Review: New Windows 10 version still can't beat Windows 7

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Microsoft’s 'Fall Update' promised to put the finishing touches on Windows 10 -- it doesn’t

Three months into Microsoft’s “Windows as a Service” strategy, many of us expected to see significant progress in plugging the many holes in the “RTM” July 29 build 10240 release of Windows 10. Unfortunately, Windows 10 version 1511 -- aka Threshold 2, Fall Update, build 10586 -- takes only tiny steps in that direction.

On the positive side, one flagrant problem with activation has been solved, and several apps -- Skype, Edge, Mail, Phone, and the media apps -- are distinctly better. There’s better support for high-resolution monitors. And Win10 version 1511 is certainly more stable than the July 29 RTM version. Win10 version 1511 has better drivers across the board, and the installation and upgrade routines aren’t as insistent on yanking out manually installed drivers.

On the minus side, advertising, which has been lurking since early beta builds, makes an unabashed appearance. Automatic re-assignment of the default printer will confuse many. OneDrive is still poorly integrated, and the Start menu continues to resist customization. Hello works sporadically, and Continuum’s promise of seamless transitions between mouse and touch modes is a long way off. Edge, the wholly new browser, has yet to support extensions, so it's unusable for many.

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