Windows 10 Review – The Good and the Bad

Windows 10 is certainly the best operating system from Microsoft yet. The new operating system is optimized both for PCs and tablets. Users will be as comfortable in using Windows 10 on tablets as they will be when they run it on a PC. Read this Windows 10 review and find out if it is suitable for you, and whether you should upgrade now or wait.

Windows 10 includes a lot of new features including new security features. Certain features have been removed. And there may be some known issues that still need to be fixed, but overall, I find it is good and far better than the previous versions of Windows.

Windows 10 Review

Windows 10 Review

User Interface in Windows 10 – Start is back!

Microsoft brought back the Start Menu and it can be used easily on both tablets and PCs. It has both the traditional Start Menu towards left and place to pin apps towards right so that it goes well with touch also. There are some good’s and bad’s of Start Menu but overall it is cool! The Start button is actually a hotspot instead of being a button and tapping or clicking on it will give you the Start menu that is divided into two parts: One for apps, power, and settings etc. and the other part where you pin your favorite apps as live tiles.

Next is the Taskbar that attracts your attention. You can pin anything to the taskbar. The ability to pin websites is gone though. In Windows 7, you could pin websites to the taskbar. In Windows 10, you can only pin websites to browsers’ jump lists at maximum. That’s a step down.

Notification area contains Action center that will give you all important notifications – including the mail you receive. It also helps you quickly with some settings. Clicking on Notification Center will bring up notifications as well as Quick Actions such as toggling between tablet and PC mode, brightness, toggling between airplane mode and normal mode etc.

Cortana in Windows 10

Cortana is promoted by Microsoft as your personal assistant. It lies on your taskbar as a search text field and can be activated either by typing text in the field or by voice. However, you will have to set up Cortana before you can use it. It is not yet fully developed and mixes up things when on voice mode but is sure a good thing for tablet users where they won’t want to type much.

The personal assistant will need plenty of training if you intend to use it via voice. It will take some time for it to recognize your words if your voice is accented. I would not, however, consider it a drawback of Cortana. I have not used it much except for jokes so I can’t say how accurate it is with POIs and other things. I have a feeling that it will be good only for tablets on the go, because most of the things it does, can also be done manually. The latter method (using things manually) actually saves time. One example could be writing a new mail. You just have to click an icon instead of asking Cortana to open the mail app for you.

Multiple Desktops – Task Viewer

The Task Viewer button is just next to Cortana text box and helps create a Virtual desktop in Windows 10 . You can use it to view currently running applications, create new desktops, or to delete active desktops. That eliminates the need for third-party programs to create virtual desktops. Easy to use, it makes your work easier if you use too many applications at a time. This is one of my favorite features.

Continuum – Runs Apps smoothly

This is one of the features that should have made it to Windows 8 but though late, it is good to have it on our computers. The role of Continuum is to provide flexibility while using both modern apps and traditional applications. It provides ease of switching between the apps without making you re-learn the PC as Windows 8 did. It is not a visible feature but you can feel the difference when you multitask among modern and traditional apps. In Windows 8, you had to go back to Start screen and launch the app. Then you had to point at top-right to toggle between apps. Desktop was altogether a different thing. All that pain is now gone with Continuum handling things. Launch apps right from the desktop or Start menu and Continuum makes sure your computing experience is not affected adversely.

Advt

^

Microsoft Edge – The New Browser

To be honest, I am not using it as of now. Though it has a range of new features that enable you to read webpages better, mark webpages, write notes directly on webpages and even share the marked webpages, it lacks the extensions, addons and context menu items that I work with or find useful.

Given the speed of Edge browser, I might consider using it when there are proper addons and extensions that I regularly use. Until then, I will stick with Internet Explorer or Firefox.

This is not to say that Edge is useless. You might find it handy if you share webpages too often. Just the lack of addons and extension is keeping me away from the new browser in Windows 10.

WiFi Sense – Not Secure unless you configure it correctly

The feature introduced in Windows phone 8 has been included in Windows 10. The WiFi Sense allows people on your contact list to connect to your WiFi without having to share your password manually. They won’t even know the password. Contacts are the people in your Outlook address book, Skype contacts, etc. But there is a security issues with WiFi Sense – you do need to make sure that you have configured properly.

As for me, I have turned off the feature on my machine to keep myself safe. You may also want to do the same.

Xbox App in Windows 10

This is the first time, the Windows operating system brought in an Xbox app to desktop. The idea is to get feeds from your Xbox devices and check them out on your PC (or tablet). Since I am not much of a gamer and do not own an Xbox device, I could not assess the worth of this app. Some reviewers say it is good and enables you to view videos etc. I could not find anything interesting in the Windows Store App that goes well with the app. It might be my own shortcoming or the app may need some more work. Frankly, I would love to get some racing games and play but then, I can download individual games directly to my Windows 10 so I don’t see much of the use for it. But that’s my personal view. Yours might differ.

Windows Updates

This is one of the catch when you work on Windows 10. You don’t have option to download updates at will. You can defer upgrades in some editions of Windows 10 but still, you have to install them when Windows says. It does offer you a convenient time to restart and you may also restart manually if need be. But it does feel bad when you turn on the PC to do something and have to wait 10-15 minutes waiting for updates to be installed. A negative, I would say. I would rather have the feature of allowing me to install updates, when I want and not when Microsoft wants. You can however, defer installation of non-security updates, via Update & Security settings. A few days ago, I wrote about a workaround to Turn off Windows Update, but that is not recommended, in my opinion. You may forget to turn it on or mess up with other services if you are a novice.

Support

Microsoft has made it easier for you to Contact Support if you face any problems while using Windows 10. This I think counts for a lot!

Conclusion

Windows 10 is being offered as a free upgrade to people running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1. This is another factor, that may answer your question – Should I upgrade to Windows 10 – and make you want to upgrade.

I could go on, but I will conclude the review of Windows 10 at this point. I am liking it despite some of the shortcomings that I have talked about above – like unwanted apps and forced updates. The OS provides both ease of operating and better security. Most of the shortcomings can be customized using some Windows 10 Tips, Tricks and Tweaks, and I suppose Microsoft will make them better with future updates to the operating system. One thing is for sure – I am not going back to Windows 8.1.

If you are interested, you may want to read our Windows 10 FAQ which answers more questions.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN