Fixes For Top Windows 10 Annoyances

Category: Windows-10

As Windows 10 enters its second year, the operating system is accumulating its share of user complaints, just like every previous version. Here are some of the most frequently cited Win 10 annoyances and solutions to them…

How to Fix Windows 10's Most Common Annoyances

On July 29th, Microsoft's flagship operating system Windows 10 turned one year old. Along with that milestone, Microsoft release a major update known as the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. It seems to have been rushed out the door, because many people are reporting problems after having this update applied to their system.

In my article Postpone The Windows 10 Anniversary Update you'll find some of the most common issues people are seeing. I've also provided instructions on how to delay that update, and the steps to undo it if it's already been applied and you have a related problem.

“I DON’T WANT A MICROSOFT ACCOUNT!”

Win 10’s Setup utility tells first-timers to create a Microsoft account and use it to log into Windows 10. You can create a local account like those used on earlier versions, but Microsoft does its best to obscure that option. On the Setup page that tells you to use a Microsoft account, you’ll find itsy-bitsy text down in the lower-left corner saying, “Skip this step.” Click that and you’ll be asked to create a local account. Who would have guessed?

Fix Windows 10 annoyances

If you need to create a new account on a Win10 machine, you should choose the option, “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information” to skip the Microsoft account and create a new local user account the old-fashioned way.

If you already fell for the Microsoft account “requirement” and would like to get out of that trap, open Settings and click “Accounts,” then “Your email and Accounts,” then choose, “sign in with a local account instead.”

“NO TELEMETRY FOR ME, PLEASE”

Win 10 collects and sends to Microsoft a lot of data about your computer and what you do with it. Some of this telemetry is necessary to keep Windows running and secure, but Microsoft overreaches by default. Then the company provides a “user choice” that is deceptive. But you can get past the smokescreen and minimize the amount of data sent to Microsoft.

During Setup, Win10 presents you with the options shown below. If you slide the last control to “off” it should stop all telemetry, right? Wrong; it only decreases the amount of data sent from “Full” to “Enhanced.” The setting minimalists want is called “Basic” and it’s not offered during Setup.

To minimize telemetry, open Settings and click Privacy > Feedback & Diagnostics. Click “Send your device data to Microsoft” and then select “Basic” from the pulldown menu.

“YES, I’M SURE I DON’T WANT TO USE EDGE”

You may have set Google Chrome as your default Web browser, but Microsoft isn’t done pushing its new Edge browser at you. For instance, if you try to open an HTML file that’s stored on your hard drive, Win 10 will ask if you want to continue using Chrome for this type of file or if you want to use Edge. This annoyance can be fixed via old-fashioned Control Panel.

Open Control Panel and enter “set default” in its search box (upper right corner). Select “Set your default programs” and you will see a list of installed programs. You can tell Windows to use any program for all types of files it can handle, or specify individual file types that should be handled by that program

“GO AWAY, CORTANA”

Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri, is in your face from the moment you install Win 10. Cortana needs your permission to be “helpful,” and she’s infuriatingly persistent about trying to get it. Cortana can be shut up, but it's difficult to make her go away entirely, especially if you have installed the new Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

If you failed to click “No, thanks” during Setup to prevent Cortana’s awakening, you can disable her Bing-searching ability. Then local searches will turn up only files and settings on your local machine, and Cortana will not make suggestions. But like every other change to defaults that Microsoft wants you to use, Cortana’s settings are not easily found. Here are the steps:

Click in the search box on the taskbar to open the Cortana window pane. Click the three-line “hamburger” icon in the pane’s upper-left corner. Click on “Notebook” and then the gear icon (Cortana Settings). At the top of the settings menu is a switch labeled, “Cortana can give you suggestions…” Slide that switch to “off.”

If you want to completely disable Cortana after installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, you'll have to fiddle with the Windows registry. That's a bit geeky, but if you want to try, follow these instructions. Click Start, type REGEDIT and then press Enter. Find the key "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search". (If that key doesn't exist, you'll need to create it.) Next create a DWORD value named "AllowCortana" and set it to 0. After logging back into Windows, you'll see the search box has changed from "Ask me anything" to "Search Windows."

