10 Days With Windows 10: Is It Worth Installing The Beta?

I’ve spent just over a week with the ‘technical preview’ of Microsoft’s newly-announced Windows 10. This build is unfinished but very much working, and available to all for free, for the time being. Infamously, it was supposed to be called Windows 9, but changed to 10 Because Marketing. Much more than living up to a fabricated number rides on its shoulders, however – can it possibly undo the bad rep of Windows 8?

Well, it’s fine.

N.B. the Technical Preview is not a finished or complete version of Windows 10. Any of the below is subject to change – I’m simply talking about whether it’s worth installing this right now, not about whether you should buy the release version (which will most likely happen late next year.) A ‘Consumer’ preview is also expected for early next year, which may well increase the whizzbang factor. I’ll report again then if there’s more to add.

The Technical Preview is basically a pointless update from Windows 7 in its current build, but fine. For the most part, it’s rolling back the miserably short-sighted mistakes of Windows 8, even more so than the 8.1 update already had, but to the average eye it’s now very hard to ascertain just what it does differently to or better than trusty old Windows 7. (If you’re still on XP, it’s a much more meaningful step on).

Under the hood, it does mean we get Windows 8’s improved and faster codebase, and perhaps some greater degree of future-proofing, but this is fairly nebulous stuff. DirectX 12, if it proves to be exclusive to Win 10 (this has not been announced one way or the other as yet), may make the difference, but right now I cannot point to a single element of Windows 10 that would cause me to say “you should upgrade from Windows 7 because of this.”

I’m not sure I could say “you should upgrade from Windows 8 because of this” either, as most of that particular whipping boy’s ‘hey, let’s just randomly mash desktop and tablet UIs together because no-one in their right mind uses a traditional PC these days, right?’ misfires have already been remedied by third-party applications. If you’ve been resistant to those for any reason, then yes, you may well have a comfortable time if you upgrade from Windows 8/8.1 to the W10 Technical Preview.

That said, I quite like Windows 10, and I’m pleased to find that the free-to-all (for now) ‘technical preview’ has proven rock solid and thrown up zero compatibility errors so far. I’ve also played a wide selection of games on it with no issues whatsoever (but again, only so far). If you want to take a punt on it for a no-strings (financially, at least) sample of what post-7 Windows is like, I’ve found no reason at all not to, bar the faff of potentially backing up and reinstalling stuff. Give it a spin for fun, basically.

Here’s what I like:

  • It feels fast. Not lightning fast, but just a little faster than 7 and maybe even 8. However, I think some of this is a beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder thing. It looks more modern than its predecessors, in terms of going a little further with the flat UI ethos that Win 8’s ‘Metro’ approach uses, but dialing down the somewhat garish colours, and that modernity may be encouraging me too think “ooh, whizzy-fast!” The Metro stuff is more in the background now, trying to steal attention less. I probably couldn’t tell you without the assistance of a psychoanalyst whether this really is that it’s ‘more modern’ or simply that it’s a) less familiar and b) more coherent. I am pretty sure it’s quicker to boot up, however. There have been no stability issues as yet either.
  • Er, I basically already said this, but it looks a little prettier. Buttons are subtle, there’s a pleasant use of straight lines and transparency, and all told it doesn’t do that ‘ugh, Windows‘ thing that most XP and beyond versions of the OS elicit from anyone with even a faint fondness for visual style.
  • So far, it very much seems to have broken with Windows’ long tradition of a whole bunch of software and drivers being initially incompatible with a new version of the OS. Almost everything has Just Worked, and there have been no games issues whatsoever – even the Oculus Rift has been happy on W10.
  • I’ve had only two niggles so far, one of which was that drivers for my Radeon card wouldn’t install via the executable – I had to do it via device manager manually, then install the Catalyst Control Centre separately. Subsequently a new beta driver came out, and that installed OK, however. K-lite Codec Pack, which I used for watchin’ ma movies, also didn’t work until they shoved out a special W10-friendly beta. That’s it so far though, which really isn’t bad going.
  • No more Start Screen, at least not unless you want it. This feels like a pure-blooded desktop OS again, not an awkward touchscreen hybrid. ‘Metro’ apps continue to exist, but can now be seen and resized on the desktop, rather than necessating switching to a counter-productive fullscreen view. This does raise a question of their purpose – e.g. why isn’t Windows Mail just a standard Windows program? – but I suppose you’d fullscreen them and swipe between them if you did have a tablet or touchscreen monitor. Again though, the overall sense is Microsoft stepping backwards rather than forwards. It was the smart thing to do, but frankly it doesn’t leave Windows 7 looking more outdated.

