My first 72 hours with Windows 10

The pop up comes on my laptop screen “It’s almost time for your update to Windows 10..in 1 hour” and I click to postpone it, as I have done the last 10 times I saw this message. I really want to upgrade from Windows 7 to the new and free version. It’s just that I am apprehensive about many things – what if the update does not go smooth? What if it takes too long? And above all else, will I like it, or will it suck like Windows 8 did?

As an owner of a one year old laptop running Windows 7, I am entitled to a free upgrade, but I have procrastinated for nearly a week.

Finally, 3 nights ago, I just gave up and gave the green signal. The decision was helped by the fact that I had inadvertently downloaded a malware which caused BSOD a couple of times before I managed to disinfect it, and I was feeling a little bored at the prospect of re-installing Win 7. I started the upgrade, then, as I was very tired, I went off to sleep. I woke up to a new sign-in screen.

I have updated or reloaded Operating Systems before, and it was invariably a painful process involving ISO images, loading of separate discs and multiple reboots. This was the first time that I saw such a smooth and seamless update. I did not have to save or backup anything, all my files were exactly where they were earlier, all my programs (now reborn as ‘Windows Apps’) were intact and working as though nothing had changed. I noticed only two small changes. I had to re-install the HP Printer Drivers and Kaspersky Internet Security. Only the latest version of Kaspersky is compatible with Windows. But Windows even remembered my Kaspersky Licence Key and activated the Anti-virus automatically. Had I opted to reinstall Windows 7 on my laptop, the process would not have been so easy. Well done, Microsoft.

The beauty of the new set up is that it looks like a new Windows (and somewhat like the much-hated Windows 8) but it’s also the same Windows. There is much-needed, and well executed change in the design and UX but the basics stay the same. It does not try to re-invent the way my desktop behaves by covering it with tiles. But it looks cleaner and better. I never thought I would say this, but for the first time, the Windows interface looks cooler and nicer than the Apple OS.

Clean and bright menus and notification screens change the look of the desktop
The boot up time is way faster and the battery life seems a tad longer but it’s early days yet to form a conclusion on the latter.
The huge difference is when you fire up Edge, the new browser that has replaced Internet Explorer. It looks futuristic, clean and lean, and I think I like it even better than Chrome. I rarely used IE – I am quite sure that I will be using Chrome.

Edge looks neat, and works like a treat! Way better than IE.

There are some irritations. Games have vanished (I was looking for the much-discussed new version of Solitaire). I still cannot find where my Office programs are. To access Power Point, I had to find and open a Power Point File. And the search function does not seem to actually find anything on my laptop! I cannot find the Control Panel, and it seems to have been replaced by Settings, with fewer options than what I used to have earlier. I’m sure that I will figure all this out along the way, but as of now, I am a little puzzled.

Search cannot find PowerPoint on my own PC, but finds a lot from the Web.

One look at the Microsoft App Store and you can be fooled into thinking that you are looking at the Google Play Store. It is bright and well populated with interesting apps that you will want to download. I am not so sure what has happened to my existing programs – some of them are called apps and others (like Office 2013) are not, and have vanished.

The colorful, app-filled store is a welcome addition

All in all, what are my first impressions of Windows 10? I am happy that I upgraded, and I have no intention to roll back (which is a relief, because I have misplaced the OEM Operating System Installation CDs that Dell sent with my laptop – now, I need not worry about them). In case you do not like the upgrade, you can roll back to Windows 7 within a month, without any need for installation CDs or backups.

It feels new and yet it feels familiar, and that’s an important factor in the PC world where familiarity breeds productivity. Vintage wine, in a beautiful new bottle, is a winning recipe!

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