Why Windows 10 May Delete Your Apps Without Asking
Microsoft recently rolled out its first major update to Windows 10 for PCs and tablets. The update adds a number of improvements, including better overall performance; faster boot times; upgrades to Mail, Calendar, Photos, Groove, Xbox, Windows Store, OneNote, and Solitaire; and a number of significant improvements to the most important apps in Windows 10, Cortana and Edge.
But along with all of those improvements, the update makes an unwanted change. Jeff Grubb reports for VentureBeat that the update is deleting some user-installed apps without asking, which is an unwelcome surprise for users. Grubb notes that users have posted dozens of complaints on message boards and forums, and the list of affected programs so far seems to include hardware monitoring tools CPU-Z and Speccy, and the AMD Catalyst Control Center for tweaking Radeon graphics cards.
VentureBeat notes that in all of the instances so far reported by users, the programs no longer functioned properly with the latest version of Windows 10. The apps in question often caused crashes and the blue screen of death. The operating system’s removal of the offending apps may seem like a helpful option for people who don’t want to deal with troubleshooting their system to figure out what’s wrong with it. But many power users are taking issue with Microsoft’s choice to remove software without asking the user.
As forum posters noted, many users would feel differently about the move if Windows 10 asked permission to remove the apps before uninstalling them. The operating system could alert users to the problems that the apps can cause and offer the recommendation to remove them, instead of simply uninstalling them without prior warning. Additionally, since the update has rolled out, many of the apps have issued fixes for their Windows 10 issues, which makes the operating system’s removal of those apps a particularly short-sighted move. Many users have reinstalled removed apps without issue.
Microsoft has previously explained its policy of removing software that it considers dangerous, a category that includes not only programs that can cause issues with Windows 10 but also apps that can steal your information or infect your system with malware. The language explaining that policy is included in Microsoft’s terms of service, which is, of course, a lengthy document that few users bother to read or even peruse before updating their software.
A Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat in August, “The Microsoft Services Agreement allows Microsoft to change or discontinue certain apps or content where we deem your security is at risk.” The representative explained that “Software that is pirated or botted places the safety and security of our customers at risk, including a higher risk of malware, fraud, public exposure of personal information, and poor performance or feature malfunction.”
Windows 10’s ability to unexpectedly delete apps isn’t the only bug that the operating system’s users are complaining about. Peter Bright reports for Ars Technica that downloadable versions of Windows 10 version 1511, the November 2015 update, were quietly pulled as concerns about software bugs grew. Systems can still be updated to the new version of the operating system, but it’s not possible to install the November update directly. Instead, users have to install the original RTM version and perform the upgrade to 1511 through Windows Update.
Bright notes that the problems users reported range from problems installing Windows 10 with a Windows 7 or Windows 8 product key to strange bugs such as machines instantly waking after sleeping, the Mail app logging excessive processor usage, and the lockscreen failing to hide the full desktop. Bright reports that “none of these issues would appear to be fatal, showstopper issues, but clearly this release is not without its problems.”