Microsoft hasn’t had a great time with Windows 10 in 2018. Earlier this year Microsoft delayed its April 2018 Windows 10 update due to last minute Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) issues, and then had to fix desktop and Chrome freezing issues after it shipped to more than 600 million devices. Just last month, Microsoft released its October 2018 Update and was forced to pull it offline after a few days of some users complaining that files were being deleted.
If those incidents weren’t bad enough, last week an engineer mistakenly made a licensing server change that meant lots of Windows 10 Pro machines were suddenly deactivated. It’s been a messy 2018.
I wrote last month that Microsoft was facing a big test of Windows 10 quality, especially as some of these bugs were even reported to Microsoft through its Windows Insider testing program. Microsoft is now listening to the feedback from Windows 10 users, and it’s starting a series of blog posts to be more transparent about how it develops and tests Windows. The Windows 10 October 2018 Update is being re-released today, and Microsoft is planning to add a Windows update status dashboard in the coming year to document how the current rollout is going.
Windows is a complex system to test, as not every machine is the same and components, drivers, and software varies massively across the more than 700 million machines running Windows 10. “With Windows 10 alone we work to deliver quality to over 700 million monthly active Windows 10 devices, over 35 million application titles with greater than 175 million application versions, and 16 million unique hardware / driver combinations,” explains Michael Fortin, corporate vice president of Windows. “In addition, the ecosystem delivers new drivers, firmware, application updates and/or non-security updates daily.”
Microsoft has been criticized with Windows 10 for shifting the way it tests the operating system. In the past, Microsoft used dedicated Software Test Engineer (STE) roles for ensuring quality, but the software giant axed most of these during a huge round of layoffs a year ahead of the Windows 10 release. Instead, it has favored developers testing their own work, or reports from the Windows Insider feedback program.