Friday, 31 July 2015

Windows 10, first impressions

I'm not going to re-hash all the new features. That's been done in all the computer mags, and frankly, I'm not really going to use them.

I have 3 computers that will get Windows 10. The important thing for me was to get all my computers running pretty much the same thing. That was the lure of the free Windows 10 for me.
I had a desktop running Windows 7 Pro, a laptop running Windows 8.1, and a 7" tablet also with 8.1.

Actually, I have another desktop running Windows Me for Score and another desktop running Ubuntu Linux, which I never seem to use, but it is supposed to be able run Score 4 natively with working MIDI. It's not an easy set-up, and when I got the midi to work, Score kept crashing and when Score worked the MIDI crashed.

Back to Windows 10. My laptop was the first to upgrade. I never got the time to upgrade message, but when I opened Windows update, it was ready. Thus far, I haven't run into any real problems with it. There are still some of the same annoyances I had with Windows 8.1. Sometimes the mouse pointer submerges in Chrome, so I have to use the touch screen. Splitting the screen from the keyboard doesn't always fix it now. That's new.

My desktop never gave me the message to upgrade. I finally stopped waiting and deleted the downloaded files in the c:\Windows\Software\Distribution\Downloads folder, and manually called wuauclt.exe /updatenow from the command prompt. That worked. I didn't stick around to attend the upgrade, but everything seemed to go smoothly. When it finished, there was a little problem with the video card driver and my 2-display setup, but that was fixed by restarting a couple of times.

So far everything else has worked except my sound card. That required re-installing the driver. Windows 10 knew to activate the Creative AutoUpdate, but it showed the exact same build I had installed. I ran the installation anyway, and it worked after a restart.

My tablet still hasn't upgraded. It says it's ready and compatible, but I was going to wait. I'm getting close to giving up. Maybe another day or two.

I use Thunderbird for email on my desktop, but it isn't very portable. MozBackup didn't work last time I tried to use it, so I couldn't transfer the setup to my laptop. Instead, my laptop works on Imap and Exchange, so the files aren't local, and they don't delete from the server until my desktop tells them to. That means I use Mail on my laptop and tablet. The new Mail app didn't migrate all of my settings (passwords, mostly). After that, it took a while for it to sync with the remote servers. Now it's fine and works a little quicker than the old app. The layout is a little better, but selecting multiple emails takes an extra step now. I may go back to Thunderbird. Mail did crash once.

Since I'm accustomed to using Chrome, I'll probably stick with it. It has all my favorites synced between my devices. Edge looks clean and quick, but it keeps thinking it's my default browser, even after I've changed it in Chrome. So far, it seems fine on my desktop.

Seems better than before. I incorporates all my calendars, except my Google calendar. I still don't know if I'll ever get into the habit of using it regularly.

Control Panel
Classic mode seems to be gone. That means I have to use Search to find what I'm looking for. I usually do in the end, but it is annoying. I always reverted to Classic Mode in Windows 7. Now I'll have to give in.

I was hoping for some spiffy backgrounds, but there is only one Windows 10 one, which is OK, but I'll probably look for something else. Goodbye Aero. I guess they must have decided that it used too many resources. The colors to seem to automatically coordinate to your background, though.

Look and Feel
It feels quicker, possibly having to do with losing Aero. I'm still not convinced by moving the tiles to Start Menu. Yes, it's back. Is it better than Windows 7? Probably not. At least it is there. I had to reassign my toolbar to the taskbar, but I do like the fact that the pinned apps appear on both displays now. Thunderbird seems quicker ... in fact, the second time I use each program, it seems to work better. It did lose some of my shortcuts from the Windows Explorer. (I'm not sure I've found everything that was in my old Documents folder either.)

Metro is still there as an option, and I may activate it on my laptop touch screen. The charms menu is gone. I didn't hate it like most users. I may look to see if I can re-activate it.

It's stable so far, but I haven't really put it to the test. I haven't checked all the programs I use, so I'll have to come back to those.

So much for now. I'll update once I try doing some heavy lifting. Now, I've got Spotify playing, Chrome, and Thunderbird going. I might try to catch part of a baseball game later. That often screws things up.

More later