  • Virtual desktops work pretty easily, though perhaps need a slight menu overhaul in terms of sending apps to a different desktop or making stuff ‘snap’ into position. It’s something that’s existed in third-party programs for yonks, but it’s good to have it built-in at last. I find this particularly useful since I stopped using two monitors a few months back (it just felt a bit oppressive, basically), as now I’ve got a desktop dedicated to email, RPS chatroom, Twitter and that sort of thing, which I can quickly switch to when coming out of a game to check that the world hasn’t exploded. Unfortunately, Windows 10 doesn’t remember your virtual desktop setup upon a reboot, which is an enormous oversight, and one I hope is fixed before full launch.
  • It installs very quickly and easily. The days of XP’s long-winded, question-strewn installs are long gone by this point.
  • The Start Menu’s back. It’s impossible not to feel relieved. I know there’s an argument that those who prefer start menus to start screens are simply set in their ways, but there is a fundamental difference between calling up a menu and calling up a whole new screen when you’re looking for a program. Additionally, this no longer feels like you’re being taken off into a completely different operating system. It’s part and parcel again now.
  • The mother-lovin’ Charms are gone. The settings menus that could only be reached by rubbing the cursor against the far right edge of the screen have been banished in favour of in-app drop-downs. Again, really it’s a rewind, but it’s a vital one.

So yeah, Windows 10 is fine. Obviously this is an unfinished version, so Exciting New Additions may turn up further down the line (by all accounts, Microsoft are currently much more focused on convincing Windows 8-phobic businesses to upgrade than they are consumers, so there may well be more in the wings) but right now it’s fine in the way Windows 7 was fine – i.e. nothing is brazenly wrong-headed.

The trouble, once again, is that it’s so focused on undoing the mistakes of Windows 8 that reasons to upgrade from 7 are hard to come by. The main takeaway, I suppose, is that if you’re in the market for a new gaming machine next year, you don’t need to run screaming from ones that have W10 preinstalled. Indeed, once DirectX 12 is doing the rounds, this may well become the go-to OS – much as such exclusivity wouldn’t be a noble move. Let’s just hope that the Consumer Preview in a few months offers more reasons to add a digit or two (or three) to our Windowses.

The Windows 10 Technical Preview is available for free (if time-limited) download now – you can upgrade to it from Windows 7 or 8. A consumer preview will follow early next year. The final release date is TBC, but likely to be in the latter half of 2015.

91 Comments

  1. amateurviking says:

    When you say ‘time limited’ do you mean I only have the opportunity to install it for a limited time, or that after the time is up I have to roll back to Win 8? Might give it a whiz anyway, something more desktop orientated would be nice for the big ‘puter.

    Also: are you going to try it on your Surface, Alec? Asking for a friend.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      It’s time limited as in the OS expires. After the cut off date you’ll be asked to install a different OS version. Its Tech Preview -> Consumer Preview -> RTM -> Officially released OS.

      • Chuckleluck says:

        OS installation newbie here. I want to install Win10 on my old laptop that came with 7 preloaded. When the trial is up will it revert to Win7 automatically? Because I don’t have installation discs, considering it came preloaded.

        • AndyTheGeeky says:

          It won’t be possible to revert, and it might not even be possible to upgrade to the Consumer Preview later. If you backup your data before installing the Technical Preview you could simply restore that backup later If that’s not an option you could write down your Win7 license key, download a freely and legally available Win7 install disk, and reinstall from that – though you’d need to reinstall all your apps.

