I installed Windows 10 this morning. Just to review, Microsoft is distributing Windows 10 for free, and I completed the download days ago. Several recent attempts to actually install it were fruitless, however. The process hung on a systems check that was only supposed to take ten seconds or so. My main worry was that a previous warning that my Windows 7 Ultimate install was not genuine meant that the upgrade was being denied. That warning arose after a number of Windows 7 updates failed. The warning went away after a while, but security updates failed more often than they succeeded. Today’s attempt to install W10 went ahead.
It was interesting to see that the progress indicator went from an oval with all the text sideways (because I have my monitor in portrait mode) to a circle with all the text sideways (when the screen resolution was set) to a properly oriented circle (when setup detected my monitor orientation.)
The install process took around half an hour, and very nearly all my settings seem to have migrated beautifully from Windows 7. Exceptions that I have noted so far were that my touchpad lost its customized buttons and that games incorporated in the old version of Windows have disappeared, including Solitaire, Spider, Mahjong Titans and FreeCell. A more serious issue seemed to be a pervasive blurriness of text. Some quick research led me to reset font scaling to 100%, and although there was no immediate improvement, things looked much sharper (and smaller) on the next reboot. Why this should be less effective in the new OS is a mystery.
Windows 10 is rather big-brotherish. Updates are automatic. You can defer them by unplugging your modem, it helpfully points out. It cajoles you to open a Microsoft Account to enable all kinds of internet connectivity, and once you have, your Microsoft account password becomes your logon password. You can sync your photos from your smart phone, supposedly. But not your calendar. Duh. W10 offers live weather and news feeds on the start pane. Not sure I want Microsoft choosing my news.
Other nuances seem bearable, and may grow on me. The start pane offers a way to arrange shortcuts that reminds me of my customized toolbars in Windows 2000. But only for programs, not folders or files. We’re calling programs Apps, now, and the whole OS seems much more phone and tablet friendly. There is much broader support for touch gestures and voice commands, and Microsoft is hoping their Cortana will give Apple’s Siri a run for the money.
It takes me longer to find things in Control Panel, and I find the simplified monochrome icons harder to recognize. And ugly, in a way that reminds me of Visual DOS. (An early GUI that made Windows 3 look visionary!) Locating the sound mixer was a chore, and so was changing a drive letter. So far, Windows 10 refuses to let me set either Firefox or Chrome as default browser- I use both, and they both direct me to the correct place to make the change, but they simply are not listed as options.
Still, overall, I would have to rate the process as astoundingly smooth. I was half-prepared for the switch to turn into days of frustration, but I was functional within an hour. And blogging the same day!