After all these years, and growing up with Windows 3.1, I have seen an entire evolution of computers and software. Touch screens and large resolutions were a pipe dream just 15 years ago. Now it’s the norm. Going from a Packard Bell (yes, before HP) that couldn’t run 3D Ultra Mini Golf and saving Paint pictures on floppies, to Windows 98 and creating embarrassing songs on the Midi Keyboard, and finally getting 300kbp/s DSL so I can watch Backstreet Boys music videos in “300K” yeah the K meant something else back then. Going from that to Windows 2000 and XP and playing Half-Life 2 for the first time using a weird piece of shitty software called Steam. Something that pissed people off when they had to install it and just wanted to play Half-Life. From using an ATI (before AMD bought them) Xpress 200 onboard chip and struggling to play HL2. Going from Windows 7 and the first DirectX 11 GPUs and dual-core CPUs rolling into games like Crysis and Microsoft Flight Simulator X to quad-core CPUs and GPUs that are thousands of times more powerful than that first computer I had. Now we’re at Windows 10. What a journey.
Windows has had its ups and downs, but Windows 10 is finally another up for Microsoft. With a monster of a new strategy (and a risky one) as well as lessons learned from Windows 8 and Vista, Microsoft has released the next best OS around. Taking the fundamentals from Windows 7 and fusing it with the cutting edge technology of Windows 8 allowed Microsoft to create the ultimate operating system that will finally kick-start and entire new generation of OS from here on out. There are millions of people on the fence with Windows 10, but I jumped in on day one like 15 million other people and here’s why.
More Automated Installation…for Dummies
Windows 10 now reassures you that you can be lazy and not touch a god damn thing and it will do everything for you. How freaking convenient! Now with most people who have the attention span of a goat, Microsoft realized no one will wait around 90 minutes to check for new installation progress and click through menus. It will tell you things like “Sit back and relax”, “Just a few more things”, “Almost Done”, “Wrapping things up”. All things that impatient people love hearing. I’m not one to complain. If I can install Windows from here on out without touching a damn thing I’m fine with it. Just watch a big white circle fill up and your PC restart a few times. Pretty painless and simple. The initial setup is as easy as setting up your phone. Want to know why Windows 10 is a lot like a phone? Because everyone has one! Why not make it look like something 5 billion people already use everyday? Or we can act like neanderthals and demand something that was practical 20 years ago. Your choice.
Windows 10 Leaves the Keepsies Game
Hate Windows 10 with a passion? Is the simplicity too much for you to adjust to and you want to go back to dozens of windows and menus? Just go into settings and roll back to your previous OS. No keepsies, Microsoft promises. Want to go back to Windows 8 and torture yourself? Go back to tablet mode. Microsoft won’t keep it from you. They promise.
Underneath it All, It’s Still Windows 7
Don’t be scared, it’s okay, come out and play. Underneath the shiny new exterior is Windows 7 almost exactly as you left it. Power users can still find their tweaking options where they want them in control panel. All Windows operations from Windows XP onward are still here. I promise, right where you left them. Of course they are under a shiny new skin, but it’s just one button click away from seeing that all too familiar panel or list of settings you are used to. Don’t want to use apps from the appstore? Fine, go ahead and install your programs like normal. Want just a basic boring start menu? Go ahead, just right click on the taskbar like you have for the past 12 years and customize your start menu. Want to change your default apps and what starts with Windows? Go ahead and do it the long boring way as Microsoft now knows what was a pain in the ass to change and what wasn’t. You can do it the long way, but Windows 10 makes things easier for you unless you’re a martyr…do it the old way.
Windows 8 Without the Windows 8
While Windows 10 looks like an overhauled Windows 8 it’s not Windows 8 at all and never will be. The start menu and taskbar are a shiny new black and the start menu now acts as normal plus Live Tiles. Honestly these are great and they are customizable. Like tiles but not alive? Kill them dead and turn it off. Want them smaller? Go ahead, or you can super size them. Want to know what the weather is like? Pin it as a Live Tile and every time you open your start menu and you can see the weather. Want a picture of a giant boob on your start menu…go ahead, why not. Don’t like going outside and forgot what hemisphere you live on?! It’s just a click away! Why does this matter and why should you care? Because you can do that now, that’s the beauty of harnessing more advanced UIs. Did you want the Windows 8 taskbar but Windows 7 desktop? That’s default now. If you loved Windows 8 for some unknown reason turn on tablet mode and you can join the other 10 people who also enjoy it.
Apps Make Life Easier…Seriously
While some people may call them “lazy”, apps on your smartphone are wonderful. Can you imagine your phone only having a web browser and having to go every single website through that? Well it’s more practical on a PC, but why can’t we use apps too? Just want to surf YouTube for a few hours? Get one of the non-official YouTube apps and it’s its own thing. How about just shopping on eBay or Amazon for a while? Download the apps. It’s just like on your phone naysayer, just like that. Click install and it installs just like on a phone. No pop-ups, no pre-reqs to install, no .NET Framework, no runtime files either. Don’t want it anymore? Just click uninstall in the start menu or Apps & Features (the new Program Features) and you’re done. Want to use just the browser still and not be hip and cool? Do it.
