[RESULTS] Your Top Windows Questions

Category: Windows

Wow, over 5000 of you responded to the survey about my upcoming ebook. I sifted, sorted and summarized your answers, then created a word cloud of the top issues mentioned in your questions about Windows. Read on for an expanded view of the results, and ANSWERS to some of the most common and interesting questions you raised...

The Survey Says...

Several days ago, I announced that the next edition of my ebook "Everything You Need to Know About WINDOWS" was almost ready for release, and I asked readers to take a brief survey about their computing preferences. I also asked "What are your TWO top questions about Windows that I absolutely NEED to answer in the ebook?" Here are the results of that survey.

You can see from the word cloud pictured here, the most common issues that were mentioned in your responses. Questions surrounding Windows 10 were predominant, with Windows 7 following closely. Issues of security, malware, software updates, speed and performance were also high on the list. I was pleased to see that many of you are concerned about backups. And there were plenty of questions about privacy, the cloud, and web browsers. Quite a few had Windows registry issues.

Windows Word Cloud

Let's rewind just a bit, to my first question, which was: "Which computers, mobile devices or online services do you use?" Not surprisingly, 80% of this audience have a desktop computer in the home. 75% use a laptop, at some of the time. 60% tote a smartphone. 55% own some form of tablet (iPad, Microsoft Surface, Kindle, etc.) 65% prefer webmail (Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail) over desktop email progams. Only half of you use Facebook, and just under 40% reported using cloud storage. Not so popular in this crowd: Twitter at just 14%.

Next, I asked: "On your primary computer, which operating system do you use?" Most surprising to me was the fact that amongst AskBob readers, Windows 10 is now the dominant operating system, with almost 48% using it. Another 36% reported that Windows 7 was their primary system. Those two operating systems combined made up 83% of the total user base. Of the rest, you reported using Windows 8 (7%), Windows XP (3%), Vista (2%) and Other (4%). I know a fair number of you are Mac and Linux fans, but I suspect they were under-represented here because the survey was aimed at Windows users.

I received 5142 completed surveys, and because I asked you to list your top two Windows questions, there were LOTS of great comments. Among them were several hundred birthday wishes, and some really touching remarks from long-time readers. I would love to thank all of you, but the survey was anonymous, so let me express my sincere THANKS here to all who participated and commented!

Let's Answer Some Questions

As I mentioned above, there were thousands of responses, but some common themes. One that jumped out at me was concern over being forced to move to Windows 10. Let me put your mind at ease on that point. If you are happy with Windows 7, you have until at least January 2020, which is when "extended support" ends for Windows 7. For Windows 8, that date is January 2023. I discussed this, and also how to turn off the Windows 10 "nagware" in my article Is Microsoft Forcing Windows 10 on You?

Other concerns about Windows 10 centered on cost, and the possibility of a bait and switch by Microsoft. Windows 10 is a free upgrade for those currently running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 -- at least until July 29, 2016. There are rumors that this deadline for the free Win10 upgrade will be extended, and I believe that's very likely. Don't count on it, but my guess is that it will be pushed out one year, to July 2017. After that, I assume those who wish to upgrade will have to pay something on the order of $99.

Microsoft has also stated that once you have Windows 10, all future updates will be free, for the life of your device. Some people suspect that Microsoft will not keep this promise, and will start charging a subscription fee for Windows. I have no reason to believe that's true, and it doesn't make sense that Microsoft would do that, especially since Apple provides free updates to their Mac OS X operating system.

Another common question was "What is the best best way to transfer content from an older computer to a new one?" There are several ways to answer this. The most straightforward, if you've just bought a new PC, is to restore your documents and photos from the backup you made before retiring your old PC. (You did make a backup, right?) Then you can re-install software from your CDs or download the software. That involves a bit of labor, but little or no cost. But if you're willing to spend a few bucks, you can speed things up with LapLink PCMover, a nifty tool that automatically moves your programs, files and settings to a new computer.

On the lighter side, I got this question from someone who is obviously fed up with spam and viruses in his email inbox: "Is there a way to extract latitude/longitude information from an e-mail, so as to be able to sanction the sender with a drone (or Tomahawk missile)?" Sadly, no. It's true that the "headers" in an email can indicate the IP address of the sender. But savvy spammers know how to cover their tracks by forging the From address, using anonymous relays, and other tricks to obfuscate their physical location.

Further, IP addresses do not correlate to a precise geographic location. At best, an IP will tell you the name of the originating city, but often it points back to the location of the user's Internet Service Provider, and not the user. Even if you could pinpoint the street address of an email sender, it wouldn't be wise to drop a bomb there. Spammers use malware to compromise the computers of unsuspecting users all over the world, and send their messages from there. It's best to hit the delete button, or mark a message as spam.

Stay Tuned, More to Come...

Tomorrow I'll be answering more of your Windows questions, and I'll announce the launch date for the "Everything You Need to Know About WINDOWS" ebook. It'll be soon, I promise, but I need to add a few finishing touches, and make updates to address your survey questions.

Your thoughts are always welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "[RESULTS] Your Top Windows Questions"

Posted by:

30 Mar 2016

I am bummed that I missed your survey!
My only question about Windows10 would be about being able to use Cortana without the mandatory user logging w/Microsoft credentials ? Cortana seems fraught with security and/or privacy concerns, as with OK-google and Siri.

