Thoughts on Windows 10

Last weekend I decided to take the plunge and reserve a copy of Windows 10.  Normally I would wait for the first service pack update, but since I hate Windows 8.1 so much – I only got it because I had to – I decided what the heck.  The upgrade was ready for me the following day, though I ended up waiting until Monday night to do the install. I spent two hours backing everything up in case of disaster and then spent another hour and a half doing the actual upgrade.

First Impressions

The first thing I noticed was that the programs pinned to the taskbar were all still there, as was my desktop background.  Very pleased about the latter.

I was particularly pleased to see Firefox and all my internet settings still there, right where they should be.  It had even saved my logins from the sites I had been logged in before the upgrade.  No reinstalling programs, tracking down of passwords I have no hope of remembering or reinstalling my browser bookmarks.  I had backed them all up, but was pleased I didn’t need them.

I loaded up all my regularly used programs (listed below in case anyone comes here via a Google search for one particular program) and they all ran first time.  I wasn’t particularly worried about things like MS Word not working, or even iTunes, but older games were a concern, especially since it had taken forever to get some of them to even load in Windows 8.1.  I had probably spent more hours googling issues and searching for things like legacy settings and compatibility troubleshooters than actually playing the games.  Thankfully the settings that had taken me so long to get in Windows 8.1 carried over.

Whether any problems will appear further down the line is another matter, but for now the following run and did right away in Windows 10.

Firefox
Scrivener (writing program)
Scapple (cork board)
MS Word 2010
Kingsoft Spreadsheets 2013 (9.1.0.4550)
Calibre 64bit ebook management
Paint Shop Pro 5 (a very old version)
iTunes
Avast anti virus software
Origin
Sims 3
Age of Empires 3
Alpha Centauri
Sim City Complete Edition

Dropbox also carried over without any sort of issue and has carried on running without a problem.

I should say here that I did ensure things were updated to the latest versions before the upgrade, in particular Avast advised to make sure that was the case.

Following the upgrade I checked my graphics card driver for a Windows 10 update and was pleasantly surprised to find that the latest driver from last week was already Windows 10 compatible.

So I was up and running pretty much straight away.  I have spent the rest of the week exploring and seeing what has changed, what hasn’t and generally organising things.

First of all, I was very glad to see the app screen disappear.  In Windows 8.1 I generally loaded up, glanced at the weather app, went to the desktop and stayed there until I had to shut down.  I used apps very rarely and was less than impressed with most of them.

Apps on the Start Menu

Apps on the start menu was something I wasn’t so sure about, but I am actually giving them a try.  I can always unpin them all later if I hate having them there. Admittedly most of my apps on there are links to the same things on the taskbar, but I am giving a few others a try.  Facebook and Twitter are now installed on there.  Quite like the notifications on my screen, especially for Twitter since I tend to forget I have it half the time.  I can’t access the games on Facebook via the app, but that is probably a good thing.  I suspect for FB I will probably just access through the browser like normal though.

I haven’t tried Cortana – very hesitant considering how much information it apparently needs from the computer to run a simple search.

Was pleased to see Solitaire back in a new and improved version – there is another new time sink for me!  I also downloaded Wordament, which I am rather rubbish at.

Microsoft Edge

Well, I had already heard enough about this to make me wonder if it was worth even loading it up, but I decided to give it a shot.

Do. Not. Like.

Apart from the whole blandness to it – which admittedly may be able to be changed with some sort of theme – it does not do one simple thing that I do all the time in Firefox.  Dragging uploads onto the screen.  I do it on Facebook, Photobucket, as well as right here on WordPress.  It is quick and functional and apparently in Edge – impossible!

Yeah, so I didn’t test it out for long before I decided to stick with my trusty Firefox.  I removed it from the taskbar and am happy to forget about it.

Mail App

Now, I have actually been thinking about moving my mail from the web based version I am currently using for gmail, mainly because of the irritation of having two google accounts but only able to access other google apps (besides mail) in one at a time.

So, I decided to set up the mail app in the hope of really getting something new that I have needed for some time.  Not really liking it much so far I have to admit.

While it is nice that it syncs to my online account – what I do in one is effective in the other – I do think I would prefer a download / offline based email program like I have on my old desktop computer.

For the mail app itself, here are my thoughts.

