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January 17, 2016

Windows 10 - 1 down, more to go

I downloaded and installed Windows 10 back in August. Since it was on my test laptop, I didn't really get a chance to fiddle with it much. But now I see my family is noticing the Upgrade to Win 10 nag screen on their computers. They're now starting to ask...

So I went back to the test laptop to check it out. I am so not happy about moving to Win 10 - but that's just because of the way I use my computers. However, I do see that it is inevitable and I'd rather upgrade now free than later and have to pay.

Like a good geek, I updated everything before I started poking around. You have to make sure that your Norton is updated before you upgrade. Since my laptop had been offline for a while, I tried to update... Failed. Norton tells you to install a patch. Failed. What I ended up having to do is uninstall and reinstall Norton to get it to work properly. Not a tremendous deal - but it's something you may want to keep an eye on.

Then I tried to look at some of the "new" apps that Win 10 has added. This is where it went sideways again. It asked me to log into one of my Microsoft accounts - and when I did, it changed my start up logon to be that Windows mail account instead of my local account. Grrr. Not nice. I was able to go into my account pages and set it back to the local account, but again - something to watch out for... How many users are going to realize what just happened and know to use the mail account/password instead of the password they have been using for years? They will think they just got locked out of their computer.

So once I had a reasonable handle on using this, it was time to start upgrading. I started with my mom. I took my test laptop to her house and had her use it for a little while. She seemed to have no problems with interacting with the new OS. She even watched a video on "Onenote" while I upgraded her machine. [Go mom!] I think Win 10 will be good for her and fit in with the way she uses her computer. All of the things I don't want - she could use. So I upgraded her laptop...

Just an FYI - the upgrade speed will depend on a number of factors. Do not try to do this when you're pressed for time. The upgrade on my laptop with my Internet connection took less than 90 min. The upgrade on my mom's laptop with her Internet connection took almost 4 hours. The RAM and CPU on that machine were chugging along as fast as possible, but it still took quite some time. So plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Mom uses Microsoft Live Mail for her mail accounts. Those transferred perfectly - no issues. It took a little juggling, but I managed to put the tile on her start menu for her. Note : the "Mail" tile is not configurable. What I ended up doing was - delete the mail tile and right click Windows Live Mail on the Start menu and select "pin to start" to get the tile to show up.

The "news" application is a bit annoying to me (but Mom is okay with it). You cannot configure the news sources or feeds. You can only configure the categories of content. The "Weather" tile is nice - and you can go in and configure your location. However, when you go back to the start menu to check it ...wait for it... yeah, there it is. It takes a while to show up once you change the location.

Cortana is not easy to get rid of... But you will probably want to go into those settings and fiddle with it a bit. Once it finally realizes you don't want Cortana but DO want the search bar - it shows up. But you have to fiddle with it a bit to get it to stay that way.

The Edge browser really really sucks. There is a difference between the "Start" page and your "Home" page. And it's really hard to get your settings for the browser to persist - unless the browser realizes that you've completed your configuration and that's really really the way you want it. Ugh. Change it. Check it. Close the browser and check it. Reboot and check it. And eventually it will give in.

Here's what I don't like about Win 10:
Much of the configuration is taken out of your hands. There are a lot of "automatic" things that you can't change or configure. I'm used to customizing things so that the computer adapts to the way I work, not me adapting to the computer. For instance : if you're going to give me a news reader - I would like to be able to adjust not only the categories, but also the sources. I would like to use my own feeds, not yours. If you're going to have a Technology category - I'd like to be able to put "real" geek sources in that - not your Washington Post Technology section. And...I don't need you to update my computer on me automatically. I have been doing that very well and diligently for over a decade. I also don't like the way it tries to invade your home and the other devices around you. That used to be a _feature_ that distinguished PC from Mac. Now you're just like Mac with its snooping and trying to connect with everything from the toaster to the tv. And someone somewhere probably got a bonus/pat on the back for the new start button menu. Everything is alphabetized - with a big LETTER between items. I don't like that - it looks ugly. Only your Internet Explorer bookmarks will migrate to Edge. If you have Firefox and want to switch to Edge, I suggest you export and import your bookmarks from FF to IE before you upgrade. Then import them into Edge.

What I like about Win 10:
The tiles don't take over the computer like Win 8. Windows Live Mail migrated without a hitch. If you know the application you want, you can use the search bar to get to it faster than the start button. You can tile your frequently used apps to make them more accessible.

I think Win 10 will be good for my family members. For the most part, they use their computers to read email and surf the web. Mom uses Facebook. I was able to upgrade and set up her start menu so she has easy access to all the things she uses. There was even a free Facebook app in the Microsoft store - which I put as a tile in her start menu. As for myself ( and those who enjoy customization), I think I'm going to start looking at the registry to see if the things I want to customize can be configured. I may wait a while before I upgrade my other devices...

YMMV

Posted by BlueWolf on January 17, 2016 11:58 PM