Windows 10 defies review.
It’s not a finished product. It will never be a finished product, if you believe Microsoft. Like Apple with Mac OS X, Microsoft has decided that the tenth version of their operating system will be the final one—it’ll just get updated, year after year.
Only with Windows 10, even already-announced features aren’t quite here. On Windows phones, Xbox One game consoles, and reality-bending headsets like Microsoft HoloLens, Windows 10 has a totally different interface we haven’t even tried yet. Sooner or later, Windows 10 is coming to all these platforms too.
More importantly, Windows 10 is coming to hundreds of millions of PC users, each person installing it on a slightly different computer, installing different apps and using different features. “We’re making pizza for 1.5 billion people,” Windows 10 user experience manager Mohammed Samji likes to joke. “What topping do you want?”
No one person or publication can review all those different experiences. Not even the ones available today, to say nothing of the ones to come.
Which is why many Windows 10 reviews you’ll see on the web are just an overview of the new features you can expect to see, and a cursory idea of how well they work. Not that there’s anything wrong with overviews! Here’s a great one:http://lifehacker.com/the-best-new-f...
But what we decided to do, instead, is tackle Windows 10 totally anecdotally. These are our experiences with Windows 10. The things we discovered, good and bad. Not necessarily the shiniest new shiny things, but the parts of the new operating system that actually impacted us for better or for worse. Chief among them: the upgrade process itself. What did we find broken after we installed?
This is not a complete list. There’s much, much more to test, and so we’ll be adding to this post (even later today!) as we experience new things. Our week with Windows 10 was just the start.
What you should take away from this is that your mileage may, can, and will vary. And, yeah, that you should probably wait a few weeks or months before you upgrade your personal computers. Everyone seems to agree on that.
Okay, okay, you’d probably like to read about an operating system now. Here we go!
One week from today, Windows 10 will arrive. I’m not going to wait. I’m putting it all on the line, starting today.
Last night, as promised, I installed Windows 10 on my own personal laptop. I left everything to chance. I didn’t back up my data. Hell, I set my Lenovo ThinkPad X240 on the floor of a pizza parlor in San Francisco—dongle and all—and let it install totally unattended.
Two days ago, I promised to upgrade my personal desktop and laptop to Windows 10, to demonstrate how wonderful or terrible the migration from Windows 8 might be. Yesterday, I was surprised how painless it felt. Today, I’m feeling a little pain.
Unless you’re one of the handful of people rocking a Windows Phone, you won’t have much experience with Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant. With the roll-out of Windows 10, Cortana is about to make a lot of new friends very quickly—and like me, they might soon find themselves shouting instructions at their computer on a regular basis.
The first thing that everyone notices about Windows 10 is that the Start Menu is back. It’s a cool feature, but an irrelevant one. Thanks to the absurdly powerful new system-wide Search, you’re never going to need a Start Menu again.
This weekend, I took Windows 10 to a LAN party. It was pretty great.
The nice thing about reviewing Windows 10 on my own computers is that there’s nowhere to hide. When something goes wrong, I have to troubleshoot on the fly. I can’t say “Oh, I’ll just go back to my personal computer until I figure this out.” You know what’s not so nice? When you shoot the trouble, and yet—somehow—it survives.
I own a Dell XPS One 27—a giant touchscreen PC. It’s basically a huge 27-inch monitor with an entire computer crammed inside. The Windows equivalent of an iMac.
I liked Windows 7—so much that I almost didn’t want to give it up. Vista was horrible, and I balked at the dramatic changes in Windows 8 and 8.1. Upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 is not quite as seamless as the move from Windows 8.1, but it’s close.
Computer settings in Windows 8 were a hot mess: they were split between PC Settings and Control Panel, two completely separate ways to change most settings, but with enough differences that you had to use both. Windows 10 makes things better, but I still wouldn’t give the engineers a gold star.
There’s been exactly one thing keeping me from buying a Windows laptop for the last three years: Windows sucks at handling high-resolution displays in small laptops.
It’s not on the list of headline features, but the latest version of Windows is hiding a very welcome and well-executed feature: a video-capture tool baked right into the operating system.
One of the coolest new Windows 10 features is talking to your computer. For many people, it’ll be the first time they’ve had a voice-activated personal assistant on tap. And yet, most computers won’t have Cortana turned on by default. Here’s the easy fix.
If you want to give the impression that you’ve been using Windows 10 for years, learning a few keyboard shortcuts is the best way to go about it—you can navigate around the interface, get apps in position, trigger events, change settings and more with a couple of taps on your keyboard. Here are the shortcuts we’ve been finding most useful.
Windows 10 auto-downloads and auto-installs updates. This is mostly a Good Thing for general security, but becomes a Bad Thing when said update installs a glitchy graphics driver that breaks your desktop. There is a way to disable auto-updates, but it’s not pretty.
If you’ve reserved a copy of Windows 10 but haven’t gotten the upgrade prompt yet, here’s a secret: you can skip the line and upgrade right now. (from our sister site, Lifehacker)
Windows 10 is finally here, and your computer will automatically prompt you to upgrade. But if you’d rather start fresh, you can do a clean install—you just need to follow a few steps in the right order. (also from Lifehacker)
You’ve taken the plunge and got Microsoft’s brand new operating system up and running on your machine—now what? Before you start familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of the software, take a tour around these five settings and make sure Windows 10 is working the way you want.
You can now go get Windows 10—if you registered for the update months ago, and if Microsoft has rolled it out to your PC. But should you? Here’s the collective wisdom of the internet.
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