Microsoft continues to lose its collective mind when it comes to user interface. Increasingly, I'm coming to believe that the company is simply being thoughtless when developing its software and that usability testing has been relegated to a small outpost somewhere near the Arctic circle with no Internet connectivity.
The latest example of this development deterioration is found during the Windows 10 installation. After the install is done and the setup and configuration phase begins, a series of screens provides updates on the progress. One of these, appearing relatively early, says "All your files are exactly where you left them."
My instant thought was a question: Why wouldn't they be?
But that question was only in my mind for a split second. The next question I asked was terrifying: Is this ransomware?
Why did I make that connection? Simple. I can think of absolutely no reason why my files shouldn't be where I left them. Installing a new version of Windows is not a license for Microsoft to touch my files in any way, shape, or form, especially without asking.
But if the files are not going to be touched, why even mention anything about where they are? It doesn't make sense.
Unless, of course, the message is not coming from Microsoft.
At this moment in configuration the message appears on a blue screen without any user controls (such as Okay and/or Cancel buttons). In other words, the only choices are to continue or to shut down the PC. Actually, the second option isn't much of one because if ransomware has reared its ugly head, it's already too late.
Today I know that this is just part of the Windows 10 process. I also know that I'm not the only one who found this strange. A couple of folks in my circle of friends and family have asked me why that message appeared. They weren't frightened like me, but then they've never had to help someone recover from ransomware.
I'm going to be generous to Microsoft by assuming it meant this message to be reassuring. That doesn't change my opinion that this message is superfluous, confusing, and thoughtless.
I've found many other places in Windows 10 where the UI is poor. I hope Microsoft comes to its senses soon.