        • Gramarye says:

          What Andy says is true, although depending on your laptop you may not need the installation disk. Some laptops have a recovery partition that puts your drive and OS back to factory defaults. (This includes bloatware.) Check your laptop’s manual, google your laptop’s model, or (if you’re techy) check to see if you have a mysterious drive partition to tell if you have one and how to activate it.

          To reiterate Andy, this will not save your data, so backup that. This is just easier than downloading a 7 install disk and figuring out your license key.

        • Casimir's Blake says:

          Chuckle, I would highly recommend – strongly advise – that, if you don’t have installation discs, you use the manufacturer provided utility to create your own. Often they’re called “recovery disc / media creator” and some of them record to DVD-Rs, many these days allow the use of memory sticks.

          Don’t install any new OSs until you’ve done this, or at least borrowed a Win 7 disc off a friend. (Make sure it’s 64-bit.)

          • Optimaximal says:

            To clarify, only borrow a Windows disc off a friend if its from the same manufacturer. The discs have slipstreamed OEM content that only acitvate on certain BIOS keys.

            Also, you can’t legitimately use x64 install media if the Windows sticker says ’32-bit’.

          • hjarg says:

            Don’t bother with recovery disks and such, just download Windows 7 Appropriate Version from intranetz (you can find official Microsoft one if you look hard enough), burn the iso (or even better, create bootable USB- MS even has special tool for it), install the OS and enter the key you have on your sticky. Works like a charm :)
            Disclaimer: if you understood half or less of what i wrote here, stick with Windows 7 :)

            On topic- running W10 on VM- so far, everything is fine and peachy.

        • Gnoupi says:

          In general, if you are not familiar with this kind of thing, I would strongly advise against installing a beta version. It will expire, it might even have bugs (that’s the point), and if you’re not at ease with backup-ing your data and reinstalling your OS, you really shouldn’t try that this way.

  2. satan says:

    Only went from xp to 7 when I finally upgraded my system and needed to move to the 64 bit OS to use all my ram. I might be here (7) a while…

    • Ed Burst says:

      What, you don’t have twenty million terabytes of RAM yet?

      • mattevansc3 says:

        I know, that’s like the minimum specs for Shadow of Mordor.

    • Sakkura says:

      Windows 7 doesn’t support DirectX 11.2 and almost certainly won’t support DirectX 12 either. Seeing as DirectX 12 will probably bring Mantle-like performance improvements, that’s a pretty compelling reason for gamers to upgrade.

  3. gruia says:

    (not a win8 user)
    agreed.
    metro apps feel weird
    accessing settings and such is a bit off. Still would like to see a difficulty setting you can chose at the start. just like a video game

    Hardcore, casual, standard

    I’d aslo improve multiple screen support (actua tools does an awesome job)
    and the task manager is still lacking cool features that other tools have (like anvir task man)

    personally dont see the point of virtual desktops ) unless you are stuck on a laptop somewhere, and that laptop is a beast. I mean, it gets too much attention, when its just a niche feature.

    • PDP-8e says:

      I really love virtual desktops. Granted I am on a laptop, but I think the concept still applies. Being able to have my web browser and music player in one, my code windows in one, and a game or whatnot in another is fantastic. They are like window groups!

    • Cockie says:

      I thought that too (about virtual desktops), and then I started using linux, noticed they actually were quite handy and now I can’t live without them.

    • theanorak says:

      It *really* depends on how many windows you typically have open.

      At home, where I have a couple of screens anyway, I’ll probably have a browser window with some tabs open, a couple of random windows (Steam, Explorer etc) and maybe an app of some description on one screen, and moreoften than not, a game on the other. Virtual desktops wouldn’t really help

      At work, where I have three screens, I’ve typically got a bunch of different applications open (most of which are maximised), several different browser windows, plus office apps, email client, lync, etc etc. There, splitting things into task-based virtual desktops (e.g. video desktop with NLE+reference/browser, “office” desktop with Outlook/Lync/browsers for webapps) is something I do fairly often when I’m jumping between different projects.

