Monday, August 3, 2015

The Windows 10 Experience | Part 1

Unless you've been living in a cave, or even if you have, you may have heard about Windows 10. The "big" thing about W10 is that Microsoft is offering a free upgrade to users of W7 or W8.1. With this in mind, I thought that someone might be interested in my experience with W10. This is the first, and hopefully not last, installment on this subject.

Very recently, I picked up a new laptop computer. It's not a high end machine, thought I wish that I could justify spending more on one. It's in many ways a replacement for the laptop that I got 5 years ago. The old one has a display that no longer works, but, thanks to the magic of the HDMI port, works well to watch streaming video from Hulu and other sources on the TV.

Not only does the new laptop solve the issue of having one to take on any trips that we go on, but also provides a needed computer for the children in doing their school.

So, Windows 8.1. I really have no interest in dealing with it. I've seen enough of W8/8.1 to know that I don't like it. I decided that my first project with this computer would be to upgrade to W10.  Really, it can't be worse than W8.1, and there is a chance that it's better, after all, it does have the start menu again.

Time. Yes, it takes a good deal of time to perform the upgrade. I don't know exactly how long though. I started it, but then we left and were gone for most of the day. I don't know if the process paused when I closed the lid of the laptop, or if it kept working. After we got home, I opened it up, and it still took a couple more hours to finish it off. So, probably at least 3 hours for the upgrade process.

Microsoft Account. Definitely not a fan of this. To be able to complete the installation, you have to have a Microsoft account. There is no choice here, either sign in or you can't use Windows. The idea here is that you can backup your settings, files, etc. via a Microsoft account, making it "easy" to move to another computer, or recover from a hardware failure, etc. It would be nice to have a way to bypass this, as many people really don't for the idea of Microsoft having access to personal data. They also made it so that the Windows login uses this Microsoft account as well. The good news is that you can change how you log into Windows, so if you want to use a difficult, very secure password for your Microsoft account, but also want to be able to login to Windows with a simpler, and easier to remember, password, you can.

Edge Browser. So, Microsoft has replaced Internet Explorer with Edge. So far I have found Edge to just a useful as IE, I used it to download Firefox. I have been plenty happy with Firefox for several years, so I'm not sure why I would want to, or need to, switch to something different, especially from a company that historically does not have a good track record with browsers.

Start Menu. Yes, it's back, but it's not the start menu that you remember. I don't really know how to describe it, other than I could not really figure out how to find programs. I clicked on something like "All Programs", or something similar, and it gave me a long alphabetical list of programs that I had to scroll through. It was not what I would call easy or convenient. Classic Shell to the rescue. This is a little program that I have been using from the time that I first got W7. It basically allows you to have a classic interface, including the start menu. It does give you some options for what type of start menu you want, but I always choose the "Classic Style". It's a lot cleaner and more streamlined than the other options, and allows me to find what I want on the start menu without much hassle. I highly recommend it, and it's free.

That's it for now. I'll try to make another installment after I have had more time to use the computer. I'll see if there are any other ground breaking features that need my opinion.

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