Note that this option has nothing to do with telemetry settings; see the tip above for minimizing the amount of data that Microsoft gets about your device and what you do with it.

DO WINDOWS UPDATES ON *MY* SCHEDULE”

Windows 10 downloads and installs updates without giving users the opportunity to reject any updates or postpone their installation. The result can be a huge cumulative update that ties up your device at an inconvenient time and ends with a forced restart. The solution is to pick a convenient time.

Open Settings, click “Updates & Security,” and on the Windows Update page click “Advanced Options.” Under “Choose how updates are installed” use the pulldown menu to switch from “Automatic” to “Notify to schedule restart.”

The next time Win 10 updates, you will see a notification and have the opportunity to schedule installation and restart to a later time, up to five days in the future.

Have you applied any of these tweaks to your system? Are there other Windows 10 annoyances you've encountered? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Fixes For Top Windows 10 Annoyances"

(See all 44 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Sandy
26 Aug 2016

Haven't seen this addressed. Ever since installing Win 10 a year ago, I have to reboot on startup to get the monitor going. Since my daughter-in-law's computer had the anniversary update, she has the same problem. On first boot the graphics (window and circle) are pixillated, and screen goes black. On reboot, all is well. Darn nuisance!


Posted by:

Chris
26 Aug 2016

Hi Bob I fixed windows a while ago by taking your advice and upgrading to Linux from XP. Wonderful choice but would love to see some articles on Linux from you. Keep up the good work making users more intelligent.


Posted by:

gtodon
27 Aug 2016

Regarding the first "annoyance": What's the advantage of creating a local account instead of a Microsoft account?


Posted by:

BaliRob
27 Aug 2016

@Geek A.J.

Thank you so much - there is always a God Samaritan
around the corner.

I will NOT of course pay any ransom.


Posted by:

BaliRob
27 Aug 2016

@Geek A.J.

Unfortunately they were unable to help must be
pretty sophisticated then


Posted by:

gbsk
27 Aug 2016

I downloaded Win 10 from 8.1 on the last day we could download. Since then I like Win 10 except it seems to take up all my resources like memory from both RAM and HD. I keep less tabs open but keep getting low memory indicators and often have to reboot or slow loading of programs. I also have low memory on my HD. I have 32 GB of memory and I only have less than 1 GB of HD space left. i do not have many files stored on my computer. I also looked to see if Win 8.1 was still there but I cannot seem to find it. Where is all my memory going and how can I get this back. I had over 20 GB of memory before this. Thanks.


Posted by:

Doug Brown
27 Aug 2016

I downloaded Windows 10 when it was free, didn't like it, reloaded Windows 7- which I like very much, and finally reverted back to a new, fresh install of Windows 10 using MS "create tool" from their web site. Each Windows 10 version downloaded was in some way slightly different. Then the Update Anniversary issue of Windows 10 came along. I downloaded it thinking I'd get something better. Wrong! Reverted back to the original Windows 10. With time I went back an downloaded Windows 10 Anniversary. Things eeem to be going along somewhat okay. But I do have a couple of problems. First, I have to put in a password for my at home desktop computer at the "Welcome" window. I can't find a way to remove that feature. Second, When I first turn on the computer, I have to restart the "NUM LOCK" button before entering the Password. Both of these features are VERY unnecessary for me. I'd sure like an answer to these two questions so I can get back to enjoying computer work.


Posted by:

bb
27 Aug 2016

Doug Brown: If you use a Microsoft account, you *must* have and use a password to use your own computer. If you switch to a local account, a password becomes optional. With a Microsoft account, some things 'just work' like OneDrive, Mail, Calendar, People and the Microsoft Store. With a local account each of those things will require a separate login. (Of course, if you don't use those things it make no difference!)
Remember that Windows 10 is a *Phone* and *Tablet* operating system and so has to have the capability to do all those (intrusive) things that your phone has to do like knowing who you are and what you're doing and where you're at all times.
Second, check your BIOS/UEFI setting for the NumLock setting; this is outside of Windows.
And since Bob asked ... my complaint about the Win10 Anniversary Update is on Windows Defender: it's good that it's now in the system tray, it's unfortunate that MS decided to use a different icon, it's bad the Defender now feels it's necessary to announce every time a scan is needed and after one is done (shades of Norton advertising - look how good I'm protecting you!) and terrible that one can *not* turn off these notifications.


