Friday, August 7, 2015

Windows 10 First Impressions

This is a short list of my impressions, problems and new features that I have encountered in my first few days with Windows 10. The PC is a brand new HP Pavilion x360 Convertible with a Celeron CPU, 4GB memory and 500 GB HDD. It came with Windows 8.1 installed. On Monday morning I got notification that the Windows 10 update was ready so I kicked it off. I did an upgrade, not a clean install. I didn't time it, but the upgrade took quite awhile. Although it seemed slow, there were no errors. When the upgrade completed, the system booted up fine and all my stuff was still there. 

To set a baseline, I had installed very limited software or loaded very few files to the 8.1 system. I did install the Chrome browser and avast! security/anti-virus. I was also not very impressed with the performance. I was not too concerned since I primarily use Linux Mint. I had not installed Linux since I knew the Windows 10 upgrade was imminent and I still have another working Mint PC. No sense complicating things. Once I am sure Windows 10 is solid, I will carve up the disk and install Linux Mint beside it. 

I will break this review up between Windows 10 and Edge, the new Microsoft browser.

Windows 10

  • Windows 10 does not appear any faster than 8.1 although I have not done any formal timings or benchmarks.
  • Some secondary (child) menus do not open on top (in front) of their primary (parent) menu. An example would be the advanced mouse properties window opens behind the Mouse & Touchpad Devices window.
  • Speaking of the touchpad, edge scrolling is not a default. I selected that option in settings and clicked apply and OK. That turned the edge scrolling on but the change was gone after a boot.
  • The pointer has disappeared at least twice in a Chrome window. If you move it around, the clickable fields will highlight and are indeed clickable. A restart of Chrome did not fix it. A reboot did bring back the pointer.
  • Chrome in general is slow.
  • Internet Explorer 11 showed as an unsupported browser in Blogger although it mostly worked. The "Preview" banner did not show when a post is previewed.
  • "Hey Cortana" is no "OK Google". It fails to use location on some queries when it would be appropriate. 
  • Cortana woke up a couple of times when I didn't ask her to. After reboot it didn't recognize any voice requests. Actually the microphone quit. Don't know yet if it's hardware or Win 10. It started working again, kind of. I have Cortana set to always listen but she doesn't. I have to click the microphone.
  • Touch screen stopped working in a Chrome window. Couldn't scroll or click. I'm getting the impression that Windows 10 does not like Chrome or anything Google. Touchscreen still worked in other windows.
  • Occasionally the task bar will not become visible (pop up). Minimizing or reducing the window on screen usually fixes problem. Again happens when Chrome is onscreen.
  • This is just my prejudice, but the hotkey to change from one desktop to the next is ctrl+Windows+arrow, the ctrl+alt+arrow changes the orientation of the screen (landscape, portrait, right side up, upside down). The Windows and alt keys are right next to each other plus, ctrl+alt+arrow changes desktops in most Linux distros. Needless to say I have hit the wrong combination several times.


  • Edge does not seem any faster than Explorer 11
  • There are no extensions yet for Edge. That is a real problem. No password managers, Pocket or Evernote clippers, etc. Once you use a password manager you tend not to remember passwords especially if you have the extension generate them. I'm sure most of us have browser extensions we can't live without.
  • Long press on the "back" arrow does not display a list of recent pages. You have to click the arrow to go back one page at a time.
  • Bookmarks imported from Chrome were backwards. Bookmark toolbar, folders, and sites within folders were reversed. z-a not a-z. There is no bookmark manager and no option to import bookmarks from an exported file. You can manually move sites/folders on toolbar or in bookmark the list, but that is tedious. I saw some posts where people used the Chrome or Firefox bookmarks manager to resort their favorites into descending order prior to importing to Edge. Seems like a like a pretty poor workaround and a major gap in the Edge product.
  • Clickable links on some sites/pages turned out to not be clickable. 
  • Google Play Music, My Music shows blank tab (
  • Google Blogger does not work. Post edit pages show only HTML, not plain text input. No text edit tool bar displayed. There is no button to change between raw HTML and plain text. This is make Blogger unusable unless you are a real nerd. I know HTML and sometimes use the raw HTML view to fix something Blogger didn't interpret correctly but it is damn tedious to produce a whole post in HTML.
  • A couple of web pages did not render correctly, at least the first try. The NWS forecast page was one (
This is by no means a thorough or complete list of problems. I'll update any problems that I find a solution or alternative for. 

Overall Windows 10 looks better than Windows 8 and eventually will probably be OK. I like the return of the start button and the ability to open multiple desktops. It's about time for that feature. If you come from a Unix, Linux or Mac environment you are probably used to this feature. I first used it in the early 90's on Unix workstations so you see Microsoft was very slow to the table. 

If you need a stable system I would suggest sticking with what you are currently running for a little while longer. If you are like me and don't mind tinkering with glitches and/or have a another stable real or virtual environment go ahead and take the plunge. I plan to play with Windows 10 stand alone for a couple more days before installing Linux Mint beside it on the new HP.

Stay tuned.


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