I’ve been using Windows 10 as my main desktop operating system for the past couple of weeks, here are some of my initial thoughts on it including things that I like and dislike since upgrading. Finally I’ll conclude with determining if I consider upgrading to Windows 10 to be worth it.
Prior to release I tested the Windows 10 technical preview and noted some of the best features in that post.
I had originally been planning to build a new PC with Windows 10 as my current hardware is approaching the 5 year old mark, however since discovering that the license would not transfer over I’ve decided to hold off on buying one and instead just test it out to see how I like it first, though a new PC is definitely not far off.
Thin window bezels: This was one of the first things I noticed and liked straight away, the bezels surrounding open windows are now very thin which look better and take up less space. The example below shows the thickness of the bottom right hand corner of a window with Windows 8.1 on the left and Windows 10 on the right.
Windows 8.1 comes in at 8 pixels by default with Windows 10 using just 1 pixel.
- Improved window snapping: In Windows 7 and 8 I really liked being able to drag windows to the sides of the screen and have them snap to use exactly half of the screen, this has been improved upon in Windows 10. Now in Windows 10 you can drag into the corners and set four equal windows per monitor which is great especially as monitor sizes continue to get larger. Previously to accomplish this I always had to manually drag my windows around, but no more! Additionally if you are using multiple monitors, windows can now be dragged and snapped to the sides of the monitors where two monitors are together, previously in Windows 7 and 8 you could only snap to the far left of the left monitor or the far right of the right monitor, so this improvement is very welcome.
Multiple desktops: This is something I have liked in Linux for some time, multiple desktops allow you to have different things open in a different virtual space. For instance you could have one set of windows open within one virtual desktop, and another set open within a different virtual desktop and then easily swap between them.
Start menu: I am definitely not the first to admit that I was never a fan of the Windows 8 “start menu” alternative, it is definitely great to have that back. My use of the start menu basically involves me pressing the windows key on the keyboard and typing what I want and opening it from the search results. While this functions just as well as it does in Windows 8 as it does in 10, in Windows 8 the process takes up a full screen to get done which may take away from anything else that I’m watching on the screen. Live tiles can still be used in the start menu which is a good compromise between the two, however you can completely revert back to the full Windows 8 start screen if that’s your thing, it’s great that we have been given the option to select what we want to use.
- Faster boot time: I’ve noticed that my overall boot times with Windows 10 are faster compared to Windows 8.1, while I did not time how long the process took prior to upgrading it is noticeably quicker to me. I have heard some others report that it slows things down for them, however this was definitely not the case on my almost 5 year old PC.
Becoming part of the Microsoft botnet: This was one of my main concerns prior to upgrading, I had heard about all the privacy settings available all over the place in Windows 10 with less than desirable default settings. While there is a central location to configure a load of privacy settings pictured below there are a lot of other sneaky settings that can only be changed by policy or registry edits. I used this guide to disable these sorts of settings. Even with these disabled we have no way of knowing what else it’s doing under the hood, which is just part of the fun of not using open source software I suppose.
Larger minimize/maximize/close buttons: I have noticed that these buttons seem to be quite larger, which would have been fine except due to the size increase they are interfering with other applications which will probably now need to be updated to resolve conflicts. For example I am running the latest Firefox 39.0.3 but the most recently opened tab to the right covers some of the minimize button so about 20 times a day I accidentally minimize my browser while trying to swap to the newest tab (Edit: This has been fixed in Firefox version 40). I was hoping that there would be an easy way to change this however it appears that it needs to be done with either a third party program or registry change. I suppose they aren’t that bad and this will probably be less of an issue as more and more applications are updated for Windows 10.
Everything is going well so far for the most part, I had no issues with my in place upgrade at all and overall I’m finding Windows 10 preferable to 8 and 8.1, the experience is close to the Windows 7 golden age. This is despite updates still being pushed out through the insider program to beta testers just days before the July 29th 2015 release date which had me concerned that it had not yet properly been tested, however I have not personally come across any bugs and everything seems perfectly stable. I am sure that there are plenty of other small changes I am yet to pick up on, however overall there is more for me to like than dislike and I am definitely not planning on going back to Windows 8, so I consider Windows 10 as a definite worth while upgrade if you can look past some of the questionable privacy settings.