The double-edged sword of feedback has drawn some blood from Microsoft's Windows 10 and nicked the company's promise to listen to users.
Since Microsoft changed how OneDrive synchronizes files in the latest preview of Windows 10, testers have been trying to convince the Redmond, Wash. firm to backtrack and restore what they perceive as the cloud-based storage service's best feature.
In Windows 8.1, OneDrive does not automatically place actual copies of all cloud-stored files on a device's local storage, but instead shows placeholders, also called "smart files," for those still stored online. When clicked, a smart file kicks off a download to the device.
Smart files allowed users to view the entire contents of OneDrive from File Explorer, browse or search for files, and then download only those they needed at that moment. After the change in Windows 10, users could not do that, and were forced to download all or part of their OneDrive library to each device they wanted to keep in sync.
While the tenor of testers' comments on a long thread from Microsoft's Windows suggestion box was overwhelmingly in favor of restoring OneDrive's previous functionality, another theme through the discussion was of disappointment, even betrayal.
"If customer feedback is to matter, Microsoft needs to act on it," said a tester identified as tlee. "Like it did not do with Windows 8 (and note what happened there)."
"Microsoft, why have the Feedback app if you don't want to listen to your customers in the first place?" asked one of several anonymous posters.
"You said 'and we got clear feedback that some customers were confused,'" about placeholders, said a tester identified as korg250, referring to Microsoft's response to criticism last week. "There are over 6,200 votes here saying otherwise. What's 'some' for you and where did that come from? You opened ... a website dedicated to customers' feedback and, although there's not a single complaint here about that, you decided to take another route."
Those users, and many others, contrasted Microsoft's pledge to listen to users as it crafted Windows 10 with what one characterized as a "tone deaf" company response. That response acknowledged the negative feedback, but reaffirmed that OneDrive placeholders would not be used in Windows 10.
In September, Terry Myerson, the company's top operating systems executive, said, "We're inviting our most enthusiastic Windows customers to shape Windows 10 with us." The company also kicked off the Windows Insiders Program, which had feedback as one of its central tenets.
"Pretty stupid to tell the thousands of users who provide solid feedback that you're canning a favorite feature due to feedback. Makes zero sense," said Freddy Gains in another message on the bring-back-placeholders thread.
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