My Windows 10 review

Nikolay Bychinskiy

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Nov 16, 2013
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I've used Windows 10 for quite a while - since Windows Insider program started on my Virtual Machine and now on my main PC. I didn't watch Windows Central review because it has a clear bias towards Microsoft. This is only for PC version, because others are not yet out and I didn't upgrade on my tablet (and most likely would not at least not in a near future).
TL;DR - Windows 10 is a mess and over marketed piece of garbage as of right now. It has taken few steps forward in some places, but huge steps back in others and I say that being a Windows fan. It is worse than both Windows Vista and Windows XP were at release.

Now the long version.
1. Free upgrade offer
Is not actually free upgrade and it's a disaster in terms of user-friendliness. In the past when you use paid upgrade offer you were getting upgrade key. With the Windows 10 so called upgrade you won't get an upgrade key. Instead after the upgrade your hardware ID will be sent to Microsoft and you will be activated by hardware ID. It's not that bad for laptops and tablets, but this is a disaster for desktop users.
  1. You can't change hardware it's not even legal to do so even if it still activates on new hardware. It is also completely unpredictable which change exactly will break your activation. Windows XP activation was also tied to the hardware and required you to activate again every time you changed something and it was a complete mess. Sometimes changing motherboard didn't trigger it and sometimes something simple is changing mouse or adding a new HDD cause it to break activation. As far as I remember I activated my Windows XP at least 2 times a month and sometimes several times a week.
  2. You can use your old license alongside with Windows 10, but it's not legal to do so again. If you want to use Windows 8.1 you need another key or to downgrade from Windows 10. That would be totally ok if not for the first point.
  3. You can upgrade your key as long as free offer is available on new hardware, but it's only legal to use it on 1 PC, which is understandable. It at least makes first point not as bad. But to move Windows 10 to new hardware you need to install Windows 8.1, activate it, then use free upgrade offer to install Windows 10. And if the free upgrade offer had ended you're screwed and need to buy paid Windows 10 license.
I didn't make up this list, I got this information from Microsoft Answer Desk after a few failed activation attempts. The whole free upgrade offer is a mess. I've seen many reports that users with pirated Windows 7 got their Windows 10 activated and it passes genuine test and on the other hand many honest W7/W8.x owners couldn't activate. And it's a sign of a fail when developers need help to install Windows LOL. Why does installer need a key when everyone gets a generic key? And not once, but it asks twice LOL! After you upgrade it fails to activate, but instead of showing a reason (like out servers just suck) it just shows that it failed. Most of my friends ended up reinstalling it up to 3-4 times (sometimes installing W8.1 and then W10) because thought that upgrade failed. I can come up with at least 2 better ways to handle upgrade:
1. Make an Upgrade tool that they installed on every PC give an upgrade key for genuine users that they can use to install W10 of the same type (so W8.1 Pro Retail -> W10 Pro Retail upgrade)
2. Attach W7/W8.x/W10 keys to Microsoft account. After 1 year free offer passes do not allow to attach W7/W8.x keys anymore. When activating W10 ask to login to MS account and select currently unused key (or key that allows using on multiple machines, but as far as I know for normal customers all keys are for single user licenses).
Thankfully you're not losing your original W7/W8.x license, just can't use it legally while using W10.
2. UI & Consistency
They managed to make it worse than it was in Windows Vista and Windows 8. I can count at least 8 different context menus (not counting app bar in W8 apps), 4 different button styles (and if you dig deeper you'll find even more). Every single app seem to have its own placement of elements, heck even Groove Music and Movies & TV are different. A lot of missing icons in different places of the system (e.g. when you move something in UAP app there is an icon missing, like when you move tiles in start menu or tabs in edge). Start menu is much worse than W7 start menu (app list is not even close in functionality of start menu in W7) and start screen is much worse than start screen in W8.1. In the past there were also a lot of different API layers in Windows (even though all of them work on top of Win32), but all of them had a consistent look and feel. Now you have:
1. Classic apps (Win32, COM, .NET and so on)
2. Windows 8 apps (WinRT)
3. Windows 8.1 apps (updated WinRT)
4. Windows 10 apps (UAP)
And it seems outside of W8 apps none of them follow any guidelines. Judging by the built-in W10 apps there are no guidelines (I don't actually know if that's true, I haven't yet tried to develop something for W10) or if there are then MS itself doesn't follow it. And if it's the latter then how they can expect anyone follow them? Even Android is more consistent now and it was a total mess in the past (it's still a mess, but not even close to W10).
A lot of things are counter-intuitive and that every app has it's own way to do things doesn't help. For example - I spent 1.5 hours trying to determine why screenshots taken from the game look so bad. I tried different software, but first come to conclusion that something must be wrong with new DirectX, because in game colors looked fine. And then I noticed that in Paint screenshot looks fine. Then I found out that Photos app auto-"enhances" photos and this is turned-on by default. Who came up with this stupid idea?
