After over three decades of Microsoft Windows success, there are some clear failures along the way. thereupon in mind, we’ve picked the six worst versions of Windows. All of those made us want to stay to older, better versions of Windows, or use alternatives like Macs or Linux instead.
The Ranking Criteria
Most folks know a nasty version of Windows once we see it. Maybe we’ve experienced personal pain in wrestling with its bugs, or lost time reinstalling it over and once again , or heard stories about how often it’s crashed.
In developing this list, we considered the subsequent metrics: what proportion people hated each version (appearances on other worst-of lists), how poorly it sold, how slowly it had been adopted, how bad its reviews were, the length of its lifespan on the market, and our own personal experiences with the software. For fun, we also googled “Windows [x] Sucks,” and tallied up the results.
Honestly, there’s no hard science to the present , so you would possibly not accept as true with our exact ranking, but we will confidently predict this: If you ran a minimum of one among these versions of Windows, you wanted to upgrade.
For simplicity’s sake, we’re getting to stick with full desktop versions of Windows (with the slight exception of an ARM-based detour), so more obscure server and PDA releases are going to be spared humiliation (for now).
#6: Windows 1.01 (1985)
Windows 1.0 might rank high in terms of importance (for, well, being the first-ever version of Windows), but it had been a stinker within the marketplace. Unlike Macs that were built from the ground-up with hardware optimized to use a mouse-and-GUI interface, IBM PCs had to believe kludgy software tricks to even begin to approach doing an equivalent thing.
As a result, Windows 1.0 pushed the bounds of a typical 1985 PC’s capabilities at the time, making it a memory hog that was too slow to use. In 1986, The ny Times reviewed Windows 1.0 and wrote that “running Windows on a PC with 512K of memory is like pouring molasses within the Arctic.” Add in poor third-party support, and you had a real dud.
Luckily for Microsoft, things got better: the typical PC became powerful enough to handle Windows smoothly by the first 1990s.
#5: Windows XP (Initial Release, 2001)
Sure, in any case the fixes, Windows XP was one among the best versions of Windows of all time. But a number of you would possibly remember what XP was like before 2004’s Service Pack 2 release: a buggy mess with driver problems and large security holes.
There were also growing pains for Windows XP’s fresh activation system, which was a primary in Windows at the time. to stop piracy, Microsoft required customers who built their own machines or upgraded to activate their copy of Windows XP over the web or by telephone. If you made significant changes to your computer’s hardware (such as installing a replacement disk drive or graphics card), Windows XP would require reactivation, which caused no shortage of headaches for a few people in an era when always-on internet wasn’t a given.
Luckily, Microsoft continued to refine XP for years, and it eventually became a solid, stable OS that a lot of were hesitant to offer up. the discharge of Windows XP Service Pack 2 was a pivotal moment that made the OS far more secure.
#4: Windows RT (2012)
Microsoft crafted Windows RT as an ARM-based version of Windows that might run on a replacement class of lighter, more power-efficient machines just like the Surface RT. There was just one problem: It couldn’t run many Windows apps designed for Windows’ traditional x86 architecture. And most of the Windows 8-specific apps within the Windows Store at the time weren’t excellent .
Even worse, it teased full desktop support with a desktop mode that might only allow Microsoft desktop apps like Microsoft Office. Third-party apps were forbidden, albeit recompiled for ARM. within the end, RT was quite just an embarrassment: The failure of Windows RT and therefore the accompanying Surface RT hardware led to a $900 million loss for Microsoft in 2013.
#3: Windows 8 (2012)
Windows 8 was a daring business advance Microsoft’s part. It saw the challenge to PCs posed by Apple’s iPhone and iPad (year-over-year PC sales began to drop by 2011) and decided to tackle it head-on with a crossover OS that would handle both touchscreens and desktop PCs.
Unfortunately, Microsoft got a touch too enthusiastic with its new strategy, forcing its core customer base of desktop PC users to compromise their productivity for a replacement touchscreen-first interface called Metro. it had been an excellent interface for tablets, but not for desktops.
