Review: Five ways Windows 10 fixes annoyances in predecessor

July 29, 2015 byAnick Jesdanun
Review: Five ways Windows 10 fixes annoyances in predecessor
This screen shot provided by Microsoft shows the Start page in Windows 10. With Windows 10, the start button functions the way it did with Windows 7 and earlier. The graphical start page from Windows 8 is embedded in that start button, so that it feels modern without chucking old habits. (Microsoft via AP)

It took me just a weekend to get comfortable with Microsoft's new Windows 10 operating system, something I never did with its predecessor, Windows 8, even after nearly three years.

With Wednesday's update, Windows no longer feels jarring, as though I'm using two different computers at once.

Best part: This update is free.

Windows 8 was Microsoft's way of modernizing personal computers, as smartphones and tablets grew more popular. But it came across as trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. It steered people toward tablet-like touch commands, even on desktops and laptops that had keyboards and mouse controls. Apps that weren't designed for touch—including Microsoft's Office—got shoved into the basement, known as desktop mode. Desktop mode and tablet/touch mode were like feuding siblings, each seeking to dominate in a high-stakes tug of war.

With Windows 10, everyone gets along. There are still separate desktop and tablet modes, but you largely stick with one or the other depending on whether you have a keyboard. (Microsoft skipped Windows 9, by the way, as though to distance itself from Windows 8 and its criticisms.)

Although there are a few reasons to hold off upgrading, which I'll explain below, Windows 10 is better than Windows 8 in many ways:

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WINDOWS APPS OPEN AS WINDOWS

Apps for Windows 8 were designed to take up the full screen, just like tablets. Although you could split the screen, apps could be placed only side by side, not top to bottom, as you'd probably want when having email and streaming video open at once.

With Mac computers and previous versions of Windows, you can resize windows however you like. With Windows 8, that was limited to apps that hadn't been adapted for touch—the ones kept in the basement, segregated from the newer apps. Windows 10 restores resizing for all apps, touch or not. It sounds cosmetic, but it makes a big difference in fitting in with your workflow.

___

SINGLE START SCREEN

With Windows 8, the corner start button in desktop mode got you to a full-screen, graphical start page in tablet mode. You had to return to the desktop mode to run an older app, even though you were sent to tablet mode to launch it.

With Windows 10, the start button functions the way it did with Windows 7 and earlier. The graphical start page from Windows 8 is embedded in that start button, so that it feels modern without making you chuck old habits. You can still get a full-screen start page, but it's not forced on you.

___

SINGLE BROWSER

Review: Five ways Windows 10 fixes annoyances in predecessor
This screen shot provided by Microsoft shows the Action Center in Windows 10. The Action Center offers quick access to notifications and key settings. (Microsoft via AP)

Internet Explorer is gone as the default browser, replaced by Edge. You get some functional improvements, such as a virtual marker to draw arrows or circle an entry on a Web page to share over email, Facebook and other means.

Even better, you no longer have separate browsers for desktop and tablet modes. With Windows 8, when you opened a website in desktop mode, it didn't show up in tablet mode. You had to open it again. With Windows 10, it's a unified browser, so you pick up where you leave off if you switch modes.

Some websites, including those from Google, aren't as smooth on Edge as they are on other browsers, but the problem might be limited to Microsoft's Surface tablets. The sites work better on an HP laptop upgraded to Windows 10. You can still get Windows 10 on Surface and install a different browser, such as Google's Chrome. In addition, IE will still be available for older websites that need it, but it will stay on the sidelines as Edge takes center stage.

___

BORROWING FROM PHONES

While Windows 8 tried too hard to adopt features from mobile devices, Windows 10 brings two features that make sense.

— An Action Center offers quick access to settings such as Wi-Fi, brightness and "quiet hours"—a way to suspend notifications and sounds if, say, you're giving a presentation.

— Cortana, the voice assistant akin to Google Now and Apple's Siri, comes to Windows PCs. Because you might feel awkward talking to your computer, you have the option of typing in commands, such as "Remind me to get milk."

Cortana is integrated with the Edge browser, too. Right-click to ask Cortana to define a word or provide a restaurant's hours of operation. A Cortana window temporarily slides over with that nugget of information so you don't clutter your browser with opened tabs.

___

LAPTOPS WORK ON THE GO

As Microsoft shifts its focus to online services, it has been steering users to store files on its OneDrive online storage service. As with Dropbox and Google Drive, OneDrive typically keeps copies of all your files on your computer so you have them while offline. Any changes you make sync with the service once you're back online.

Review: Five ways Windows 10 fixes annoyances in predecessor
This screen shot provided by Microsoft shows Edge, Microsoft's new browser, replacing Internet Explorer. Most people will get Windows 10 when they buy a new PC, though people with Windows 7 and 8 have a year to upgrade for free. (Microsoft via AP)

That changed with Windows 8. Copies were grabbed from the Internet only when you needed them, which meant files weren't always available when using laptops on the go, away from Wi-Fi. Windows 10 restores the approach of keeping copies of everything, unless you limit that because you're low on storage.

