How can a Windows 10 user maintain his sanity?
I have postponed this kind of posting for many months since I took the unwise decision of converting Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 in my Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga laptop. I had problems with Windows 8.1, the worst of all was the delay of 1 or 2 minutes I had frequently to endure before an open dialog box showed me the contents of a directory in order for me to open a file from any windows application. As this was happening very frequently, I took the decision in August 2015 of upgrading to Windows 10 on this laptop. My decision to upgrade on another laptop with Windows 7 was wisely postponed until later in the future.
After the upgrade, the problem with the delay with the open dialog disappeared forever, but I got much worse problems of stability. At the time of the upgrade I was developing a file and directory encryption windows application using Lazarus (a Delphi clone). Suddenly, after the upgrade I started getting complete freezes of the computer. This was sometimes happening when I was test running the application. Everything would freeze, no keyboard or mouse reaction whatsoever. The only way out was forcing the laptop to reboot by pressing the on/off button for more than 10 seconds. This happened some 10 times in the course of several weeks, until I decided to close and start again the Lazarus development application more frequently, instead of leaving it open thru 'sleep' or hibernation cycles.
Another anomaly I found was that after returning from sleep or hibernation I noticed that one or another application would be started, that I had never used, or that open applications would sometimes show up in a different status than the one it initially was, when I initiated the sleep or hibernation action.
But the worse of all anomalies occurred today for the second time (the first time had been some 4 weeks ago). I woke the laptop back from hibernation and I got the log-in screen. As soon as I moved the mouse or I started entering the password, windows started “talking to me”, describing which key I was entering or describing which text was under the mouse cursor. Absolutely frustrating! I had never asked windows to start talking to me! This is like a virus, a program you never activated starts invading your “windows experience”. After I entered the password I pulled the Task Manager, found the culprit (“screen reader” , “narrator.exe” and killed it). Then I went over to my normal activities, in this case to writing a reply to a Skype message. I was writing the reply and suddenly my screen disappeared and was replaced by the “log-in” screen, asking for the password, and accompanied again by the “virus-like” voice of the “screen reader”, the application that I had killed some minutes earlier. And this time my windows password was rejected repeatedly, thus my only option was to kill windows again, by pressing the on/off button for longer than 10 seconds.
The pattern I described was the same as about 4 weeks earlier, only that at the time I was writing an email when I got interrupted by the “log-in screen” with the “screen reader” talking to me and the rejection of my password, time and time again. The frustration caused by this Windows behavior is very big. When I am working, I don’t want to be interrupted and impeded.
Later today, after rebooting, I started looking for a way to prevent the screen reader (narrator.exe) from interfering with my activities. I found the configurations for that horrible program, and found out that Microsoft did not conceive that a user might not want to have that program running at all: there was no “disable” feature. Thus I went ahead and discovered the 4 locations inside the windows directory where that application was located, I changed the ownership of each application (using the properties of each “narrator.exe” file) and renamed them on 2 locations and removed them on the other 2. I hope sincerely that the next Windows update will not again reinstate that horrible “virus-like” application.
If I compare my experience with Windows 10 now with previous experiences of past windows versions, I must say that the frustration with Windows 10 is only matched with the frustrations I had some 10 years ago with Windows Vista.