple would be easily 3-5x that expensive for no good enough added value), gaming (again some good options, but subpar to windows on probably every aspect).

                                                                                                                    Everybody knows Windows, everybody can somehow get by with just clicking around. If I've put Linux on my fiancee's notebook (she is a doctor), I would have to do 24x7 support for it, forever. No, thank you.

                                                                                                                    • neotek 248 days ago

                                                                                                                      >Apple would be easily 3-5x that expensive for no good enough added value

                                                                                                                      Well that's straight up not true, in fact IBM has over 100,000 Macs in the field and they estimate it's saving them $535 per machine over four years.

                                                                                                                      https://www.computerworld.com/article/3131906/apple-mac/ibm-...

                                                                                                                      • saiya-jin 248 days ago

                                                                                                                        In our branch we have tiny windows desktop boxes (20x20x3cm), they cost below 300 USD to buy. Our corporation has around 100,000 of those around the world. Good enough for any office work you will ever need. We devs are forced to use them too, and they are OKish with 16gb RAM. I've seen these kind of computers in every single employer I ever worked for in last 15 years, corporate or tiny. There are 100s of millions of similar computers in offices around the world.

                                                                                                                        What does Apple have that's cheaper? To save 535$ they would have to pay us to take them.

                                                                                                                        Topic might be different for high-end notebooks, especially with some sweet corporate deals. That's NOT the bulk of computers used for office work around the world. Cherry-picking some specific relatively marginal scenario doesn't affect the big numbers.

                                                                                                                    • nahalz 248 days ago

                                                                                                                      There is no other choice that runs Win32 and DirectX well.

                                                                                                                      • yjftsjthsd-h 248 days ago

                                                                                                                        Wine is hit-or-miss, but when it works it tends to be a good option.

                                                                                                                        • pjmlp 248 days ago

                                                                                                                          XBox. :)

                                                                                                                          • jakebasile 247 days ago

                                                                                                                            Not even comparable to the capabilities of a gaming PC. I'm unfortunately locked in to Windows for the foreseeable future for this reason.

                                                                                                                            • anticensor 248 days ago

                                                                                                                              XBox OS is based on Windows.

                                                                                                                              • saiya-jin 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                not for those of us who prefer mouse-first games (FPS, RPGs, strategies) compared to gamepads.

                                                                                                                          • makecheck 247 days ago

                                                                                                                            Recursive delete has always been a misfeature of computing, out of a mistaken entitlement to convenience when you are performing a fundamentally risky operation on a target you can never know the state of.

                                                                                                                            At best, it is redundant with a recursive search feature that chooses “delete” as the operation. And if you want “do something else then delete”, you can no longer call a recursive-delete command anyway so why not just learn how to enumerate files first and give your system a fighting chance to audit first?

                                                                                                                            Disk cleanup code should always create lists of known target files, attempt to delete only that list of files, then do the platform equivalent of “rmdir” at the end to attempt to remove the directory. If that fails, congratulations: your ass was saved by not deleting something you didn’t know was there.

                                                                                                                            • tcfunk 248 days ago

                                                                                                                              "All your files are exactly where you left them"

                                                                                                                              • userbinator 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                "...we just marked them as deleted."

                                                                                                                                That was the first thing I thought of when I heard the news about the bug --- the infamous creepy message just got an even scarier meaning.

                                                                                                                                https://www.reddit.com/r/windows/comments/3x88yj/all_your_fi...

                                                                                                                                I really wonder what goes on at MS to have consensus to think such messages were ever a good idea. Even if the message is true, it scares the users because it's like ransomware. If it isn't, that's even worse because you're now lying to your users. In any case, they arouse suspicion and fear.

                                                                                                                                In the XP days, I believe updates would, after restarting, at most show a dialog with a more informative message ("Installing updates...") and a progress bar, and more importantly, your wallpaper and desktop would continue loading in the background --- the latter really helps with the unease, if not the annoyance. The full-screen, vague, and unnecessary messages just invoke feelings of horror.

                                                                                                                              • walterbell 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                Is there a commercial PC for sale which supports Windows 7, e.g. is there an OEM with a desktop offering with a Skylake CPU?