      If you have a single screen (even a single very large screen) then virtual desktops become useful more quickly. Basically, if you regularly find yourself alt-tabbing through a long list of windows to find something, you might benefit from virtual desktops.

  4. mlaskus says:

    Well, considering that there were major under the hood upgrades in Windows 8 spoiled mostly by the ridiculous interface, fixing Windows 8’s interface woes makes it a very appealing upgrade from Windows 7, even if not much else changed.

    • PoulWrist says:

      Indeed. The speed of Win 8 is substantial compared to Win 7, I don’t know why it’s downplayed. A Core 2 Duo laptop upgraded with an SSD is faster at booting to desktop than my stationary with its SSD backed by a i5 3570k and much faster RAM…

      • ScubaMonster says:

        What is this “substantial” speed boost you’re referring to? It takes maybe 8-10 seconds for me to boot into Win 7 with my Samsung 840 Evo. So unless you’re saying Win 8 boots in 4 seconds or less I’d hardly call that substantial. And when you’re dealing with that short of boot times, who really cares about a couple of extra seconds? Also, are both of those PC’s running the exact same SSD? There can be a lot of difference between various SSD’s. They aren’t created equal. Not to mention different software installations and bloatware can bog down start times.

      • stahlwerk says:

        Windows 8’s default shutdown behaviour is actually entering a suspend to disk state with the user logged out. Before measuring traditional boot times you need to disable this function.

      • Arglebargle says:

        From what I read, Microsoft surveys of users showed that boot time was the single biggest factor in folks feeling that their computer was ‘faster’. So they optimized for that particular factor.

        Me, I rarely notice, as I’m usually making coffee when it’s revving up….

  5. FriendlyFire says:

    Multi-monitor support was the Windows 8 killer feature for me. W7’s multi-monitor feels laughable in comparison. I’d say that’s a pretty good argument for jumping on W10.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      There’s a program called UltraMon which has been making multiple monitors work nicely on Windows since at least XP. It gives you a proper task bar on your second monitor, allows you to have different wall papers on each and so on.
      Unfortunately I ended up shelling out for a copy (after several happy years of using a, ahem, *free* version) just before I bought 8.1, but I’d recommend it if you’re on 7 or before.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        I tried that and other programs like it, but they always feel clunky at some point or have a missing feature or a weird design decision. W8 just straight up works without fluff, and that’s why I like it.

        Plus, the biggest complaint with W8 (Metro/Modern) can be fixed using Start8 or Classic Shell, so I generally don’t consider third-party apps when talking about an OS since people tend to pick and choose.

    • Frank says:

      Yes, this is the only reason (so far) that I want Win 10. I’ve tried a couple of third-party taskbars, but have yet to find one that feels right (that is, like the native one). Somehow they can’t mimic the hover and middle- and right-click behavior. And some, like the one I’m using now, ignore full screen.

  6. jellydonut says:

    Can you still select Windows Classic and make it look exactly like Windows 95, or did they get rid of that? I am oddly attached to ugly beige.

  7. waltC says:

    Yea, I installed it as an upgrade to an 8.1 installation I had lying around on another box, and the install went perfectly. Interestingly enough, the only programs it failed to carry over were CPU-Z and Hardware Monitor…;) Kind of weird, that. These programs just read the hardware and do nothing to change things–but no amount of tinkering with compatibility settings served to make them installable–Win10TP simply will not install them. However, programs like GPU-Z and AMD’s Overdrive software are perfectly compatible. Those two programs were the only ones that Win10TPx64 would not install.

