Windows 10 is finally here and after reading reviews on pretty much every single technology blog known to man, I was anxious to get mine. And so I waited and waited..and waited. But I never got this magical notification that is suppose to pop up to gift me with the Windows of 10. Little did I know that I could just simply head on over to the Windows download pages and grab a copy myself. Live and learn. So here is yet another review/write-up/first impressions post about Windows 10 for your reading pleasure and hopefully I'll cover something that someone hasn't yet.
Download and install
As many already know, Window 10 is a free upgrade for those who are currently running Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. All you have to do is simply just wait for it to roll out onto your machine and eventually it'll come around. It's suppose to download in the background so as to not interrupt your work and will run roughly about 3GB's worth of storage. However, if you're like me, it never shows up and so you have to find a solution. Lucky for everyone, if you don't feel like waiting for your system to upgrade itself, you can just head on over to the official download page and run the upgrade tool which will install the OS for you. Just download the Windows 10 Download Tool and run it. You'll then be given the option to either install Windows 10 using some other media, or to upgrade the machine directly.
Goodbye tiles window
This is probably the biggest and most notable change to happen to Windows 10 since Windows 8. The Windows Tiles window is finally gone, and it is now a part of the Start menu. Live tiles are still there and you still have the full capability to modify them however you want, but you won't be transported to a new tile screen for this to happen. And if you're one of those people that enjoyed escaping your desktop for a brief moment, you also have the option of fullscreening the tiles right from the Start menu, assuming you're working from tablet mode that is.
We finally have a regular and full working Windows Start button again. It's a staple of Windows, and with Windows 8 removing it, people were at a loss. And in fact, it's even better now. Because you still get much of the new functionality that was introduced in Windows 8, but you get them in a Windows 7 like package.
Not having previously a Windows phone, I'm pretty new to Cortana. It's similar to other voice search applications though. The only thing that matters is whether it will be used or not. The "Ok Google" feature came out a while ago for Google Chrome, and I've yet to actively use it mainly because it's faster for me to hit Ctrl + t and just type my query. Cortana is different though. It aims to make it more natural to speak to it, and not just a mechanical process of asking it "What is _ _ _ _ _" and filling in the blank. Cortana is your Scarlett Johansson from "Her", kind of.
Asking Cortana for the weather for example will bring up the following results.
I asked Cortana to show me upcoming Slipknot shows, and it did just that. It showed me tour dates plus prices based off of some random ticketing site that I never heard of. So not too sure how helpful that is to me. But it's definitely cool to be able to get all that right from my desktop.
Multiple media search
One of my personal favorite features is the universal built in search feature. Normally we use the Windows Search functionality to quickly bring up that program that we don't have on our desktop or that one file that was just can't quite remember where we left. But now Windows Search can do much more than that. It can also search the web for you, plus give you relevant information if it has it, and also look in the app store for good measure. A quick search of "weather" for example brings up the following search results.
IE left us all with a fear of browsers for a while. And Edge is aiming to undo that. Build from the ground up to be faster and more secure, Edge is Microsoft's newest browser which also brings with it some interesting features. The most notable being the ability to draw and add text on top of the browser and then save your notes to One Note. It's obviously a much better experience with a tablet and a writing device. I used my Asus Flip to test it out, but without a pen all I could really do was doodle around a bit.
Overall though, Edge is super fast at booting up. Even my Chrome now has a good amount of delay before opening up. Memory wise, Edge seems to be on par with Chrome, which isn't too bad and it isn't too great. Overall, a very clean user experience.
Multiple desktops finally
This feature has been around for a while on other OS's like Linux and it's finally making its way to Windows. For someone like me, who works on multiple things throughout the day without closing a single window, this is much much needed.
There are a few bugs here or there, but overall, this is probably the first time where upgrading to a new Windows OS hasn't resulted in my losing the ability to work in some way. All of my files are where I left them and all of my applications are still runable. Even my desktop was left exactly the same as before. So far I'm a huge fan, but just maybe I'm just going through a honeymoon phase, and a week from one I will end up hating up. In one week, I will do a follow-up and we'll see how things have progressed.
Walter Guevara is a software engineer, startup founder and currently teaches programming for a coding bootcamp. He is currently building things that don't yet exist.
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