Tag Archives: Microsoft

Windows 10 – Post Upgrade

Windows 10After a couple weeks with Windows 10, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the new OS. I’ve been running Windows 10 Home on my Surface 3 that was part of the Windows Insider program and Windows 10 Professional on my primary desktop (upgraded from Windows 8.1 Pro).

Overall I really like the new look and feel. The Start menu with the tiles really works for me. I do think it is tough to scroll through the list of all installed programs, but that’s a minor annoyance. It’s very configurable (right clicking is your friend), so even that might be an option. The notification panel on the right (which is accessible with a swipe from the right or a click on the system tray icon) is fantastic for accessing features quickly (just like it is on mobile devices). The OS starts fast and seems to run most stuff well.

The new Xbox App and it’s usage with the Xbox One is fantastic. It’s probably one of the nicest new features of Windows 10. I’m able to stream the Xbox One here at my desk and even join in party sessions with friends. It’s convenient to turn it on and stream it from my desk because the living room is occupied by others at times when I want to play a game.

I haven’t found any “show stoppers” in terms of bugs or missing features. Some “show stopper” candidates might be the lack of a DVD player (you can purchase on for < $15) or the death of the MCE interface, but I believe most stuff works good. It’s pretty easy just to install the app that you want (Chrome, iTunes, etc..).

The Edge browser is sort of annoying right now. It does have “Ask Cortana” support by highlighting text and right clicking on it. It doesn’t sync my bookmarks between different machines though. You also can’t “Save As” on right click. It’s bearable though and I expect it to improve quickly. There have been several updates that improved the OS and hopefully that continues at a brisk pace. Supposedly they passed the 50 million install mark, so they need to keep those people happy. For me, both the tablet and desktop are doing great.

Windows 10 on the 29th

In 3 days, Microsoft will release the next version of their Windows OS. Windows 10 is their effort to win back the majority of their users after what could only be described as a disastrous Windows 8 (and 8.1) release. Many of those users have already moved on to iPads, Macs or Android Tablets, but a few are still holding on to Windows 7 (or XP unfortunately). I’ve been testing it out for a few months and I think that for most of the people that hate the “metro” interface (desktop users specifically), this version will be a big improvement. For me, it’s a mixed bag.

The good news for many is that the OS works a lot better for people with keyboards and mice. It’s almost like Windows 7.8 really (with a bunch of improvements under the hood, including the new browser Edge). The tablet interface is not as powerful as Windows 8, but it’s much more predictable and I think it will work better in the long run.

So who should upgrade?

  • Those with Windows 8.1 on their desktop (primarily mouse/kb) should upgrade right away. Windows 10 will be much easier to operate.
  • If you like “new” stuff, this is for you.

Who should wait?

  • Windows 8.1 touch users should probably wait until a secondary release of Windows 10. I don’t see a lot of initial problems, but there might be some day 1 “gotchas”. The Fall release will include more things that didn’t make it into this release and will make it more of an upgrade.
  • If you are happy with Windows 7, just keep enjoying it until you get a new computer. 10 is better than 7, but not so much that you need to cause yourself a lot of headaches.

What about those on XP, Vista or other version? For you, start saving up for new hardware and plan to get off those OSs before the end of the year. They are a security threat that you don’t need. Computer hardware gets cheaper every year and a new system will be a breath of fresh air. You could also just jump on one of the competing OSs and see what it’s like there.

From my perspective, Windows 10 offers a lot of new stuff (security, browser, apps, …) yet it doesn’t have a polished feel yet. It seems rushed (especially the Edge browser). It’s a work in progress and I’m sure that by the end of the year will feel much more complete. I do love the new Xbox integration. I would probably love the “Hello” instant login support if I had the hardware. It will be good, even great…. eventually. Grab some popcorn, because this is going to be interesting (and who doesn’t love some popcorn).

 

The Death of Windows Media Center

Windows Media CenterThere were rumors this past month that Windows Media Center would not be included in Windows 10. Sadly, this was confirmed this week via a tweet by Gabriel Aul (General Manager of OSG Data and Fundamentals team at Microsoft).

We can confirm that due to decreased usage, Windows Media Center will not be part of Windows 10.

And with that sad news, I can now move on to the planning of my next media management solution for my family. But before that happens, I’ll continue to enjoy the benefits of my WMC until Windows 7 becomes outdated.

Continue reading The Death of Windows Media Center

Surface 3 Muddies the Water

Surface 3I was set on waiting for the presumed Surface Pro 4 with Windows 10. Really, I was. To me it was odd timing for them to announce a new Atom based Surface product to replace their ARM based RT devices. But now it’s out there and ready to be shipped in early May. For $500 you can get a 2 GB RAM/64 GB Storage device and for $600 you can get a 4 GB RAM/128 GB Storage device. Both use the Intel x7 Cherry Trail CPU which was just released. It’s a quad core processor that does quite well for normal computer tasks.

Microsoft has targeted this at people that want the full Windows experience of the Surface Pro line, but with a lower price point. The only problem is that it’s not that much cheaper when you compare it to the low end of the Surface 3 Pro ($800 for the 4 GB/64 GB storage version). The S3 comes with a year of Office 365 and the S3 Pro comes with a pen. I call that an even trade. The issue for me is that I would prefer it to be a little smaller and a little cheaper (at least throw in the pen). A lot of the reviewers have complained about the lack of computing power compared to its big brother, but that is a requirement to go fanless with this generation of CPUs. Of course if you want to completely replace a laptop/desktop, then the extra power may be necessary.

I was ready to pick one up, but the size/cost issue has me frozen in my decision. I think at this point I’ll just wait for Windows 10 and see what the next version of the Surface Pro line (4?) looks like. Seems that it may never get here. I also want to take a look at the Core M based T300 Chi tablet from ASUS. Perhaps I’ll stop by the Microsoft store in the mall and see if they have one.