Windows 10: In-depth review

Anandtech did a good write up on it here:

There conclusion is much the same as mine, but my recommendation still stands for Windows 7 desktop users: stick with it Windows 7. Desktop computers are easy to overhaul and repurpose.  The Windows 10 free upgrade supposedly (I will be confirming this about a week from now) makes your old Windows product key invalid 30 days after upgrade (if you don’t roll-back). So, if you significantly change the system later, you may be stuck in a situation where neither the old nor the new product key work to activate your Windows.

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Yet another reason to not use Internet Explorer

I’ve tried to ensure all my clients are not using Internet Explorer. This is a classic reason why:

Furthermore, if I set you up on Chrome since Summer 2014, you should also have the AdBlock Plus and Bitdefender Trafficlight addons installed, which makes Chrome even more secure.

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Urgent news for users of Firefox: Update ASAP!

Either click the “hamburger” menu button on the top right, then the question mark button at the bottom of that window for the help menu, then “About Firefox”, at which point it will update and prompt you to restart. Otherwise, get the latest version here:

Why? A big vulnerability was found. Read more about it here:,29783.html

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Computerworld’s Windows 10 review

They raise a number of the points I noted the other day, but now in video form!

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Windows 10 status update.

So far, so good… mostly.  All my files and settings made it over just fine, even including saved logins for websites in my various browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Opera). There doesn’t seem to be any compatibility problems with accounting or office software. I had Quickbooks 2011 already installed during the upgrade, and it passed through without issue.  I installed Sage 2013 afterwards, and likewise no issue.  An older version of Libreoffice ( also survived the upgrade just fine, as did Office 2013, as expected. This site has a chart that is a good reference for Windows/Office compatibility and support dates, up until Windows 8.1/Office 2013:

I haven’t heard any significant complaints of older versions of Office not working on Windows 10, but I wouldn’t recommend using Office 2003, as it is no longer being supported, even if it works.

I’ve seen a few window glitches since the upgrade, such as a window beneath showing through the top window, or clicking in a menu in a full screen game and having it click and launch the taskbar app in that spot… occasional annoyances like that, but no show-stoppers. Some games had to be run in compatibility mode or run as an administrator, but otherwise with games, if it ran in Windows 8, it runs in Windows 10.

The most annoying change for me was the new multiple monitor handling: you have to drag the windows quickly, or it will want to “snap” them to the edge of the screen rather than move them to the desired screen (you can change this behavior under Settings->System->Multitasking->Snap).  Another annoyance is the forced updates. This by and large is a good thing moving forward, but when it comes to drivers, newer isn’t always better… some Nvidia graphics card users kept getting forced a non-working driver. There is a update blocker tool available from Microsoft, but it only works with the “Pro” edition of Windows, not “Home”.

Of course, what discussion of the upgrade of Windows 8 to 10 would be complete without mention of the return of the start menu?  Yes, it’s back. But, it’s replaced many of the Windows 7 entries with their Windows 8 alternatives. For example, instead of “Control Panel” you have “PC settings” with functionality divided up between the pages differently compared to Windows 7 and prior. The default behavior had me clicking a lot more to get to the places I wanted to go to, like “My Documents”.  If I wanted to type a search to go right to a program, if it was an administrative utility, I had to type out the full file name exactly, otherwise it would just do a web search…  Mind you, most of you reading this don’t use admin utilities day-to-day, but I would be remiss to not mention it. To be honest, it you lived off of the start menu in the past, you’ll still be better off installing Classic Shell to get that Windows 7 feel.

There is built-in voice search called “Cortana”. Assuming you have a microphone, you click the mic button on the search bar and say “Hey Cortana…” and then make your query. Comparing to Google’s and Apple’s voice assistants, accuracy is all in the same ballpark. Where Cortana moves a bit ahead of Google’s all-business assistant, and is a bit more like Apple’s Siri, is in the banter. If you ask Google’s assistant to tell you a joke, it will bring up a search result page. You ask Cortana or Siri the same, they will tell you a random joke. If you ask Cortana or Siri about their competitor, they will give you a witty comment.

All considered, if you have Windows 7, on a desktop, and like the way things are now, stay with it for remaining useful life of the computer (although upgrade to an SSD if you haven’t yet). Windows 8 and 10 brought some power-use improvements, so laptops running Windows 7 have some incentive to go straight to Windows 10. Anyone running Windows 8, though, will find Windows 10 a clear and simple upgrade. Its stability and compatibility is plenty good for the vast majority at this point.

Lastly, you have one month after the upgrade to roll back to the previous Windows if you don’t like it. After a month it will delete the old windows files (not your personal files). It will then be licensed to that machine for good, as a Windows 10 license. Even if you keep the Product Key sticker and the Windows 7 disc, for example, that license is now no longer valid as Windows 7, but as Windows 10.

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Windows 10 upgrade FAQ part 1

Q: What’s new with Windows 10? Why even upgrade?
A: Windows 10 is to Windows 8 what Windows 7 was to Windows Vista: a refinement. Like with Vista,Windows 8 brought many aggressive changes, much to many’s dismay. Windows 10 brings back the start menu that everyone missed in Windows 8, while adding some of the functionality of the start screen from Windows 8 to it. Instead of a clunky manual switch between desktop and touch-friendly start screen modes, desktop computers will stay in the desktop layout everyone knows and loves, and new dockable tablets will switch between the 2 modes with ease. Also, the plan is to make this the last major version of Windows, ie, there will be no Windows 11. Like Apple did years ago with OSX, and you have point releases “10.1”, “10.2”, etc, Windows is going the same way. For now on, it will be refinements.

Q: Will I lose all my data during the upgrade?
A: For Windows 7 and 8 users, it’s what is referred to as an “in-place” upgrade, so no, you shouldn’t have to worry about losing any data. That being said, if you don’t have a backup, if there ever was a time for a disk failure to reveal itself, it’s times such as these, so ensure you do have a backup of your important data just in case. Also, certain software may not work in the new Windows, which is what I’m testing now. Of course I can’t test it all, so keep in mind there may need to be further updates or software purchases done. But realistically, if it ran on Windows 7 or 8, the likelihood of it running on Windows 10 is very high.

Q: Will I need to upgrade the hardware in my computer?
A: It’s no more demanding on the system than Windows 7 or 8, so don’t expect any significant speedup or slowdown from upgrading to Windows 10 by itself. That being said, SSD drives, that make any new phone, tablet, or any new laptop or desktop worth it’s weight, so fast, have come way down in price in the last few years. If your $0 phone or sub-$300 tablet is running rings around your much more expensive desktop or laptop, it’s because your desktop or laptop is still using the old HDD technology… now would be a good time to upgrade.
P.S. In terms of RAM, a computer these days should have no less than 4GB. Even so, 4GB is enough for only the most basic of use. For most, 8GB is the target. 16GB+ is only needed for fancy media editing and creation, and certain high-end games.

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To all my clients: don’t install Windows 10 right away.

If you have Windows 7 or 8, you’ve probably noticed a taskbar notification about Windows 10. Go ahead and reserve the free upgrade. No rush though: the free upgrade offer is good for a year after Windows 10’s release date (supposedly Jul 29).

But I would recommend holding off on the actual install of the upgrade until I have some time to test compatibility. I’ll report back when I think it’s okay to go ahead.

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