A Couple of Days with Windows 10

I’d been waiting for a long time for the upgrade to Windows 10.  This computer came with Windows 7 installed and I’ve done my best to keep it updated and did all the tweaking/re-installing that I could to get it to run satisfactorily.  Sadly, I couldn’t.

A while back, I dual booted it and ran Ubuntu on the other partition and it just screams.  So, I spend almost all the time running Ubuntu and couldn’t be happier.  Given that most of the things that I do can be done in a browser, OpenOffice, The Gimp, or a text editor, it’s been a great solution for me.

I decided that I would give the upgrade to Windows 10 a shot and, if I was still unsatisfied, I was going to reformat the hard drive and just make it a Ubuntu machine.  In anticipation of the upgrade, I’d been booting into Windows and looking for my upgrade reservation.  I did the reservation part as soon as I was notified hoping that I’d be among the first.  I wasn’t so I just looked on as others did the upgrade and started to blog about it.  Friday, my number was up.  I spent the afternoon listening to music and reading while I watched the dial show the installation progress, rebooted when prompted, and upon the final reboot was up and running Windows 10.

And you know what?  I don’t hate it!

It’s almost like running a new computer.  As I do, I started poking around and was able to understand much about the new operating system based upon the reading that I’ve been doing over the past few months.  Below is a summary of my reactions to date.  These are all personal opinions; I had a friend ask me about the experience the other day and that inspired me to put this together.  So, thanks, Les.

1)  The installation didn’t clobber Ubuntu.  Quite frankly, I expected Windows to reclaim the entire hard drive and I’d have to go back and repartition and install Ubuntu.  With each reboot, I expected GRUB to be gone.  But, it’s still there and both Windows 10 and Ubuntu run like champs.  GRUB still lists Windows 7 as its option for booting and I might just leave it that way.

2)  Because I had been running Windows 7 Pro, my upgrade took me to Windows 10 Pro.

win10

3)  A lot of the concerns that I’ve been reading about Windows 10 revolve around privacy.  There’s a great deal to tweak and try to understand under the privacy setting.  Based upon the reading that I’ve been doing, I’ve gone through and turned off a lot of the new features until I fully wrap my mind around them and what they do.

privacy

The one thing that I did was create a local account.  When I want to go to the web, I’ll use my web account.  I know it’s old school but I’m still of the mind that I like to separate the two of them.

A serious point of research going forward is the “advertising ID across apps”.  That bears real understanding on my part.  I’ve got it off for now.

4) There’s been a lot written about Cortana.  At this point, I’m not sure that it’s something that I’ll ever use so I’ve just disabled it.  It was a big area of discussion from the privacy articles that I’ve read.  Maybe if I was using a phone or something?  For now, I’ll just stick to manually asking the web for advice with my keyboard.

5)  I was really interested in the Edge browser.  As I expected from my reading and, from the fact that Windows 10 is a Microsoft product, it installed itself as my default browser and Bing as my default search engine.  The installation had carried forward my taskbar and quick launch.  So, I just clicked on Firefox, the first option was to make it the default browser, and then browsing was back to whatever passes for normal around here.

But I was intrigued with Edge so I did poke my way around it.  It’s really fast.  The layout takes a bit of getting used to – I’m accustomed to having my URL bar visible at all times and right at the very top of the screen.  I also like pressing the Alt key to get menus.  The “Where to Next?” kind of threw me for a loop at the beginning but life goes on.  It’s just a different layout.  I tried the dark theme and it’s just too dark for me.  It’s funny how you become used to things being the way they are.  There are different options for the opening display but the default START page is interesting.  At present, I’m going to stick with that.

I’m a big tab user.  Not necessarily for productivity purposes, but just too lazy to keep them closed.  In Firefox, I’ll pin a tab which also makes the tab width smaller.  There doesn’t seem to be an equivalent here.  Tab width is the same size until you fill the screen with tabs and then they resize.  (that didn’t take me long…)

The default search engine is Bing which should come as no surprise to anyone.  However, if you open another one in the browser such as DuckDuckGo, and go to the settings, advanced settings, you can choose to make that the default search engine.  Again, it’s a little different but functional and Edge does remember it for subsequent sessions.

Then, a big show stopper for me.  Serious show stopper.  I’m a big user of plugins in my browser.  There’s nothing equivalent here.  For example, I use long, involved passwords and have come to rely on a password keeper plugin.  In order to get into familiar services, I had to open both Edge and Firefox so that I could get the passwords from Firefox and paste them into Edge.  There’s got to be something better coming along.

Font rendering seems to be a little rough.  In the examples below, the first is from Edge and the second from Firefox.

edge

firefox

6)  I’m reminded how fortunate we, the end users are, when developers compete.  With each new revision of any operating system you can see how good ideas spread and how we benefit.  Of immediate interest was the notification centre.  I’ve heard the complainers talking about how that was stolen from another operating system.  I’d prefer to use the words inspired and improved on.  Those other operating systems will just have to do their best to improve on their next revision.

7)  Sleeping isn’t good.  On my computer, closing the lid to send it to sleep causes problems.  When it wakes, Edge crashes and the Windows button stopped working.  Fortunately, I could right click to try and reboot but it just went into an endless daze.  Clicking the Windows button and then selecting sleep seems to work well.  It’s probably related to this computer.

8)  Applications work.  All of the installed programs that I had were brought forward and everything that I need (Like Live Writer and Snagit) are real champs.  Surprisingly, the native Windows 10 mail application keeps crashing.  No problem though, I like my mail in a browser anyway.  But you’d think I should at least be able to at least connect my Live mail account.

9)  New Desktops.  This is really sweet.   I like multiple desktops to help manage projects that have multiple applications running.  Using Windows/Tab instead of Alt/Tab for application switching lets you add a new desktop with a single click.  Or, you just click on the new Task View item on the Task Bar.

10)  Unfortunately, Ubuntu doesn’t mount the Windows 10 desktop like it did with Windows 7.  I need to do some work on that.  I have so much good stuff tucked away on the Windows side  of the hard drive that I like to bring into Ubuntu projects every now and again.  Using the Ubuntu file explorer to grab them was always nice.

11)  The new Settings option is kind of fun to poke around to see what’s what.  It’s someone comforting to note that the traditional Control Panel is still there.  Even more comforting is God Mode which gives you more control over anything than you could ever want.

12)  This is bizarre.  I’m unable to drag and drop objects from the desktop to anywhere else.  i.e. I have something on the desktop that I’d like to send to the Recycle Bin.  I can select the items and the little selected check mark appears but I’m unable to drag them anywhere.  I can certainly press the Delete key or right-click and delete.  But clicking and dragging is a non-starter.

13)  I was surprised to note that my printer didn’t come forward.  It’s not that I’m a regular printer but it’s nice to know that I could if I needed to.  Of course, the printer cartridges are always dry when I need to and a run into town is needed.  The one serious thing that was missing though was being able to use the scanner.  I’ll have to do a bit of work to get this installed.

And that’s about it for my findings for now.  I wrote this post in Windows using Live Writer and it’s gone without a hitch.  If I write again and want to go to ScribeFire, I do have that facility in Firefox but not (yet?) in Edge.

My reactions at this time are very positive and I’m glad that I’ve made the switch.  There are more settings than ever and I can see I’m going to be in for some researching and understanding.  However, the option to revert to Windows 7 in the Control Panel isn’t one of the things that I’ll be using.

If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10, I’d be really interested in your take on things and your answers to the questions that I’ve got so far.

Two seconds later after clicking publish … my first problem with LiveWriter …  uh oh …

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