- Total download and installation time? About 2.5 hours. Once installed, nothing was lost or unfamiliar – unlike Windows 8. Classic Shell was promptly uninstalled – by me.
- Installation and upgrading was near flawless. Kudos to the Dev team for that! (Only hiccup was a false message saying I was low on memory, which I'm sure an update will rectify posthaste since this is not the case.)
- Compatibility was not an issue. Everything works thus far.
- Start menu is back; however, at the last minute, Microsoft decided to hide/remove a needed Start menu tweaking tool which would enable the user to re-arrange the Start menu. (Removing options is bad. See my review of Windows 8.) To their credit, some advanced tweaks to the Start menu can be performed through a quick Google search and simple instructions. (Normal tweaks are obvious.)
- Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons are back. Also the snap-to feature has been enhanced – can do quadrants now.
- Multiple virtual desktops. Good, I guess. Although if you're organized, one is sufficient.
- After using the available tweaks, the Start menu is still...not like I want it to be – better than it was in Windows 8 and closer to the Windows 7 experience, just not perfect.
- A computerized narrator to “help” me after installation was quickly quashed. (Think Clippy from Word, circa 2003.)
- New, redesigned menus/options for the fingers abound, but some of the old looking stuff lingers (which I prefer). Some older menus are colorful and mouse-centric, while newer menus are flat, gray, and designed for finger tapping. Very Visual Studio 2012-esque. It also looks as though time was the enemy, meaning the Dev team did not have time to upgrade deeper menus/options because while some option windows look much different, other options still have the Windows 7 look and feel. Whatever. Consistency is a nice to have.
- I would add the new version of IE to the Bad list, but I use Chrome. IE (or whatever the new name is) is still...intrusive – requiring too much input for functions that should be automated. Microsoft, focus on the OS...the rest of the world will take care of the apps. Sorry to be so blunt but, well, not really.
Edge is the new version of IE. Personally, I have not used IE since IE 7. Edge, I'm sorry to say, is still IE. I like the minimalist approach, but the engine needs to go.
The Good: Looks better and cleaner, offers browsing suggestions, provides the ability to share pages.
The Bad: Still IE, meaning certain pages do not render properly, as they do in Chrome. (Chrome does not add "hidden" padding to Div tags, among others, where IE and Firefox do.)
Conclusion: Try it. I still prefer Chrome. This is a personal choice akin to your favorite beer - both will get the job done, but what flavor do you prefer?
Talking to your computer:
Cortana. Good idea, but you're not ready. (No one is really.) Few people use Siri (iphone) or Google voice (Android). I do use the Amazon Echo, however. The difference? People are programmed to type with a computer. Being quiet while doing anything on a computer invokes a sense of privacy. Talking to a machine that is primarily used for typing and mousing is unnatural. The Echo is new and can only be used via speech. The transition is more natural, although odd at times. I know Microsoft feels a need to catch up – and that's fine. Just do it in the lab until you're ready; nay, better!
Microsoft is trying to compete in the tablet market, and rightly so. I applaud capitalism; however, they are losing, and that's okay. I do have some firm opinions which may clear things up.
Microsoft, you are a computer company primarily focused on computer operating systems. Focus on that. If you want to enter the tablet market with a tablet OS, great! But know your audience. Your audience is overwhelmingly PC users who work, not tablet users who play.
If you insist on adding tablet features, keep them independent of the PC features – even on the same device. Meaning, do not add tiles (tablet features) to the Start menu (PC feature). If you must enter the tablet domain, you should have a simple tray icon to toggle between PC and tablet modes (work and play modes, respectively). That's it. Go from work to play mode in one click/tap. Bam! That would make all the difference and crush the competitors IMHO. (Although, I would rethink the tiles and replace them with something less intrusive and more customizable.)
Continue improving Windows until we get to that Minority Report hologram computer. Make Windows more functional, more seamless, more integrated, easier to use, and with lots of cool options. (Options are HUGE.) Once you nail that, then add speech and speech recognition (when that technology is near flawless). BTW, we all kill the bloatware. Rely on yourself, not the ads of others please.
Good and worth the price (free). I would pay the $119 asking price too if I were assured the Start menu could be tailored to my needs. Nice comeback. Beer's on me, but just the first.