                                                                                                                                • xoa 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                  If you want to run an older OS have you considered just running a hypervisor like ESXi or KVM and then handling OS through that? There are lots of good solutions there at this point, and it can be a fun way to play with a lot of other cool features and different OS as well. You can even get near-native performance even for heavy duty graphics applications by using PCI passthrough. The only caveat that adds for hardware choice is that you'll want a processor with an IOMMU for the hardware virtualization support (AMD calls this "AMD-Vi", Intel "VT-d"). AMD is pretty good about not artificially segmenting there, I think everything modern they make supports it (all Ryzen/EPYC at least) though probably worth double checking overall system compat. Intel splits this all up more, Xeon always has everything but support varies elsewhere and you really just have to check the specs.

                                                                                                                                  Even so that gives a ton of hardware choice and flexibility, and will give you more options to protect and control the systems beyond the OS themselves which is very important if you want to run something older since security patches will stop. But if you're judicious about what you use for what tasks and how you handle I/O it offers another option, and can make hardware changes a lot easier as well by abstracting away the metal somewhat. Basically a lot of the advantages that make virtualization so popular in general for business can be just as applicable at home these days, most of us have cycles and memory to spare and can afford to burn a bit of it on making a more pleasant software experience or working around issues coming from a higher level. In this case for example you could be running your Windows VM on virtual disks on a NAS/DAS or even the same system but supporting better snapshotting, and if the data was deleted simply roll back the entire VM to pre-upgrade state.

                                                                                                                                  • pishpash 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                    Is Windows still a big business for MS? Maybe they don't care any more, having Azure.

                                                                                                                                    • phatfish 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                      Judging from the state or Server 2016/Windows 10 updates I suspect not. How a rollup update for 2016 takes 30 mins+ to install (and often fails), yet the 2012 rollup is done in 10 mins is still baffling. This is on 2012 machines with much longer update histories.

                                                                                                                                    • dpark 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                      Extended support for Windows 7 ends in a year and 3 months. Probably not a great idea to jump to an OS at EOL.

                                                                                                                                      Also I doubt OEMs are allowed to sell Windows 7 any more (though I don’t know for sure).

                                                                                                                                      Disclosure: Microsoft employee

                                                                                                                                      • stinky613 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                        You could try checking outlet.dell.com and filtering by 6th gen CPUs. You'll have to get your Win7 install media and key separately, though.

                                                                                                                                        • rbanffy 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                          You don't need to punish yourself like this. Most PCs on sale support Linux or ChromeOS (which is, after all, Linux).

                                                                                                                                          • userbinator 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                            People have gotten XP running on Haswell so I don't think running 7 on Skylake would be a problem. msfn.org has some useful information on running (very) old OSs on new hardware.

                                                                                                                                          • dep_b 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                            Next year will be the year of Linux on the desktop.

                                                                                                                                            • e12e 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                              s/Linux/ReactOS/

                                                                                                                                            • breakingcups 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                              "Microsoft is advising anyone affected by the bug to contact support."

                                                                                                                                              Yeah right, I'm sure that will be fruitful.

                                                                                                                                              • AnIdiotOnTheNet 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                Every once in a while an MS support thread actually has a useful answer in it... given by some random internet commenter about 15 posts after MS support has determined only a reinstall will fix the problem.

                                                                                                                                                • mariusmg 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                  Might be, they provide a undelete tool to recover the files

                                                                                                                                                  • jug 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I read about this earlier and along with the support tip was the "and don't touch your PC" tip. So I'm pretty sure they'll advise some undelete tool and until then they don't want deleted data to get overwritten, but no more magical solution than that.

                                                                                                                                                  • rbanffy 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                                    If the DoJ couldn't sue them, I wish the poor person who lost all their family photos good luck.

                                                                                                                                                    • dragonwriter 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                                      The DoJ could and did, but backed off when a friendlier administration took over.

                                                                                                                                                      Elections have consequences, even if they singing are on issues most voters aren't considering.

                                                                                                                                                  • cmroanirgo 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                    I would dispute this fact.

                                                                                                                                                    Just yesterday I saw that my brother's Win10 desktop was magically empty after he'd rebooted due to windows update. After hunting around for solutions, (none of which worked), I noticed that all the missing desktop files were magically in the recycle bin.

