Windows 10 Preview – A First Look


Windows Technical Preview. Build 9841. 64 bit.

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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.

Wrong.

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?

Maybe.

windows-10-technical-preview-keep-files

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.

windowstech

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.

start

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.

shutdown

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.

 

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About the Author

Marc Thomas

Marc is an avid traveler, motorcyclist, entrepreneur, and gamer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. His interest in computers and technology began in the early 1990's when he was introduced by a friend to a Zenith Data Systems computer running DOS. In the years following he has experienced all versions of the Windows operating system, built hundreds of systems, and fixed many more for his customers. Marc also has an interesting forum you might like to check out at Argentina Expats

12 Comments

  1. After a few days my initial impressions are very positive just like yours :). Perhaps Satya Nadella’s philosophy of “actually listen to the customer” is something of a turning point for MS. Only time will tell. It certainly hasn’t been good at that in the past. I don’t believe this would have happened under Ballmer’s rule!

  2. The first day that the preview was released I downloaded the .iso and burned it to disk. Then I installed it as a dual boot with Windows 8.1 with no issues. I liked what I saw and most likely will buy it after it is fully released. I have since deleted the dual boot setup with no issues and was back to my Windows 8.1.

    • Marc,

      Which order did you have to install or are you using a boot loading program? I would like to try multiple operating systems!

  3. Robert
    I’m using Easy BCD 2.2 and three different hard drives.
    It”s preferable to disconnect the drives with 8 or 7 installed on prior to installing another OS, reconnecting them after the install, starting your default OS, then configure Easy BCD.

  4. It’s Windows 8.15 at best. Nowhere near clearing the bar for saving Microsoft from its most embarrassing debacle. They continue insulting customers, saying “We gave you the start menu back!” What they gave us was a miniature apps formerly known as Metro launcher. Metro must die. Instead it’s a zombie, name gone but still moving and devouring the living. Linux is next folks. Time to move. Steam did and that says a lot.

  5. Hi Marc
    I am downloading the windows 10 ISO to give it a look a over. Was wondering how big of a partition I need to set aside for a dual boot with 8.1. Daniel.

  6. Installed the windows 10 preview this afternoon while watching NFL football. At least MS is trying to win back over desktop users with a more sensible desktop environment, meaning the start button menu. If this will be close to the final product then I think windows 7 users will finally have an OS to migrate too. Whether are not I will install the final product will be determined more by the pricing and if MS will offer something on the line of what they offered with windows 8. Daniel.

  7. Love windows 10 (UK) however I have a Lenovo (bought from USA) desktop computer and Cortana tells me that Cortana is not supported in this Region (UK), so I changed all my setting to USA including language etc, still the same response from Cortana! Changed them all back, still cant get Cortana to work.

    Set up my wife’s computer an Asus no problems. can anyone help please it’s driving me round the bend!!