Microsoft released today Windows 10's update of October 2018. Instead of explaining what went wrong, Microsoft publicly patched its back for its high quality assurance process. Microsoft promises increased transparency and better communication, but the talk is cheap.
Has something changed?
There is only a lasting change in Windows 10's development process that we know about, and it was done on October 9th. Feedback hub now allows Windows Insiders to rate the "severity" of the issues they report. This would help the Windows team to capture serious errors on error messages instead of showing them.
Microsoft has not announced any specific changes in the last month. With the update of the October 2018 update, Microsoft has slowed down:
While the update in April had the fastest update rollup rate for Windows 10, we take a more measured setting with the October update and slow down our rollout to carefully study device health information.
Better than that, Windows Update will not install the October 201 update just because you clicked "Check for Updates." (You can still download the Update Assistant tool to update right now.)
But Microsoft has not said if this is a lasting change. Next time around, Microsoft can quickly release the update to people who click "Search for updates" again.
Microsoft Promises "Transparency"
Microsoft published a long blog post about how it guarantees Windows 10 quality. Most of this post describes all the work Microsoft already did to test Windows 10. Microsoft claims it does a good job of "Windows as a Service," saying that "customer incidents" are down to each update.
Microsoft also says what is "critical for all discussions about Windows quality is the vast extent of the Windows ecosystem." In other words, this is all very complicated and difficult!
Microsoft seems to reject criticism by pointing out that it often does a good job. For example, Microsoft points out that it issues thousands of driver updates one month through Windows Update. It's fine, but it's still a problem when Microsoft releases a buggy driver that violates the computer's sound.
The blog post does not have any concrete details about what Microsoft will change in the future. Microsoft only promises transparency:
Our focus so far has almost been solving and solving problems quickly and we will increase our focus on transparency and communication. We believe in transparency as a principle and we will continue to invest in clear and regular communication with our customers when there are problems.
It is very easy for a company to promise "increased focus on transparency and communication." Companies do all the time in response to public relations problems. But that does not mean that Microsoft will actually follow.
Even worse, Microsoft has not promised to change Windows 10's development process in any way. Here's how the blog post says:
As part of our commitment to being more transparent about our quality approach, this blog will be the first in a series of in-depth explanations of the work we do to deliver quality in our Windows- editions.
In other words, Microsoft will be transparent by telling you about all the good work that has already been done.
What Microsoft Needs To Do
This is not what Windows users want. We want Microsoft to understand that the Windows development process is broken. Bugs keep pops up-deleted files, computers are suddenly disabled, driver updates break hardware, file associations broken. These big two-year updates seem to make things worse.
Windows users should not fear installing an update because it can delete their files. In the long history of Windows, it has never happened before. How can a Windows engineer write the code telling Windows 10 to delete a folder without checking if it was empty? How was this code never tested by Microsoft before it came to real users? And why did Microsoft not see the warnings from Insiders who had their files deleted?
We want Microsoft to understand the problem, take it seriously and make some real changes. But Microsoft does not seem to be disconnected from users. Microsoft says it's already doing a lot of work to ensure Windows 10 quality, as if Windows users would be happier if we only knew about all Microsoft's hard work.
no. We would be happier if Microsoft would stop breaking things.
Image credits: StockStudio / Shutterstock.com.