I've sent some feedback regarding UI while I was on IP, but almost nothing has been fixed.
3. Apps
This is somewhat related to the previous paragraph, but this is more focused on functionality.
New Windows apps are lacking:
  1. Mail doesn't have a Clear Junk & Clear Removed buttons. Or they are hard to find, which is equally bad. Every time I clear my email I need to manually select every email and click remove. Twice. If this is a spam, then I first need to move it to Junk, then remove it, then remove it again.
  2. Calendar is not even an app. Most of the functions just take you to calendar on the web.
  3. Movies & TV is even worse than Videos app in W8. It seems it doesn't support videos with multiple streams and subtitles.
  4. Music app is ok, but it crashes a lot.
  5. Camera app doesn't work at all. Crashes at the start.
  6. Maps app is great, it still lacks some features and map is not complete (for example building where I live is not on the map and all surrounding buildings are on it, which is strange, because it's as old), but it's a great improvement over old maps app.
  7. Xbox app. Who enabled DVR by default? This is a cool feature, but limiting FPS to 30 in every single game in NOT cool. Where is the option to clear my games list? It's cluttered with garbage phone games I tried and didn't like. Some of them are not even on the store now, so my list if full of games with no image or with a terrible one and also games that I totally hate. I asked them to add this feature since they introduced Xbox on WP. DVR quality is very low compared to ShadowPlay and other capture software.
  8. Photos. Above mentioned auto-"enhance" enabled by default. No way to manually sort your collection into albums (or at least I haven't found one). No way to open image in original size. No zoom with mouse scroll. Terrible quality in slide-show mode. I can continue this list, but I think this is enough to say that the app is terrible right now.
  9. Microsoft Edge. The most advertised feature of W10 and still feels like unfinished product.
    - You can move tab to separate windows, but you can move tab from 1 window to other.
    - You can't see tabs preview when you hover mouse over MS Edge on task bar.
    - You can't open MS Edge in InPrivate mode by right clicking it's icon on task bar and selecting "Open in private mode" like with IE.
    - If some tab crashes - it crashes entire browser. With IE11 only the tab crashed and it was restored by the main process. This is a huge step backwards.
    - No extension support.
    - Loads pages faster and better than IE, but the responsiveness of the page is worse, especially scroll.
    - Still has issues with a lot of sites, it can't open some of the MS sites ROFL (some sites just show page asking to open it in IE).
    - Seem to leak memory like mad, but can't confirm because I can't make it work longer than 15 hours without crash and it might just be that it's GC just using my memory while it's available (and I have 32Gb of ram).
  10. Cortana. It's not supported here. If it's not supported why do I have it mentioned all over my system and why is it advertised on my language in my region?
  11. Skype. Modern Skype is obsolete, Skype for Windows 10 is not yet out. Skype for Desktop crashes with exception on every 2nd-3rd call. *clap* *clap* *clap*
Other apps are either not worth mentioning or just work like they did before.
4. Other
System feels very unfinished. When I moved large bulk of files from HDD to external HDD it hang up and then system crashed to BSOD. New task bar and start menu crash sometimes. Windows Update is gutted from all of its functionality, tool that they recently released helps, but why cut features in the first place? I understand if it was for W10 Home, but why for W10 Pro? From the new app I can't even see the entire list of updates that are about to install and System Restoration points are disabled by default (I found that out the hard way).

I certainly do not recommend anyone to install Windows 10 right now. If you're a gamer - wait for the first games with DirectX 12 support to see if it's worth to move. If you're a developer - just use it on Virtual Machine and save your time and nerves. If you're just normal user - there are no reasons to move to Windows 10, all of the Windows Store apps right now are W8/W8.1 apps and for classic apps there are completely no benefits. Just stay on W7 and W8.x. Maybe in a year it will be an ok system for everyday use or maybe it will be even worse, I don't know. And I would not recommend using free upgrade offer for retail users, it's only suitable for trying new system, like a demo.


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May 23, 2015
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while I wont agree with you on all terms but I have to agree the free upgrade is quite a pain in the back . Tried to upgrade using force install with no result . Getting setup file running for 6 hours still nothing . Then tried the upgrade too the it was crawling like a snail . At last got hold of an ISO file from torrent and fresh installed it . Then the screen flickering while playing FIFA 11. Lan problems . W10 needs an update that too pretty fast.

Nikolay Bychinskiy

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Nov 16, 2013
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At least you didn't have to help more than 15 people with the upgrade and that's only on the first day. Funny thing is - even developers struggled with update because it's so counter-intuitive.

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