    I like the new start menu, too! I think it’s probably the best Microsoft has ever done–and if you don’t want Tiles on your start menu, just unpin them and they are gone for good and you are left with the start menu by itself. Right click on the start button and you get the Windows 8.1 “power menu” list–which is actually better than the second column in the old start menu in that it supports more functions. Microsoft is off to a good start. So far all games installed on that box run as well if not better than they did under 8.1×64. Best part for me: start *page* is optional–you can turn it completely off, as well as charms, too. And, if you want a charm you can bring it up by way of a *keyboard shortcut*–only–when you are running the menu mode (which is all I want.)

    They’re off to a good start–hope they don’t mess it up along the way.

  8. FuriKuri says:

    For power users this is worth the upgrade just for the cmd/powershell improvements. With Chocolatey (link to chocolatey.org) the good ol’ command line is seeing a bit of a resurgence for me and this is a sorely needed step forward.

    If you’re on Win7 the improved task manager/file copy dialogs are also very nice to have (although they were added in Win8).

    Personally I didn’t have much trouble bending Win8 away from metro anyway but consider this a solid upgrade for those not as capable/willing to have done the same.

    • Chorltonwheelie says:

      Couldn’t agree more old chap.
      The way you can skip between a simple dos box and Powershell from the start menu is great.
      I’m running it alongside Linux Mint on an Elitebook 8470 and so far Win 10 is winning as my corporate weapon of choice.

      Just had a high old time with One Finger Death Punch on it so I’m a little bit exited about this version.

    • Tei says:

      One of the first things I install on a computer is cygwin,so I can have some decent console, with decent tools in it.

      chocolate looks good, I did not even know it existed, thanks.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Evil Timmy says:

    Alec, codec packs haven’t been worth it for years and tend to just add a bunch of unnecessary crap, if you’re doing video editing just nab the specific official codecs you need for encoding, otherwise for playback use VLC (workhorse, plays everything, will run on a toaster) or MPC-HC (fast interface and great keyboard shortcuts, better post-processing and filter options, plays nearly everything). Both are open-source and regularly updated, and have all the necessary codecs for 99.9% of the files you’ll encounter.

    So far I’m a fan of Windows 10 Apology Edition, they still need to commit to one interface or the other as settings are kind of a jumbled mess, but it’s clearly a work in progress. All the nice features of Windows 8.1 (hugely improved Task Manager, more efficient especially on startup, in-place refresh/reset for my tech newbie friends) but without the confused interface (why make fullscreen-only apps for your desktop OS titled…wait for it…Windows!) is a win in my book, but Microsoft is awful at getting the message across to consumers, or having that message straight/clear/in existence in the first place.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      Personally I find VLC to be as outdated as Codec Packs. KMP player uses fewer resources, performs better on HD and high bandwidth videos and to my eye gives a better quality output.

      • joa says:

        VLC, MPC-HC and KMP are all the same shit underneath as far as I know.

        • mattevansc3 says:

          They probably are but on VLC I do notice more artifacting, colour banding and slight frame rate dips compared to MKP.

        • SominiTheCommenter says:

          ffmpeg, in fact.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          VLC actually ignored some of my Nvidia settings, including contrast enhancement ( which is shit like any “enhancement” ) and color calibration, which is a bit of a problem.

          Not that i care anymore about any of that either, since i don’t use those filters and my current monitor is factory calibrated decently enough, but MPC-HC always played nicer and i also find it has better advanced options aswell.

      • puzzlepiece87 says:

        Agreed with codec packs being outdated, though I prefer XBMC/Kodi. A bit heavier on resource usage but a fantastic addons community and it looks or can look via skins very attractive.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      I would argue that the LAV Filters are highly recommendable as they cover a wide variety of codecs, using a modern freeware decoding engine that produces a excellent quality results. Wouldn’t touch any other codec pack in this day and age. I would also recommend VLC over using the standard windows media player which – to this day – proves to be less than reliable in my experience.

  10. harmlos says:

    I’ve read that it’s Windows 10 instead of 9 not because of marketing, but because there is tons of software out there that checks that it isn’t running on Windows 95 or 98 by checking that the OS name doesn’t begin with “Windows 9”. As a software developer, I find this explanation entirely plausible.

