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Windows 10: An Honest Review.

Level 15

Okay, I'm sure you've read my thrashing concerning Windows 8 and the slight pep I had towards Windows 8.1. Now we have Windows 10. I'll keep this brief. (Probably not.)


The good:

  • 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.)
    mem.jpg
  • 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.


The bad:

  • 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.)


Indifferent:

  • 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:

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!

Summary:

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.)


Advice:

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.


Bottom line:

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.

55 Comments
miseri_cheat_
Level 11

Bronx‌, I have been waiting for this review and I can see you have to tried to make it brief compared to the previous reviews you have done. I have no Windows 10 experience but I'll use your review as a guide when I start using it. Your review, as always, has been helpful to me and will be to Microsoft(if they read this review).

Deltona
Level 15

I accepted the upgrade on my HTPC at home. I made an image backup of everything before doing the upgrade and I'm glad I did.

Came back from work looking forward to going through the new OS. First issue i ran into was the resolution.

Right clicked the desktop > Screen Resolution. Couldn't find the resolution settings.

After Googling it, it turns out that if you want to change the resolution, you have to go into advanced settings. Really!?

Can't believe it has become this convoluted. Didn't bother with the rest. Restored the backup image.

darragh.delaney
Level 12

I upgraded one of my systems and the upgrade process completed without any issues. Well done to Microsoft on this one.I use an extended display and this works much better in Windows 10 so it was worth the upgrade for this alone. Just two issues I needed to fix after the upgrade

1. I had been using  VMWARE workstation 10x. Windows 10 removed the bridging setup which meant my virtual machines could no longer communicate. I tried reinstalling but no joy. My fix was to install VMWARE workstation 11 and this fixed the issue but I need to upgrade my license now

2. A I mentioned earlier I use an extended desktop . After upgrade I noticed that text was hard to read on second screen. Thought it as a driver issue but after a bit of poking around I found an option to increase text size to 125% and this fixed the problem. This was already set on the first screen so it seems to be the best way to have a high resolution screen setup

muwale
Level 12

nice information about new product....

Bronx
Level 15

I guess I neglected to mention that the first thing I did was make an image too. Funny how Microsoft trained us to do that pre-upgrade.

jkump
Level 15

Any issues pertaining to video resolution?  I upgraded a laptop (new hp with windows 8.1 touch screen) to windows 10.  The default resolution in 8.1 was 1399 x 800 now it is 1399x768 and I do not see how to change that.  I agree with miseri as I have been waiting for you review as well.  So enlightening.

Bronx
Level 15

No issues for me with resolution. I must add that Win 10 seems to have a lot of updates rolling out fairly quickly though.

gfsutherland
Level 14

Thank you for the review and helpful hints. It will be a great help to me when I try it late next week. (particularly about resolution...)

Bahlkris
Level 12

No mention of edge?  No opinion?

jeremyxmentzell
Level 11

Thanks Bronx this is great.

I'm not totally sure where to run this bad boy as my Mac is my core machine (I mean I have several available but I want one to "carry around" ). Anyone have suggestions on which way works better than another?

Options are:

  • BootCamp
  • Parallels (But I want to wait till 11 is released after seeing the feature leaks a few days ago)
  • VMware Fusion
  • Oracle's VitrualBox
  • Whatever you guys and gals tell me is better?
Bronx
Level 15

Per your request, I added my opinion above.

Jfrazier
Level 18

Bronx‌ thanks for your foray into windows 10.  I think I'll continue to wait for awhile until I move from 7.  While I have one daughters laptop that has 8 on it, I abhor that version... 

Bronx
Level 15

I hated 8 as well, but this made it bearable: Classic Shell - Start menu and other Windows enhancements

Bronx
Level 15

Thanks. I have a feeling they did read my last review.

jwilson2013
Level 12

Be sure to use the CUSTOMIZE option when upgrading from the older OS. The default setup will record your keystrokes and is very intrusive into privacy.  Using the customize option will give you an idea how much tracking is going on behind the scenes.

