People tend to ask me about software quite often. It’s ironic actually that most of the time the questions aren’t related to an operating system, but instead of development, games, business, apps etc.
However, people are curious if I like Windows 10.
Firstly I loved Windows 8.x. I know I know, before you toss your mouse at your monitor, in an attempt to hit me with it, you must understand. I loved what Windows 8.x did for us. It finally brought Windows as an OS and Application Platform into alignment across my devices. Owning Windows Phone, Surface, PC and Laptops, it became so much easier to integrate both my work and personal enjoyment across the devices.
Yes I know, people hated the start screen, or they felt they had to do too many clicks etc to get things done. Actually I truly didn’t find that. When I was done, using no hacks, registry edits or “secret sauce”, I was able to use my PC, just as I did with Windows 7. I spent nearly 100% of my time on the desktop app. Therefor I received all the benefits of a singular platform, without really needing to bounce back and forth between screens.
So what about Windows 10?
We will talk some about the upgrade, the upgrade process and some things to look out for. Then we will point out some of the cool things you can do, and then talk about each one. I won’t repeat all the things necessarily on the net about each, but I will share some links. The purpose here is really to educate the difference (at least for me) between 7 / 8 and 10.
1. Is Windows 10 really free:
You betcha. Until I believe June 26th it is free, as long as you have a legal license to your current OS. Whether its your PC or your laptop.
2. Should I even upgrade? :
Well this will be up to you, but my answer is Yes.
- You should try to validate with your manufacturer that your PC is compatible with Windows 10. I won’t swear or promise that it is, but as you can roll-back AND because you can take a backup first, I haven’t had any issues yet (and I didn’t personally check first, again you should be smarter than me 🙂 )
- You should do a backup to your thumb drive or external disk before upgrading (to be honest I didn’t… but hey you should be smarter than me)
- If you do NOT like Windows 10, you can revert back to your original OS in the first 30 days. After that you cannot. Primarily because it takes ALOT of space on your hard drive to backup your entire system so it can be reverted. Oh you can always format your drive etc, but you cannot merely roll-back automatically to Windows X.X and have all your stuff work.
- If you do upgrade to Windows 10, and you are waiting your 30 days (just in case you roll-back) do NOT attempt to delete the Windows.Old folder. Otherwise you will hose your ability to roll back
- If you are like me, and your laptop or PC has a built-in restore of your hard drive to “factory settings”. It is very possible that after upgrading to Windows 10, you will NOT be able to do this anymore, because of how windows changes your hard drive.
- Should this stop you? For me, nope… I checked my manufacturer first, to make sure my machine was good to go and I moved ahead
3. How do I get the upgrade?
Well there are technically at least two ways that I know of. The second option was way better for me, because I have 10 systems to upgrade
- The first is the “reserve” process. This means that you leverage your current PC and the update / store to tell Microsoft that you want the upgrade. Your request goes in a queue and you are notified when it is time to do the upgrade. Please read here for more details How to Upgrade to Windows 10
- The second, and again for me was better, is to download and create a USB or DVD / BlueRay. Then you can leverage that media to install on all your PC’s without having to wait in the queue. Pretty sweet :-). I added mine to a little USB thumb drive and bingo ran around upgrading. Here are instructions on that. Create USB or DVD Windows 10 Installation Media
- Also if you want to have some FAQ information about windows 10 people visit here (note I will only publish links I trust myself, mostly from Microsoft.Com) Windows 10 FAQ (Installation / Free Info)
4. Why should I Upgrade? I like my Windows X:
So at a glance why would I want to upgrade from Windows X? Well firstly my main focus is Windows 8 to Windows 10, because I haven’t used 7 or XP in so long. Yes I liked them, but for me Windows 8 was what I used. That being said I can compare and contract some things.
- No more Start “Screen”
The Windows Button is actually a really cool navigational process. Similar in some ways to XP and 7, but more enhanced. It’s a hybrid of the start screen and the previous “start menus”. Tiles, right click options etc Love it
- Better Cross Device “Visualization / Usage”
Once again, it begins to tie together the whole Phone, XBOX One, Tablet experience. NOT because you have touch but because it is actually the same paradigm of usage across them. Much nicer to me.
- The Action Center:
If you have a newer Windows 8.X Phone, you are used to having the action center when you do a pull down on the top of your phone. The Action Center is like that. It enables you a centralized place to easily get to many of your necessary actions, notifications and turn / off features. Below is a picture of it and again it’s like the Windows Phone. Simple, quick clicks to make changers.