    • hotmaildidntwork says:

      That actually sounds a lot more justifiable than the PR nonsense they spewed out.

    • derbefrier says:

      pretty sure thats a running joke and no where close to the truth. Dont believe everything you see in a comment section.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      I’ve heard that rumour as well and while there is one or two examples most devs would (should) go with the version number for compatibility checks, so Win95 is 4.00 and Win98 is 4.10 because just typing Win9 would not assist with compatibility as it wouldn’t take into account the differences between Win95 and Win98.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        programmers not thinking ahead is believable though, it happens in any line of work anyway.

        It could still be a rumor off course, but even if it wasn’t i wouldn’t really be surprised.

        • pmw57 says:

          Thinking ahead is partly to blame for the problem.

          Developers writing programs for ’95 were thinking to themselves “surely there’s going to be another one released soon, in ’97 or ’98. We don’t know which yet. To be safe we’ll just check that the year starts with a 9 so that it keeps on working without needing an update.”
          For details on Windows 97 see link to windowsitpro.com

          It would have been better if further thinking ahead was done and to accept the nuisance of updating the program when the new operating system came out, but such things are only learned as the decades pass by.

  11. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I think the real question on everyone’s mind, at this point in time, at least, is where’s the Legend of Grimrock II WIT?

  12. caff says:

    Every time I see the guy on that video, I want to shade his top lip a bit more to give him a hitler ‘tache.

    I can’t be the only one.

    • Dogsbody says:

      I was gonna say ‘most misguided attempt by an old dude at a hip young person haircut’ myself.

      • tumbleworld says:

        That poor, sad, crinkly old man with his terrible, terrible “Up To Date” hair. It’s an almost poetic analogy of Windows itself.

  13. RegisteredUser says:

    Even a slightly optional Metro is still disgusting.

    I want Windows 7 to be updated and stay getting updated. That includes the windows driver model and DirectX.
    The only reason to not support it was and still is forcing people to suffer into newer versions at some point, not because the kernel, APIs and other interfaces wouldn’t be up to it.
    Because this time its true: Windows 7 should be enough for everyone.

    Get rid of 8, stop with this all-in-one nonsense, and show the 50% people whose installbase is Windows 7 you still have some sense, Microsoft.

    • caff says:

      And while we’re at it, make lightbulbs that don’t become obsolete after a certain period of time!

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Fuck windows 7! Why aren’t they still supporting 2000? It was just crass commercialism to force people to buy XP, they should have kept updating me for free!

      (possibly some sarcasm might have crept into the above rant)

      • Premium User Badge

        Don Reba says:

        It was crass commercialism, given that XP is 2000 with a Fisher Price UI.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      And how often do you plan on repurchasing a Win7 key?

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      Hell no!
      Windows is legacy anyway, keep your 7 installation and hardware until it breaks, and use exclusively Linux from now on.

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        “Synchronise operating system upgrades with major hardware changes” has worked well for me so far. At the current rate, maybe Linux will have a non-terrible desktop GUI available by the time I come to change.

    • You says:

      If you guys didn’t know, Windows 10 Enterprise allegedly has the Windows 7 user interface. I don’t think that it’s worth the extra 300 bucks, though, or whatever outrageous price they put on the operating systems. If there was a crack, I’d definitely upgrade to any version of Windows 10, though. Metro doesn’t really bother me. :P

  14. hotmaildidntwork says:

    It might be worth pointing out that the privacy policy includes explicit permissions for microsoft to record more or less the entirety of your interaction with the OS for purposes of development and marketing, including voice and keypresses. Check the “Data we collect” section of the Privacy Statement for specific information:

    link to insider.windows.com

  15. The Sombrero Kid says:

    rumour is it’s called windows 10 because of this – link to twitter.com

  16. thekelvingreen says:

    Ye gods, that hair.

    • Dogsbody says:

      “Are you going to fire the guy with the 300 dollar hair cut? Come on!”

