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Windows 10 Review: Conclusion, Pros, Cons, Rating

Technical Level : Basic

Summary

The end of an era! That is how it honestly felt when I started this journey writing about Windows 10. It’s no surprise, the 90s and even the 2000s have been filled with reviews of technologies such as operating systems that are written in thousands of words; I personally looked forward to reading them, but looking at the future, this methodology of covering the latest version of a Windows release will eventually come to an end. Windows 10 is certainly the last major (what they call big bang) release of the company’s popular desktop operating system. I have been evaluating Windows 10 since October 1st 2014 and I have managed to the see the operating system go through its ups and downs during that time. The experience has afforded me the ability to have an intimate experience with this platform.

Details

Previously:

Windows 10 Review: Introduction, Specifications and Setup

Windows 10 Review: Daily Usage

Windows 10 Review: Microsoft Edge web browser

Windows 10 Review: Applications and Compatibility

Windows 10 Review: Multimedia and Productivity

Windows 10 Review: Advanced features, Security and Connectivity

Windows 10 Review: Windows Update, Support, Recovery, Easy Upgrade

A lot has changed since 2006 when Windows Vista came to market, a colossus overhaul of a platform that almost brought down the entire industry with it and at the same time giving rise to old and new players. The Internet certainly facilitated the changing landscape of how we use and consume technology. The 80’s and 90’s encouraged the upgrade treadmill which encouraged users and companies to take advantage of the latest advances in computing when they became available, processors, memory, graphics, software. In a sense, we are almost going back to those days but in a way that does not present the disruptive painstaking migration that was always a certainty when migrating to newer operating system revisions every 3 to 5 years.

Windows 10 presents a challenge in a market that has pretty much migrated to the Internet. It’s at a cross road between a world that is old and new. Since Windows 8 came to market in late 2012, it has been met with mixed reviews. The bold strategy behind that release left behind a market of more than a billion users who have enjoyed working on desktop and laptop computers using mouse/touchpad and keyboard for more than two decades. The consistent evolution of the Windows interface since Windows 95 gave users the confidence about how they operated a PC. Using a Windows PC for most users came naturally because of the platforms ubiquity and interface standards.

Windows 8 took most of its influence from its mobile sibling Windows Phone OS which was practically unknown and lacked the market penetration to provide a familiar transplant to the desktop. A mixture of bad execution, lack of modern applications and questionable design decisions made Windows 8, the company’s Vista 2. This even resulted in the company having to scramble to tone down a lot of the earlier design choices a year later with a revision called Windows 8.1 and another major update seven months later called Update 1.

Should you upgrade?

The first thing persons asking this question should think about, what are the benefits? Software over the years, no matter if it is Windows, Linux or OS X have matured incredibly. The fact that Windows XP (2001), a version of Windows four generations behind is still in heavy use is a testament to how much the platform that is 'Windows' has reached a very good enough point in computing lives of many persons. 2009's Windows 7 is the most popular release to date, running on 1 billion systems worldwide. Even when Windows 10 launches, both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will continue to be supported at the end of the decade and many users will keep running them for a variety of reasons, personal preference, look and feel, Media Center, stick it to the man.

I have already made my decision; yes, I will upgrade all my computers to Windows 10. I am able to make this decision because of a number of factors For the average user who probably just started learning about Windows 10 a couple months ago, a few days ago or even a few months from now, this will be a critical decision to make. Microsoft has righted many wrongs with this release. Thoughtfully refining three years of chaos to produce a product that many users will like. Customizable Start menu, Action Center, Snap Assist, robust modern applications blended with a bit touch and blossomed into a perfect balance and delightful experience that is desktop productivity at its best.

 With the continued rapid growth of competing platforms such as Android and iOS, both of which own nearly 100 percent of the mobile market have left Microsoft in a position of defending its legacy. A strong legacy and I believe Microsoft has produced release of Windows that restarts the platform on a foundation of innovation for years to come. Striking the right balance is what has made Windows 10 the best client operating system out of any (iOS, Android and Linux).

Bold statements I know and at the end of the day, your operating system is only as good as the apps that are available for it. Microsoft has refocused itself over the past couple of years setting a direction as the company that defines productivity. Windows 10 is the epitome of that vision, it works across a wealth of form factors and services, delivering experiences that maximizes a user’s investment in technology that suits them. Whether it’s a Windows 10 Mobile device with Continuum, a Surface Hub in a meeting, a Tablet used by a student, a designer mocking up layouts in Photoshop or a home user composing a simple email message, Windows 10 has achieved a powerful vision of ONE.

Pros:

  • Free for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users

  • Simple setup and migration experience

  • Ability to upgrade from Windows consumer editions to Volume License upgrades much easier.

  • Minimal learning curve, familiar user experience

  • Appropriate balance of classic and modern

  • Mouse, Keyboard, Pen and Touch friendly.

  • Return of customizable Start menu

  • Improved setup and recovery tools (rollback), backup

  • Richer cohesive, modern Settings app

  • Stable, robust modern entertainment and productivity apps

  • Customizable Universal (modern) apps – ability to float on desktop, resize, snap.

  • Cortana digital assistant productivity benefits and accuracy

  • Task View for managing applications

  • Snap Assist for managing on screen windows more effectively.

  • Action Center for centralizing and managing app and system notifications

  • Fast, clean, easy to use, powerful modern web browser – Microsoft Edge

  • Stays ever green with ongoing improvements

  • Windows Update local network updating

  • Clean modern, logical, user interface with less distractions.

Cons

  • Two step process for performing a clean install and activation compliance check and 32 to 64 bit migrations.

  • Recovery Drive can only perform clean installs, no repair upgrades (work around download ISO).

  • Task View does not support different wallpaper and customization options for Windows 10.

  • Action Center limited options for notifications – i.e. can’t respond to a tweet on the fly.

  • Mandatory Automatic Updates gives users less control over managing updates they might not want or can cause potential damage.

  • Microsoft Edge lacking Thumbnail Previews when multiple tabs are open, no jump list support, no direct support for importing Bookmarks from popular third party browsers such as Chrome, Firefox.

  • No extension model in Edge, some sites will still need to depend on Internet Explorer.

  • Some functions have been moved around that will require familiarization i.e. – show desktop icons, change screen saver.

  • Number of Control Panel items have not been modernized, I guess this will be an on-going thing.

  • Network Flyout does not support setting connection as a Metered Connection.

  • No means of taking advantage of built hardware such as my fingerprint reader even though it is installed and working in Device Manager.

  • Newer technologies such as Windows Hello will require new hardware.

  • Older 64 bit CPUs that are still powerful are left behind if they do not support certain processor extensions.

Rating:

Installation: 90%
Interface: 90%
Features: 90%
Documentation: 90%
Improvements: 90%
Options: 90%
Ease of Use: 90%
Price/Value:  N/A

Overall:  90%

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