Bronx
Level 15
Bronx
Level 15

BTW, Win 10, like previous versions, offers God Mode: Enabling GodMode for Windows 10

jkump
Level 15

Great reference material. 

jgun1969
Level 7

Nice review. Keep up the good work.

deverts
Level 14

All,

Just found this today...Cisco AnyConnect is NOT compatible yet, and fails with no error. I think this is related to the Win8 TLS issue.

D

Bahlkris
Level 12

You sure about that?  I have reports from 2 of my server admins that Anyconnect 4.1 is working.

deverts
Level 14

Well, after some additional investigation, it does seem to be quite intermittent. W10 Home, seems to be consistent and not working, but W10 Pro seems to have a better success rate, but still not entirely successful. I'm still digging in.

esther
Level 12

Thanks for the update Bronx

Bronx
Level 15

I've had no issues with that VPN and Win 10.

deverts
Level 14

W10 Home or Pro?

kurtrh
Level 13

I have upgraded two home computers so far to Windows 10, so far it has been flawless, everything works after the install. I think Microsoft has finally gotten an OS that is 100 times better for a Desktop then Windows 8.

Bronx
Level 15

Wow, even GTA 5 was not affected by the upgrade, and that's 60 gigs!

Bahlkris
Level 12

Ahh yes sorry should have been specific, WIN10Pro here.

Bronx
Level 15

Home I believe.

jpashton
Level 10

I've so far upgraded my personal desktop.  I can agree with Bronx‌ that it went smoothly and pretty much everything seems to work OK.  However, having a gaming hobby is where the issues have begun.  The issues have been pinned down to Windows 10 having issues with NVidia graphics cards.  I'd love to say they got it right, but since my off-work hobby is now spent troubleshooting driver conflicts, I'm less than thrilled to say nice things about Microsoft right now.

cahunt
Level 17

Awesome review as always.. and I add, when has Windows been perfect, or even everything you wanted?

jeremymayfield
Level 15

Great review.   I have found more trouble getting the update than anything.   I have business machines bought with OEM licenses, and cant seem to get the update as long as they are attached to the network.  i do have some volume licensing but not all are covered and the ones eligible are not getting the update due to the domain registration. 

I am not worried about the main functionality as much as I am domain security lock down once the w10 is running on the network.  Thanks for the God Mode and the tracking tips as well, very helpful.  

jwilson2013
Level 12

Has anyone else noticed general slowness after the upgrade? Programs seemed to open and run faster on 8.1 than they do on 10. Maybe its just the hardware. I notice it most on my home system.

jeremymayfield
Level 15

Yeah it seemed to need a few restarts before the speed came back to what it was.

Bronx
Level 15

Honestly, everything is exactly the same. In fact, the only thing I could see was possibly a slight, minor, uptick in internet speed.

mikegrocket
Level 10

Lots of good info, thanks Bronx‌. I'll keep all of this in mind when I go through the upgrade process later.

tohrment
Level 8

Updated my home Laptop running home and didnt have any issues though I did do a clean install( best to mitigate problems) and it has the GTX 670MX graphics chip. After install I went down my normal install list. Security apps, GeForce Experience, etc. Did the update to the windows 10 ready driver from GE and its been running well since. Haven't tried Arma 3 yet yet which is the most graphic intensive game I own(and believe me if you havent seen the online play it can get quite crazy).  First chance I get I'll check it out to make sure it runs well. As for Edge I have really been trying to be open minded about it but I can't bring myself to use it and have since gone back to chrome.

As for the install itself it went perfectly smooth. I have my drive partitioned to keep my User data safe from wipes.

I have seen a lot of reports fo Surface tablets having issues doing the upgrade so be wary if you were thinking about upgrading one.

mdriskell
Level 15

I have done nothing with mine other than stream my XBOX one to it which is fantastic.  I had one minor issue with a sound driver but that was easily correctable.

