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Answers.microsoft.com on the Edge of Spammy?

My impression of the poor spam answers posted on answers.microsoft.com.

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By. Jacob

Edited: 2017-01-23 23:36

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Quite often when I am looking for solutions to problems in Windows, among the first results in Google will be results from answers.microsoft.com, in my experience, rarely providing any solutions, and only limited information on the problems we are dealing with.

The quality of official Microsoft answers, I am sorry to say, is comparable with automated spam messages. Typically you will have a Microsoft supporter reply, only to ask for more details, even in the most basic questions. The incompetence level is so high that you get the impression they are just trying to make it seem like they care, rather than help you find a solution to your problem.

Solutions are not helpful

The solutions that I have come across, has not been solutions at all. In some cases, the applied solution would even get reverted after a Windows Update. An example of this is the downloadable tool they provide to disable unwanted updates, which is essentially broken for this reason.

But there are also examples of Microsoft supporters simply stating the obvious. If a option in Windows Update is missing, and people ask for a solution, a supporter will drop in only to state that it was removed, without providing a solution to the problem. They could at least give us a script, or a custom version of Windows Update with the added options. Alternatively, they could release the source code, and allow the community to help improve Windows Update.

It is necessary for me to disable a certain driver update for a touchpad on an older laptop, however, Windows Update keeps forgetting my settings, and hence keeps installing the broken driver, without my permission. The broken driver will then replace the working older driver, and I will then have to uninstall it, and re-disable it using the downloadable tool. It is actually easier to simply block Windows Update in my firewall, (which is what I am now doing).

Windows Update has not always been like this. In the past, you could just disable the broken/unwanted update directly from the interface. The version of Windows Update in Windows 10 is worse than in older Windows versions. To the point where they do not even compare. And this is a totally unacceptable neglect on Microsoft's part.

Users want two things when it comes to Windows Update:

  1. The ability to disable individual updates, indefinitely.
  2. The ability to disable Windows Update, indefinitely.

Microsoft should respect these wishes, and provide a way of doing it directly from the interface of Windows Update, on all versions of Windows. Period. Not doing so is a violation of their users rights. Windows Update in it's current form, is essentially malware. I suggest people install a simple firewall like TinyWall, and block it entirely until Microsoft fixes it. It is still important to install updates, so I suggest doing it manually when you got time to fix any potential problems that might arise.

Results from answers.microsoft.com discussing the problem are not very helpful. Here is an example of a Microsoft supporter named Mayank Gupta10 giving a typical no-solution answer in: Option to manually select or hide updates on Windows 10 build

Hi Lance,
Thank you for replying.

I am sorry for the inconvenience.

I suggest you to try the steps mentioned below. Before we proceed for troubleshooting I would like to inform you that after doing the steps all the all the drivers updates via Windows updates will get stopped. You will not be able to install any Windows update for your devices.

Follow the steps.

  1. Press “Windows + X” keys.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Advanced system settings.
  4. In system properties click on Hardware.
  5. Click on device installation settings.
  6. Under device installation settings choose the option “No let me choose what to do”.
  7. Choose the second option “Never install driver software from Windows update”.
  8. Click on save changes.

I would like to inform you that there is no other option to hide updates.

Hope this information helps you. Please provide us the feedback using the feedback app in your Windows 10 Technical Preview PC. We will be happy to assist you further.

The answer is of similer poor quality as other answers from other supporters on the site. It does not even mention the downloadable tool provided by Microsoft to hide updates. Maybe because the tool does not provide the option that people want, to disable certain updates indefinitely.

LanceWindows Writes:

I'm fine with Microsoft moving Windows Update to the Settings app but why didn't they add the feature to hide updates?

This could potentially make a lot of users confused into thinking their graphics card doesn't work anymore, possibly making them change their graphics card because they think that it isn't working anymore. Not only that, but Windows Update may install or overwrite existing (but working) drivers, and upon installation of the new drivers, they make the hardware stop working.

Another Microsoft supporter writes:

I would like to inform you that Hiding an update feature has been removed in Windows 10. If you have any feedback/concern related to that then you may post your feedback in the feedback app.

This is another example of a Microsoft supporter who is providing no real value to the disscussion. Often the users themselves will be the ones answering the questions.

Lets migrate to Linux

Currently I can only recommend that people migrate to linux. These days we got open source alternatives to commercial software. And perhaps only when it comes to graphics and video editing is there a need to use Windows. But even then, a lot of work can be done with tools such as Gimp, Blender, Kdenlive, and HandBrake.

I feel that I am forced to migrate as much work to Linux as possible, as a result of my increasing distrust of Microsoft. It feels like we are being bullied and violated, and we can not depend on Windows to work as we expect, as very usefull features are being removed or changed to the worse. It is very frustrating. I describe this further here.

I also dislike the official e-mail client in Windows 10. In the past, we would have Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail, which was both fairly decent clients. But the program that comes with Windows 10 has a minimalistic interface, apparently with many important basic features missing. Luckily we got a better and more dependable alternative called Thungerbird, which is even Open Source!

The problem with the e-mail client in Windows is a good example of why we should migrate to Linux. We simply can not trust that Microsoft will not break the software that we are using, remove inportant features, or replace a important program with a inferrior one. This makes a strong argument for us to start using open source more.

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