___

SHOULD YOU UPGRADE?

I've been using a pre-release version of Windows 10 for a month without major problems. As with any upgrades, make sure your favorite apps and accessories will work, as it might take time for outside developers and manufacturers to catch up. Microsoft's Get Windows 10 app will check for known problems. Back up your PC first.

If you're using a low-end "Home" version of Windows, Microsoft will turn on future updates automatically once you get Windows 10. That is normally a good thing, especially as Microsoft plans to add features regularly, rather than wait for the next major release. But automatic updates might surprise you with incompatible apps and accessories.

You might want to wait a few months to see whether these automatic updates cause any meltdowns for others. In addition, Windows 7 users who use Windows Media Center or have DVD players might need to find replacement software first. The free Windows 10 offer is good for a year, so there's no rush.

The case is easier for those using Windows 8, including the Home version. The experience is much better, making any potential upgrade hassles worth it.

Explore further: Microsoft to launch Windows 10 on July 29

More information: Overview: www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-upgrade

Q&A: www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-faq

Technical details: www.microsoft.com/en-us/window … ws-10-specifications

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29 comments

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Bloodyorphan
1 / 5 (4) Jul 29, 2015
Free upgrade ??

Not if you're the 99% of users using OEM licenses.
docile
Jul 29, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Bloodyorphan
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2015
Have you tried it ??

It will not upgrade OEM licenses , statement from Microsoft themselves....

If you upgrade from a retail version, it carries the rights of a retail version.
If you upgrade from a OEM version, it carries the rights of a OEM version.

Full version (Retail):
- Includes transfer rights to another computer.
- Doesn't require a previous qualifying version of Windows.
- Expensive

Upgrade version (Retail):
- Includes transfer rights to another computer.
- require a previous qualifying version of Windows.
- Expensive, but cheaper than full version

OEM :
- OEM versions do not offer any free Microsoft direct support from Microsoft support personnel
- OEM licenses are tied to the very first computer you install and activate it on
- OEM versions allow all hardware upgrades except for an upgrade to a different model motherboard
- OEM versions cannot be used to directly upgrade from an older Windows operating system
Bloodyorphan
5 / 5 (1) Jul 29, 2015
Ultron
5 / 5 (1) Jul 29, 2015
I wonder if there is any reason to upgrade from Win 7.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2015
I wonder if there is any reason to upgrade from Win 7.

When they stop delivering patches.
xstos
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 29, 2015
I installed the preview a few weeks ago. It was Windows 8 with makeup on it. I typed "control" in the start menu and it searched bing and tried to direct me to the internet (in win 7 it used to open the control panel). I then proceeded to reformat and go back to windows 7. You suck microsoft. Windows 7 is the new windows XP.
docile
Jul 29, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Bloodyorphan
not rated yet Jul 29, 2015
Go ahead and try Docile, I only told yas coz I have tried already.

They dropped Media Center as well, so if your using 7 for HDTV, don't upgrade.
Eikka
5 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2015
Then they went and ruined it with forced windows update, including driver updates, which overrides whatever you have installed with whatever Microsoft has, which may be an older version or simply crash your computer.

Bloodyorphan
not rated yet Jul 29, 2015
Hang on, I might have been using the wrong version ... I'll let yas know ...
docile
Jul 29, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Bloodyorphan
not rated yet Jul 29, 2015
Nup it definitely does not work, upgrade or fresh install a no go.

If that changes I'll let ya know, but I aint getting my hopes up.
antigoracle
not rated yet Jul 29, 2015
Microsoft skipped Windows 9, by the way, as though to distance itself from Windows 8 and its criticisms.

Oh yeah. Pure marketing genius. I look forward to Windoze 20, next release.
tekram
5 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2015
Microsoft skipped Windows 9, by the way, as though to distance itself from Windows 8 and its criticisms.

Oh yeah. Pure marketing genius. I look forward to Windoze 20, next release.

It is to avoid confusion with Windows 95 and 98; nothing to do with Windows 8.
winthrom
not rated yet Jul 29, 2015
Did anyone try the update on a dual boot PC, i.e., Win 7 and Linux????
snoosebaum
3 / 5 (2) Jul 29, 2015
also included ; an open backdoor to the NSA
10min
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2015
There is no liberty without privacy.

If you install Windows 10, be sure to READ THE LICENSE CONTRACT. THIS TIME IT MATTERS.

At least know your lost rights. Start Windows 10, click on search>settings icon>Other privacy settings>Privacy statement

(google "Microsoft Privacy Statement" if you want the full text)

"Reasons We Share Personal Data
We share your personal data with your consent [...]"

It does not says that you will be asked for your consent, it says that you consent to it.

10min
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2015
"[...]we share personal data among Microsoft-controlled affiliates and subsidiaries. We also share personal data with vendors or agents working on our behalf[...]"
"[...]we will access, DISCLOSE and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or FILES IN PRIVATE FOLDERS)[...]"