  17. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    I suppose the first two won’t matter for the average user but for me the biggest differences between 7 and 10 are

    * The new Task Manager that was introduced in Windows 8 is miles ahead of the one from 7
    * The improvements to the Command Prompt sound like it might actually make it bearable to use
    * A dedicated software store. I will generally avoid ever paying for small simple software applications. Not because I don’t want to pay money for them, but because I don’t particularly trust random small applications to not be malware, to be able to find a place with trustworthy reviews for them and that the payment or my order won’t fuck up and have no really support structure. Windows 8 added a software store but everything was the annoying Metro fullscreen apps. Now with 10 those programmes run in windows like they should. This is probably going to make me 10x more likely to actually find, buy, use and be happy with small simple one-job programmes and I like that.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      – Still pales in comparison to Process Explorer, and that works on Win7
      – Use PowerShell if you want proprietary crap that only runs on Windows. Of course, if you want a real terminal+shell, create a Linux VM.

      As for the store, again, Linux repositories are old hat. Use Ubuntu if you really want to pay for stuff.

      • Premium User Badge

        Oakreef says:

        I’ve always been nervous about task manager replacements. Maybe that’s just me being silly though.

        Regardless of all else and however much i do actually like Ubuntu I’ll be sticking with Windows for my home PC for the foreseeable future because that’s where the games are. That has been changing recently with more and more of my library being cross platform but the most of them are still Windows only.

      • jamesgecko says:

        You’re aware that these improvements to the command prompt also benefit processes running in it? Like SSH, because converting certs for PuTTY is kind of ridiculous? Or maybe you don’t use Vagrant for your VMs.

        Powershell is actually surprisingly awesome. I mean, I use fish all day on my unix box, but there’s some really nifty ideas in PS. There are many, many cases where it’s much less painful to selectively pipe output by selecting a column than it is to use grep. And you can mount the registry like a filesystem and explore it from the shell. Same for a ActiveDirectory settings nonsense.

  18. Simbosan says:

    “Under the hood, it does mean we get Windows 8′s improved and faster codebase, and perhaps some greater degree of future-proofing, but this is fairly nebulous stuff.”

    Not the most in depth, knowledgeable comment I have come across in RPS. The difference in speed is huge, there are many major improvements in security, performance and stability. Win 8.1 is MUCH better than 7 in my experience. I would recommend it

    • Jimmy says:

      Yes, and it is surprisingly hard to find these “under the hood” details. Instead most articles are “OMG they reverted the start button”, instead of the technical side. W8 has excellent improvements in performance and security.

      That said, I wish it was possible, like with Linux, to separate the interface from the kernel so that I could run a W7 classic mode UI with all that “nebulous stuff” giving me performance gains. That would be perfect, along with turning off any of that marketing crap by default (store, live.com, “cloud”, etc.).

      • gwathdring says:

        If I could have the windows equivalent of XFCE–highly customizeable, super-light GUI–I would be incredibly happy.

  19. stkaye says:

    I’m pretty sure I saw an explanation of how calling it Windows 10 isn’t marketing. At least, it isn’t *just* marketing.

    The problem is the PC’s god-given advantage of an enormous, teetering mountain of legacy software. Calling the new OS ‘9’ would have created compatibility problems because almost everything is coded to look for ‘windows_9’ instead of 95, 98 etc.

  20. fish99 says:

    I still don’t want that metro crap on my start menu. Can you get rid of it?

    • PikaBot says:

      I haven’t used it but their video previews all say that what appears on the start menu there is up to you, so presumably you can remove the live tiles altogether.

    • Chorltonwheelie says:

      Yes you can. Quickly and easily.

  21. jerry247 says:

    Windows 8.1 added a great right click on start button menu that I adore. Is this still in or is it going away?

    • briangw says:

      It was present in Windows 8 as well but yes, it is still there in Windows 10 TP.

