Monday, August 17, 2015

Windows 10 may just be worth the price

I upgraded 4 computers to Windows 10 with the free offer, and assisted with a fifth.

So far, when it works it seems to be OK. However, there were problems.

Note that the Microsoft support forums indicate that these have been around since early in the pre-release process, so Microsoft is well aware of the problems. They choose not to fix them before releasing the product, and  even more inexcusably, chose not to warn users that these problems were possible and provide a simple workaround.

Critical Error:
Screen flashing, making PC unusable (2 out 5 computers)
After installation, everything appeared to be OK, then I entered the log-on password and the screen went bonkers.  There was a simple fix for this (ctrl/alt/delete, Task Manager, More Details, File/Run Net Task, msconfig, services, then battle the flashing screen chaos to find "Problem Reports and
Solutions Control Panel Support" and "Windows Error Reporting Service" and untick them.  It's very difficult to spell msconfig with the screen blinking wildly, but perseverance is rewarded. Reboot and it's OK.

There were 16 pages of comments on this on the MS Support forum, and I soon as I encountered it, my brother called to say he got the same thing (he's the 5th computer). So, this is something MS let happen to their users, with no help.

Serious Error:
Unable to set up a Homegroup
This is another that was widespread.  Click on Homegroup, there's an option to join a homegroup. Follow through with the old password  and MS tells you it can't find the old Homegroup but won't let you create a new one.  The answer, for me, was:

  1. Shut down every computer on the network but one 
  2. on the running computer, go to C:\Windows, enable hidden file acesss (file explorer "View" tab, tick "Hiden Items" )., then navigate to C:\Windows\ServiceProfiles\LocalService\AppData\Roaming\PeerNetworking and delete everything that starts with "idstore" (there may be 1-3 files). If the files aren't there, try another computer (after verifying that you can view hidden files).
  3. reboot
  4. go to Homegroup, create one, and write down the password
  5. start up each of the other PC's, click Homegroup, join, and give the password that the first one got
Serious Error:
The above worked on the first computer, then I was able to add 2 more.  On the 4th, however, I got a message, after entering the password, that I needed to enable IPv6.  I checked my adapter configurations, and saw that it was enabled.  On the interwebs, I found that I needed to edit the registry (search for regedit and run it, then navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip6\Parameters and double click DisabledComponents to edit, and set the value to zero.

First problem: there was no Parameters entry under Tcpip6. I pointed this out to the MS Engineer on the support forum, and got no response. I thought about it for a while and wondered if wireless was an issue.  One of the other computers that upated successfully was wireless, but... So, I disabled wifi, shut down the computer, plugged in an ethernet cable, started up, and viola, I had the registry entries listed above. I updated DisabledComponents to zero, exited regedit, and rebooted.  I was able to join the Homegroup.
This is another common problem, although not as widespread as the others.

These are what are known in the business as bugs.  Users have a right to expect that known bugs will be fixed or that simple workarounds will be provided and that users will be warned ahead of time.

There is no excuse for this.