Monday, August 24, 2015

Windows 10 Second Impressions

When I last left you, I was just a few days into playing around with Windows 10. Since then I have continued to play with it. I am still not enamored with it although it is not terrible. I have used Win 10 probably a little more than expected because I am having problems getting Linux loaded on my new HP Pavilion x360. To be honest I haven't spent much time researching those problems. I have a little lack of incentive since I still have a working Linux Mint system. I also have not done extensive or structured testing on the Win 10 system, just day to day stuff that I normally do. I have mostly been using Chrome with a few detours to Firefox and Edge. I'll first address those items I outlined in my "First Impressions" post. Since the first review about two weeks ago there a have been a couple of automatic updates released by Microsoft. 

  • Secondary (child) menus don't appear to still open behind primary (parent) menus so maybe this is either fixed or I haven't recreated the exact same scenario. Maybe fixed.
  • Touchpad edge scrolling does still not survive a boot. Not fixed.
  • I haven't noticed the mouse pointer disappearing in Chrome windows. Maybe fixed.
  • Chrome is still slow, but so is most everything else.
  • I haven's started Internet Explorer 11 again so I'm not sure about any past problems. I don't expect to ever use IE. I never did on Win 7 or 8 except to download Chrome.
  • Cortana is still not great but seems better. To be honest I haven't used it much since Chrome is usually running and I can ask Google. It does respond to "Hey Cortana" now without having to click the microphone. She is still a little location challenged. When I ask what's the weather, I get the local weather. If I ask when is sunrise, I get search results for sunrise/sunset calendars, even if I ask when is sunrise in Bedford, TX. OK Google knows the correct answer.
  • Touchscreen is hit or miss with Chrome windows. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Touchscreen does work in other apps, including other browsers. Not fixed.
  • The task bar still does not appear sometimes when the pointer is dragged to the bottom of the screen. It also doesn't disappear sometimes when it should. Has happened with Chrome and Firefox. Not fixed.

  • As far as I can tell there are still no extensions or add-ons for Edge browser. That makes it unusable for me. Not fixed.
  • Long press on the "back" arrow still does not display a list of recent pages. So you still are limited to going back one page at a time. Not fixed.
  • I haven't imported any bookmarks again so I don't know if they still get imported backwards. There is still no option to import an exported bookmarks file. Still no bookmarks manager either. Not fixed.
  • I haven't noticed anymore clickable links that were not clickable. Fixed
  • Google Play Music, My Music still shows blank tab in Edge ( Other pages are OK but not my music library. Not fixed.
  • Google Blogger now works. No unsupported browser warnings and in the edit mode I can switch between Compose (plain text) and HTML modes. The edit tool bar is also visible. Fixed.
  • I haven't seen anymore pages that didn't render correctly so I'll say - Fixed.
Some new stuff cropped up as I puttered around Windows 10. I downloaded Firefox browser. It does not appear to run much differently from Chrome, maybe a touch faster. I have had a few problems with Firefox. It wants me to update Flash in order to run a few sites and wouldn't run the sites. I haven't done that yet. Chrome and Edge did not show that message and ran the sites just fine. I also had a problem with Secure Connections Peer Certification for some HTTPS: sites. Turned out to be a setting in my avast! security software. I didn't have that problem with Chrome or Edge. I don't know if it is a Mozilla or avast! problem or just an incompatibility. The problem and fix are documented on the Firefox support forum.

I cranked up Edge to see about some of my previous issues. See above about those. What I can say is that at least on  one night, Edge was running much faster with a couple of exceptions. Most sites and pages loaded pretty fast. Some of those notable exceptions were Google sites. Now I'm not saying Microsoft would purposely slow down a major competitor's sites but it is fairly easy to do. I remember back in the dark ages when I was coding operating system stuff we sometimes had to put timing tricks into our programs. We didn't do it to punish our competitors but rather to sync up devices that ran at different speeds and/or had no or limited buffering. OK, sometimes we would slow down some smart ass application programmer's stuff just to make him rethink his code and work harder. Never once his application got into production, then we helped tune it. I digress.

I have one more gripe. As I mentioned, Windows 10 has had some updates since it was released. The first one was very big. My problem is that I either missed the notification of the updates or there were no notifications. I learned they were there when I restarted or powered up my PC. Now updates are great particularly when they close security holes or fix usability bugs. They are not great when you need to fire up the PC and quickly get something done. It can take forever to download, install, reboot (maybe a couple of times) and load all the changes. I have mentioned this before, but I am spoiled by Linux. Every update is optional, you actually have to enter a password to install them. There are no giant cumulative updates with multiple components bundled together. Here's the other big advantage, with the exception of kernel updates, there are hardly any changes that require a system restart. I think it is about time for Microsoft to figure out how to upgrade software without these giant download, restart, update cycles. I hate when I want to quickly startup my PC and do something and it takes 10 or 15 minutes to boot because of Microsoft maintenance. Oh, and to make matters worse you get that "do not turn off your PC"  message on the screen. I have changed the option in the update & security settings to notify me to schedule a restart when system updates are available. Don't know if this will rectify the problem when I power on the PC. Just to make matters a little more exciting and unstable I also signed up for "Insider Builds". That's early receipt of updates and feature changes. Since Windows 10 is not my primary OS I figured it might be fun. 

Performance on Windows 10 seems to vary greatly from one day to the next. I know many things can contribute to that, some outside Windows, but I never noticed these fluctuations on other PCs or operating systems. I do tend to have the same apps and browser tabs open every day, so the workloads should be fairly consistent. I haven't done any in-depth analysis on this problem. 

Nothing has really changed since my first impressions. Windows 10 is probably OK if you just crank up a browser to do Facebook, Twitter and email. If you don't use any browser extensions you may even be able to use Edge. The other candidate for users would be those who like new, cutting edge, often aggravating stuff. If you need your PC to boot up and work as expected, maybe wait a little while longer before plunging into Windows 10.

Meanwhile, I'll be trying to figure out how to get Linux onto my HP x360. I can't blame those problems on Windows.

I'm sure there will be a third impression when things get better or worse with Windows 10.

Happy computing.


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