At first it would not let me into the account settings, but once it did I at least could sync all my messages, and not just the most recent ones.  Hopefully the not letting me into the account settings was a temporary glitch.

I use lots of labels/folders to sort my messages into.  Most of them carried across, but some were missing and I can’t see any way to get them to appear.  Things are very muddled up right now.

I found that the second time I opened that account, to try to get the missing folders to appear – they didn’t – the messages that were already synced had vanished.  And the third and final time I loaded it they were still missing and won’t reappear at all!

There really needs to be a way to sync all folders at once.  Going to each individual view is a pain in the neck and time consuming, especially since it seems it will be necessary every time I load the app.

It is also hit and miss on the syncing.  For example, it won’t find anything at all in my expenses folder, even when I set it to get all messages and there were messages from just last week in it.  It is also pretty slow to sync, even on folders with few messages in them.

I would also like a way to alter the order of the folders but cannot see that there is one short of removing them all from favourites and putting them back in the order you want.  But to do that every time you add a folder is going to be hell.

The layout itself is not what I would prefer either.  Just not to my taste and no way of changing it.  I was surprised about that since Outlook itself does have options to change the view and I thought this app would have as well, but certainly not yet.

The signature option is also a bit of a pain since it would appear to just have a line for plain text.  Though who have seen an email from me will know that I like to have a banner in my signature as well as links to my site, etc.

So the online version of gmail is certainly what I am going to be using for the moment.  What I will probably do is leave this app running so I can get the pop up alerts on my personal account.  But once I have a downloaded email client it will likely be shut down.

Calendar App

Well, I have no idea where it was gathering all the information from, but it is looking very busy now.  A little too busy to be honest.  Had to turn off lots of things just to see what I had initially set up the calendar for.

It won’t pull through my colour coding or anything else other than the basic information, and even though I had reminders set, in the calendar app there are none.

I also can’t see a way to manually sync the calendar when things are not appearing.

Again, I think I will stick with what I have, even if I can’t get into Google Drive on one account at the same time as the calendar on the other.

Action Centre

At first I thought this was just for Windows alerts and a few settings.  I accidentally turned on flight mode the first time I opened it so quickly minimised that part and have not been in it much since.

I then discovered that it has notifications there from the Facebook and Twitter apps (in case I missed them on my screen – I had missed one or two) as well as achievements from my Wordament game.   Very handy.

Task View & Multiple Desktops

The task view is nifty but I doubt I will be using it much.  Why click on that to get to another program when it is already loaded on the task bar?  If I can switch with one click, why use two?  I may find a use for multiple desktops though (which are accessed through the task view) – games in one and work in the other.

Speed

One thing that is getting to be a bit of a pain is the slowness of Windows 10 at times.  Not all the time, but every now and then it goes stupidly slow, even when you are only opening the file explorer.  I waited 15 minutes the other evening for it to load the folders and eventually gave up and did a full restart of the computer.

The search function is appallingly slow.  It is also frustrating that if you click on anything else while the search is still running it stops searching and you have to start over again.  When the results are taking minutes at a time to come back – in fact I have not actually managed to get it to complete a search at all yet since I have got bored waiting for it – it is not functional at all.  Maybe it is better if you use Cortana, but as I said above, I don’t like how much information it insists on picking up from your computer just to do a search.

ETA: Ran a search for 25 mins and nothing.  Guess it is a case of having to use Cortana just to find things on my own computer.  Not happy about that in the least.

My Verdict So Far

I haven’t encountered any major problems so will be saying a not-even-remotely-sad-goodbye to Windows 8.1 and sticking with Windows 10.  Providing that there are no major problems on the horizon.

I will be trying to utilise some of the apps more, but the mail and calendar, which I had high hopes for, are just not for me. I am going to be sticking with what I have – or looking for an alternative.

2 responses to “Thoughts on Windows 10

  1. Regarding the speed of your computer, I’d say reset Windows 10. It will erase everything, but you’ll end up with a fresh installation and that means a world of difference in terms of performance. Upgrading from one windows version to another has historically been he least desirable option. Don’t forget to backup your documents, music, favorites, etc if you decide to go through the reset route, though

  2. Since the speed issue seems to come and go and is “touch wood” mostly gone now, I have avoided doing a fresh install. I was relieved that all my backed up stuff wasn’t required and will only do a full clean install as a last resort.

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