Posted by:

30 Mar 2016

Remind us "Comments" people where the survey could have been filled out. I thought I subscribed to every one of your general subscription e-mails.

Posted by:

David Guillaume
30 Mar 2016

Congratulations on the response to your survey Bob.
I look forwards to the release date of your new book. Live to learn and learn to live
David Guillaume

Posted by:

30 Mar 2016

I would like to know if I backup my win 7 computer, if I have a crash and my system is not recoverable, will I be able to restore my free dashlane program?
I use it a lot and don't always save the passwords any where else. I don't want to pay the monthly fee that allows sync. I have tried to export and save then import, I have openoffice and no name brand excel, I could never sucessfuly restore the information.
Would a good backup allow me to recover the Dashlane program if I needed to do so?

Posted by:

Patrick Foltz
30 Mar 2016

You had to be very impressed with the response to your recent survey!

Being one of the survey responders I was very impressed with your results write up.

Keep up the great work. I am looking forward to your next ebook.

Patrick Foltz

Posted by:

30 Mar 2016

Somehow, Windows 10 started installing itself on my computer without my having a choice in the matter. At first it seemed fine, and then I discovered that I could no longer use my scanner. I admit my scanner is an old model but I was in the midst of a project and I needed it. I went back to Windows 7, and my scanner now works again, but I'm rather afraid Windows 10 will creep back into view again. My feedback is that you make sure everything related to your computer is compatible with Windows 10 before allowing it to install. Sigh.

Posted by:

30 Mar 2016

Regarding your "on the lighter side" about latitude and longitude from IP addresses, sometimes you don't even get close. This is from a friend's blog.

"Typically those IP addresses (which can vary over time, depending on your ISP and service type) will be located fairly close by to your physical location. But that isn't necessarily the case!
Mobile carriers in particular, but also DSL, cable, fiber, and other ISPs, may assign IP addresses at a considerable distance from you, normally related to how their internal networks are organized. Since such networks may often be reconfigured, your IP addresses locations can change as well.

For example, my cable provider here in Los Angeles originally located my IP addresses to nearby Chatsworth. Then the addresses moved to Orange County -- still here in Southern California, but much further away. At one point, my IP addresses were showing as being in Kansas! Yes, they can sometimes show as being thousands of miles away from your true location (and again, this is particularly common with mobile service Internet ISPs."

Posted by:

Steve B.
30 Mar 2016

For Windows 10 what does 'for the life of your device' mean? Can I replace any and all hardware except the motherboard?

Posted by:

30 Mar 2016

Here is a device to stop Win 10 from downloading on your PC...It is called Never 10....
It is not an app so you save it to PC. Quite simple...

Posted by:

Karl Mohr
30 Mar 2016

Recently upgraded to Win 10, that went fine and I like windows 10. I have made a backup of Win 10 (was upgraded from Win 7), but would like an Install disk of Win 10, should computer crash. I would have a clean install then.

Posted by:

michael rothschild
30 Mar 2016

I had GWX.exe in my system 32, which I did not want to fool around with so I installed a "stand alone" from http://ultimateoutsider.com/downloads/

It removed the GWX.exe from system32 on my computers!
I found out about this on How to geek site.

Posted by:

30 Mar 2016

I run windows 10 and love it. For those who don't want it, the best way to avoid having it foisted on you is to pick up a copy of Never10. This program was written by Steve Gibson; I trust him completely and he claims the program is simple to use and permanent: https://www.grc.com/never10.htm. (Steve has been the victim of intermittent denial of service attacks, but be patient and you will get through eventually.)

Posted by:

31 Mar 2016

Re Dianne's comment above. I've just had an email from my wife saying her computer appears to have taken a unilateral decision to 'upgrade' to Windows 10 without her prompting it to do so. If this is the case then i suspect Microsoft may well stop supporting windows 7 and 8 rather earlier than it says it will on the grounds that there'll be so few users if unilateral upgradinng is the norm

Posted by:

31 Mar 2016

For those of you, who are having trouble with Windows 10 installing, without your permission - It is because the Windows Updates have installed several KBxxxxx updates. Not Security updates, but, the Recommended updates.

I highly recommend those who do NOT want to upgrade to Windows 10 - To use the "stand alone" GWX Control Panel program. Plus, it works with both the 32Bit and 64Bit Windows Operating System and works extremely well. :)

As Michael Rothschild posted, the website to download it from is:


There is also a Help section for GWX Control Panel, for setting up the parameters. I have been using it with my Windows 7 Pro 64Bit OS, for about 4+ months now and am very pleased with this program. I put it on my daughters Windows Pro 32Bit OS and it worked great. :)

As for Microsoft stopping support for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 earlier than the posted end of support date - This will not happen. As far that Microsoft goes, they have always honored their support for their OSs, right up to the "cut-off" date. :)

Posted by:

01 Apr 2016

Dianne, I hope you don't have the same experience as many of us who reverted back to Windows 7 from Windows 10: We lost our ability to back up and get an error message instead.

MS' people offer long, convoluted fixes, none of which work.

These are the kind of shenanigans that make so many people despise Microsoft.

Posted by:

01 Apr 2016

My question would be, why am I constantly told I don't have permission to do this or that procedure? I'm the administrator I should be able to have full access, but no matter what I try nothing works. Frustrating.

Posted by:

03 Apr 2016

I just bought a new HP desktop and upgraded from Vista to Windows 10.
However, Windows 10 did not recognize the Vista backup, and the files had to be transferred individually.

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