Why don’t Software Companies Own their Quality Problems?

Why do we have to find solutions to defects we discover…in products we buy?

This is something I’ve observed over a 20+ year career in IT and Software Engineering – many software companies hide product defects…then let their customers find them after purchase and get stuck searching for the solution…or dealing with tech support.

Don’t get me wrong…these software companies provide a solid industry for Geek Squad techs that support non-technical customers…who simply want to get work done. But it shouldn’t have to be this way.

What am I talking about?

Windows 10 OS – and all of its bizarre hard disk behavior.

Let me back up a moment here, OK?

How many of you…when Windows XP first arrived many years ago, yelled “Hooray! An OS that works…and it’s not dog slow!”

And equally important…how many of you kept XP until…forever?

That was me.

I finally found a Microsoft OS that did the job and wasn’t annoyingly buggy or painfully slow.

All the computers I owned had Win XP installed…even if it came with a newer OS, I always put XP on it.

Then, Windows 7 arrived…and after multiple iterations, they got it working almost as well as XP.

I upgraded, and I was usually pretty happy with the performance.

Where am I going with this?

We decided to upgrade our company’s computers a couple of years ago…so the new employees could all utilize new technology and be as productive as possible.

Plus, people like new things.

What an eye opener that was.

I had 4 new laptops of varying manufacturer, from ASUS, to Dell and Lenovo with Windows 10 – and they all started out working fairly well.

Until we installed applications on them.

“Kris, why is my laptop going so slow…why does it take so long to launch applications, or have more than a couple of applications running at the same time…why isn’t the mouse working?”

I opened Task Manager and saw that Disk Usage was 100% – all the time.

We were off to the races.

Because I didn’t want my Senior Mgmt chasing these types of issues, I dove in myself.

I started my IT life as a PC/Network Admin Engineer…back in the mid 90’s.

This will be a quick fix, I said…I’ll take care of it guys…will only be a couple of hours I’m sure.

First mistake. I should’ve immediately taken them back to where I bought them…and had THEM fix the problem.

I closed running apps, I rebooted, I begged, cried and yelled – all to no avail.

Time for Google search…and boy was I surprised. There were pages and pages of user complaints, many begging the Microsoft Gods for help…and of course, they send you to “groups” so the Experts can help solve…THEIR product quality problem.

It took me hours and hours, trying all the different remedies people posted – people, I might add, that qualify for Sainthood.  I don’t know where they come from or what motivates them to help people in distress, but I’m eternally grateful.

The list of corrections would be its own blog – about 15-25 different steps you need to take, in order to tame the Windows 10 Hard Drive 100% Beast.

I finally got everyone’s laptops running…with a decent amount of speed and response time, but not like you’d expect for new laptops.

So here’s my point.

Microsoft hasn’t fixed this problem yet.

They built OS 10 – they bragged about the wonderful tricks, toys, bells, whistles and other interesting, life improving features in the OS – but it still has this Hard Disk problem.

I’ve spoken with a handful of people who use a Windows 10 Laptop, for whom this problem has never appeared…and I have no idea why. But for the majority…this is an issue.

If you Google “Windows 10 Hard Disk 100%” you will see how many people DO experience this pain, (it’s like a huge club) and they all wish…this problem wasn’t plaguing them – and eating up all their spare time.

I’ve reinstalled Windows 10 more times than I can count…and unfortunately, when all the other tips, tricks and remedies don’t work – it’s the only remaining option.

It’s what you do if you have no weekend plans.

Here’s what I’d like to know….why oh why can’t companies like Microsoft, find a way to solve critical issues like this, BEFORE the product is released!

You buy their product (you foolishly trust them) and after a brief period…you end up Googling the defects (go to User Groups) or dig all around the Microsoft site…trying to fix the problem yourself.

OR – you have to go back to where you purchased your computer – and try to swap for a different model…hoping it will solve the problem. Or let their technical support team dig into it…so they can do all the tweaks and trick configurations…in order to coerce the machine to run properly.

Meanwhile…you aren’t using the product you purchased.

Why do WE – the Customer – have to go through this pain in the rear…when Microsoft could’ve fixed it in the first place?  Before it was released?

I ask this, because – my company’s sole mission is to help clients in the Biotech, Life Sciences and Medical Device realm, solve their product(s) technical & regulatory challenges, so their customers never have to go through this pain. Their clients just want to use their product the way it was designed to be used – without any surprises.

So why does Microsoft get away with build, ship –> Customers run updates until bugs are fixed?

That nonsense doesn’t work in my world…the FDA makes companies pay dearly for incompetence.

If you build products, and you don’t utilize risk-based IV&V, scenario-based targeted negative testing – or logically search for ‘out of the ordinary’ issues before your customers experience them – then you don’t care about your customers, any more than the Microsofts of the world.

Here’s a crazy thought.

Let’s avoid this whole mess by taking a minute…imagine life through the eyes of your customer…and then (only then) design, build – and thoroughly test – products your users will love.

I promise you’ll own the market.

It’s much better than…we the customer…having to waste our valuable time searching the Internet for solutions to problems… that manufacturers should’ve discovered before they ever sold their products to us.

*Note: we now have a tech support service taking care of our growing enterprise. 🙂


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