The Woes, and Wows, of Windows 10! – Psinergy Tech
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The Woes, and Wows, of Windows 10!

The Woes, and Wows, of Windows 10!

The Windows 10 upgrades, for us, have been a breeze! Honestly, it was an amazingly easy and smooth upgrade. We were really amazed that all of our settings transferred over… even the saved session of Google Chrome. Now while the upgrade was the easiest we have ever experienced, there are some things to note and be cautious with.

Windows 10 was released a little over a week ago and to say it has mixed reviews would be a gross understatement. This release of Windows was brought to market very quickly, and was originally slated to be released September/October. Many tech preview users were kind of surprised to still be receiving major updates just a few days before the launch.

We’ve installed it on a few machines with very few problems, though pretty glaring problems at the same time. The concerns have more been after it was installed. These have included freezing and lockups, driver crashes, Windows system files freezing, and massive privacy and data security issues. We’ve also heard about many more drastic problems from multiple sources.

 

Let’s start with the basics

Most systems currently running Windows 10 were upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 machines. Due to the wide variety of configurations, there are bound to be some driver issues, this really isn’t anything new, but is something that has been very frustrating for early adopters.

  • Caution with Windows 10This time around there is a glaring hiccup, NVIDIA graphics drivers have been faulty or crashing on numerous machines if you use the driver available from Windows Update. This is a pretty massive problem as no display or a continuously blinking display makes the computer extremely difficult to use. If you are able to, make sure to install the newest driver set available directly from NVIDIA immediately after install to avoid this issue. It is possible to fix, though requires a good amount of patience or booting into VGA/low resolution mode to bypass the current driver (which can be tricky if you aren’t familiar with it).
  • For other driver problems, it is best to get the drivers directly from the hardware manufacturer if possible. Make sure that the drivers you are looking at are Windows 10 compatible.
  • For major computer brands such as Dell, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, and others, you can check the support page for updated drivers specific for your device and Windows 10.
    Tip: This is best to do before you upgrade to Windows 10 as it is much easier the prevent a problem than fix it.
  • Many mobile devices have been seeing a 10% drop in battery life due to a bug. Microsoft and Intel are working on getting this fixed, and more than likely the only way that you will know it’s fixed is that you’re able to use your device for a longer period without plugging it in as it will probably just be pushed to devices without you knowing.
  • There is also a Show and Hide tool to let you know what updates have been installed, and gives you the ability to uninstall problematic updates. More info here: http://www.howtogeek.com/?p=223864

There are numerous things that can cause a system to freeze up or crash other than driver problems and we’ve already dealt with a few in our Computer Rehab Center. Occasional glitches are somewhat to be expected with a new operating system, especially one that was rushed to market, and these are normally corrected over time. Realistically, it’s impossible to plan for every contingency or environment. Here is another example where patience is a must as some problems are caused by numerous different factors and take time to correct.

  • Not all third-party software works properly (if at all) with Windows 10. This can cause a program to overrun the system with errors, some of which are never shown to the user. Hopefully, these problems will be worked out through program updates.
    Tip: If a particular program seems to be at the center of a system crashing or freezing, check to see if there are updates available for it.
  • The biggest issue we’ve noticed so far was that Windows Explorer (the shell or base program for Windows) has a tendency to stop responding during and after automatic updates. This was an issue in the tech previews, and was still an issue after launch. The easiest fix is to restart your computer, though not being able to get to the new start button can make this difficult.
    Tip: Just remember, Ctrl-Alt-Del is still your friend, and still works in Windows 10, giving background access to a plethora of functions including the shutdown/restart commands.

 

Privacy and Security

While usability issues are to be expected from a rushed to market OS, there is a much more worrisome aspect to the new Windows 10 features.

As another tech blog posted, “Windows 10 is spying on almost everything you do – …”

SpyingData Privacy has been a hot button topic lately. Most of the concerns are able to be dealt with by changing privacy settings and turning off unwanted features.

