Yes, I’m back and recharged. Sorry I’ve been away for so long. Things have been catching up with me, as I ramp up for school. I know, after 8 years, I’m going back to school. So with new beginnings, I decided to take the plunge and get Windows 10.
Thoughts after working with it for a day
So far, my thoughts on it are that it is better than Windows 8, which is something that was in dire need of improvement. Windows 8 had so many random problems. It was considered the Ball of Randomness, as somethings would work, and some wouldn’t. All the problems, at least so far, have been immediately addressed in Windows 10 and corrected. However, as people have reported, not all issues have been addressed. As with previous iterations, there is one minor issue that is affecting those with small displays with high DPI resolutions.
Previously in laptops and monitors, Pixels were relatively the same size in all of them, and the more you have, the more real estate for optimization on your desktop or home screens for various operating systems. That being said, a recent trend has begun, where with the advent of the smart phone, screens are getting smaller, and as such the pixels within the screens are shrinking with them, allowing for more pixels to be integrated. However, the last OS to really utilize the newer pixel density is Windows. You may encounter this with your high DPI/resolution laptops that have a small screen. Where Windows measures the height of the screen by pixel count, and inputs a resolution that fits the size. However, it does not take into account individual pixel size.
So, when you install Windows 10 on a laptop with a 10 inch screen, that is loaded with the newer micropixels. So your resolution would be like 2560 by 1440, which is cool, but with the way Windows sets itself up, your GUI will think its on a desktop or large screen laptop, where Scale isn’t a factor. On laptops with high DPI/resolution, scale matters, big time. So that fantastic looking screen has the task bar really tiny along with the insanely tiny tray icons.
Windows does have a tool to fix such things, but it was a band-aid measure instituted in Windows 8, and it really only is effective in Microsoft’s apps, and nothing else. Luckily, I don’t have this problem, however a good chunk of the laptop market does. As you may find in a review by Chris Mills of Gizmodo, whom had this with his Dell XPS 13. (Link below).
The only issue I found in the copy I secured, was the main one affecting everyone; Cortana. It is still new, however the voice recognition does not work properly, and much like most, you end up with a one-sided screaming match with your device. Personally I find voice recognition only really works in a tablet or smart phone. In a desktop or laptop setting, it’s a really minor thing to have in your ecosystem. Although it does take a large amount of real estate on your taskbar. I tried it for an hour, and it would not recognize my voice, despite going through the voice trainer a few times. So I immediately shut it off.
Now if you’re going to use Cortana on a daily basis, there is some concern to using her/him. Remember how everyone has been up in arms the last few years with Google and its data practices? Well Microsoft has decided to take a page out of their book, by making it a requirement to bind your Microsoft account into the OS, along with turning on all the share happy settings in order to use Cortana. As such, you will have to use your email and its password to log into Windows, instead of your easy default password or no password to access your desktop environment.
Then to be more mobile friendly, they also have a pin you can use. I find it’s all pointless in a normal laptop or desktop anyway. Most of your input with the device will always be faster and more adept with a simple keyboard and mouse setup. It’s not like you’re taking your desktop to a conference and setting it up next to a wall outlet and putting in dictation notes. So I wouldn’t be using it, especially when the only modern mobile device I have is my Nexus 4 from Google, and its voice recognition is almost perfect. If I were to get a Surface Pro or a touch display laptop, I’d consider Cortana, but not in a desktop or traditional laptop setting.
Holy hell did they really overhaul the functionality tools. A lot of what made Windows 8 a mess to use, was its tools. The other annoying thing, which did somewhat make the leap to 10, is the duplication of settings in the OS. It’s nice to see the Windows 7 style settings and control panel in Windows 10, but what’s the point of having it there, when you have the new default settings app, which does the same thing. Although you can get more customization out of the old style control panel and its settings than the new one. So there’s this divide between the two.
Along with the functionality upgrades, the new start menu is awesome. They really listened to the community and made a best of both worlds and made a mouse friendly start menu again. Windows 8’s set up was much more catered to a tablet or touchscreen market, than it ever was to the desktop and regular laptop market. Which is why sales suffered immensely. Although with 10 being free and a lot of people having the option for an entire year to upgrade will help in speeding up the app development process, to force an evolutionary change from the Windows 7 applications to the modern age.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Windows 7, and I’m still using it on my desktop, but for my laptop, I barely used it after rebuilding my desktop a couple of years ago. So putting Windows 10 on it, definitely helps me get used to the new environment, while giving new life to my laptop. Which will be needed in the coming school term. Now all I have to do is replace the laptop’s keyboard and onboard fan. Then it should be back at 100% effectiveness.
Anyways, I’ve been rambling on. With Windows 10, it should definitely bring people up to pace, but there are a few things most will have to do in the first set up, to ensure they can remain secure with their data. When prompted to use share-happy services, you have the option before loading the desktop the first time, to turn them on or off. If you don’t want to use Cortana for your desktop, you can turn them off. If you don’t want to log into your email to log into windows, you can turn that off too.
The upgrade process is almost without fault. There will be some issues for early adopters, not all of your files will migrate over, so you may have an error or two pop up when you first load in to the desktop environment. The easy fix is to go into your Windows.old/system32 folder, grab the necessary file, and move it to the new System32 folder. In my case, it was a simple .dll file that prevented my aftermarket sound from working properly. In computers containing Nvidia cards, you may get a bigger error, where Windows will auto install a bad driver, it happens. The fix is one of two options, wait until Microsoft fixes it with a patch, or force it to use the correct driver from Nvidia directly.
The really annoying feature that Microsoft decided to push is for mandatory automatic updates. You cannot opt out of them, which is proving to be shooting them in the foot with this bad Nvidia driver they’re pushing right now. However, if you do not want Windows to auto-restart after finishing updates, and prompt you instead, you do have a setting to do that. Simply go into the new settings in your start menu, go to the updates panel and in the menus, change the Automatic Updates from Automatic to Prompt. This way, if you’re gaming or working on something important, Windows won’t restart you in the middle of it.
I’ll post more updates on Windows 10, after using it for a while longer.
On a side note, I’ll be posting more often, including more reviews and gameplay videos, provided I remember to post the footage. Also more Twitch streaming, and I’ll do what I can to post links on the site, so people can watch. With that, I’ll sign off and go through the list of reviews yet to come out and start posting them.