I've had Windows 10 on my laptop for the last few weeks and thought I'd give a little report.
Hardware used for testing
Most Windows 10 testers seem to be installing it in a virtual machine. I have an older, but high end laptop that I was going to upgrade to an SSD drive to extend its life a bit. After putting the drive in, I thought… lets throw Windows 10 on here for a while, and then reformat and install Windows 7 again. Well, Windows 10 is still there.
- HP Pavilion DV7-2185dx quad core
- 8 GB RAM
- Crucial 500GB BX100 SSD
If you have been to one of my presentations in the past, this is the 17" HP gaming boat anchor that had all of the stickers on it. It has been a good reliable machine, but the RAM could not be expanded to the 32 GB that I needed to make SharePoint 2013 VMs happy.
Really, I had very few issues, especially for a beta! The install was fast and worked the first time, except for the two issues below. Overall the install was a good experience.
Touchpad: The first issue I ran into was just touching the laptop's touchpad locked up Windows 10. Completely froze it. For a few weeks I checked after each Windows Update and searched the web for updated drivers. Could not find a solution. All was OK if I remembered immediately after startup to press the little button to disable the touchpad. Finally I decided it was just better to completely disable the touchpad. So I did, And it still crashed. I then decided to just "kill" the touchpad and uninstalled the drivers. Magically, the touchpad started working perfectly!
SD card: The SD card slot also did not work correctly. The machine beeped when you inserted a card, but it could not read it. I tried a new card and every attempt to read or format it just timed out. Solution… "kill it"! I uninstalled the drivers and it immediately started working!
Uninstalling the Drivers is the Solution?
I ran the Troubleshooter and the other Windows tools. I ran Windows update. Nothing fixed my issues. But uninstalling drivers immediately fixed things! Maybe the Windows 10 installer misidentified the devices and installed incompatible drivers, and uninstalling those returned me to the generic drivers. I may now be missing some features like the "three finger" actions, but it all now works.
Before I Nitpick…
I really like what is being done behind the scenes with Windows 10. For that matter, I'd be a very happy camper if Windows 10 was available with a Windows 7 desktop. There's a lot of new interesting things going on under the hood. A lot has been published in blog articles and in the Ignite presentation videos, so I won't repeat it here.
The New Start menu
Better, much better than Windows 8, but not as good as Windows 7. I never liked the Windows 8 tiles and typically ended up doing what I saw every Microsoft rep doing in their demos… typing the name of the program or feature. I'm one of those people who use a computer for work. I don't spend all day playing with things. I want a user interface that will give me quick access to my tools. I don't want randomly sized, randomly placed, blinking tiles, even if I can, with a lot of time, move and resize them. While titles are useful on my Windows Phone, and maybe a keyboard-less tablet, my work machines all have keyboards and mice. I'm not saying to get rid of the tiles… I'm sure someone likes them… but give us keyboard and mouse users a useful option.
As it does not look like I can customize the Start menu to include a Windows 7 like selection and navigation I have:
- Removed all of the default tiles.
- Added my most often used programs (I can't bring myself to call everything an app!) to the Start menu and then reset the tile size to Small. These include, Word, Excel, etc.
- And for the rarely used programs I use the tedious, alphabetical only, "All apps" button to find my programs.
- And if I can't find it, I'll do a search.
(Yes, I know about the 3rd party replacement start menus, and may end up using one. But for now I'm trying to stay "out the box" as much as possible.)
The Search Box
I really want to remove the "search the web" feature from the "Search the web and Windows" box. As a trivial example, I did a search for Solitaire. It's not included in the default install and the search only gave me links to the "Store" and the web. If I don't have it, just tell me "not found".
Windows 10 does not assume you want privacy. By default all of the apps have access to the camera and microphone. I turned those off along with most of the other privacy related stuff like the Cortana "Getting to know me" feature that monitors my typing, voice, calendar and contact info. At least the "Location" tracking feature is disabled for apps by default. I know that this is not what Microsoft wants me to do, as the Windows 10 Cortana search feature depends on knowing all of my personal stuff to do "smart" searches for me.
Edge/Spartan and IE 11
Edge/Spartan just seems to simplistic so far. I can't find options that I need like Open New Session (I do a lot of testing with multiple logins.). Funny thing is it seems the IE 11 shipped with the Windows 10 beta has issues. Can't really pin them down, but it just behaves differently than the IE 11 running on my Windows 7 machine. One issue I found is that it will not play Amazon Prime videos due to a "Silverlight error". Edge will work with Amazon videos, but much of the video player navigation does not work and it won't go full screen. (Firefox works perfectly!)
Edge is new, and not a final product, so I'll withhold judgment for now. I do like the idea of Microsoft starting over from scratch with a new browser.
Now moving back to my Windows 7 machine to get my work done!