They’re Called “Personal” for a Reason

The other day my wife worked her way through a recent Microsoft Windows 10 update (I’d downloaded and done the update and rebooted the machine but hadn’t logged in as her). Along the way she was offered a poorly worded opportunity to share her desktop with any other Windows computer she might have. Not knowing what that meant, but assuming Microsoft must know what it’s doing, she agreed.

Which was a mistake.

She only owns and uses one Windows machine, her desktop. While she has a Microsoft cloud storage account (actually two of them) she barely uses them, preferring to keep all her files and stuff on her desktop, except for ones she specifically wants to share. So there is no reason for her to store her desktop et al in the cloud. In fact, it’s more of a downside than an upside for her since internet access from her desktop does go down occasionally. Better to keep everything on her hardware (it gets backed up regularly). Besides, that’s the way she’s been using Windows ever since Windows 95.

Undoing the move is turning out to be a Royal Pain in the Ass. There appears to be a process you can use, right-clicking each of the moved folders in a file explorer window, selecting the Location property tab in the dialog box that comes up, and then clicking Restore Default. That process worked for the first two folders I tried it on, Desktop and Downloads.

But it failed for the Documents folder. With the typical utterly unhelpful Microsoft error message. You know the ones: they boil down to “something went wrong”. No shit, Sherlock; I figured that out myself when the command I issued didn’t complete. Why not actually offer some real/helpful information instead? Is that too much to ask?

There are multiple things wrong with this experience from a customer relation point of view.

Something as fundamental as moving *all* your files to the cloud has to be explained a lot better than was done in the upgrade prompt my wife responded to. I know enough to read between the lines and respond “NFW!!!”. But I spend way too much time playing with and programming computers. Normal people need better advice on what the upsides and downsides of such changes are.

Furthermore, when you do something as fundamental/drastic as moving all of someone’s files it better be easily reversible…and, if not, you must prompt people, in giant flashing text, “You are about to something irreversible. Are you sure?”. That’s particularly true in cases where the supposed reversal process doesn’t work, like this one.

Lastly, I really wish Microsoft would remember they’re called “personal” computers for a reason: I may buy or rent software from them to do stuff, but the data and files on the machine are >>mine<<, not theirs…and should always be only where I put them. Not where Microsoft, in its (clearly not infinite in this case) wisdom, thinks they should be.

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