  22. XhomeB says:

    A bit stupid question it might be (or not)… It might be too early to pass judgement on such things, but what about older games… post-DOS (Win 9x) era ones? Rogue Spear, Commandos, Chaos Gate, Severance Blade of Darkness, Diablo, Starcraft, Homeworld, Fallout, Neverhood and so on? Has anyone tested these? Any compatibility problems Win 7&8 might not have had?

  23. Psymon says:

    I just had a miserable time with the W10 preview.
    Not because of the preview though.
    It seems like a nice enough blend of the benefits in the background of W8 with the familiarity in the foreground of W7.
    My problem was that after installing W10 on a spare HDD, I couldn’t boot back into W7 on my SSD.
    Just a black screen and a blinking cursor.
    In the end I resorted to formatting the SSD.
    I may have done something stupid to cause it, but, reader beware?

  24. Scurra says:

    As clearly the only person in the universe who think that Windows 8 was a distinct step forward from the painful Start Menu paradigm, I am, of course, disappointed that MS have basically bowed to the overly vocal naysayers. The halfway house does look as though it might actually work though.
    On the other hand, it’s clear that this is much more of an incremental upgrade than usual; the selling points appear to be UI changes rather than complete system rewrites. As is probably evident from the clear fact that these “technical previews” are generally working so smoothly.

    (Incidentally, I wonder why everyone is making such a fuss about the name. Apple did something similar years ago and nobody batted an eyelid. Maybe that’s because nobody important uses Apples, of course.)

    • Czrly says:

      Microsoft did not miss by a mile when they introduced Windows 8’s much maligned Start Screen. I strongly believe that they only needed to make it translucent to make it more palatable.

      As a developer, I use two large monitors and frequently have many windows open: Visual Studio, SQL Management Studio, Google Chrome, Outlook, Windows Explorer, SpeedCrunch, Notepad2 etc. etc. I often have many instances of these and they are often overlapped. Pressing the Windows key causes all of this to evaporate and destroys my work-flow when it could simply dim the open applications and overlay a few tiles on top.

      I acknowledge the unseen, fundamental changes in the Windows OS that have yielded better performance and a stronger system, in general, but I still loathe Windows 8. This is not caused by the Start Screen but by the change in Microsoft’s school of thought represented by TIFKAM in general. Windows 8 ended decades of operational continuity and blatantly retracted the unspoken promise that you could configure Windows to work the way you wanted it to. If Windows 8 had honoured its pedigree, the Start Screen would have been optional, as would the ill-conceived Charms bar and other rubbish.

      On the new, resurrected Start Menu: can you manage it like the old one, by creating primitive shortcuts in a folder somewhere, or do you still have to “pin” stuff to it? In Windows 8, there are many, many things that you cannot pin without serious shenanigans. (And there are even more things that you cannot pin with an icon or that lose their icon after a while.)

      By the way: is the Charms bar really a thing of the past? I cannot count the number of times I have accidentally mucked up a demonstration (usually on a projector, in front of an audience) because it accidentally appeared an instant before I clicked. What about the new “Open With” mechanism from Windows 8 which is the embodiment of uselessness?

    • Premium User Badge

      yhancik says:

      (No that’s because everything Apple does is wonderful and magical, while Microsoft is meant to be vilified no matter what they do or don’t :p)

  25. Smoky_the_Bear says:

    That menu looks absolutely abysmal. Where in their damn market research did anybody say they want to see random peoples stupid faces every time they click the start button. It looks like a selection of adverts, in an OS that will be bought and paid for, I am not ok with this. Please remove that dumb shit all together, so unnecessary.

  26. Shooop says:

    Is there any way to move the metro UI off to another part of the screen? They could be useful when not dominating the entire screen like they did in 8.

  27. racccoon says:

    I believe in windows.. I crawled through the teething early years, to me its what has made what we do & see today.
    Its encourage development of far more apps tools games & creativity in the data world than any other system. Simply, Windows is the BEST.

  28. gwilliams89 says:

    Actually good sir charms are not gone you simply have to hit windows key + c to access them the swipe to the side feature had been removed temporarily and is being added back and redesigned in a coming update