For many Windows 8 was heralded as larger misstep then even the dismal release that was Windows Vista. In our camp, Windows 8 was an awesome piece of software that was exponentially improved when it was updated to Windows 8.1. Keeping the expansive desktop capabilities intact while offering a robust touch experience, Windows 8.1 was an excellent attempt at an all in one operating that did not compromise on features for the sake of usability.
Unfortunately, this viewpoint of Windows 8.1 in in the minority. As a result, Microsoft has released Windows 10 a mere two and a half years after the launch of Windows 8 to combat its negative stink. With its versatility and improvements, is Windows 10 enough to win over those how stayed away from Windows 8 while conversely pleasing those how loved it? We have lived with Windows 10 for the past few weeks, let’s see if we can answer those questions.
To the surprise of many, Microsoft’s announcement of Windows 10 was accompanied with another announcement that all users of Windows 7 and above would be able to upgrade to their new operating system for free. Over the summer, Windows icons started appearing on users’ computers instructing their operators of the steps needed to prepare for the upgrade. In the background, Microsoft quietly seeded Windows 10 onto our computers as July 29th approached. Finally the day came, the upgrade tool was enabled, and then an error message. To be fair the error was to no fault of Microsoft’s but was due to Intel’s nonsupport of the graphics chip for Windows 10 in some Windows 8 devices. After a little research, the disappointment was lifted as the installation resumed with the Windows 10 iso file downloaded directly from Microsoft.
Finally, it was complete. Windows 10 was fully installed and the magic was ready to happen; only it did not really happen. The install was wonky at best. Therefore, another fix was in order, so that was not desired but needed… a clean install. Facing the situation, Windows 10 was reinstalled on the device and what a world of difference it made. Yes, it was a pain having to reinstall all of the previously installed apps and programs, but the fix corrected all the issues that were present before. Windows’ ability to detect drivers for hardware left some processes working better than they did on Windows 8. Will everything working as it should, now it was time to get to work.
Muscle memory is very hard to shake. As such, the biggest obstacle that was had when initially using Windows 10 was the lack of the charms bar. Understanding there are only a few that really liked the charms bar, getting used to that swipe in from the right pulling up the action center and not the charms bar took the most time to get used to. Overall windows 10 is a refinement on all that was good in Windows 8.1. While the desktop experience is as always a first class experience especially with the addition of being able to run the “metro” apps on the desktop side, the major improvements are in the tablet side. The tablet is vastly improved when compared to windows 8.1.
In many ways Windows 10 is a natural progression of Windows 8.1 and in other a giant leap forward. The desktop has evolved nicely since the improvements of 8.1. It is now faster and more robust as you can now use “universal apps” (formerly known as Metro/Modern UI) on the desktop as opposed to just on the “tablet” side. The utility of this feature helps to present Windows 10 as a seamless experience compared to the Jeckel and Hyde nature of Windows 8. Not to be outdone, the touch or tablet side of things offers major improvements over the Windows 8/8.1 implementation. The menus are more touch friendly and the system as a whole has been optimized in a way that you do not have to interface with the desktop side at all if you do not want to. The one downside of the new operating system is the loss of the charms. While a beloved feature of the minority, the charms bar in Windows 8/8.1 just seemed like a natural extension the swipe gestures found in the OS. The action center now appears with the right swipe instead of the charms bar. While useful in its own right, the action center does not replace the ease and simplicity of the charms bar.
Has Microsoft solved their problem of making an operating system that can satisfy the casual needs of some and the productivity needs of other at the same time? The simple answer is yes! Windows 10 is a robust OS that can satisfy the needs of any users computer needs. The new additions and tweaks offer a simpler and yet familiar experience that users of every level can use. In the words of @BizTechInsider William Mapp, “ I don’t know what Microsoft did, but Windows 10 is the best thing to happen to operating systems since individually sliced cheese.” With an endorsement like that Window 10 is poised to be a use tool for play and one that will let you be productive “like a boss” for years to come.