Tech Column: A window with a comforting view: Windows 10 reviewed
Where Windows 8 was viewed a failure, Windows 10 reimagines the ecosystem
PC users give Microsoft a clear mandate for developing Windows 10: avoid the awkwardness of using Windows 8. Thankfully, Windows 10 largely accomplishes such a feat.
Windows 10 is available as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users. I found the upgrade process on my Windows 7 PC to be seamless. After starting the update, within an hour all of my apps and settings were transferred to Windows 10.
Touchscreens have become increasingly common in laptops, and Windows 8 seemed to be an overzealous attempt by Microsoft to respond to that emerging trend. Navigation controls were often hidden, meant to be swiped by fingers from an edge of the screen, and the famous Start button was nowhere to be found.
Windows 10 is easier to use with a keyboard and mouse setup by comparison, largely because the task bar now has more functionality, and the Start button is back. Windows 10 feels in many ways like Windows 7, which is a good thing.
Windows 10 still features the colourful live tiles from Windows 8, but they now are in addition to the Start menu. The live tiles are a colourful and informative addition to the user interface without being disorienting for users used to Windows traditional start menu.
The task bar also features built-in search functionality that is immediately accessible. It’s amazing how frequently I have found myself typing queries into the search bar because it’s always there, not requiring any extra mouse-clicks.
Microsoft’s Edge Internet browser plays a prominent role in Windows 10 as the successor to Internet Explorer. Much to my surprise, Edge does indeed appear to consistently render pages faster than Google Chrome. Edge also has some neat tricks, allowing users to quickly take screenshots of webpages and write/draw notes on them which can then be shared using a variety of methods.
I’ve always felt that Windows is better at multitasking than Mac OS X, and Windows 10 continues that trend. Dragging windows to either side or corner of the screen automatically adjusts them to take up a quarter or half of the screen depending on how much space is available. It’s a very handy feature for using multiple programs at once. The task view icon next to the search bar also now brings up a handy view of all open apps much like OS X’s Mission Control View.
Upgrading to Microsoft’s newest operating system hasn’t been entirely without speed bumps, however. Cortana (Microsoft’s highly touted voice assistant akin to Apple’s Siri) is not available in Canada yet. Users of other software might also have some difficulties. My parents preferred using Microsoft’s Windows Live Mail email client on Windows 7, but it seems to be glitchy on Windows 10 with crashing and mail syncing problems.
Despite those issues, if you have a PC running Windows 7 or 8, I highly recommend upgrading to Windows 10. The upgrade process is generally quick and painless, and Microsoft’s newest operating system features some neat tricks without being alienating to users accustomed to older versions of Windows.