Summer is fast approaching and Microsoft is still busy tweaking Windows 10. Will Microsoft make their Windows 10 deadline? Can they actually ship a satisfactory working product to individuals and businesses willing to immediately adopt their new OS? It’s tough not to have doubts when the deadline is less than 80 days away and there’s still plenty of stuff to work on. Will Microsoft make a big splash and deliver an impressive rollout, or repeat history and deliver a mediocre unfinished OS which will make many professionals hold out until Service Pack 1 or Windows 10 Redstone?
Microsoft seems confident enough that they’ll have a successful rollout; even announcing that Windows 10 will be in a billion devices, PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones by 2018. It seems like a shocking presumptuous prediction until you let the year set in. If Windows 10 works as well as expected, much of that number could come from a combination of new devices from OEMs and the free auto-upgrade from Windows current 7 and Windows 8 users. But that’s if Windows 10 works as well as expected and doesn’t flop like Windows 8 did. So how is Windows 10 doing?
Windows 10 is currently at build 10074. There have been improvements since build 10061. The Start Menu has improved a bit. It’s not as painfully sluggish as before which actually made me long for my Windows 8.1 back. It also has new animations for its live tiles, Microsoft fixed the embarrassing problem of not being able to run Win32 apps from the Start Menu. And finally, the Start Menu has regained submenus for related application packages like MS Office.
The Edge browser, formerly known as Project Spartan (pardon me for being stubborn) has also improved in speed. The address bar again is able to highlight URLs and search terms. However I’ve noticed it kept opening pages I’ve visited but didn’t close before exiting the browser. It also added a new setting to be able to choose a start page between MSN, Bing and a custom website as well as a disabled option to open the last pages visited which is what the browser is sometimes doing.
In terms of windowed modern apps, they are more responsive. They’re now better scaled within their respective windows unlike before when you have to switch to tablet mode to see their controls and effectively use them. Being able to run and scale modern apps in resizable windows is one of Microsoft’s biggest promises for Windows 10 after all. The apps Photos, News, Food and Drink, Calendar and Mail have greatly improved. For instance, the Photos app now organizes photos by albums and can also do some rudimentary enhancements. There are also some welcome settings such as what photos will display in the live tile which was absent in Windows 8.
Though many dislike modern apps, they have their uses especially in tablet mode and there are some real gems out there such as Fresh Paint, Covers, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, Comix and Hill Climb Racing. Also, Windows 8’s idea of its own walled garden has its merits such as quality and malware screening. Quality however is debatable. Speaking of walled gardens, Windows Store now also sells movies and TV shows.
There are also tweaks on the interface. Many Windows fans mourned the loss of Windows 7’s Aero Glass in Windows 8 but now it’s back and comes in two flavors: standard and frosted. Search is now more focused on what’s on the drive first before searching the net. Little tidbits also include a boxy semi-transparent recycle bin icon and a new attractive wireless connection symbol on the system tray.
The new build is proving to be very usable. It’s faster and more responsive than the awful 10061 build. Build 10074 feels quite usable as an operating system, in fact I’m using it as I type this article. I have yet to encounter any crashes and so far it hasn’t stalled yet. Before build 10074, I was starting to think Windows 10 won’t make it by summer.
However, compared to Windows 8.1, Windows 10 still feels slower by comparison. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 were good versions under the hood. They were like Oscar worthy films when it came to sound, lighting and special effects but got Razzies instead for bad acting. Windows 8.1 works well on Acer and Asus touch screen laptops and hybrids except for battery management on some ASUS models but then again, it could be ASUS’ fault. Windows 10 seems to have solved my battery problems. Nonetheless, the latest Windows build works admirably well on two year-old systems. Windows 8.1 works well on 5 year-old systems so they’re sure to work with Windows 10, and I also have a Windows 10 preview on an old 7 year old computer. Microsoft’s free upgrade might just work out and Microsoft might just make its self-imposed deadline.
The builds just keep coming and hopefully the next one would be much better. If the trend continues, Windows 10 might just be worth the hype. It will certainly make its summer deadline. No need to wait for Redstone or any service packs. Holdouts can wait for up to 11 months or up to the 11th hour and they should receive something better than the first official rollout. Build 10074 is okay and if the next few builds will be better, why wait?