So, yes, I couldn’t help myself. Curiosity got the best of me. Fortunately, I upgraded my oldest, most beat up Win 7 laptop. The one I use on the beach in faraway places with strange sounding names. The one that has survived horrors no machine should ever know. I will not be upgrading my other PCs right away. Why? Well here is my experience:
The basic functionality of Win 10 is about the same as Win 7 , which is a great operating system. However, there are a few problems that popped up right off the bat.
- Networking! All of my computers are networked via a Windows Homegroup. These include an older Win XP powerhouse that is reserved for special usage, and a couple Linux OS computers that took some doing to hook up to the network. Windows 10 will not network with my other machines. It sees the homegroup, sees the other computers, attempts to join the homegroup, and fails. Win 8 and even Win 7 had similar problems when they were first released, so I think this will probably be fixed soon, but for now it is a no go.
- UPDATE: The networking / homegroup problem has been resolved! I did nothing except try to rejoin the homegroup a few times. Then, a couple days ago, my Win 10 machine was able to access my homegroup shared printer, but nothing else, no files or folders. Then later the same day, I was able to access my music files on my homegroup computers via Windows Media Player. At first I thought this was a network security problem, and the jury is still out on that one. And then, a day later, and a couple Win 10 boot ups, and I was able to finally , officially, join the homegroup, and all my folders were accessible on all machines. My investigative probes into this mystery have so far revealed no solid evidence of why things were delayed and the partial networking that occurred prior to full network capability. I will keep probing and post any findings here.
- Drivers: some of the 3rd party drivers on my machine do not have the complete functionality they did before the upgrade. This is 9 months after the release of Win10, so I don’t hold out too much hope for them to be updated. My WiFi disconnects randomly and frequently, and my touch pad requires resetting after every reboot. Minor stuff, but a pain in the asterisk.
- Boot up time is actually slower then a comparable Win 7 computer – same processor and same amount of RAM. Not much slower, but slower. Running task manager revealed that there is an unusually huge RAM usage for the first several minutes after start up. This is probably a temporary situation, and turning off Cortana and One Drive seems to help.
- Cortana , the voice activated search assistant, and general personal secretary does not work well. She is probably flustered from the big roll out, and I would imagine she will find her pace here within a few weeks, but for now, she is toast. Trying to configure her froze up my system on one attempt. Get your act together Cortana, I am sure you will be a valuable resource for those too lazy to type.
- Microsoft is grabbing more information from my computer than ever before, even though I turned off all the relevant settings for “sharing”. This is stated right in their User Agreement. Also they assign your computer a “personal advertising ID”. Great. I have always wanted one of those. It makes me feel so…so …wanted.
- UPDATE: Privacy is turning into a huge issue with this OS upgrade. There are several settings that need to be turned off to stop any information sharing. One Drive needs to be deactivated. Cortana needs to be turned off completely. The new browser, Edge, should probably be avoided if you want your browsing history to remain private. Further details will be forthcoming in my next post.
On the plus side , all my productivity programs work on Windows 10. They all migrated well and have the same functionality they did before the upgrade. They even remember what their last tasks were before the upgrade, and where the files are stored. Microsoft pulled that one off well.
Another feature that will be a selling point is the new Direct X 12 video upgrade. This will probably only be of use to PC gamers. The game developers have not caught up yet, but they will, and anybody running Win 10 will have a distinct advantage over the competition. Get ready to unleash the Kraken!
The new web browser, Edge, which replaces Internet Explorer, works well for basic web surfing. There are no add ons available yet, but I am sure those should appear soon. I used it for a bit to test it, and then went back to Firefox. One positive observation there, Firefox is so far consuming about one third the RAM it uses on my Win 7 machines. I wonder how long that will last, but for now it looks positive. All my Firefox settings and bookmarks survived the upgrade fine.
And finally, the best thing about Windows 10 is the return of desktop functionality. It will be totally intuitive to anyone migrating from Windows 7, Vista, or XP. It works again, unlike the disaster of the last Windows OS release. Anyone running Windows 8 or 8.1, I recommend upgrading if you don’t like the “Metro” desktop setup . Anybody running Windows 7, I would wait a while, at least until the first major updates which are due to come in early August, 2015. Except for researching the new features and experimenting, I will be doing all my work on my Win 7 machines for a while.
There you have it, from your roving geek reporter. Further updates on this on going saga as they arrive. Stand by for News!
– Jimbobjoejack, Roving Reporter At Large