"Personal Data We Collect"
[...]
"[...]first and last name, email address, postal address, phone number, and other [...]."

"[...] the content of your documents, photos, music or video [...] the content of your communications sent or received [...]

[...]body of an email,
[...]audio recording and transcript [...]"

"Contacts and relationships"

"Credentials. We collect passwords, password hints, and similar [...]"

Note that it does not says that it collect the passwords you provide to Microsoft. It just says "passwords". ANY password.

10min
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 29, 2015

"Interests and favorites. [...] such as [...] the stocks you track [...] In addition to those you explicitly provide, [...] may also be inferred or derived from other data we collect. "

ASIDE THE INFO YOU EXPLICITLY PROVIDE. That means that Microsoft gets the right to survey you by any means, aside Windows 10.
It does not need to survey you only trought a computer, phone, or website running Windows 10, it can survey you trough any way.

There is no opt out.

"Usage data. [...] such as the features you use, the items you purchase, the web pages you visit, and the search terms you enter. [...]"

There is also a chapter about your children. In short, they are subjected to the same surveillance.
Microsoft has access, and will collect, store and share for profit any image he can get of your children in front of a laptop camera, even if they are naked out of the shower and casually walk in front of the PC.
docile
Jul 29, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
evropej
not rated yet Jul 29, 2015
Upgrade to win10 so that you wont have as many win8 issues? How about I stick with win7 and have no issues at all and use my spare time to do more productive things.

If you like clicking more, wasting more time, swiping more, googling pc problems, downloading drivers utilities, punching your pc or laptop from frustration, then upgrade. I tried the OS, there is a reason why macs became even more popular with win8 and why they offer free upgrades.

With win8, they made a bold statement that the start menu is gone for good. The masses spoke. That was just the tip of the iceberg of issues.

MS has been lost in the cloud for a while now.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2015
There is no opt out.


EULAs aren't legally enforceable.

https://en.wikipe...contract
For a contract to be treated as a contract of adhesion, it must be presented on a standard form on a "take it or leave it" basis, and give one party no ability to negotiate because of their unequal bargaining position. The special scrutiny given to contracts of adhesion can be performed in a number of ways:

If the term was outside of the reasonable expectations of the person who did not write the contract, and if the parties were contracting on an unequal basis, then it will not be enforceable. The reasonable expectation is assessed objectively, looking at the prominence of the term, the purpose of the term and the circumstances surrounding acceptance of the contract.


Basically, if Microsoft IS found breaching your privacy, you can sue them, and they can't win because the terms which allow them to are unconscionable.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2015
Microsoft gets the right to survey you by any means


Well it's class-action lawsuit time, then.

Unconscionability in standard form contracts usually arises where there is an "absence of meaningful choice on the part of one party due to one-sided contract provisions, together with terms which are so oppressive that no reasonable person would make them and no fair and honest person would accept them." (Fanning v. Fritz's Pontiac-Cadillac-Buick Inc.)
antigoracle
not rated yet Jul 30, 2015
Hmm... all that fine print on collecting your private information.
Seems like Microsucks new corporate plan is blackmail.
Bloodyorphan
not rated yet Aug 01, 2015
OK it worked, I had to manually install KB2952664 , then the Windows10 setup didn't ask for a product key.
Upgrade took 30mins, lost Media Center everything else works fine.

Completely different style, for windows and desktop, it gave me the option for all the new tracking which I disabled.

The only TV tuner I could find that worked was Sichbo , I had to build the frequencies manually but it runs faster than the other options, and did find my local DVB-T stations (I'm using a Hauppage tuner card).

It reset my CPU overclock and GPU over clock settings, but all the old apps worked so resetting them was easy.

This is the first "Windows Upgrade" that's ever worked in my 25+ years in the industry :-)
Bloodyorphan
not rated yet Aug 01, 2015
You can install Hype-V and use your old XP mode virtual hard disks.
Looks like Hyper-V is much more configurable than the old win-7 Virtual-PC.
abecedarian
5 / 5 (1) Aug 02, 2015
I installed the preview a few weeks ago. It was Windows 8 with makeup on it. I typed "control" in the start menu and it searched bing and tried to direct me to the internet (in win 7 it used to open the control panel). I then proceeded to reformat and go back to windows 7. You suck microsoft. Windows 7 is the new windows XP.

Just tried this and when I typed "control", at the very top of the list was "Control Panel".
Pressed "ENTER" and "Control Panel" opened.
Just like Win7 did.
abecedarian
not rated yet Aug 02, 2015
With hate, like or ambivalence aside, MS has managed to pull off something here that neither Apple nor Google... nor really any flavor of Linux has for that matter, managed to do.

Now... if I could just get this one little tablet to realize I'm in the US and not Poland, I'd be happy.

So, no, not everything is perfect... but it's damn close.

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