Software Review: Windows 10

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It has been quite a while, huh? Well, a ton of things have distracted me, such as playing around with Windows 10, playing games on my iPad, and maintaining the needs of a church I attend, which were printing out the schedule for the first of three regular meetings and sending out a regular email, though I never did both at the same time.

Of course, there were other issues too, like a book that I was meaning to review had corrupted images, as well as the fact that many of the things I bought from them can no longer be downloaded, which means that if and when I get back to writing books that I will no longer be distributing the Barnes & Noble directly.

Anyway, now that it has been a little more than a week since the release of Windows 10, I think it is time for me to go over what I think about it.

For much of my life, I have been using the Windows operating system since Windows 95 and have used every version of it, except for ME, Vista (aka. Vista Virus), 8, and any of the NT variants prior to 2000, although one of my teachers in my college days did talk about a major issue that existed in NT 4.

Since the last version of Windows I used was Windows 7, I will try to focus on how things were going straight from 7 to 10 for me, but I bring up things that I know about of Windows 8, or have heard.

I really like Windows 10. First, as many probably know already from various articles, the start menu is back. One of the first things I noticed about Windows 8, from screenshots, was that there was no task bar or start menu on the desktop, or even any kind of panel, and it was an operating system meant to be used on desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. This made the whole thing practically unusable without a screen that allowed touch screen interaction, or even a trackpad, and not really suited for use on desktops, especially because Windows does not feature anything like OpenBox and Fluxbox that allows application launching from a right-click menu out-of-the-box. While one could get a program that brought back the start menu of old, I really think that this should have been provided by default. After all, the elderly have a much harder time learning new things, compared to those of my generation or younger. With the return of the start menu in 10, things are relatively easy to access again, and I do not need to worry about what kind of hardware I have.

I also liked how all of my hardware and Windows software worked properly. Now, as I noted in my wiki, I have not tested every piece of software, but I was kind of worried that some things would not work out too well in anything later than Windows 7, such as a little program I have that complements my iTunes experience. However, those things all worked without a hitch, as long as I installed the items needed, like Java. Now, this might be because Windows 10 was in testing for so long and developers have had the chance to fix issues, but I have things that have not been updated in quite a while, such as the program I use in conjunction with iTunes, so it makes things even better in my eyes.

Another thing that I liked was that there is a native PDF reader and print driver packed in with the OS. For the longest time, I did not really like how I needed to download a program like Adobe Reader and third party drivers to read or create PDFs like I could in OS X, at least since Snow Leopard, because I do not really remember if Preview in OS X Tiger could do that. If I have a PDF on my computer, I could double click it and Edge, the default browser in Windows 10, opens up to display the contents. The printing capability was just as good, if I did not want to add a printer or did not have one around, I could just print from any application and tell it that I wanted to use the PDF driver, thus saving the PDF to my hard drive. Unfortunately, I have not tested out editable PDFs, so a third party program for PDFs may still be needed.

The thing that I liked the most though, like most other people, is the existence of universal apps. Many times in the past, I have gotten games on either my Android phone or iPad that I really wanted to play elsewhere, such as my desktop, but I end up having to pay for the application more than once, though no more than twice, since there are ways to run Android apps on desktops, such as Chrome extensions and emulators. On the other hand, with Windows 10, I could get an app from the app store, no matter whether it is free or not, and run it on any device I have, as long as it is also running Windows 10. This really saves me time and money, as I do not need to pay to get the app anywhere or even stress myself out trying to find emulators, especially since the only iOS emulator I know that run apps is the one that comes with Xcode.

Outside of those things, nothing really caught my eye, since things like MP4 and/or H.264 playback support have existed since the release of the Zune and Windows 7.

Because of the fact that the start menu returned, making Windows easy to use again, and that software that had not been updated in a while still worked, as well as the fact that I can pay for apps only once to run them anywhere and there is builtin support for reading and printing to PDF, I think Windows 10 will be a decent operating system to have as a primary operating system, though I probably will not run it as my primary OS until my current laptop dies on me.

Although there were things that I liked, there were some issues.