- Search from your Desktop: I love this. Again, just like in your Windows Phone or Windows Surface. Just type in whatever url or question you want answered, without starting any apps.
- New Browser, Microsoft Edge: Truly this thing is cool. It still has some issues, it’s not perfect yet. Some sites will not work correctly, that’s true. However, your Microsoft Internet Explorer will still be there or whatever browser you have. But honestly pretty cool 🙂
- Virtual Desktops: What in the world is a virtual desktop and why the heck do I care. Well not everyone will, however if you are like many of us, you may work and play on the same PC. Not only that, but on a shared PC, you might have multiple kids, of different ages. Now you can easily setup multiple desktops that you can easily configure for each particular user. Nothing like keeping school, work, kids and play all separate 🙂
- Task View Button: Do you remember the old ALT-TAB? Do you remember how you could hold it down in Windows 8 and see everything tiled etc? Well in Windows 10, it’s really simple. Imagine you are doing something and you actually do something else. Hit the keyboard or whatever. How many times have you said, where is my darn email or document or whatever? Well Hit the Task View button (next to your search box on your desktop) and bingo there is your stuff :-). Just pick what you want to use or click it again to make it go away (or hit ESC)
- Upgraded Apps: Windows 10 brings a whole new version of the Mail, Calendar and other Apps. They are seriously better.
- Better Acting Apps: Ok so what I mean here is, that although in Windows 8.1 the friendly X was added to the top right corner of apps, if you used your mouse, they still took up the entire screen. I HATED THAT. Ok I really did :-). With Windows 10, the calculator app for instance now only takes up the size of the calculator app in a reasonable size. No more automatic full screen. Way way nicer.
- Play XBOX One Games on Windows 10: With the XBOX One Windows 10 App, you can stream games to any Windows 10 Device on your home network. Wired or wireless devices work just fine. They recommend wired, but who the heck wouldn’t? But being able to play my XBOX One Games on my Windows 10 Tablet or PC Rocks!
- Cortana for Windows 10: Well I love it on my phone, and I love it on my PC. It was easy to setup and easy to use. We had Suri… no thanks, I’ll take Cortana any day. Now I share my searched and results across all my Windows Devices. So much love 🙂 . Cortana do you love me? (go ahead, ask her) lol
5. What about Compatibility and Performance?
Well I can’t really speak to every single laptop or pc in the world, however at my home we have a diverse set of HP, Dell and Hand Made 🙂 PC’s and Laptops. So far all of them have worked well, and I have no issues during the upgrades.
As for performance it has been great. It performs better than Windows 7, 8 and XP. And for me I use mine for development (hard core), gaming, office, business stuff, building Apps / Games etc. So I use mine up quickly and Windows 10 has been awesome.
I did have one issue where I updated a driver and then I needed to go into Safe Mode to back it out. It was actually an issue with me picking the incorrect driver, so nothing that the OS can do there. I said do it 🙂
I have new video drivers, BIOS and the works across the board for HP and Dell.
- I play games (old Windows Vista, XP, 7, 95 / 98) games and some work, some do not. The ones that do not, are security issues that I did open a ticket with Microsoft to get resolved (as they all worked on Windows 8.1).
- Everquest, Wow etc all work just fine, and my XBOX One Streaming Rocks.
- Hulu, Netflix and other streaming services work perfectly with no issues
- All my development stuff works (SQL, Visual Studio 2010 up) etc. One issue I am having is that the Phone 8.1 SDK tells me it only works on Windows 8 and of course I have Windows 10. I haven’t ironed that out yet, but I will in my Visual Studio 2013 and 2015 Blog
- Office 2013 and my other productivity applications work just fine
- Pretty much any issues that I had with older stuff (real-old) required compatibility settings, which it figured out for me.
- Windows 10 was an absolutely great upgrade from Windows 8.1. It brings together even more platforms (Phone / XBOX One), then I had before
- Its performance and compatibility have not been issues for me at all
- The new browser, apps and Store App make my life way easier, while still providing me support for I.E. & Chrome.
- It was easy to upgrade and I have not had one issue since doing so.
- For those whom like Windows 7 I feel you will truly like it. For those that like Windows 8, you will love it
- Be safe, back up before you upgrade and enjoy!
- Lastly It’s Free!!!!!
I am proud to work for Microsoft for 20+ years and this is my first externally focused blog :-). I hope you enjoy it and I appreciate your feedback.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to drop them here and I will answer as soon as I can.