Originally on a Windows 7 laptop, I decided to take the new Windows 10 for a spin when the Technical Review came out. So I went to the website, joined the insider programme, ignored all the warnings accompanied with the incompleteness of the product, accepted the terms and conditions of which did not read and downloaded the ISO file. (I would not advise you to do this)
Using the free burning tool provided by Microsoft, I proceed to born the software on a flashdrive and installed it on my old 8-year old HP Pavillion laptop. (Another warning: You really should not try this at home if not aware of the risks! At least not on your primary computer anyway). To prevent complications I went for the clean install method which wiped clean everything on my selected partition on the hard disk and loaded the operating system. From there I went on to install my major manufacturer drivers (graphics, sound, wireless), all of which installed and worked smoothly, got some of my old programs back and got to work.
For those who are used to Windows 8.1, from a simple user perspective I regret to tell you there is not much difference in the user interface and functionality compared to what you currently have, the major differences I was able to notice are:
The full screen startscreen has been reworked a bit. It now has what can only be described as a lovechild between the Windows 8 start screen and the Classic Start Menu from Windows 7 and earlier. The full screen menu is now replaced by the pop-up-from-the-bottom-left-of-the-screen start menu, but you still get to retain your colourful flipping tiles cohabiting among static icons for the legacy apps. Thankfully they also retained the option to switch back to the full screen start menu if that’s your thing, an option which I quickly exercised. I for one prefer my flippin’ tiles in full.
Compared to my experience with Windows 8.1 i actually find some of the preinstalled Modern apps much more usable than before. The music app became my default music player and I find the calculator, calendar and OneDrive app nicer than the legacy versions. But like many Modern counterparts, the Skype, Mail and Video app I still find terrible. Also, the stock PDF reader and Photo apps are yet unable to replace Foxit Reader and Picasa for me.
The Settings app now has even more functionality. It would seem that the days of the control panel are numbered as most of the things we go to the control panel to do now have very easy and intuitive options in the settings app. Except for legacy stuff or uninstalling legacy programs, these days the Control Panel can be easily done without.
The File Explorer has also been reworked. Media Libraries and favourites are now gone, replaced by photo, document, music and download directories. There is also a home button which has the shortcut for recent and frequently accessed folders/files. The directories for Network, Homegroup, OneDrive and whatever third party plugin installed remain in addition to the streamlined ribbon menu for File, Home, Share and View options.
Furthermore, some of the extremely annoying mouse gestures are gone. Swiping from left side of the mouse pad does not switch the active Window anymore; neither does swiping from the right edge of the mouse bring the Charms bar.
Some inconveniences I encountered using the OS
There is now a permanent, apparently irremovable search button on the taskbar, in addition to a desktop switch button. I don’t really know how the multiple desktop thingy works but it seems akin to having multiple home screens on an android phone or tablet. These two I do not use but I cannot remove, so I place it squarely under the annoyances category,
No Windows Media Centre. I don’t use this software but I suppose there are people that have need for it. You will not find it in Windows Technical Preview either installed or available to install, i assume this will not be the case when the full version comes out.
Another quirk is some programs refusing to install or work properly. I had an active subscription of Kaspersky Antivirus, when I tried installing the program I was unsuccessful. Tried different tricks like changing package name, running it in compatibility mode, etc. Didn’t work, my anti virus just refused to install. I installed Avast in replacement. If you also don’t mind the built-in antivirus in the name of Windows Defender, it is available for use too. I assume this will also change on the arrival of the final version.
Another program I had installed was MyPublicWifi, which I used regularly for the simple task of creating Wi-Fi hotspot to share whatever internet I’m using at that time. The program will install fine but it was unable to create the hotspot I installed it for.
The biggest issue I had with it was occasional situation where the screen does not display anything after boot or resuming from hibernation. The start up and boot sequences will display fine but once about to get into lock screen, I get a blank display, as if the screen was disconnected from the rest of the computer. I have no idea the cause of this, I cannot even predict any pattern, it just seems to happen randomly. The only fix I could use was forcing the laptop off or yanking the battery, then rebooting again. I found nothing from googling the problem either. This has made me jittery of hibernating the system while I have work open on it. I have resorted to the Sleep option when i have pending unsaved stuff.
Other niggles included the inability to turn off automatic Windows updates and sending analytic and usage data to Microsoft servers. This warning was one of the several I ignored in the excitement to get it running. It sucked up a huge volume of my data subscription and there was no way to stop it.
It may be worth mentioning that Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now assistants is also present, depending on the build installed as the one I am currently using does not come with Cortana. Similar to its predecessors you get multiple sign in options from password to PIN to picture password. Microsoft account and OneDrive integration is included but optional, zero third-party bloatware, and no trial software like Microsoft Office or Office 365, you have to re-install all your apps.
All in all, coming from Windows 7 I think Windows 10 is a worthy upgrade, boot is much faster, file transfer seems faster too, the interface and icons look cleaner and flatter, and there are much more options and functionality for both average and power users. Since the final version of the operating system has been reported to likely be free for everyone. I believe it will be worth it to upgrade when it comes out before the end of the year. If you want to give it a spin now, head to the Microsoft website and download, it’s free.
For questions or comments, feel free to throw a word in the comment box below. Cheers!