I installed the Insider Preview of Windows 10 today on a virtual machine to take it for a test drive before deciding on a full upgrade or not. First impressions...it's an updated Windows 8.1. They've brought the Start Menu back, but after that most of the OS still feels like Windows 8. I will be updating this OP after I've had time to review different aspects. I will also be installing Steam and
FNV Skyrim* to test run most of the modding programs under the new OS. If there is something you'd like me to review, please let me know and I'll at least look into it. For the sake of my sanity, when I refer to Windows 8 I'm referring to Windows 8.1.
*Since I decided to do the dual boot instead of the virtual machine, I'm now able to do all this testing with Skyrim.
Look & Feel
The look and feel is as I mentioned, Windows 8.1 with a start menu. If you tried out Windows 8 or are still running it, you'll feel right at home with Windows 10. There have been some improvements to how menus and options are presented; however, it's all Windows 8 style. The Start Menu is in a Windows 8 style as well so don't expect to see the old Windows 7 start menu; however, it's overall function remains closely the same. So far I have not found a way to make it look more similar to Windows 7, but that is just a small thing that some will miss and some will not. File navigation is simple once you get used to the new style and feels like it did in Windows 8 so it looks like the Windows 8 style is here to stay and the Windows Vista/7 style is out.
Junk. That about sums up my experience with Project Spartan, Microsoft's new browser. Project Spartan feels like Microsoft's poor attempt to modernize their in-box browser. It copies much of what Chrome and Firefox has already been doing for years, but does so like a new kid on the block. The new browser constantly crashed or froze up while doing everyday tasks. For example, it once froze up as soon as I hit the italic button on the editor in this message box. It froze it again when trying to view a video. It crashed once while opening up my mail account and finally wouldn't properly load some of the web pages. Perhaps Microsoft has fixed most of the issues with Project Spartan since their last release of the Insider Preview version; however, even if they did, I wouldn't suggest using it as your daily driver. Stick with your current favorite browser. You're not missing anything with Project Spartan.
Hardware Detection / Program Installation
When installing Windows 10, I was surprised to see it picked up most of my hardware and installed the most recent drivers. For example, Windows 10 picked up on my video card (GTX 760) and installed, not only the most recent driver, but also the Nvidia Control Panel. No previous Windows version has ever done this for me. Looking in Device Manager, Windows installed the correct driver versions for all my hardware and they're not the crappy Microsoft versions like in previous Windows. There was only two drivers Windows 10 couldn't find and both where Bus controllers. This is a nice improvement for anyone that has dealt with OS installations and knowing that you best have your Ethernet drivers on a thumb drive before installing the OS. It was also nice not having to install the USB 3.0 drivers.
Program installation has had some improvements in Windows 10, as well. First, programs feel like they install faster and smoother. As a disclaimer, this could be due to the OS installation being "fresh", though. The one major thing to note about program installation is the detection of missing software which the installed program needs to run. I never noticed this feature in Windows 7/8 so if it was there, please forgive me. However, it's still worth mentioning. For example, when running the Skyrim Launcher for the first time Windows 10 notified me that the program needed the .Net Frameworks. It gave me the choice to install them and when choosing to do so, Windows 10 downloaded and installed the missing software before running the Launcher. This was very convenient as I had forgotten to install these things. The entire process as quick, smooth, and seamless.
List of programs tested and confirmed to be working*:
- 7zip (have not run into issues stated elsewhere)
- Adobe Photoshop CS6
- Mod Organizer
- Wrye Bash (Bash Patching works okay. Have not tested other functionality.)
*Programs were not tested 100% for all their functions. Doing so would take far more time than I have.