First, while navigating around the operating system, things were not that easy to find. Now, this is not quite as bad as many people have said Windows 8 was, but coming from Windows 7, things were not where I expected them to be and/or the name was changed. For example, the Computer option from Windows 7 & Vista is now called This PC. While not exactly a terrible name change, it would have been better to just leave leave as it was before, especially since OS X never really changed the names of its setting components from what they were back in Snow Leopard and earlier. Still, it is not that big of a deal, so I will just label it a minor annoyance.

Another thing that I did not particularly like was that after initial installation, I could not customize even the most basic things, such as desktop background, without paying for a product key. Yes, Microsoft does need to make money from their software so that they can continue to support their products and make them better, but I do not feel like people can get a feel for whether or not they like an operating system if they cannot do some personalization during the test run. Of course, Windows 10 is not the only version with this issue, because from what I could gather, Windows 8 also required users to pay before they could do that kind customization. Honestly, I could do these kinds of customizations without having to enter a product key in Windows 7. I expected things to be like that before activation in Windows 10, but Microsoft could not care less, so this was a major annoyance to me.

I also did not like the lack of native support for SSH. While it has never been a staple in my time using Windows, there were a lot of reports saying that Microsoft was going to support OpenSSH and work on support for Windows prior to the official release of Windows, which makes me kind of disappointed, because that means that I have to download yet another piece of software for an operating system I got to play around with and even replace my solution to my iTunes problems, as Apple technically forced me to upgrade to Yosemite for reasons that I do not think that I can reveal here. Seeing as SSH support was never really announced to be included with the release of Windows 10 though, I cannot really be too mad at Microsoft and will just label this as an annoyance.

The thing I hated the most though was tablet mode. Due to the fact that I do not own a hybrid computer, or what is officially known as 2-in-1 computers, and the only Microsoft Store that I know about near me is not even in my State, I have only been able to see what it was like once. However, the experience was not really that pleasant.

First, the apps did not really feel up the whole screen. Now, this might be useful when you want to know how much battery power is left, but I do not feel like I can really immerse myself in anything like videos and games. True, this is probably because I am more used to the Android and iOS experience, but seeing as those two platforms currently dominate the mobile world, there will not be many who had a Windows tablet as their first tablet, and even what I could see from what other people said, Windows 8 apps filled up the entire screen, just like most Android and iOS apps do today.

The other thing that kind of annoyed me, was closing applications. While it was pretty much similar to how it is done on a Samsung Galaxy S5, it took me quite a while to find out which button to push, especially because there were still things I have not used in desktop mode of Windows 10 at the time. I think that they should have taken an approach more similar to what Apple does, but that might just be because I am more used to how the iPad works and may cause Microsoft to have more legal troubles with Apple.

As I have not used tablet mode too often and much of my problems were because I was more used to how Android and iOS work, I will label this as nothing more than a minor annoyance, considering that I might like it if I actually had a Windows 10 tablet, especially if it allows me to play the PC/Mac version of The Sims 3, which I find more enjoyable than The Sims 4 and the specifically made for tablet versions of the game found on iOS and Android.

Other than than those things, nothing really bugged me too much that would make me want to avoid using the operating system.

The fact that many of my problems were only annoyances, with only one major annoyance, this operating system was actual pretty decent.

Considering the fact that there was nothing majorly wrong with the operating system, though there were some annoyances that ranged anywhere from minor to major, this was definitely worth the price I paid for it and was worth using. I recommend this version of Windows to those interested in technology and those that hated Windows 8, but I highly suggest getting the Pro version and running it in a virtual machine before taking the plunge and upgrading. As for everyone else, from what I have seen, if you are one of the few that actually liked Windows 8, I would avoid buying this, otherwise, I really suggest going to a store and/or setting up Windows 10 in a virtual machine until fall, or spring in the southern hemisphere, at the earliest, as there are no more service packs and you can decide for yourself if you actually want Windows 10 or not.

What are your thought on Windows 10? Did you like it or hate it? If you hated it, was there something you miss from earlier releases or did you like Windows 8, which seems to be a minority opinion even among people I know personally? Was there some you liked or hated that went unmentioned? Feel free to comment below.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.