Where do I start with this story.
I don’t want Microsoft to release 1709. There. I said it. 1709 is a crappy update. It has so many issues. Stupid bugs, inconsistent design and a feature set that honestly isn’t worth the struggle. Up until this point I’ve been one of those people that thought that maybe Microsoft could actually pull off 2 Windows updates each year. But let’s face it: they can’t. And 1709 is proof of that. I don’t care what any Microsoft employee says, but this update strategy is not in us, their customers, interest.
Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!
I’ve never seen so many complaints about an update as for 1709. Not for 1507, not for 1511, not for 1607 and not for 1703. The issues with 1709 aren’t just edge-cases. No. Have a touchscreen and want to scroll through your notifications in the Action center? Forget about it, scrolling in the Action center doesn’t work properly in 1709, only empty areas allow you to scroll.
Do you still use Windows Media Player*? Well, 1709 will randomly disable it (but it can be enabled again). Isn’t that fun? Or how about you’re one of those people that run a driver that Windows will replace and result in a bugcheck. Such fun.
1709 is crappy. The above mentioned bugs aren’t alone. And they aren’t the only problem with this release either.
*The Windows Media Player bug only affects Insiders as it turns out.
The inbox apps that will come with clean installs of 1709 are hilariously outdated. The vast majority of the inbox apps that are included are from June 2017, some are even older. So on a clean install, the Windows Store will already have to pull you about 4 months into the future.
And remember Files-on-Demand, one of the signature features of 1709 (and one of the few left)? The inbox OneDrive client does not support that, you’ll have to update it first. I kid you not. Files-on-Demand was one of the first feature to come to Redstone 3’s inbox apps, and it isn’t included.
Inconsistent design: now even more inconsistent
Universal Windows Platform apps already have a design that is laughable inconsistent. Rails have a different design from app to app, the way you can open those rails is different from app to app. Some apps use the in-UI title bar while some continue to use the old and ugly default title bar. And so on.
Version 1709 makes this even worse. Because now some apps have randomly applied some elements of the Fluent Design system, other have other elements of it, some just don’t use it at all. For example: Settings’ home page has Reveal, but only if your window is wide enough to be displayed as a grid and not a list. And not a single other element has any Fluent Design.
Or how about Cortana and start? These 2 UIs are supposed to elegantly switch between one and another. Start doesn’t use and Fluent, Cortana’s rail does. Then there are inbox apps: some apps have some elements of Fluent Design, others don’t. All Office apps have it, with the exception of Outlook (granted, only OneNote and Outlook are inbox Office apps).
Point is, Windows has never been a place where you could find consistent design, but up until 1703, it was at least improving. But 1709 pushes the OS all way towards the other side of the spectrum again. Luckily, this is — I hope — only a temporary situation that will be fixes by 1803 which is expected to fully implement Fluent Design, or at least the first wave of it. But that’s kinda the problem.
A limited feature set
And honestly, if I look at what version 1709 brings, I’m really wondering if it is even worth releasing it. Let me get this straight: not a single release is worth being released in the state that 1709 currently is.
I would argue that the new on-screen keyboard is probably the largest change in this release. Yeah, you heard me right. The keyboard. The KEYBOARD. Microsoft reworked it completely in this version and it is honestly, together with Files-on-Demand, the only feature for which I would say: yeah, it might be worth upgrading. Let’s take a very quick look at the other features.
MyPeople, while already half a year to late, isn’t a great implementation (not even on par with the mock-ups they showed when they announced 1703) and not many apps as of now support it. The Fluent Design system just isn’t there. Unless you’re a heavy PDF and OPUB fan, Edge 16 isn’t going to improve anything for you. Not even Settings got much of an update.
I feel like the feature set for 1709 is smaller than the 1511 feature set, and that release was build in 2 months less. And that was an actual stable release.
So there you have it. When the Fall Creators Update launches in 2 days, it will be buggy, inconsistent and outdated the moment you get it. If any release was ever proof that Microsoft can’t pull off a 2-releases-a-year-cadence, then 1709 is that proof. Back in 2013, when Steve Ballmer talked about “Rapid Release” at Build 2013, they actually had a good system. 2013 was of course the release year of Windows 8.1, which launched a year after Windows 8.
Remember that release? Microsoft took its time to polish it, after the Windows 8.1 Preview that got released in May, they were basically done and only needed to polish the release. Windows 8.1 Preview was a very stable OS already. And Windows 8.1’s RTM even more so. And it got, of course, a number of feature updates afterwards. Most notably Windows 8.1 Update. In the months following that release Microsoft made for about 4 patch rounds small changes to the OS, including a new Store design (the Store couldn’t update itself back then). That was a good system.
The system that is about to deliver 1709? Not so much.