Below are some screenshots from Win 8.1.
The user interface looks like it was designed by children.
The start menu clutter (above) is horrendous.
There is a lot of pre-un-installed software (below):
for example MS Office--there is an icon, but it opens
an Internet connection for you to BUY it. Pfui!
The video player ran for a week, then quit--
after which it went online and expected me to BUY it. Pfui!
So I installed VLC player instead; freeware.
Same with McAffee: icon starts a demo version. Pfui!
I installed Zone Alarm instead, just to spite Microsoft's
aggressively pre-un-installed AV appplication.
All this stuff should be included in the purchase price,
or not at all--but please no icon clutter leading me expect that
that the software is there and fully functional.
You'll notice I installed the necessary network monitoring tools:
Wireshark, ProcessExplorer, Autoruns, TCP-View, Share-Enum, etc. from SysInternals.
This is a work station, not a friggin gaming console !
Last and probably most irritating of all, the system settings have been strewn all over;
I counted at least four icons leading to different sub-sets of the settings (in no logical grouping). Pfui!
'Get more features with a new edition of Windows' it sez;
I don't want more features; this is the thing MS has never understood.
I want more useful functions. It's about quality, not quantity; are you listening there in Redmond?
BTW, Win 8 tries to go online every few seconds to verify something or other;
probably re-authenticating itself and checking for automatic updates.
Even turning off automatic updates in the settings did not stop this.
So I stopped it: a) on the Cisco firewall behind the DSL modem;
and b) by entering all of the MS servers into the host file as 127.0.0.1.
A lesson I learned a long time ago: never ever let Windows update itself automatically.
MS is offering free upgrades from Win8 to W10.
What does that tell you about 8, eh?
The captain is shouting, "Abandon ship!"
W10 Upgrade News
12.12.2015: Well, I tried it, and here's my report:
The download went without a hitch and the installation went without a hitch.
The first thing I noticed when the system rebooted in W10 was a message that W10 had deleted my Zone Alarm.
That set alarm bells ringing -- any OS which deletes my firewall has earned my undying suspicion.
BTW, the Windows Defender can be turned off, but it turns itself back on again. Pfui!
The second thing I noticed was that it tried to call the mother ship.
Incessantly, every few seconds, non-stop.
Of course, I did not let that happen; after the installation completed, I connected the PC to a router which had
no Internet connection; it routed everything to a 'sink' where I had a dummy DNS server and Wireshark
waiting and recording everything it tried to do on the net.
And my, what a lot of things it tried to do on the net! Mind you, I had not activated anything at all.
I had not opened any application, I had not started a browser or Outlook or anything.
The third thing I noticed was a spam email addressed to my private eddress.
(I have access to the exchange server from other devices.)
I have never, ever, voluntarily divulged my private eddress to Microsoft.
So I must suppose that the W10 installation somehow espied my private eddress from
some location in the Win8.1 files. This earns my undying contempt.
I then undertook to prevent all this unwanted 'phone home' behavior by
turning off everything I could find to turn off in the settings --
including activating "send no feedback" -- to no avail. It continued to phone home.
I then edited the hosts file pointing all the servers the machine had tried to contact to the IP address 127.0.0.1
-- which means, in effect, that it should no longer contact them.
To my consternation, this did not prevent the OS from trying to contact the mother ship.
W10 simply ignores the hosts file and continues to try to resolve MS server names via DNS.
User beware: there is no setting to turn off updates.
W10 mandates mandatory updates.
I have been advised that by setting the WLAN to "metered connection," one can
inhibit W10 from updating over that link -- but I have a cable LAN; the option is not available for cable.
I must therefore assume that as soon as the device is connected to a cable, it will update.
I have been advised that Business and Enterprise editions of W10 offer the option to postphone,
but not turn off, mandatory updates.
This is a chatty OS; a real blabber-mouth.
Over a period of about 20 minutes, I identified a number of servers which W10 contacted.
I include the list below:
W10 'phone home' servers:
126.96.36.199 /24 (RIPE, Zurich--this will be different for USA)
188.8.131.52 /24 (RIPE, Zurich--this will be different for USA)
NetRange: 184.108.40.206 - 220.127.116.11
CIDR: 18.104.22.168/15, 22.214.171.124/14, 126.96.36.199/16
I cannot guarantee that this list is exhaustive.
I have since reverted to W8.1. I have not yet tested all the apps,
so I cannot verify that the roll-back has succeeded.
At least Zone Alarm is there, right where I put it.
And W8.1 is not phoning home.
Did I actually use W10? NO.
I cannot comment on whether the OS actually operates.
I predict that as soon as the mandatory update behavior is publicly acknowledged,
there will be an outcry and a demand for an opt out function.
Postscript, 25 Feb. 2016: I have since figured out how to defeat automatic updates.
Click here to learn how to stop automatic updates.