Month: October 2014
With the release of the Windows 10 Technical Preview last week, I (like so many other IT Pros around the world) have installed it onto my primary device and am using it in anger for the first time. What follows is my first impressions of the new and the shiny. Note that I haven’t gone hunting for new features – these really only relate to features I’ve encountered in everyday use as an end-user. I’ll post another update soon with my impressions from an Enterprise Admin perspective.
New Start Menu
Personally, I liked the Windows 8 Start experience, so wasn’t looking for a change here. That said, the new one is a nice blend of the old and the new. It’s nice having the ability to pin a list of common stuff to your left-hand menu (the old style Windows 7 menu), but also maintain the live-tile experience with the right-hand side Win8 elements. My only complaint is the ‘all programs’ list view is too old school. The ability to see all your apps in the Win8 Start screen was great, especially when combined with view filters (eg. sort by date installed).
It’s with pointing out for those that like the Windows 8 Start Screen experience, you can change your Start Menu to use the Windows 8 version.
Improved Search Experience
This is probably my favourite change in Windows 10 – it’s brilliant. I loved the unified search functionality of Windows 8 – search for ‘everything’ from one place – your Start screen. Simple, fast, brilliant. Windows 10 turns that up to 11. When searching from the Start Menu, you get the same Windows 8 experience you’ve got used to – local apps, files, and web suggestions – nothing new there apart from the layout. Where things get exciting is when you click through to one of those web suggestions. This takes you to the Search interface proper, where you get an expanded view of web/files/apps, but also images, videos, settings, and thumbnails/previews everywhere. Now we really are searching ‘everything’ from one place.
I wonder whether a future enhancement might be to search across your other connected Windows devices (Windows Phone, Xbox, etc). Given the talk about ‘one platform everywhere’, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case.
Copy/Paste in Command Prompt / PowerShell
I spend a lot of time in PowerShell (less so in cmd), and have been wanting proper copy/paste (Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V) functionality here since forever. Finally, it’s here. And it works. There’s not much to say on this really – its a basic feature that just does what it should. At last. Win.
I’ve seen several posts about how this is such a great (and long desired) feature – but truth be told – I don’t really get it. This feature effectively gives you independent desktops to create workspaces that suit your user behaviour. In principal, I like the sound of that. I often work on documents or platforms that require a level of discretion/privacy, so being able to group those tasks on a separate desktop that I can quickly hide away has some appeal. In practice however, the separate desktops are, for want of a better phrase, too close together. By this I mean that if you have apps open in one desktop (lets call it Desktop “A”), then switch to another desktop (lets call this one Desktop “B”), you’d expect a level of isolation between the two. But regardless of which one you’re in, as soon as you Alt-Tab (and who doesn’t?), you’ll see all apps in all desktops, and will be automatically swapped between them. So where is the isolation? All we’ve achieved is a little bit of de-clutter.
The upgrade process for Windows just keeps getting easier and faster. In-place upgrade from Windows 8.1 to 10 took less than 30 minutes (on an SSD based laptop from USB media), required less than half a dozen clicks, and kept most of my Windows apps intact. Couple this with how so much of your user profile is synced to the cloud these days, and the time it takes to get your OS back to a familiar state is nothin. Super simple.
There are some nice enhancements in Windows 10 over Windows 8/8.1, and I certainly like where the platform is heading – the usability changes in Windows 10 will certainly ease the transition from Windows 7 and prior – but overall, I’m left feeling a little let down. Moving from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 felt like a big deal – it sounded so monumental. But on the surface, it’s a lot of the same. However, I think its obvious that there is a lot more to come, and most of the exciting stuff in Windows 10 wont really start to shine until we see all the other platforms (Phone, Xbox, the Internet of Things) take their own step towards Windows 10 – that’s where the real gold lies. Once everything in your life is running the same OS, shit is going to get crazy.