Finally Windows 10 has arrived. Here at SkyCrystal we delayed the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 for a couple of years largely because of the awkward user experience with Windows 8. After testing the preview releases of Windows 10 for a few months we realised that Microsoft had fixed the awkwardness and delivered some really nice new features in Windows 10.
Cool new features
Some of our favourite Windows 10 features are the multi desktop, new aero snap and of course the all new start menu. If you are running Windows 10 on a tablet device it allows you to choose to run in Tablet mode or Desktop mode. You can easily switch in and out of the modes to suit the way you are working, so it is well worth a try.
The neat update to aero snap allows you to tile four symmetrically sized windows on your desktop by simply dragging each one into a corner and releasing.
Start Menu is back
The loss of the Start menu from Windows 8 was arguably one of Microsoft's biggest ever mistakes with UI design. Now that the Start menu is back and better than ever, it is going to make hundreds of millions of people happy, really happy.
The multi desktop function is activated by clicking on the Task View button which is located just to the right of the search bar in the taskbar. When you click on the Task View button your running applications will be shown as large postage stamps and a button on the far right lower corner of the desktop will appear which says + New desktop. Clicking that button creates a whole new desktop to load in your applications. You can easily move applications between desktops by clicking on the Task View and then right clicking on the application postage stamps and choosing to move an application to another desktop.
Keep your data and applications
Of course before you can play with the nice new goodies you need to get Windows 10 installed. So far I have upgraded three computers from Windows 8.1; a Dell laptop, a Microsoft tablet and a desktop. All three upgrades have occurred without loss of any data or settings. So far the only application that I have noticably lost is Windows Media Centre, which unfortunately is not and will probably never be available for Windows 10.
Another thing I have noticed and this is not something that bothers me but it may annoy others, is that games like Solitaire are difficult to get going. Solitaire is part of Xbox games and you have to jump through a few hoops to get that working. I think this same issue applies to a whole suite of games that are provided out of the box with Windows. It's not a deal breaker for me but I know it will definitely annoy those who like to use those games.
So how long does it take to upgrade Windows 8.1 to Windows 10? Well that largely depends on the hardware inside your computer. On my slowest device, the four year old Dell laptop, it took over three hours to install. Whereas on my fastest device which is my custom built desktop with high performance SSD drive, Windows upgraded in less than one hour.
How long does Windows 10 take to boot? When I upgraded PCs from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 I was pleasantly surprised by how much quicker it was to boot Windows 8.1 than Windows 7. Well I have to report that somehow Microsoft has implemented even more magic booting goodness and Windows 10 boots even faster again.
Come on there must be something wrong with this release? Well actually there is one outstanding issue which will need to be resolved by Microsoft fairly soon. That is an issue that many people are reporting and I have experienced on three PCs to date. The issue is that it seems that you are unable to activate the Windows 10 licence. While I have not seen any official word from Microsoft about the activation issue, it is likely that the activation servers are just not coping with the enormous load being applied from what may turn out to be Microsoft's fastest ever uptake of a new version of Windows.
When should I upgrade?
Should I upgrade now or wait a while? I think the answer to that question relies somewhat on your appetite for risk. If you own fully licenced copies of Windows 7/8/8.1 you have just under 12 months to obtain the free* upgrade to Windows 10. So you have plenty of time to allow the various bugs to be removed from Windows and let your application vendor's release any required patches.
So my advice to customers is that they should start a testing program to ensure that all devices and applications will continue to function as expected under Windows 10. Typically customers would start with less critical systems first and gradually upgrade and resolve issues until you are ready to upgrade the more critical systems.
Saved the best til last
Microsoft have stated that Windows 10 will be their last full release of an Operating System and that from here on Microsoft will perform regular incremental updates on a perpetual basis. So you can think of Windows 10 as a whole new foundation for all Windows applications from this point on. And fortunately for all of us Windows 10 is shaping up to be a very solid foundation that will be able to support your business from here all the way, perhaps to eternity.
If you would like to know more about Windows 10, be sure to check out www.windows.com.
* Windows 10 Upgrade Offer is valid for qualified Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices, including devices you already own. Some hardware/software requirements apply and feature availability may vary by device and market. The availability of Windows 10 upgrade for Windows Phone 8.1 devices may vary by OEM, mobile operator or carrier. Features vary by device. Devices must be connected to the internet and have Windows Update enabled. Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 Update required. Some editions are excluded: Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, and Windows RT/RT 8.1. Active Software Assurance customers in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside of this offer. To check for compatibility and other important installation information, visit your device manufacturer’s website and the Windows 10 Specifications page. Windows 10 is automatically updated. Additional requirements may apply over time for updates. See the Windows 10 Upgrade page for details.
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