Looking back at 2016
In the lab we have a now ageing Phenom II X4 965, paired with 16GB of RAM and a Radeon 7950 3GB GPU, which has provided sterling service since its original build year of 2010. During that time, I’ve managed to move the components into three different PC cases, finally settling on an NZXT Phantom full tower with its acres of space and superb cable management system. I also added a 250Gb Kingston solid state drive last June and frankly, once you’ve ditched spinners as your main boot drive, there’s never ever any going back. Boot up times are literally in seconds and Windows 10 simply flies along. The next big upgrade to this machine will be a new motherboard and CPU, probably an AMD FX 8320 and if funds permit an upgrade to the GPU. Essentially a new machine then.
Although I use the machine for work purposes, its design is primarily gaming, which isn’t to say that I spend my time between customers tearing around a racetrack or killing zombies, but upgrading is a serious business and requires constant attention.
Windows 10 Anniversary Update
Like most people I was quick to take advantage of Microsoft’s offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10 having been a Windows 10 Insider for months before the launch and can report that, apart from the much needed adios to Windows 8, my experience with Windows 10 has been pretty much problem free. That is until the anniversary update came along, which has resulted in a ten fold increase of spam to my Outlook.com inbox. I know this to be fact because the deluge of crap occurred practically overnight, resulting in a tedious cleaning up operation every time I open Outlook.com every morning. Clearly the content of the spam is not an issue; magic potions, get rich quick schemes, dried fruit and limited edition officially minted Trump coins are for serious spam addicts. The issue is the annoyance factor.
Over the last eighteen months I’ve installed Windows 10 more than two dozen times on various PCs; be that for my own personal use or for customers and on each and every occasion I’ve ensured that Microsoft’s default express privacy options have been unchecked/deselected in the final stages of each install. It’s important to remember that simply agreeing to every express recommendation and clicking next at each prompt, is not the recommended way to install Windows 10. If however, you wish to change your privacy settings later, simply hit all settings in the action centre and go to privacy. However, deselecting ALL the options is not necessarily the answer to all your prayers as the horse may have already bolted.
In addition you may want to change the spam filters in Outlook.com, with the belt and braces approach being to add people to your safe senders list, the method for doing so would require an entire article all of its own.
Living and working with Windows 10
Or to be more precise in my case, living and playing with Windows 10.
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the shift from the Windows 8 fiasco was not only necessary, but inevitable. The change from Windows 7 directly to Windows 10 was not so painful, but what is curious, from my point of view anyway, are the features I no longer use that I appeared to be hooked on in both XP and 7.
- Windows sounds
- Start menu
- Fancy backgrounds
Most Windows sounds are no longer installed by default in Windows 10 anyway and strangely, I don’t miss them one bit. The Start Menu, I barely use as I’ve placed everything I use on the taskbar and all my games shortcuts reside in a folder on the desktop. Gadgets and backgrounds? Well, gadgets are no longer supported except by third party installers and, boring as it may sound, I simply loaded a standard Windows 10 background and left it at that. Perhaps it’s because nowadays life is so cluttered and distracting anyway that I just want to get on with the job in hand.
In Part 2, I’ll summarize my experience with Windows 10´s gaming performance.