Jfrazier
Level 18

Bronx , you got the good and the bad part but you forgot the ugly part...

Bronx
Level 15

Ugly would be if we had no alternative and stuck with it.

cahunt
Level 17

this room has nice acoustics!   

damien.solodow
Level 12

For AnyConnect 3.x you need 3.1.10010; recently released and supported with Windows 10.

jkump
Level 15

Handy to know about the AnyConnect damien.solodow  We are going through our checklist of necessary applications etc for Windows 10 and that was on the list.  Thanks

deverts
Level 14

You are correct, per the release notes. 3.1MR10 (3.1.10010) and 4.1MR4 (4.1.04011) are supposed to work. However, also per the release notes:

-------

AnyConnect Compatibility with Microsoft Windows 10

AnyConnect 4.1MR4(4.1.04011) and later are compatible with Windows 10 official release. Technical Assistance Center (TAC) support is available beginning on 7/29/2015.

For best results, we recommend a clean install of AnyConnect on a Windows 10 system and not an upgrade from Windows 7/8/8.1. If you are planning to perform an upgrade from Windows 7/8/8.1 with AnyConnect pre-installed, make sure that you first upgrade AnyConnect prior to uprading the operating system. The Network Access Manager Module must be uninstalled prior to upgrading to Windows 10. After the system upgrade is complete, you can re-install Network Access Manager on the system. You may also choose to fully uninstall AnyConnect and re-install one of the supported versions after upgrading to Windows 10.

June 2015 and July 2015 OpenSSL Vulnerabilities

Cisco AnyConnect 4.1.04011 resolves CSCuu83398 and CSCuv26246 OpenSSL vulnerabilities.

-------

Win10 Pro has had better success (following the above uninstall/clean install process), but Win10 Home we have seriously struggled with. Others may have had better success, and I'm all ears on any insights.

D

muwale
Level 12

very nice article about windows 10

Bronx
Level 15

BTW, I saved $114 by downloading and paying $5 for Start10 - well worth it!

jkump
Level 15

Kind of looks like the "old" start menu.  Funny how we get used to certain things and want them to stay that way.  Change is good but sometimes only in small doses.

Bahlkris
Level 12

Ive never struggled with start menus over the years, they are generally very customizable, so for me windows doesn't really change that much.  So as such my only major complain with 8 was that Microsoft removed the 'manage wireless networks' app.  Other than that it was windows 7 with a bigger start menu.   Now 10 is windows 7 with a more "busy" start menu, I'll move things around and pin things till it works for me.

solaradmin
Level 13

I upgraded from windows 8.1 ent so far i am happy.

Issues:

No RSAT: Whoops should have known. At the same time why wouldn't they have it ready for Enterprise release?

Microsoft Bloatware: xbox,bing,etc.

Favorites (so far):

Although its been around for ages as a third party add-on, I am becoming a fan of the multiple desktops.

Desktop 1=Current work

Desktop 2= All my Troubleshooting Views

Desktop N= TBD

Ctrl+v inside command prompt

BakerD
Level 12

I have been using Classic Shell ever since W8 came out and they also support W10.  Not only does it give you lots of options on the start menu, also Windows Explorer/File Windows are customizable. 

Free for personal use.

http://www.classicshell.net/

About the Author
Who am I? • I met Robert Frost at the end of the road less traveled, and then pointed him in the right direction. • Einstein asked me to define "Up," and I did. • I cliff dive from airplanes. • On Christmas, Santa comes to me for gifts. • I play three-cushion billiards with one hand. • Lions ask for my protection (I speak Lion). • Bobby Fischer and I came to a stalemate while playing chess. • I have literally given a woman the shirt off of my back. • I have also helped an old lady cross the street. • I know what a dangling participle is. • Mozart bequeathed his Requiem to me, and I corrected it. • I was thrown out of an Eric Clapton concert twice in the same night for drawing too much attention to myself. • I am a verbose minimalist. • I am Bronx. Who are you?