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Recently, I downloaded and installed the tech Preview version of the latest offering from Microsoft, Windows 10.

Although this version of OS will not be available to the public until the middle of 2015, I wanted to see what, if anything, Microsoft has learned from the fiasco that was Windows 8.
There are tons of forums out on the Internet that show how truly bad Windows 8 was and is, that is, unless you are using the OS on a tablet or phone, in which case Windows 8 makes perfect sense. I suspect that the people saying that Windows 8 is great are either:

  1.  Not using the OS in a day to day work environment, or
  2.  They are using the OS on a tablet or phone situation, in which case makes sense

So, to Windows 10.

What do I think? Is it better than Windows 8? Could it be better than Windows 7? Will it replace Windows XP in the workplace or is it just more of the same? Come with me and we will get down to the nitty gritty and answer these and other questions.


Installing Windows 10:

I will quickly go through the hardware on which I installed th OS onto, which is by no means high end, gamer style equipment, but rather a laptop/tablet hybrid purchased from an Aldi store. The screen is touch enabled and can be detached from the keyboard and used as a tablet. It has 64GB flash memory for the operating system and software, built into the screen. There is a 500GB HDD Built into the keyboard unit for storage of data, music etc. The CPU is a 1.83GHz Intel Celeron and it has 4GB RAM installed. This means that you could use any hardware from Vista vintage onward and it should be more than enough to run Windows 10.


Installation


I downloaded the .iso image and burned the image to a DVD. As the computer does not have a CD/DVD drive, I used an external USB DVD drive to install the OS. Installation was fairly standard to modern installs and after about 20 minutes, I had my first glimpse of Windows 10. If you are contemplating trying this out for yourself, just remember that the drive, or at least the partition that Windows 10 is being installed to will be reformatted and all data including operating systems will be overwritten by the install.


First Impressions


My first impression of Windows 10 was that it was no different to Windows 8. The computer started up, the start screen appeared with all of the tiles there. There was a desktop tile which, when clicked took me to the desktop but when I clicked the Windows button down on the bottom left, there was no menu, just the metro screen. I found later on that there is a setting that you can have a start screen, (tiles) or a start menu, (more like the Windows 7 start menu). Once I found this, it was much easier to get around.
Bearing in mind that this operating system is a work in progress and nowhere near a finished product ready for public use, there were a number of drivers that Windows did not find or install. Even when I went in to the device manager and clicked to update the driver, it didn't find the drivers either locally or on the Internet. This may be due to the fact that the drivers have not been assigned to Windows 10 yet, and when the OS went looking for the drivers, could only find 8.1 drivers. I installed all 8.1 drivers and the computer did not complain although when I go into the devices and printers section, it shows the computer there with an exclamation mark. If I try to troubleshoot it, it tells me that there is a driver missing for an unknown device but cannot find the driver and doesn't install it. The screen brightness does not adjust and so I am stuck looking at a very bright screen with no way to dim it. I found out later that manually installing the original Windows 8.1 drivers that shipped with the computer, rectified this issue and a few others.


The Start Menu


The start menu is basically a 1 column list of your documents, pictures folders etc. with options here to shut down or restart. All installed apps and programs, (I differrentiate the 2 as apps for tablets and phones, and programs for all other computer hardware such as laptops and desktops), can be viewed from the start menu and you have the search text box both of which are reminiscent of Windows 7.

MenuIn the second column of the start menu, there are Metro type tiles. In this area, you can pin apps like calendar, maps weather etc. You can also pin folders or other tiles like control panel etc. These can be live tiles and can be resized to your liking to small, medium, wide and large. Some tiles only have the option of small and medium. The tiles are larger than the traditional icons and if they are not live tiles, then its just a waste of space. This is the same problem that the start screen suffered in Windows 8. It wasn't good then and it isn't good in this version. At present, the background is a solid color in the theme color but is much brighter than the theme color so some colors can be a bit jarring.

On the bottom task bar, there is another search icon which is a bit odd and trying to perform a search on the computer for a program like Notepad, results in an error message saying "Something happened, try again later" this type of error message is the same message that you get when Office crashes. I don't know who is doing these eror trappings, but computers now should be able to tell you exactly what happened and why. DesktopsAnother oddity is the task view on the task bar. This displays a window where you can add desktops. This concept is from Linux, but is still in its infancy and nowhere near as useful as the Linux versions. Task view tends to work a bit like when you open multiples of the same program in Windows 7. When you hover your mouse over the taskbar, you get a peek at the windows that you have open at the time. You can select a window and that one becomes the focus. This is not as efficient as the Linux version. Linux gives you desktop panels in the taskbar and you can select a panel and that becomes you desktop. You can also drag items from 1 desktop to another desktop. Win 10 does not do this.


Overall thoughts


I don't like the flat colour scheme of the window and folder views, my impression is that they are very much like Windows 2000 or Win NT in their look and feel but I expect this will change over time. At the present, it looks very much like Windows 7 with the exception of seeing a few metro tiles in the start menu and removing all color and vitality from the windows and folders. They are toying with multiple desktops like Linux has been enjoying for years, but at present it is awkward and clunky. I think that there needs to be a whole lot of refinements done, but it is early days and at least if nothing else, Microsoft has shown that they are willing to admit when they were wrong and are prepared to do something about it.

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