In fact, Windows 8 treated the desktop windows experience as an afterthought: The OS booted into the beginning screen by default and hid the “Desktop” behind an icon. Once you bought to the desktop, there was no Start menu, and there have been annoying hot corners. If you left your mouse within the upper-right corner of the screen for a flash , a Charms bar would crop up .
Ultimately, Windows 8 was an all-out back mobile-first that didn’t pay off. The reviews for it were dismal, and Microsoft backpedaled hard, first with Windows 8.1, then with Windows 10. Throughout, many users simply cursed with Windows 7 or maybe jumped ship to Macs.
#2: Windows Vista (2006)
After the good success of Windows XP, Windows Vista was a fiasco. The shiny new OS came in six confusing editions (Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate), dicing the market into a salad and confusing customers.
One of the earliest complaints about Vista was that it ran sluggishly on machines that performed alright with XP. it had been also a memory hog. This was partly because of its flashy new translucent Aero interface and always-running gadgets, which taxed graphics capabilities, memory, and CPU power.
Then there have been puzzling annoyances that had been meant to assist , but that really just came the way. Case in point: The dreaded User Account Control (UAC) prompts that might crop up every jiffy to hide the screen whenever you really tried to try to to something together with your computer. Luckily, it had been possible to show them off with some tinkering, but what was Microsoft thinking?
In the end, we will thank Vista’s plentiful failures for the glory of Windows 7, which fixed Vista’s problems while retaining its advancements.
#1: Windows Millennium Edition (2000)
Initially, Microsoft meant for Windows 98 to be the last OS supported the legacy MS-DOS kernel, but the firm realized that it didn’t have time to end preparing an NT-based Windows for consumers. The result was Windows Millennium Edition, or “Windows Me” for brief .
What was wrong with Windows Me? Well, chief among the issues was tons of|that several”> that a lot of people found that it crashed—and it crashed a lot. To our knowledge, nobody has ever explained exactly why Me was more unstable than the already unstable Windows 98, but we suspect that it had been thanks to bugs that were introduced when Microsoft hastily added new features to Me without proper testing.
There were other issues, too: Programs running on Me attended produce many memory leaks, which could cause crashes also . The included System Restore utility didn’t work properly initially . And Me removed MS-DOS Real mode, which was necessary for a few legacy programs to figure , especially late-era MS-DOS games from the mid-1990s, which many PC users still played at the time.
To add insult to injury, Microsoft already had the solution up its sleeve: Windows 2000, which was stable and glorious. Sure, it lacked the flashy consumer bells and whistles, but it could have done the trick. Instead, Microsoft punted the ball with Me, and only began to rebound with Windows XP in 2001 (which initially had its own share of problems, as we covered above).
Honorable Mention: Windows 10 (2015)
It’s been a rough road for Windows 10. Among its problems: built-in advertising, freemium games, forced updates, data collection and privacy issues, and a Frankenstein look-and-feel that merges bits and pieces of 4 generations of Windows into one product, which Microsoft remains performing on refining.
Windows 10 gets high marks for offering a competent desktop experience, but it somehow does touchscreen worse than Windows 8. And speaking of Windows 8, Microsoft straddles two software architectures: UWP and therefore the legacy Win32 platform. Torn between eager to ditch legacy Win32 apps—which Windows 10 runs poorly in high DPI modes—but keep its massive install base, Windows 10 is neither here nor there.
With Windows 10, the sometimes inscrutable updates never end. Microsoft continuously fiddles with new features, turning them off and on while orphaning apps and utilities. And there are still a minimum of two alternative ways (Control Panel and Settings) to configure the system. Windows 10 seems like pieces of code bolted on here and there, with no grand vision uniting them.
We’ve gotten enough comments about Windows 10 over the years to understand that a lot of people really, really don’t like many aspects of it.
So albeit Windows 10 is one among the best versions of Windows of all time in some ways , a robust case might be made that it’s also one among the worst in other ways. If there’s ever a Windows 11, let’s hope that it can get a clean slate without breaking everything (like Vista and Windows 8 before it). the longer term awaits!