Review: Windows 10

Disclosure: The upgrade was free of charge, and we have been financially compensated for this review. However, as per my disclaimer, this review represents our honest opinion of the product.

Microsoft LogoProduct: Windows 10

Price: Free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 devices, for one year. £99.99 (for Home edition) if you don’t have Windows 7/8.1, and after the first year.

Age Range: n/a

Manufacturer’s Description: Windows 10 is now available across 190 countries as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 devices, as well as with new PCs and tablets. With Windows 10 we’ve taken an entirely unique approach to enhancing the world’s most popular operating system to help fulfil our vision of empowering people to do great things. Apart from the free upgrade, we’ve built Windows with feedback from more than five million customers and delivered it as a service, so it’s always kept up-to-date.

Rating: (4/5 stars)

Windows Logo

Review: James (My husband – umm.. Dada Geek?) uses Windows on his HP Pavilion x360 2-in-1 convertible laptop, and so he is sharing his thoughts on the new Operating System (OS) on my blog today:

I ‘reserved’ my copy of Windows 10 a few days prior to the release date using the “Get Windows 10” app that came with the latest Windows 8 update. As far as I was aware, this meant my computer would start downloading bits of Windows 10 and would alert me (on or after release date) when it was ready to install. On the release date the Get Windows 10 app informed me that Windows 10 was downloading and that I could check on its progress by clicking the button.

Windows 10 is downloading

Clicking the button simply takes you to the status in Windows Update, and you will be notified when it is ready to install. From here the update process is very simple, you accept a few terms and conditions, and then tell it to start the update. I have to say it is the simplest Windows upgrade process I have ever sat through, as that is literally what I did after telling it to start – sat and waited. It goes through several stages from configuring the upgrade, to the upgrade process, which is split into 3 sections, with a reboot in between each.

Ready to Install

Once complete you are presented with a few final setup steps (all of about 2 clicks of a next button) and then a login screen. At this stage Windows 10 is trying to get users to use a PIN to login, although other sign in options are available, and I must have already had one setup on my account, as the one I tried worked. As far as I understand it, this is to keep your device secure while making it quicker to login, which seems to make sense.

The initial login is following by a few minute of friendly messages that essentially mean Windows is setting up your account for the first time. I actually also got a final message saying it was taking longer than usual but reassuring me that it would be done soon!

Just a few more tweaks

Overall the upgrade process took just over an hour on my laptop, which is reasonable considering it’s not the most powerful machine on the market.

I am pleased to report that overall everything is working as expected, and if anything my laptop seems a little faster than it did running Windows 8.1. The only quirk I have found is that the touch keyboard doesn’t appear automatically unless you are in Windows 10’s new tablet mode which is designed to make the interface more touch friendly. The keyboard does seem to auto-appear in Chrome though!

The-familiar-Start-menu-is-back

Although this is early stages, I think this is an overall improvement. The new start menu is fairly intuitive and more usable than the Windows 8.1 start screen for users that do not use a touch screen all the time, and for those that do, you can either use the tablet mode, or simply use the start menu as it is perfectly usable via touch.

Tablet mode does a good job of getting unnecessary things off the the screen and making the things like the start menu more accessible, however I feel it may need some fine tuning in the long run.

Microsoft has done away with the charms bar, and introduced action centre. This is a great improvement. It is essentially a combination of notifications and common system settings and I have found it very useful.

Action Center

It is an easy transition from Windows 8 and is an improved user experience. Some of the default and store apps, such as photos and facebook are improved in that you are not forced to use them in full screen mode, and can have them in a window. This is one thing that bugged me with Windows 8.

Windows 10 Facebook

From a programmer’s point of view, I like the easy access to command prompt and powershell from file explorer.

Overall I feel that Windows 10 takes and improves on the best parts of Windows 8 while bringing back and improving on features that users were used to with previous versions such as the start menu. It also brings Cortana, the Microsoft virtual assistant, to Windows, which seems to work well.

The upgrade to Windows 10 is free for the next year, so you’ll need to get your devices updated before next August – to be exact, you have until July 29, 2016. You can view the Windows 10 specifications here to find out if your device is powerful enough to run the OS, as well as finding out what features will be removed or changed when you upgrade.

Want to read more about Windows 10? Currys have posted their take on the Top 5 Innovations in the new OS. As for us, we give it 4 stars.