All the Tweaks Under Less Clicks
You know the settings on your phone? Windows 10’s most basic functions and settings are now condensed under a settings window just like a phone. Stop whining, once you use it it becomes a pacifier and you’re fine. Click settings in the start menu and you are introduced to all those pesky things that took hours to do and multiple windows to click through. System Settings has all your Windows Updates, Windows Defender, Add/Remove Programs, Notifications, Power Settings. Holy shit, yeah it’s all there now under one roof. Thought that would never happen did you? It’s amazing! How about all your device crap? Bluetooth, printers, scanners, webcams, typing, auto play all under one tab. Just click the device and choose what you want to do with it. Wait. AutoPlay?! Wasn’t that something you had to go into 8 different windows before to get too? It’s right here in this devices tab? Wow! Personalization, accounts, ease of access, privacy. All these settings that took multiple windows to open are now under one single window. It’s a freaking miracle! Oh, yeah and you sign into your Microsoft account to sync all this stuff for if you ever re-format. Yeah, that happened too.
Action Center is Back Like a Crappy Ex That Turned Around
Remember Action Center? That annoying flag that wouldn’t stop telling you things you don’t care about? Now it tells you things you need to know and comes in handy. Remember all those apps I was talking about? Action Center is now your notification hub like on your phone. Think of this as your pull down menu. Email alerts from the new email app, Windows Updates, notes, reminders, it’s all here. The new Action Center notification pop-up is also overhauled and is now a nice little square box that blends in with the OS and is not annoying ever. Think of it as a pop up notification on your phone. Simple and elegant yet very useful. I’m also talking about every single pop-up that used to appear in that damn corner. New devices being installed, errors, windows update notifications, EVERYTHING.
Windows Explorer is Now and Adventure…and Includes All Gear
Windows Explorer finally has all those options that required right clicks and scrolling through settings menus all at the very tippy top of the window. It’s a brand new menu bar that includes things like delete, rename, move to, copy to, properties, select all, invert selection (!), pin to quick access (!), and…SHARING! Holy freaking hell, no more uploading to PhotoBucket and then linking to your social media. Oh yeah, and the view tab has all your viewing needs. Columns, size all columns to fit screen, file name extensions check box. What?! That was hidden in the explorer settings that required an online tutorial to figure out. It’s a checkbox now at the top? Man did they think of everything? Apparently, they did.
More Desktops, Less Monitors
Or more desktops with more monitors. Why not right? Have 18 projects going at once and don’t want to close anything out? Microsoft decided to actually use RAM for something useful and the old Show Desktop button has transformed and evolved. Working in Photoshop with 25 reference windows open in your browser? Want to go back to editing videos and ripping YouTube videos to make a “Top 10” list? Create a new desktop so you don’t have to close your Photoshop crap. Have two monitors? Now you can have 4 desktops, have three monitors? Learn algebra.
Keyboard Shortcut Fetishists Are Now Welcome
One of those one handed guys who doesn’t
like clicking? There are dozens of new keyboard shortcuts from Windows Key+This to Shift+Alt+That. For virtual desktops to selecting text and opening apps. Enjoy…I guess.
Xbox is Now a Parasite
Just kidding, but not really. Xbox is now an integrated part of Windows 10, which is cool, but for the millions of Xbox not-owners it’s only good for one thing: Video capturing. For the first time Windows now includes video capturing software, so you can stop pirating Fraps now. For Xbox owners you can do a lot of cool things…like do Xbox things on Windows. Right on.
Windows Media Player Still Sucks
That’s about it, moving on.
Cortana. Like a Kitana But More Corn.
More like Siri with less Apple. Or more Google with less Now. It’s really a personal assistant right on your desktop. No more moving your hand 2 feet to your phone. You can now search for restaurants, get told to get your ass to work, and drive times. You can even save maps offline! Great for when you have a laptop and no wifi and get lost on treadmills. Voice recognition works with a simple “Hey, Cortana!” I’m sure Halo players have wanted to say that for years! It’s a great new way to get all your travel needs in one spot.
Microsoft Just Got Edgier
Gone is Internet Exploder! Wooo! Party! Kind of…Micrsoft Edge is an honorable change from such a terrible piece of software. It’s well…edgier. In more than one way. The UI has sharp edges and the boxes have edges. You can open new tabs and write notes right on the web page and send it to your phone via Cortana. I hope Master Chief knows this is going on. Eh…it’s good for people who loved IE or didn’t have a preference. If you’re an old guy who just watches porn or a hipster, this is perfect for you. It doesn’t have the options that Chrome and Firefox have which is what Microsoft really needs to wake up too, but the mobile integration and cleaner design is a much welcome change.
Bottom Line…It’s Freaking Free
Yeah, a free Microsoft product. Who would have thought. It’s a revolutionary strategy that Microsoft is taking a serious risk on. Free for a whole year? Damn. Where’s the money coming from? Bill Gates ass, but that’s besides the point. If you have Windows 7 or 8 you get this great piece of software for free forever. Your current key just converts over to Windows 10. Hell, even pirates get it for free. You’re welcome.