  • Microsoft made the decision to put their terms and conditions in “plain English”. This is a major step forward in transparency, though it also makes the issues very obvious if you’ve read them, if you can get through the 45 page document. The most glaring example is the phrase “and more” present when describing the type of information collected and stored from your computer.
  • Cortana, Microsoft’s new Personal Digital Assistant, is built-in to Windows 10 and is one of the “and more” examples. This is a very non-descript term, and we’ll have to see what the practical applications really are.
  • Another broad term also comes from the Cortana portion and stated that it will also collect and use “various types of data, such as your device location, data from your calendar, the apps you use, data from your emails and text messages, who you call, your contacts and how often you interact with them on your device”… though what good personal assistant doesn’t know every detail, and crook and cranny, of your entire life?
  • One additional area of concern is blatantly stated: “We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services.”
  • Windows 10 can now disable, what they view as, pirated games and other software.

 

Security & Updates

So we covered some of the concerns from the terms and conditions, and there were a few biggies. Another possible threat comes from Windows Update itself. With the Home version of Windows 10, there is no longer an option to delay an update, and with how well some updates have been working as of late, that should be a huge concern for home users. Basically with this new functionality, as soon as it is released, it will begin installing on your machine. This in and of itself isn’t necessarily a security threat; that comes from where you may be downloading the update from. By default, Windows 10 will download available updates from:

  1. Microsoft,
  2. other computers on your local network,
  3. and (disturbingly) other computers on the internet.

There are security measures in place, though little is known about them. Who’s to say you won’t be downloading malicious software along with that new security update in the near future? Virus writers and hackers are very, very smart. You can go into Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose How Updates Are Delivered and make sure that it is only downloading from Microsoft by turning this option off. One concern with downloading updates from other computers on your local network is that they don’t specify what they consider your local network, it could possibly be just any computer on the same subnet and IP structure as you, so theoretically if you’re at a coffee shop, or other public Wi-Fi zone that has a computer with a bad update, this could really be troublesome for you. Now, if you’re computers all stay at home, never connect to other “local” networks, have anti-virus installed… this is probably a feature you will enjoy when having it set to the option of getting it from Microsoft or other computers on your local network.

Additionally with the new way Microsoft is updating this OS, they have the ability to update your system without your knowledge. While some users can delay these updates (Enterprise and Pro users), you cannot [easily] delay them forever. Microsoft has not said what it will do if you don’t apply these updates, or if you forcibly disable Windows Updates.

 

To be fair, the release of Windows 10 isn’t all doom and gloom. There are at least a few silver linings to the storm clouds.

  • Windows 10's new Start Menu

    The new Windows 10 Start Button. So much better! It’s a cross between the older style Start Menu many are use to, and the new Metro UI. This is what Windows 8.x should of had!

    The return of the “Start” button is a long awaited triumph, and a beautiful blending of the new “Metro UI” and the more traditional style.

It finally adds back the usability to Windows that should have come with Windows 8.1 (or never have been removed from Windows 8 in the first place).

  • Consistency is at the core of Windows 10. It’s actually the same operating system base whether you’re on a desktop, laptop, all-in-one, tablet, and soon to be, phone. This could mark a shift in the mobile office with the ability to seamlessly transfer between devices.
  • Microsoft is finally letting go of Internet Explorer. While this will cause some growing pains, especially for businesses, it marks a much needed shift to the more streamlined and secure Microsoft Edge.
  • There are even benefits that come with the issues mentioned earlier. Windows is finally introducing a digital assistant that will learn how you use it and grow with you. Cortana just needs some tweaks and safeguards put in place.

There are still a lot of things we don’t know about Windows 10, and there are definitely things that need to be addressed, but the speed and functionality blend is hard to overlook. With the number of Windows 10 devices numbering somewhere around 25 million, they must have done something right (or it could have just been the captive audience marketing – or that users just miss the Start Menu that much and hadn’t found another option).

Bottom line: Don’t feel pressured to jump in immediately – the free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1 is good until July 29th, 2016.

2 thoughts on “The Woes, and Wows, of Windows 10!

Todd Mortensen
Todd Mortensen says:

so bottom line, is it worth upgrading to 10? We currently run Windowls 7

    Psinergy TechWarrior St. Paul
    Psinergy TechWarrior St. Paul says:

    Eventually, probably. Right now… especially seeing you’re a business, wait until more of the kinks get worked out.

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