I'm a Mac guy, but believe me, no fanboy (as a longstanding developer, its shortcomings are all too obvious to me). I've long been highly agnostic on the trivial differences between platforms, they are after all the same hardware. I've recently built a PC for gaming since that really isn't the Mac's fortÃ©, and the titles I'm interested in are not available for Mac. So to me, Windows is simply a way to launch whatever games I want to play.
So I have Windows 10 installed, with all the privacy invading stuff turned off. It's really my first time since the early XP era that I've had any extensive dealings with Windows, so it was interesting to see how far it's come since then. For the most part, it was a pleasant surprise, since for a first-time PC build, it all pretty much "just worked" and I had few issues. However, some things are still really, really awful compared to the equivalent on the Mac, though I dislike the fact that the latest Mac OS (10.11) seems to be ever more influenced by Windows, which seems like a backwards step overall.
For example, I added a SSD drive after I had the PC working and Windows installed. I also recently did the same on a 5-year-old iMac, so the experience was directly comparable. On the Mac, the drive was recognised immediately and formatting it with Disk Utility was 5 minutes work, followed by a straightforward reinstall of the OS from a backup. On Windows, what a pain. The drive itself was initially unrecognised by Windows, though appeared in the BIOS as working correctly. Nothing in the Device Manager or Disk Manager. Turned out there was a drive letter conflict (I mean, why the fuck are drive letters still important and why do they still matter in the 21st century?) so I had to force Windows to forget all the extra drives it has ever known (luckily not many as it's a new PC) so that it would recognise the new SSD. Once it had, assigning a different drive letter and formatting it weren't too bad, but getting to that point took over an hour with much googling (on my Mac) to find answers.
Then to change the boot order of the drives needed another trip to the BIOS (and hence another reboot) whereas setting the boot order on the Mac is a simple matter of dragging items in a GUI list in the System Settings and does not require a reboot. I don't want to reopen the pointless debate about Macs and PCs, but when Windows is till this stupid after all this time, it's hard not to draw the conclusion that Windows still sucks.
Another example is audio. At present I only have headphones plugged into the PC, there are no internal or external speakers. Unplugging the headphones to try a different pair disabled audio altogether. Reboot required to bring it back on. WTF? Then there are the audio settings. They are hidden in W10, you have to do a search for 'audio' to reveal a whole bunch of extra options like basic stuff such as system volume. There are no Audio settings showing in Settings by default. I could go on - text is still horrid, too small and hard to read, and why the user has to muck about with 'cleartext optimisation' just to get something vaguely readable is beyond me. Overall interfaces look shitty, grainy, too small and unclear in many ways, because there are no dividing lines for example between a scrollview and another part of the window, so when something is scrolled it looks like the other part of the window is part of the scrolled view - it's not obvious they are separate areas and it is truly confusing.
Yeah, these might seem like trivial differences and they probably are, but they can add hours to the time wasted getting simple stuff working. As a game launching shell, Windows is OK enough, but I pity anyone who has to spend significant time using it, or working with Windows-native apps, which presumably extend all the OS's mistakes into every corner.