                                                                                                                                                    Nice work M$.

                                                                                                                                                    From memory, the update was #1803, so not sure if this is relevant to the arctechnica article... but since it was yesterday, it's clearly not 100% accurate.

                                                                                                                                                    (PS: No, my brother didn't cause them to be put there)

                                                                                                                                                    • ajnin 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                      The update in question here is #1809; so it's possible your brother encountered another data loss bug, which, considering their current state of QA, doesn't seem that unlikely.

                                                                                                                                                      By default the recycle bin has a limit of how much files it can store, and if you try to put more in there it will be deleted. It'll ask when you do the operation, but it if was done automatically as part of the update, who knows. A safety net with such big holes never made sense to me so that's why I always change the limit to 100% of the disk size. Your brother was lucky to recover his files.

                                                                                                                                                      • ttkari 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                        I wonder if Microsoft is able to cancel the installation of already downloaded updates - if not, something like this might happen if the erroneous update was already downloaded in the background earlier. I think the default setting is that updates will be downloaded automatically and then installed later whenever the system decides there is a suitable period of "inactive time".

                                                                                                                                                        • ragequitta 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                          The update that deleted files wasn't ever an automatic one. You would have had to manually update. Fingers crossed they didn't mess up another. Seems unlikely.

                                                                                                                                                          • userbinator 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                            Imagine the response if it was a forced automatic update...

                                                                                                                                                            ...and this is why I never trust automatic updates. Hard to tell what caused something if the system is silently changing under you.

                                                                                                                                                      • lambada 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                        Amazing that such a simple bug made it all the way through testing. Just goes to show that testing isn’t foolproof!

                                                                                                                                                        • breakingcups 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                          From an earlier Ars article:

                                                                                                                                                          "Compounding this issue is that Microsoft's rollout of version 1809 was already unusual. For reasons unknown, Microsoft didn't release this update to the Release Preview ring, so the most realistic installation scenario—someone going from version 1803 to 1809—didn't receive much testing anyway. And all this is against the longer-term concern that Microsoft laid off many dedicated testers without really replacing the testing that those testers were doing."

                                                                                                                                                          And from this article:

                                                                                                                                                          "In response the company has promised to update the Feedback Hub tool so that the severity of bugs can be indicated. Many people reported this data loss bug, but none of the reports received many upvotes, with Microsoft accordingly disregarding those bugs. If the bugs had been marked as causing data loss—the highest severity possible—then they may have received the additional attention that they deserved. Microsoft hasn't, however, explained why this update didn't receive any kind of "release preview" distribution or testing. There are no guarantees that this would have caught the bug, but it would have meant that an extra round of people would have installed the update onto their systems, and who knows, one of their bug reports might have gotten lucky."

                                                                                                                                                          • izzydata 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                            As a dedicated tester for a large-ish company I can't even imagine how many problems would go unreported if they even got rid of half of our department. It's hard to quantify the exact value of SQA so I can see some manager over-looking its importance, but this is Microsoft. They should know better.

                                                                                                                                                          • setquk 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                            Their QA is nothing short of shitty at the moment therefore I suspect this is business as usual going forwards.

                                                                                                                                                            Windows 10 is literally death by a thousand paper cuts for me.

                                                                                                                                                            • m_mueller 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                              I've switched from macOS to Win10+WSL as my main dev machine this summer, mainly because I like Thinkpad hardware much more (and wanted to give the standard OS there a try), but I'm close to giving up on it and switching to Linux. It's crazy how much crap it throws at you at a daily basis.

                                                                                                                                                              * explorer, and even in general file operations are dead slow for some reason. an expand of a zip from explorer with a couple of 10s of thousands of files can take an hour, while in WSL takes maybe a minute. explorer also takes its sweet time to load, including in open dialogs. This being on a near top-of-the-line 480s with 24GB Ram and 1TB SSD.

                                                                                                                                                              * windows don't remember their previous position on multi-screens.

                                                                                                                                                              * copying in terminal sometimes seems to work, sometimes not.

                                                                                                                                                              * terminal beeps at you on every tab with more than one option, always have to keep sound muted.

                                                                                                                                                              * bluetooth menu is glitchy and there's no standard quick way to connect to a previous device.

