In June I joined the Microsoft Insider preview programme for Windows 10. For those of you who don’t know, Windows 10 is the new Windows operating system due to be released to the public at the end of July. So far I like it. In the past I have had phone calls from customers pleading with me to get them out of the Windows 8 nightmare. The upgrade to Windows 8.1 helped them a little bit, but still fell shy of the mark to make customers happy. Windows 10 is a free upgrade to users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. For users of Windows 7 it is an optional upgrade, for users of Windows 8.1 it is an automatic upgrade.

What do I like about Windows 10?

Windows 10 start menu

Windows 10 start menu

The Start menu is back! Yes the Start menu is putting in a return appearance. It is however a hybrid of the windows start screen and the start menu is in the usual place at the bottom left, a little less colourful than its predecessor. When you click on it you get a list of the recently used programmes as in the old start menu and All Apps.

Windows 10 start menu - all apps

Windows 10 start menu – all apps

The All Apps appears quite differently. First off they all appear alphabetically. Second they are quite large so there may be some scrolling to find what you are looking for. If you don’t want to scroll you can click on a letter to change the appearance to an Alphabet to select the heading. Thirdly if you are looking for a programme you can click the start button then start typing the name of the programme. If you are good at typing just press the windows button then start typing (works in Windows 7 as well). Older operating systems displayed programmes in the order of first installed to last by default.

Internet Explorer has been replaced with Microsoft Edge. From a user’s point of view it seems to work in the same way as Internet explorer. Windows 8 users will be relieved. For those of you who don’t know Windows 8 introduced two versions of Internet explorer, which differed in appearance depending upon whether you opened it from the Desktop or the Start Screen. The Start screen launched version had the toolbar and address line at the bottom of the page.

When logging in to Windows 10 there is a new option. Instead of using a password you can set a PIN. The account still has a password but the PIN is an additional quick security feature. I like it and find it more convenient than entering my long complex password to access the Microsoft Account. My only advice is do not use the same pin as your bank account and if you have to give your pin to a technician (including me) to work on your PC change your pin as soon as the technician has left, and never hand out that pin (or your password) to a technician selling you services over the phone or internet.

What don’t I like about Windows 10?

The show desktop button is very hard to see, almost invisible. In Windows 7 you moved the cursor to the bottom right of the screen, far right of the taskbar. Then you could peek or click to show desktop. On my Preview installation the Show Desktop button is the height of the task bar but only about 1mm wide. On Windows 7 the button was at least 10mm wide.

Windows 10 - bland and boring colour schemes

Windows 10 – bland and boring colour schemes

For those of you who have used Office 2013/365 you will be familiar with the interface. For those of you old enough to remember the earliest of computers they came with two colour screens, black background with a colour combination of orange, green or white for the text, users couldn’t wait for the introduction of colour monitors. Office 2013/365 and windows 10 takes you back in time and provides you with bland almost black and white experience. I have had a number of users complain about the lack of colours and contrast in Outlook 365/2013. As you can see from the image it is very bland.



The Upgrade Process

I installed the Beta version as a clean install on a new hard disk. The reason was so that I could still return to Windows 7 if Windows 10 was a complete disaster. It was very straight forward to install. I then Installed Office 365, Thunderbird, Google Chrome and Google Drive, and a small number of Utilities. On the 16th of July I was upgraded to a full RTM (Release to Market) version, the same as you will get if you choose to upgrade. The upgrade process took about forty minutes the only noticeable change was the logon screen. All other programmes and utilities worked fine. The following are some comments from another technician who used the upgrade process moving from Windows 7.

[ult_blockquote align=”” cite=”” color=”#0a80c6″ bcolor=”” ]As a Windows Insider, I have updated one of my PCs to beta version of Windows 10. The process took longer than a typical Windows update and involved a few restarts, but it worked just fine. I suspect most individuals and business will have the same successful, moderately painless, result.[/ult_blockquote]

My advice should you decide to take advantage of the upgrade, and you have a year to do so, is to first back up all of your data and then test the backup to make sure it has worked properly. I would then look to see what programmes you don’t use or need and remove them. Make sure that your disk isn’t full or this could create issues. The full installation of Windows 10 with Office 365 and Mozilla Thunderbird with a couple of other utilities occupies a space of 22GB. My old Windows 7 installation with all of the programmes I had installed had ballooned out to 86GB.


In my opinion if you are using a flavour of Windows 8 then yes you should apply the upgrade. For those of you still on Vista, definitely buy a new machine with Windows 10 installed As soon as possible. For those of you using Windows 7 I am enjoying Windows 10, you probably will also, but you might also want to see Windows 7 through to your next PC replacement.

– Craig