Surface 3 – Windows 10 Update

First off: See my previous articles about Windows 8 and the Surface 3 tablet:

Windows 8.1

https://blizzardterrakphotography.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/windows-8-to-8-1-final-review/

Surface 3 – Week 1

https://blizzardterrakphotography.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/surface-3-week-1-review/

 

Now THAT'S more like it!

Now THAT’S more like it!

Those of you who have already done so will note that one of my biggest complaints with it was the OS.  Even after all this time, the handling with Windows 8 / 8.1….sucks.  I dislike the UI (User Interface) and the overall UX (User Experience).  Even though live tiles are kinda neat, the fact that most of the apps still stink and that the desktop experience was lacking if not unusable on a tablet   Frankly, it had to go.

So I did something I, as a PC enthusiast, usually should never do: upgrade to a new OS during the official rollout.  But for once, I am glad I did it.  Aside from a few bugs and Privacy concerns, Windows 10 is a much better experience.

First thing's First...

First thing’s First…

First Thing’s First.

Just to let you know, I did the over-the-air update from Windows and did not manually download the OS.  I figured I wasn’t in THAT much of a rush and wanted to make sure the drivers were working.  Also I did the upgrade and no “Clean Install”.  I didn’t feel like risking the use of the Recovery Partition, especially when I didn’t know if Windows 10 would actually work well or not.  At least this way I had a reset button I could use.  Eventually I’ll do a Clean Install, but not today.

If you’re a privacy nut, look up the tutorials online on how to disable most of it.  The biggest ones in my opinion involve WiFi sharing with your contacts and anything Cortona related.  You will still not be able to plug every privacy hole that goes to Microsoft, but it’s a start.  The second thing you should do is disable “Tablet mode”.  I’ve tried using it and while it works ok for Modern Apps (Win10 apps), it still doesn’t work for x86 / full PC applications and it goes back to the full Live Tile / Metro UI that we all know (and hate).  Again, your mileage may vary but personally if I wanted that screen, I would have stayed with Windows 8.1.

Bringing Back To StartScreenshot (1)

So now with Tablet mode disabled, the first screen (after login / lock screen) is the Desktop we all know and love.  The next thing is that using the Start Key (the built-in ones on tablet or the keyboard), or clicking on the icon will open the start menu.  The biggest changes are:

  • Live Tiles from the Metro UI are displayed here.
  • The Apps list is simplified and only have shortcuts to the apps and not the additional documentation from Win95 days.
  • Screenshot (5)Power and Settings (a unified Control Panel for Windows 10) is easily accessible (or not) here.
  • The Start Menu can be moved to different sides or auto-hide.

It’s not exactly the same Start Menu…it’s a simplification.  

Desktop-Like Experience.

Microsoft made some changes in regards to swiping.  Swipe the left side (left to right) will show all your open programs at a glance (similar to Mission Control on Apple OS).  Where the right “charms” used to be, swiping from right to left will give the new “Action Center”  Similar to the Notifications Center on Android, it will show your notifications from your Apps like Facebook and Twitter as well as give some quick toggles many Smartphone and Tablet users on Android have used for a while like WiFi, Brightness, Bluetooth, etc.  Starting apps or programs will usually open them as their own discrete Window which you can minimize and resize at will.  Now though you can snap up to four windows on screen at a time, though personally I’ll only have 2 with a smaller device screen.

Overall, definitely a good improvement overall.

Bugs

I’m happy to say that the bugs I’ve had are few and far in between.  Sometimes the entire tablet would freeze and need to be reset (holding down the power button).  Unfortunately, my biggest complaint still involves to touch cover.  Sometimes when I attach it, the Surface still doesn’t register it and would still pop the on-screen keyboard.  Speaking of which, they minimized the handwriting feature so that now I can only write two words at a time before I send it from the buffer.  It’s a bit more annoying but I only occasionally use the pen interface / handwrite.  Other than that, it ran more or less the same as when I had Windows 8.1.

Bottom Line.

The Windows 10 Update was a huge success.  A lot of the software kinks from Windows 8 are gone and it’s now a cleaner, more streamlined experience closer to a Desktop.  The interface itself is pretty touch friendly, but if there was not touch-screen, I suspect a user would just revert to handling it like Windows 7 anyways.  If you’re on a WIndows Tablet like the Surface 3, I’d say go for the upgrade.  There are the rare reports about a botched upgrade, but from what I’ve seen and what’s in front of me, the update works.  And my Surface is all the better for it.  Most apps should run and the x86 programs still run with minimal tweaking.

As far as launches go, this is one of the smoothest I’ve seen in a long time.

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~ by BlizzardTerrak on August 21, 2015.

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