Early look at Windows 10


A few weeks ago I downloaded the Technical Preview of Microsoft Windows 10. While this test version is far from the finished article, which won’t be released until the second half of 2015, it does give a clear indication of where Microsoft is going with its next version of Windows.


Now most commentators have been fairly complimentary to Windows 10, mainly because Microsoft has re-introduced the Start Menu. This was the feature Microsoft removed from Windows 8 which was replaced by a colourful interface that ran Apps. For me and for many of my customers, it was the Apps that were the problem, not the missing Start Menu. After all,  you could install a 3rd party Start Menu in 5 minutes but the Apps for accessing your Emails or viewing websites or even using Skype, were frankly terrible to use with a keyboard and mouse. This has not changed with Windows 10 – the focus is still very much on Apps intended for touch screen interfaces.


Having used Windows 10 for three weeks now, I have a curious sense of déjà-vu. Windows 10 feels like it should have just been called Windows 8.2. In case you think you’ve missed something, there hasn’t been a Windows 9. Apparently, Microsoft wants you to believe that the new product has nothing to do with the unpopular Windows 8, even though it looks and feels virtually the same.


There is some good news though. The Search function has been returned to its former glory. Apps, should you want to use them, no longer fill the screen – they can be run in windows. The Charms Bar, the annoying menu that pops-in from the right-hand-side of the screen when you least expect it, has now been turned off on PCs. Fortunately, so far I haven’t found any new frustrations, although I’m not sure showing Recent File shortcuts in the File Explorer is a good idea. A lot of people (including me) will copy the shortcut to another device instead of the actual file.


Overall, I have found Windows 10 has a better feel than Windows 8 and let’s hope, that this time, Microsoft actually respond to the feedback that they are getting from the testers. Note though, Microsoft is still very much committed to evolving Windows towards touch screen devices such as tablets and phones. In my opinion, on desktop and laptop computers, Windows was at its best with Version 7. By dialling back Windows 8/10 towards this version, Microsoft has pretty much admitted as much.


So if you like to plan ahead, when would be a good time to upgrade? If you have Window 8 and you haven’t already, upgrade to 8.1 and add a 3rd party Start Menu like Classic Shell. Windows 10 won’t offer much more than that so at this point I wouldn’t recommend a further upgrade. If however, you have Windows 7, then cherish your computer and look after it. It still has 5 more years of OS software support and will probably be remembered as the high point for Windows on computers. Keep it just as it is for as long as you can! There aren’t many Vista users still out there but my advice for them would be the same as the XP stalwarts. Your computer is getting older and should it break down, then it may not be economical or even possible to repair it. I would try to hold out for the arrival of Windows 10 late next year if you can, as it is possible that Microsoft will run some incentives to entice XP and Vista users to buy new.


© Peter Johnston, ByteSupport Ltd  2014.