Windows 10: The Good…and the Ugly

I recently upgraded my home desktop to Windows 10 from the abomination that was Windows 8.1. In my almost two weeks-ish with the new OS, I’ve had a few thoughts.

Number one, it’s been a fantastic improvement over 8 & 8.1. The start menu is, as you’ve probably heard, restored to it’s rightful locale, but it’s not the same greatest-hits version we loved in Windows 7. At least it’s not 8.1’s cop-out of a “start button” that just sent you to the acid-trip of a start screen.

Compatibility has been fine, with only my CPU cooler’s LED light software not working after the upgrade. This isn’t a big deal, since who the fuck cares that much about LED lights. Personally, I wish there was a simple OFF setting. In terms of actually useful software, I’ve had zero issues with any of it. Even the perpetually bitchy Cisco AnyConnect VPN client seems to be working with very little of it’s usual kinks.

So what is there to hate about Windows 10? Really very little. However, what little there is to hate is fairly important, at least to me. Windows 10 is Microsoft’s first foray into “Windows as a Service.” An all-encompassing platform—most likely for very low cost or free later in it’s maturation—from which desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile devices can run from…and consume content.

That’s the thing. In Windows 8, you see a teeny-tiny inkling of this new direction in the “Windows Store” and its hedged garden of apps. Now, in Windows 10, we’re seeing this garden has had a bit more acreage tilled into it. The taskbar search now includes Bing results, along with saving and reporting searches to Microsoft for better targeting while muddling your local file and application searches. Cortana, the new voice-controlled Siri-like personal assistant named after Master Chief’s sidekick in the Halo series, caters to your whims while directing you to the hedged garden and whispering sweet nothings about your searches in Microsoft’s ear. The new web browser, Microsoft Edge, is leaps and bounds better than the outgoing Internet Explorer. However, it’s profound lack of plugin and settings import features make it feel very much like a browser on training wheels.

In other words, although the new Windows platform appears to so far be rock solid, it’s becoming apparent that Microsoft wants Windows to go beyond a simple operating system into the realm of a sales platform. And with their new free upgrade model, who could blame them? They’re a corporation that reports to shareholders. Shareholders need teh munnehs. For things that require Windows, I’m more than happy to use Windows 10. For anything else, I’ll stick to Debian on my trusty old Lappy.