by Bill Snyder

Windows 10 deserves much more love than it gets (seriously)

Oct 04, 2016
Consumer ElectronicsEnterprise ApplicationsOperating Systems

Microsoft got, and deserved, a lot of grief for forcing users to upgrade to Windows 10, but the OS is surprisingly solid and can result in real productivity gains.

microsoft windows 10 logo
Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

Windows 10 doesn’t get much respect.

More than 14 months after the new Microsoft OS debuted, it runs on fewer than half the number of the PCs that run the seven-year-old Windows 7, and the usage rate is not increasing very quickly, according to NetMarketshare. Consumers don’t really need to worry about market share. However, (and it surprises me to say this) if you’re not running Windows 10, you’re missing out.

I know, I know, the annoying and frankly stupid push by Microsoft to trick, or even force, users of older versions of Windows to upgrade left a very bad taste in everyone’s mouth. The company richly deserved the black eye it received for those foolish actions.

A pleasant surprise in Windows 10 OS

I’ve run Windows 10 on a new PC for the last four months or so. And I like it. A lot. For the first time in quite a while, I recommend a major Microsoft product. (I’m not suggesting that Mac users migrate, that’s an entirely different issue.)

What specifically will you like? Windows 10 is much faster than older flavors of Microsoft’s OS. It boots up quicker and also shuts down faster. More importantly, it’s very stable. If a particular app crashes, it won’t bring down the whole system nearly as frequently as in past Windows versions. In fact, I have yet to see the notorious Blue Screen of Death, or lose work, because of a system freeze.

I use a second, larger monitor along with my laptop, and Windows 10 works well with multiple displays, certainly better than Windows 7.

Another big improvement is the enhanced “Snap feature, which lets you have multiple applications visible at the same time. When you drag an application to the side of your display, for example, it sizes itself to fit part of the screen, without truncating the content. The feature isn’t new, but I could never get it to work very well on Windows 7.

Plenty of other bells and whistles exist in Windows 10, but the improvements mentioned here are the ones that make me most productive. I’m my own IT support guy, so the less time I need to spend messing around with my system the better.

Windows 10 is solid … but still not perfect

Windows 10 isn’t trouble free, of course. The OS collects an awful lot of data you may not want to share with Microsoft, though settings are available to reduce the data flow. The built-in Edge browser still is not ready for prime time, and it shows in its market share — about five percent.

Then there’s the update issue. Microsoft forcibly pushes updates, including the massive anniversary update, and doesn’t make it easy for people to avoid them. It’s no fun to try and shut off your system only to be told you can’t because it’s in the process of installing a patch or upgrade.

Some application vendors don’t do a great job supporting the new OS. I’ve had related problems but won’t single out any particular company, because my issues may be the result of some one-off interaction between Windows, an app, and the various peripherals that make up my home office network. However, I will say — and sources at Microsoft confirm — some older version of Office do not run well on Windows 10.

If you’ve been waiting to buy a new PC because you weren’t sure of Windows 10, I say go for it. Upgrading an older machine, though, can be problematic, depending on its age. If you can afford it, a clean start is a much better idea.