Posted by:

Butch
27 Aug 2016

Boy! Am I glad I heeded Dell's recommendation *not* to switch to Windows 10. Windows 7 and I just keep rolling along.

As I'm not in very good health and am definitely a _senior_ citizen, I may not be around when the Windows 7 support dies in 2020. If I'm still alive and competent, I'll happily _not_ be using Windows 10.


Posted by:

cal67
28 Aug 2016

I've run Win10 since the Insider testing prior to actual release. I like some things, don't like others. One annoyance is the expectation or requirement to be constantly connected. I can't even waste 5 minutes on a game of Solitaire or Mahjong without logging in to XBox and waiting through the advertisement. Sometimes the little things are among the most annoying.


Posted by:

krishnan
28 Aug 2016

Every time I set default browser as Chrome, the next log in the default goes back to "edge".What d I do I do to permanently set the default to chrome?


Posted by:

Betty
31 Aug 2016

This was an excellent article, especially for me for a couple of reasons.
First, I have changed to 10 as yet, I still have 7. However, I do assist in classes, for seniors, at our local university. I have learned a lot, but still have not changed to 10 here at home.
That makes it difficult, as I have to use a computer with 10 on it to assist in the classes.
Your article is used by quite of few of people who work with students, to be better informed.


Posted by:

Jesse Sprayberry
04 Sep 2016

The annual Windows 10 update not only caused my Internet link to disappear but removed my email contacts from the address book to an unknown location.


Posted by:

Piquerish
07 Sep 2016

New Gigabyte computer with Windows 10. I have no idea why this happening, but I find it damned annoying when a black and white cmd window pops up on the upper left corner, runs a string of data and drops back out, all in the space of about one second or less. This happens about every 15 to 30 minutes. It's annoying to see and triple annoying when it jolts a video I'm watching or -- worse! -- drops a spinning little blue wheel on my screen when I'm playing a game. I can partially clean that thing via Task Manager just by bringing it up. I HATE this crap, but I remain clueless as to what it is, why it's happening or how to kill it dead, dead, dead! These scripts do not appear to be the same string each time and they occur whether or not I have a program in use or a screen or browser running. Wut - The - Hell?


Posted by:

ge standard
10 Sep 2016

I have the same problem sometimes when the computer goes to sleep, when I go to use again the video display will not cone up have to reboot to get a screen very annoying, have a fix for this?


Posted by:

louis chapman
11 Sep 2016

how do I get my cd drive to work It just stopped working. I hear it trying to start but will not run a cd I am using win 10


Posted by:

Jim
12 Sep 2016

Some of Windows 10 updates, and certainly the Anniversary Upgrade, returns System Restore to the default setting, i.e. turned off. This can result in inconvenience at best or catastrophe because no Restore Points are available.

Run a check after each and every update. Finding System Restore will vary depending on whether a user is running Start 10, or the standard Windows 10 interface - but in general find Control Panel > System > System Protection > the Configure in the System Properties window. Click the radio button to turn on System Restore. By default the amount of disc space allocated for Restore Points is zero - reconfigure to something like 12% depending on available disc free space.


Posted by:

Bruce Wharton
12 Sep 2016

Win10, no problems yet, operationally anyway. Biggest bugbear is the fact that someone at Microsoft thinks I constantly need to update my OS every time I start up. I got over most of the "problems" upgrading the PC. Previous Windows had the option to "block" any update, Win10 doesn't! Especially for MS products that won't update with the very early MS Office (looking for a "Single Image" file). After 18 rejections (failed to install) you thinks MS "Technical" would get the idea that it doesn't update. We consumers need to have more control, otherwise the big fruit competitor may just get my business.


Posted by:

TC
12 Sep 2016

Defrag on windows 10 professional wont allow manual operation.
It is grayed out and states not available.

Even Dell can`t sort this and Microsoft say it`s the OEM and machine manufacturer that needs to sort it out.


Posted by:

Todd
01 Feb 2017

Hi Bob,

Do you have a way to delay the win 10 reboot after updates to an date far more than what win 10 offers? There are times where I really don't want the computer to reboot, and the "choices" for future times to reboot are not convenient.


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