                                                                                                                                                              * no idea whether that's win10, spotify or thinkpad software, but hitting a media key produces a NON DISMISSIBLE big overlay for spotify that just hangs there for a good 10 seconds and blocks the stuff I want to click.

                                                                                                                                                              * solution for a full taskbar? just make it scroll with very small scroll buttons...

                                                                                                                                                              * some older Logitech mouse I connect has buggy assignment of forward/back keys - does a completely random operation instead. Windows doesn't seem to have a GUI-way to set this stuff up

                                                                                                                                                              * terminal has no tabs and crappy colors and I don't wanna go down the rabbit hole of trying to integrate WSL with a non-default terminal emulator. I've installed the spring update, won't touch october one for a while at least.

                                                                                                                                                              * there's no integration of WSL & windows GUI layer. Have to start an X-Server separately and have Linux GUI-tools instead. If I seriously need that I will simply switch to a Linux distro instead (which given the above I start to suspect I should have done from the beginning).

                                                                                                                                                              • Osiris 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                You think that's bad? I'm using Linux at work on a laptop specifically designed for Linux and it's been a nightmare to get even basic functions to work right. The computer immediately resumes after going to sleep, it took several days to get hibernation working, the nvidia driver keeps locking up the system, external monitors aren't automatically detected, after an apt upgrade, hibernation stops working because my EFI loader file gets overwritten and I can't figure out from where, I managed to completely break X after trying to get Optimus (GPU switching) to work, applications written in different GUI frameworks (QT, GTK) use different themes and even different mouse cursors, applets don't always show up, bluetooth crashes randomly, and the list goes on.

                                                                                                                                                                Windows has annoyances, but Linux is like building a car in a garage full of car parts. Yes, you can build a working car, but you better be a mechanic.

                                                                                                                                                                • fuzzy2 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                  I’d like to highlight a few points that are mostly not about Windows.

                                                                                                                                                                  > * windows don't remember their previous position on multi-screens.

                                                                                                                                                                  Not an OS concern. Most applications do remember, by the way.

                                                                                                                                                                  > * terminal beeps at you on every tab with more than one option, always have to keep sound muted.

                                                                                                                                                                  Windows terminal doesn’t have a bell. WSL does, as does macOS or anything Linux/UNIX really. You can disable it of course. Google "wsl disable bell".

                                                                                                                                                                  Either way, nothing new or objectively bad.

                                                                                                                                                                  > * no idea whether that's win10, spotify or thinkpad software, but hitting a media key produces a NON DISMISSIBLE big overlay for spotify that just hangs there for a good 10 seconds and blocks the stuff I want to click.

                                                                                                                                                                  That’s mostly Spotify. It can be disabled in settings. Windows only shows the volume "slider", which is gone after 5 seconds

                                                                                                                                                                  * some older Logitech mouse I connect has buggy assignment of forward/back keys - does a completely random operation instead. Windows doesn't seem to have a GUI-way to set this stuff up

                                                                                                                                                                  Nothing is "random". Except perhaps when the device is broken. Mouse buttons 1-5 have been well-defined for 10+ years now.

                                                                                                                                                                  > * terminal has no tabs and crappy colors and I don't wanna go down the rabbit hole of trying to integrate WSL with a non-default terminal emulator. I've installed the spring update, won't touch october one for a while at least.

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, it sucks. You can either enable SSH and SSH into WSL or just use wsltty (which offers bell options!).

                                                                                                                                                                  > * there's no integration of WSL & windows GUI layer.

                                                                                                                                                                  That’s a given. WSL is only for developers.

                                                                                                                                                                  • rypskar 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                    >no idea whether that's win10, spotify or thinkpad software, but hitting a media key produces a NON DISMISSIBLE big overlay for spotify that just hangs there for a good 10 seconds and blocks the stuff I want to click.

                                                                                                                                                                    Is Spotify, go to settings, display options and deselect "Show desktop overlay when using media keys". For some time I had to do that after every Spotify update, but seems to stick now

                                                                                                                                                                    • jki275 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                      Your explorer issue is Windows Defender's realtime protection. If you toggle it off you'll see the operation you're trying to run complete almost instantly.

                                                                                                                                                                      I like Windows 10 and generally have been happy with it -- but that particular behavior has been driving me nuts for a while. They really need to fix it.

