Windows Technical Preview. Build 9841. 64 bit.
Is it right to review a preview? I mean, it’s just a glimpse of what might be, right? A beta and as Microsoft is at pains to point out, it may not necessarily represent the finished product and shouldn’t be taken as gospel, or words to that effect.
Ever since we were given tasters of XP, Vista, Seven and Windows 8, the technical preview has always proved to be a near bulletproof blueprint of what will definitively be the OS on final release. Except, in the case of Windows 8, that pot of gold at the end of that particular rainbow turned into a crock of the fools’ variety.
So, of course it’s right to review a preview. It might as well be the finished product and until it’s release next year, will be tweaked accordingly, now that Microsoft has finally decided that listening to its users is maybe not such a bad idea after all.
The first thing that worried me on installation,was that nothing had changed, but then patience has never been my strong point. The hand holding and setting up messages were the same, the enticing screen colour changes wooing me into a new and exciting tenth incarnation of Windows, were more of the same Windows 8 glitter I had seen before. But the big question tripping off my mind was: will I like it?
Once bitten, twice shy?
The moment of truth
My position was purely defensive and the trenches that had been dug by rival Windows 8 factions, were clearly foremost in my mind. Those in the offensive trench by the way and having held it, had rapidly moved to the front lines, grenades in hand and outflanked and outnumbered, capitulation inevitable.
This time though, I was prepared and when presented with the twenty question screens, I changed tactics, became aloof and decided that NO, I didn’t want Microsoft to own me and NO, I didn’t want to sign on live and naked to the world. Why should I after all?
As anyone that’s dabbled with Windows 8 will know, avoiding the Microsoft sign-on requires nothing more than pretending that you don’t have an account, which results in nothing more sinister than a name and a password being required to log on to Windows, which suited me just fine.
As I watched the venerable OS marching through its final stages of preparation, I reminded myself that I hadn’t yet read any comments or preview previews of Windows 10 intentionally, since I had already become jaded by the previously mentioned trench warfare. I did ask myself the following questions though:
- Will I see charms?
- Has the Start Menu returned?
- Will I be able to find my programs?
- Will I need to faff about with tiles?
- Will my games run?
You may have a totally different set of criteria, but for me and for many other Windows users, not getting lost in the system has become a priority since the debacle of the Windows 8 tiles and charm system.
And what a pleasant surprise I was greeted with when the desktop appeared. Although I was expecting a fanfare of trumpets and a choir of angels, what I got instead, more than made up for those slight omissions. The traditional Start Menu had returned, I couldn’t see any tiles and try as I might, I couldn’t entice one single charm from any corner of the screen. Frankly, it was a blissful experience and once I had installed a couple of programs, I was able to use the Start Menu in the way I had become accustomed to for so many years before. Not much to ask really.
What’s in a name?
I never meant this review to be a full technical breakdown of Windows 10, but rather to summarise the first impressions in the same way as one might on driving that new car out of the showroom on a Friday afternoon and finding that all the knobs and buttons are where you expect them to be and the salesman has employed a liberal amount of elbow grease with a good shine up and she goes just as fast as you ever expected.
Much has also been made of the nomenclature, that is to say skipping 9 and going straight to 10 and not being an update of an update. Frankly, they can call it Ermintrude as far as I’m concerned, just as long as it does what it says on the can, easily and quickly. Which it does.
Having played with the Preview for a couple of days and finding that shutting down was merely three clicks away, games run beautifully and time-to-desktop is a mere few seconds, it’s a huge relief to find that Microsoft has finally answered so many questions and laid so many of our fears to rest.
As I write this, using no less than the Technical Preview itself, I feel a tad relieved that I’ve not yet glimpsed at other reviews online, as I’m sure that there will be many that are still not satisfied; but then isn’t that what a technical preview is designed to do?
So, maybe now it’s time to pack up those pikes and pitchforks, to scramble out from the trenches and embrace that which was lost, but now is found again.