Two years with Windows 10

            It’s now been a little over two years since Windows 10 has been released, let alone the countless updates that have been pushed, and I wanted to give my thoughts on some of the things we’ve found that I love and other features that I could absolutely do without. 
             Being a system builder and technician there are certain aspects of Win10 that have really made certain process’ not only easier but much more stable. The huge difference from Windows 7 or even Windows 8/8.1 is it’s driver support. Being able to build a PC or replace a component and have basic drivers be installed immediately upon the first boot is huge. I know that the drivers that Windows 10 installs aren’t always the best ones for that device, actually majority of the time they are not the best drivers and I highly recommend that you install the drivers directly from the manufacturers website. The reason that this is such a huge change over previous Windows operating systems is it allows the hardware to work at a primitive level to grab the manufacturer specific drivers which than allows for perfect or near perfect hardware operation which is enough for me to go and grab the most recent ones directly from the manufacturer. In the past in a PC that Windows 7/vista/XP was not able to find generic drivers for the only way to get network drivers installed would be with a USB key, but what if the generic drivers were not accessible for the USB ports than the only way at that point is to burn onto a disc but we have had this happen to us in machines in the shop that do not have a SATA disc drive. Of course, we installed our own drive in and were able to get things up and running but since Windows 10 enhanced driver support I have not had to do this process one time which saves a lot of time. Overall this driver feature will save many users including ourselves headaches and best of all time. 
           Another area where Windows 10 really impressed is how the OS is able to keep a basic look and feel like Windows 7 while at the same time being able to make it fresh and new without being convoluted or confusing to the core Windows crowd. Yes, this sounds like a tiny issue not worth talking about but this is an important part of getting older core user’s to switch over to Windows 10. PC users are creatures of habit, “when something already works well why mess with it?” are the thoughts from many reluctant users I have spoken to about upgrading their machines to Win10. That is why it was important to make sure the Win10 gave off the same feel as Win7 but with a more polished 2016 look and they nailed it. Having the start menu paired with the live tiles is one of the ways that they accomplished this as the start menu is the classic Windows area that we all know and love, the live tiles are designed to give that new icon/tablet look of the future. This feature looks clunky on first startup but once the start menu has been customized, organized and icons sized correctly (on the Windows 10 start menu there is different sizing options for the icons, small, medium, wide and large) it really comes together to give a familiar yet functional UI that is still moving with the times.
           There are many positives to Windows 10 that there is no way it could ever all be talked about in a single blog but what I wanted to do was talk about some of the positive features that aren’t talked about on regular basis.
It is true that Windows 10 overall is a great operating system but no OS is without problems and Microsoft is still having trouble getting users to switch over in the masses that they would like. Why is this? Are the problems really that bad or is it that users are skeptical because of past Windows launches? 
          In my experiences over the past two years of talking with customers the largest reasons they don’t want to upgrade has to do with Windows 10 aggressive tracking and paired with that is the border line malware advertisement/update tactics. In the PC world before Windows 8.1/10 Windows was seen as an OS of freedom, a stark opposite to the only other relevant player in town OS X. Now if Win10 is tracking us with everything we do and OS X is doing the same, the only logical solution is either Windows 7 or Linux, and the average user does not want to punch in lines of code every time they want to install something (I know that Linux is much more GUI friendly these days but nothing like Windows or MacOS). This in my opinion, is the main reason that Windows 7 still controls majority market share out of all operating systems and why Intel and Microsoft have teamed up to force users into Win10 but that is a story for a different day. The other glaring problem with Windows 10 is it’s attempted reliance on the Microsoft store when it barely has the core apps that users need for their everyday use let alone the apps on it for professional or enterprise users. A great example if this is Windows 10 ability to play DVD’s…well it can’t, not nativity at least. For Windows 10 to play a DVD you must purchase Windows DVD player off the Microsoft store for $14.99 or know what third party installation to download for free (we recommend VLC media player. Not only is it free but it out performs pretty much every other media player). For many users, they would either cough up the $14.99 or go without and there are lot of people that just don’t want to deal with that. In their mind, a PC with Windows 7 already plays DVD’S out of the box without getting shaken down for another 15 of their hard-earned dollars.
           This is the fundamental problem with Windows 10, overall it is solid operating system and has many great and useful features since Windows 7 but if Microsoft really wants to get the masses migrating over I think they need to rethink their strategy with Win10 as the issues I outlined above aren’t the only red flags but they are controversial issues to the people who matter most through this entire endeavor, the users.

         I plan to revisit this blog in maybe six months’ time to talk about a few more positive and negatives and talk about how much Win10 has changed from the start till present time.