                                                                                                                                                                      • alxlaz 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                        I've been using FreeBSD, then Linux since 2002 and I'm seriously considering moving to Windows, which I haven't ran on any of my machines since back when Windows XP was fresh. If you think all the stuff you listed is bad, wait 'til you run into Gnome, GTK and KDE, where not only do windows not remember their previous position on multi-screens, but desktop icons don't remember their position on a single one :-).

                                                                                                                                                                        (Or you can't have them at all without an extension, yeah, that too...)

                                                                                                                                                                        Windows has progressed by leaps and bounds since 2003. Linux, not so much. We have this fixation on building something, then deciding it's full of legacy code that doesn't allow us to build what we really want, so we throw it out and do it all over again.

                                                                                                                                                                        The good news is that we've been on the "building" side of this pattern for a while. The bad news is that we've been on the "building" side of this pattern for a while so I expect there's not much time left until the next "revolution"...

                                                                                                                                                                        • sangaya 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                          Most of your terminal issues can be resolved by using http://cmder.net

                                                                                                                                                                          Don't underestimate Microsoft's willingness to keep their system as a minimum that gets enhanced by third parties.

                                                                                                                                                                          • Dylan16807 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                            > I don't wanna go down the rabbit hole of trying to integrate WSL with a non-default terminal emulator.

                                                                                                                                                                            You open whatever terminal you want and run the WSL command, by the way. So just 'wsl' or 'bash' or 'ubuntu', etc.

                                                                                                                                                                            There's not actually a rabbit hole. You don't need to change the default launcher.

                                                                                                                                                                            • zadjii 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                              > terminal has no tabs and crappy colors

                                                                                                                                                                              Okay, the tabs thing we haven't been able to fix yet, but if you want to change the console colors real quick, you can use ColorTool:

                                                                                                                                                                              https://github.com/Microsoft/console/tree/master/tools/Color...

                                                                                                                                                                              Also, it you want a tab-like experience, you could always try tmux. It's a linux commandline tool that gives you tabs, panes, and all sorts of other goodies, and as of 1809 you can even use cmd.exe within it.

                                                                                                                                                                              • andai 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                When I first tried W10, I noticed a distinct lag before the start menu opens. Often, menus would pop under the taskbar, instead of over, being unreadable and unclickable.

                                                                                                                                                                                I assumed they pushed it to market before it was ready, allowing users to find the bugs to save on testing costs (helping justify why it was free). Only, now, years later, the start menu still lags, and things still open behind other things.

                                                                                                                                                                                Combined with all the mysterious data it sends to various IP's, I think that when you press Start, those first 300 ms are spent as part of some sort of distributed computing effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                • setquk 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                  Have to agree on all points.

                                                                                                                                                                                  You’ll find the slow file operations are entirely down to NTFS. Regardless of how you play around in fsutil it’s hopeless on lots of small files. This incidentally makes WSL unbearably slow. Hence why I still use VirtualBox and putty.

                                                                                                                                                                                • TangoTrotFox 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                  It's been okay since I upgraded to Windows 7. The lack of updates may become an issue at some point. On the other hand, the lack of updates can also be a boon. I really want to swap to Linux, but can't let go of Visual Studio. The second WINE can get Visual Studio running, I'm out.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Jaruzel 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                    You've got until January 2020, which is when Windows 7 goes end of life, and at that point updates will probably stop.

                                                                                                                                                                                    If you can get your hands on Windows Thin PC (Cut down Windows 7) you can eek out the support until November 2021.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • saiya-jin 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                      Windows 7 is the best OS M$ ever made. If it had DirectX 12 (and subsequent updates like raytracing support) i don't think I would ever update.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thinks work, OS doesn't get in my way anyhow, its fast and takes relatively little RAM (well not compared to XP but these days its OK).

                                                                                                                                                                                      Never tried Win10 because everything seemed worse, but I had hope they would polish things over the years. When I read comments here, it doesn't seem so. Sad story...

                                                                                                                                                                                    • bwat49 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                      They no longer have QA. Their 'QA' is the Insiders program

                                                                                                                                                                                      • SippinLean 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                        "death by a thousand cuts" is used figuratively in this instance

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Pica_soO 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                          Imagine a car-repair men standing besides your car, smiling "Your car will no longer spontaneously combust and kill those inside!" like that is a achievement to the previous incarnation.

