Full review of Microsoft Windows 10 operating system.
Technology: App / Software
Games & Software: Windows PC
Want to skip right to the end where you find out if you should upgrade to Windows 10? The answer is yes. Will Windows 10 change your life? No. Will it improve the way you use your computer, a little but not much.
In case you've been in the dark, Windows 10 is Microsoft's latest operating system. It comes after Windows 8.1, skipping the idea of a Windows 9 completely. If you're new to this upgrade then be sure to first read Windows 10 - What You Need To Know. It's okay, we'll wait here while you do.
The All In One OSRemember back when Windows 8 promised to be the all in one operating system (OS)? It would work on laptops, desktops, hybrids, convertibles, tablets, and everything in between. Only, it didn't. It had some good ideas but many ideas were a bit ahead of their time.
What good are all of these touch gestures, huge icons, and "apps" to somebody still on a desktop? Or even a laptop? Unless you had a device built for Windows 8, like the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 or Surface Pro 3 (affiliate link), most features weren't needed.
Windows 10 sticks to some of those original ideas but makes daily use better and easier for all. I was a Windows 8 user on a Surface Pro 3 and liked it. I'd say Windows 10 is all around "better". Of course, I'd say this about most Windows upgrades over the years. Each one is a little better (let's pretend Windows ME never existed) but none really change my life. The same is true here.
The Start MenuIt's hard to believe something as innocent as a start menu could upset so many people. With Windows 8 the start menu changed. Click start and you went to a new screen rather than a popup menu. It was as if the world was ending for many. But I get it, we don't like change. I enjoyed change but then watched as an average user (my mom, dad, or grandmother) got confused.
The Windows 10 start menu is more like Windows 7 and previous releases. But it also support those goofy little live tiles from Windows 8. It's sort of the best of both worlds. Still, it's hardly earth shattering.
CortanaTalk about another loser so far. Cortana, to me, is almost worthless and more of an attempt to get me to use Bing.com than anything else. Sure, I can talk to my computer. Yea! Except, I don't want to. I have an Amazon Echo (affiliate link) for that and my Android phone has Google Now as well. Even then I feel strange talking to my devices.
Speaking of Google Now, it's very good at reminding me of things, telling me things that are relevant to me, and tracking my packages. Cortana can do that too! Only, Google Now has been doing it for what seems like years. The other issue is that Cortana can't really do those things. For example, Google Now (along with Google Inbox for Gmail), knows when my Amazon package is arriving. Cortana tells me I can ask about that but knows nothing of it. Why? Simple, I don't use the Microsoft apps. If I used the Microsoft mail and calendar apps then Cortana would be more useful. But why would I want to switch when I like Google Inbox (aka, gmail) and Google Calendar? Chrome notifier handles the important reminders just like Google Now does and it's all connected. Cortana adds little value for me.
What she is good for is finding stuff on my PC. I'll give her credit there because the old Windows Search never worked well for me. Of course, I use Google Drive so that search system worked okay anyhow.
Multiple DesktopsI don't know if I'll ever use this feature but I like it. I can make multiple desktops. So I can create a desktop for my work stuff and just see work stuff in there. Then I can switch to another for my personal stuff. It keeps stuff separated. Neat. Again, not sure if I'll keep using it but I like it.
EdgeEdge is the replacement to Internet Explorer. It works fine, I have no complaints. But I also don't need it and won't use it. Why? Chrome has been working great too, for years! When IE failed years ago I jumped ship. I was loyal to IE for a long time but now I like Chrome.
Microsoft knows there is no reason to switch back too! How do I know this? Simple, when you upgrade to Windows 10 they default your browser to Edge automatically. I know how to switch back but do you think my grandmother will? Of course not! She'll now be part of the increasing number of Edge users Microsoft is sure to report on.
Isn't that lovely? Here you had a preference set and they say, "Nah, you'll like Edge better" and change it. Smart move for them, it's how IE became the standard originally. Even the Firefox guys are not pleased about this move.
Buggy?I remember doing Windows upgrades in the past. It seemed to always be a problem. So much that I'd always clean install instead of upgrading.
This time around I couldn't believe how smart the upgrade was. It was the same as when my Nexus 5 phone upgrades. I click OK and leave it alone for a bit and then it just works. Of course, Google figured that system out years ago and Microsoft took until July 29, 2015 to figure it out. Still, it worked on 3 systems I have and I'm happy.
Of course, since that upgrade I've seen bugs. Chrome seems to lag when I open a lot of tabs when it never did in Windows 8.1. Using Visual Studio 2013 I've noticed odd graphics issues. My screen text will go crazy until I minimize and maximize the window. This is even after I watched a video driver update and this is on 100% Microsoft hardware. It shouldn't be like this, it should just work flawlessly by now. I'm sure these issues will get fixed soon enough, but it shouldn't be like this in 2015.
So Why Do I Need It?Well, you don't need it. Windows as an operating system is becoming less and less important. It's a world of web based apps now and browsers are becoming the new OS. Or we use iPads or Android Tablets.
For me it comes down to hardware. There isn't a single better piece of personal computing hardware than the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. There isn't. Sure, your setup may be more powerful but for most users this is all they need. It's basically a tablet that's a laptop. It's brilliant! Once I made that leap that meant sticking with Windows, which is fine. And if you're going to stick with Windows you, of course, want to stay current.
So that alone is why you'd upgrade to Windows 10. Besides, it's free for most scenarios. It'd be silly not to upgrade.
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