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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Windows 10 Insider Preview!



Unless you've been living without a computer or Internet these days, I'm pretty sure you've heard of Windows 10, which is coming out at the end of July. That is actually my current operating system, not just a virtual machine. Coming from Windows 7, I had a lot of installed programs and other things that made the system feel a bit clunky, although it worked surprisingly well. Therefore, I decided to try out the Refresh and Factory Reset option (available since Windows 8), which doesn't require an install media. After "refreshing" my system, I've had issues with the second monitor not being detected properly amongst other things, although my Windows settings such as Downloads folder location was quite intact. That means factory reset, which took a further 2 hours or so.

Now onto the fun part, using the new OS! What I notice right away is the new start menu and charms bar. They can be quite intuitive with enough knowledge and experience I believe. Personally, I just changed the places listed in the start menu, dragged my favourite programs to the right, never combine taskbar buttons etc. The new search menu is actually unnecessary, just type after opening the start menu and it'll show results. I also like how some of my notifications appear on the charms bar. Another new tool I like is the Mail app, which supports virtually all email accounts under the sun. Weirdly, I had to enable the sound and notification banner manually from the settings. Battery, WiFi, sound, date/time all had a remake, and I'm surprised how everything worked out of the box. All the hardware toggles works fine after installing the manufacturer utility/drives, and there are new features such as automatic battery saving!

Windows Explorer (Files app) was also upgraded, with universal Quick Access (taskbar right-click, right-hand side of explorer, etc.) replacing the Favourites. What I mean by those are folders you can quickly access by bookmarking them. Too bad it doesn't work with the start menu yet. Older Windows 7 features are still there, such as system imaging, file history, etc. Backwards compatibility is surprisingly good, with old XP-era games still running strong! Unfortunately, that doesn't mean everything is fine and dandy. I'm still missing Sandboxie, and VirtualBox has been a pain to work with. So much so, that I tried to find Hyper-V, only to notice it's not available in the Home edition... By a pain I mean even the latest beta cannot install properly without unchecking bridged networking, and there will be 3 error prompts sometimes before starting any virtual machines.

Otherwise, all of my essential programs are working fine, plus Chrome is easy to deal with once you sign in with your account. I also have some new stuff in the form of mobile apps such as Facebook, LINE (crashes on photo posts unfortunately), and various games (example: Jetpack Joyride). The new Microsoft Edge browser is currently quite limited, like I can't even set my own download directory! It's settings are also separate from many of Internet Explorer's options. It gets a bit confusing at times switching between Control Panel and the Settings app, I thought it would be more streamlined by now. Of course there are still bugs, one of which is that you have to display recently opened programs on the start menu or else it won't open sometimes.

Overall, I find Windows 10 a worthy, but unnecessary update to Windows 7 (yes I skipped 8). If you want to start from scratch, it's better to upgrade. But otherwise, you may just keep using previous versions of Windows, there is no great need to upgrade at the moment.

*Update*
LINE has fixed their bug. Sometimes Windows Explorer lags and then opens two of the same folder window. Adblocking Windows Store Apps needs something like HostsMan. I tried BA.net free iOS adblock DNS servers, but no cigar.

Better not clean install before registering your machine on Microsoft (Hotmail/Outlook)! Otherwise you wont'get get a genuine license, but only a beta tester one! Or you could upgrade and then factory reset like me.

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