The Windows 10 Experience



I wasn’t planning on upgrading to Windows 10 any time soon. Microsoft had other ideas. A new icon kept showing in the system tray saying Get Windows 10! It’ll be Fun! and there was no way to get rid of it. My laptop and desktop machines downloaded the installation files on the quiet; I only found out about it when I noticed the hard drive light blinking away all the time, and I opened up the resource manager to see what was going on. Then I had a window pop up telling me that my computer and all my software was compatible with Windows 10, and please Please PLEASE install Windows 10, and if you don’t do it while it’s free we’ll charge you $119 for it and send someone to your house to duct-tape you to a chair and force you to watch while they install it for you. Well, I might have dreamt about that last bit.

To be honest I was a little concerned about doing something so potentially dangerous to my laptop; I use it far more than my desktop system, and it’s where I do all my writing so the data is sacred. And it’s a few years old, so I was a little bit edgy. But… well, they did say it was all compatible. And all my files are backed up in the cloud (Google Is Your Friend).

So yesterday I caved in to the pressure, said Sod It to myself, and clicked the button that said Oh, All Right Then, If It’ll Shut You The Fuck Up.

What Happened Next

I got a screen that said the machine would reboot a few times, and at least had the decency to tell me what was happening and how far it had got, so I could see it was actually doing things. It took an hour or so, I think. Then it went through a few startup screens asking whether I wanted to switch some default applications for playing videos and such to the new ones that come with Win10 (I didn’t; I like the ones I use. I’ll look at the new ones later and decide).

Finally, up came my familiar desktop (the one with the pictures of European castles), but with some new stuff on the taskbar and in the system tray.

THEN MY ANTIVIRUS BLEW UP. Well, it didn’t exactly explode. But it wasn’t working, that was for sure.

A little bit of investigation showed that, yes, the antivirus IS compatible with Win10, but I should have read the vendor’s website before I updated, idiot. Turns out I should have uninstalled the AV before the update, then re-installed after. Trying to uninstall after the fact doesn’t work; the ghost of the AV haunts the system, attempting to start up when you reboot.

I fixed it in the end; the AV vendor has an uninstall program to solve the problem. Download it, reboot into Safe Mode, bring up an admin command line, run the program thereby deleting all the old AV files, reboot to normal mode. Then re-install the AV and all is well. (Well, not immediately; the AV does a “first scan” that rips through the entire hard drive, deep-scanning. Takes a couple of hours during which system performance is crippled. I just left it alone until it was done.)

Everything else I use daily seemed to be working ok. Word fired up and immediately popped up a pop-up saying it was updating (I guess there’s a Win10 upgrade, but it was automatic and took less than a minute). Scrivener came up just fine. Google Chrome looked ok at first… then I noticed the links to Gmail, Google Apps, and so on, on the New Tab page, weren’t showing any more. That’s been reported to Google in case that’s something to do with the Win10 upgrade. As it happens, Chrome just downloaded an update; maybe that’ll fix it. I’ll know soon enough. [Update: Chrome bug, nothing to do with Win10. They fixed it last night.]

After All Is Said And Done

IS it better than Windows 7? Too early to tell. I can say right away that I don’t much like that Metro style that makes the windows look like a Windows phone or tablet. And I don’t like that I can’t disable the touchpad when the USB mouse is plugged in (Windows 7 had an option for that, although it looks like the problem might be more to do with the touchpad driver and not actually a Windows problem. All the same, if they don’t fix it soon I’ll have to disable the touchpad altogether. I keep catching the damned thing with my thumbs while I’m typing, and it’s a pain in the arse). I haven’t tried Microsoft Edge properly yet, although the couple of pages I’ve tested so far haven’t loaded and rendered particularly quickly (not that it matters, really—I use Chrome for pretty much everything and that’s not likely to change any time soon). But it does, at first sight, look like an improvement on Internet Explorer; maybe we can put that piece of old junk in the ground at last.

If there is ONE feature that looks like a real winner, it’s the Task View. Using that you can create multiple desktops. For me that’ll make it possible to keep writing apps (Word and Scrivener) on a dedicated desktop separate from everything else. It could still use a little work, I think; something up in the corner of the screen, maybe, showing which desktop you’re on and letting you click to switch to another one quickly. (Although, I did find a page with some handy keyboard shortcuts that speed things along.)

But in the big scheme of things, the upgrade was relatively painless and I’ll almost certainly upgrade my desktop system before too long. If I have one bit of advice for you, gentle reader, it would be this: check the vendor websites for all your third-party software and see what they have to say about how their junk plays with Win10. Maybe some won’t work, maybe some will need to be re-installed. My experience with the antivirus I use could have been avoided if I’d checked first.

Until next time . . .

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