                                                                                                                                                                                          If you want your files to be save, switch to linux. This - for lack of a better term - company obviously considers deleting them a case that can occasionally happen.

                                                                                                                                                                                          And all those additional backups, the time invested into that- makes windows to expensive as a system- even for free.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Tempest1981 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                        Good write-up. So if I didn’t move any special Known Folders to a different drive, I should be ok?

                                                                                                                                                                                        • magnat 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                          > Adding insult to injury, there are ways in which Windows users could have enabled KFR without really knowing that they did so or meaning to do so. The OneDrive client, for example, can set up KFR for the Documents and Pictures folders, if you choose to enable automatic saving of documents and pictures to OneDrive.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • makomk 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                            Worse still, the OneDrive client apparently left documents in the original locations which the Windows update would then delete:

                                                                                                                                                                                            > The current OneDrive client will set up KFR and then move any files from their original location to the new OneDrive location. Older versions of the OneDrive client, however, would set up KFR but leave existing files in the old location. The October 2018 Update would then destroy those files.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Microsoft's own software which they bundled with Windows 10 and nagged Windows 10 users to set up and use triggered a data loss bug which caused Windows 10 to delete those users' documents - all because Microsoft didn't think it through, didn't test properly, and didn't take any notice of data loss reports from external beta testers.

                                                                                                                                                                                        • clircle 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm seriously considering using a pirated version of LTSB for my next build...

                                                                                                                                                                                          • thrower123 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                            LTSB is just lovely. Maybe the best part of having access to an MSDN subscription these days. It'd be worth paying a premium for as a consumer, if they ever wanted to; manufacturers are slighly better than they once were, but it's still a necessary first step to wipe disks and install a crapware free Windows immediately on a new machine, and LTSB is far and away the best for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                            WSL would be nice, but it's better all in all to just spin up a ubuntu vm in hyperv.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • sureaboutthis 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yay! Windows won't delete my data anymore!!

                                                                                                                                                                                            I can't believe I can say that.

                                                                                                                                                                                            • agumonkey 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                              What a time we're living in

                                                                                                                                                                                              • circa 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                I believe it also broke the File History and Windows Backup (if you use those). I had a client I had to restore from backups. Thankfully they only lost 1 small file in the mix of it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • jplayer01 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Honestly, I don't care. I've disabled Windows updates for the time being since I no longer trust their update QA. I can deal with a non-functioning system. I can't deal with files being deleted outright that don't belong to the system in any way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • bitlax 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for doing the bare minimum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • rbanffy 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's bugs, all the way down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • NVRM 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This should be a huge warning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • hanselot 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                          explicitly...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • throwawaymanbot 248 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is a total disgrace. The company that's worth how many 100 of billions.. and this happens. Complete and utter farce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • davidf18 247 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Speaking as someone who has whose undergrad degree is in Electrical Engineering from a top-rated school and who worked designing computer chips for 4 years, Windows is not properly engineering its software. I also have extensive software experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Microsoft appears to be relying on users to do their testing instead of making their testing as part of the overall engineering process. [1] [2]

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Can you imagine Boeing asking passengers to test their airframes or GE asking passengers to test their jet engines?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              In Mac office, there is a bug with the new upgrade to Mac OS 10.14 (Mojave) where "recent files" local to the Mac are not retained (but those to the cloud are).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Proper engineering means that there are testing protocols followed while developing the product. The fact that such as simple bug as Recent files was not tested speaks a lot to the lack of proper testing of the software as does this Windows 10 bug.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Neither Microsoft nor Facebook, nor Google have people with engineering degrees mentored in engineering as their leadership and I doubt that there are many board members who have the requisite engineering education and experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was mentored in a particular set of processes for ensuring proper design of computer chips and this process is simply lacking in many software systems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not all bugs can be caught by testing, many have to be prevented in the first place through proper processes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              [1] https://www.extremetech.com/computing/246685-microsoft-claim...

                                                                                                                                                                                                              [2] https://www.reddit.com/r/Surface/comments/3s14un/just_a_remi...