It is the question that drives us…at least it is after each new Windows release: Should I risk an upgrade? With a few better-off-forgotten mishaps in the books, *throat clearing* Vista and *coughing* Windows 8, we have garnered reasons to be cautious.
After seeing the new operating system at Microcenter, I upgraded my work desktop from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
I was genuinely impressed.
The transition was relatively smooth but not perfect. It was good to see Microsoft had already released multiple updates to fix bugs and get out the general quirkiness. Yes, quirkiness. Like I said, it’s by no means blemish-free and it’s good to understand that up front.
Perhaps the most important question: Is Microsoft’s latest operating system stable? And are its dazzling new features useful in any way?
Since much of Windows 10 is familiar, I want to stick with some of the new features and why it’s suddenly hard to live without them. Then we’ll see how Windows 10 compares to its predecessors. Finally, we’ll touch on a little section I’d like to call, “This isn’t another Vista, is it?”
THE NEW AND HONESTLY NOTEWORTHY
This new feature is perfect for working on multiple, often unrelated projects without losing your place or losing your windows. Instead of closing and opening new tabs and applications, users can simply switch over to a second or third “desktop”. Oh, and did I mention the word “instantly”? That’s without the need to switch users. Pretty cool for the neat freak who loves to multitask.
This was the feature that drew me in from the get-go. Microsoft got the color scheme, graphics and icons right this time. The visuals feel fluid, modern and altogether enhanced. I just like looking at it. It’s probably the first Windows operating system to rival a Mac graphically. My wife who owns a MacBook Air agreed with me on this.
Cortana, the voice-activated assistant first introduced with Windows Phone 8.1, is also available with Windows 10. But this is one feature that’s not ready for primetime. I was eager to test Cortana’s highly-boasted dictation feature. Unfortunately, dictation would not start and instead threw me an error to try again after future updates. For now, Cortana is better suited to help with adding calendar entries. Although the prospect of Microsoft fixing said issues does put Cortana on the radar.
WHAT’S SIMILAR, I MEAN, THE STUFF I CARE ABOUT
Windows 10 comes with many of the areas you’re familiar with, such as Control Panel, Task Bar, System Tray and File Explorer.
The Start Menu
Microsoft’s new start menu has the classic look of Windows 7 with the contemporary feel and personalization of Windows 8…and guess what, unlike Windows 8, it works. The Windows 10 start menu is a surprising blend of simplicity, graphical appeal and customization. The only thing I don’t like is the “All Programs” menu. It’s manageable, but not quite as visually engaging as the Windows 7 menu. Just personal preference. I have a feeling younger generations might disagree with me.
Backup & Restore
Both the “Backup & Restore” and “File History” features have returned with Windows 10. You may have noticed Backup & Restore was removed in Windows 8, which only had File History. Windows 7 had Backup & Restore but did not include File History. This time, Microsoft got it right and included both.
Internet Explorer Browser Replaced with Edge
I haven’t had time yet to notice anything particularly wrong with Microsoft’s new browser, Edge. Its “drawing and saving pictures” feature along with the new “reading list” do seem promising, however my general rule with browsers is to keep your options open. Often one website simply won’t work as well on one browser as it will on another. Personally, I keep Edge, Chrome and Firefox installed on my machine just in case I need to change browsers for a specific website.
THIS ISN’T ANOTHER VISTA, IS IT?
Short Answer: – No, we’ve already had two of those.
Take a deep breath. This does not have the look and feel of another Vista, nor another 8. This build feels more like Windows 7 when it first arrived on the scene. 7 was also far from perfect during its first several months until the release of important updates.
And I have to hand it to Microsoft—unlike 8, Windows 10 seems to stick with features we could find useful, not adding random things just for the sake of adding them. There’s definitely stuff here to play with and I’ve had fun with it so far. It connected with my home network and remembered the share without a glitch.
If you feel daring, I recommend checking it out. I have so far seen only 3 instances where customers had an app issue after the upgrade, but all of those were fixed in a matter of minutes. It’s important to know, Windows 10 is not flawless and I have seen at least 3 or 4 times a window spontaneously close. The good news, it already seems better with each update.
Have more questions about upgrading? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep an eye out for upcoming blogs addressing your biggest IT questions.