Windows 10: TechRadar’s writers reflect on upgrading to Windows 10


Introduction

Windows 10

To upgrade or not to upgrade? With Windows 10 turning from a free to a paid upgrade on July 29, that’s very much the question of the moment.

Being a tech savvy bunch, most of us here at TechRadar were champing at the bit to upgrade to Microsoft’s latest (and, as it seems, greatest) operating system at the first opportunity. Following several mis-steps in recent memory (Windows Vista and 8, anyone?) we wouldn’t blame you for being a little more cautious.

One year down the line, we’re taking the opportunity to sit back and observe the Windows 10 landscape to see just how far Microsoft has come since July 29, 2015.

This article is part of TechRadar’s Windows 10 week. Microsoft’s latest operating system turns from a free to a paid upgrade on July 29, and we’re looking to answer the question of whether it’s good for you.

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Kane Fulton, Computing Editor

Windows 10

Any regrets? No

Tell us more… Though it doesn’t feel wildly different, upgrading to Windows 10 from 8.1 has brought numerous small improvements that add up to make for a smoother and more pleasurable experience.

I use the Action Center’s quick access settings on a daily basis, and the ability to independently adjust scaling settings on my monitor and laptop’s display was sorely missing from Windows 8.

Windows 10 certainly isn’t perfect, but it crashes less, run smoother and looks slicker than its predecessor. Crucially, my two most used apps – Parallels 11 and Word 2016 (with OneDrive integration) – work flawlessly together.

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Joe Osborne, Senior Editor

Windows 10

Any regrets? No

Tell us more… To be frank, you only stand to miss out by not updating to the latest version of an operating system, whether it be Windows, macOS or even Linux. Firstly, Windows 10 has more helpful features than any version before, especially when it comes to interconnectedness between your devices – regardless of those devices’ OS in many cases. Cortana and search on the taskbar has been a boon for my productivity, too.

Secondly, the OS runs more lightweight than any version before, and, if you’re a PC gamer, it’s the only way to get DirectX 12.

And lastly, reactions to the data Microsoft collects through use of Windows 10 have been unnecessarily heated. I won’t disagree that Microsoft could have been far, far more transparent about this – like, way more. But, if you don’t think that the makers of every app, service and operating system you use are not using anonymized telemetry to improve said app, service or OS – or, hell, to get more money out of you somehow – you’re out of your right mind. We’ve all signed the EULA’s without reading them, after all…

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Kevin Lee, US Computing Editor

Windows 10

Any regrets? No

Tell us more… Aside from up upgrading my graphics card last year, Windows 10 is easily the best thing to happen to my home gaming PC.

In a single play session I switched between playing Overwatch, to running a lap in Forza 6 Apex and ending the night with some time in Red Dead Redemption streaming from my Xbox One by way of backwards compatibility.

In the future gaming on Windows 10 is only going to get better with more titles developed on DirectX 12 and Xbox Play Anywhere titles coming to PC as well.

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Desire Athow, Editor TechRadar Pro & Itproportal

Windows 10

Any regrets? No

Tell us more… Upgrading to Microsoft’s latest OS is the logical continuation in the saga of Windows.

Nadella’s team managed to take it to another level is by making it free for WIndows 7 and 8.1 users for a whole year while offering continuous improvements to early adopters.

I look forward to try the Anniversary edition as soon as it lands. Windows 10 is a more friendly, less arrogant and far more – dare I say – humane operating system than its predecessors.

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Jon Porter, Home Technology Writer

Windows 10

Any regrets? No

Tell us more… Why? As much as I appreciate the small changes Microsoft made in the transition from Windows 8 to 10 (chief among them the return of the Start menu), I’d be lying if I said that my main reason for switching wasn’t gaming.

With DirectX 12 – and its huge performance increases – remaining exclusive to Windows 10, there was no way I wanted to be left out in the cold.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have issues with the way Microsoft handled the upgrade process. My dad came home to find his PC, which is only a couple of years old, had automatically upgraded to Windows 10 without his permission, and had broken his graphics drivers in the process.

It turns out his CPU’s integrated graphics was no longer supported by Windows 10, and so his only option was to fight his desktop to keep it un-upgraded or else buy a basic graphics card that still had support.

Ultimately I’m happy that Microsoft chose to make the upgrade free of charge, but that didn’t give them the right to force it upon everyone, since many people, like my dad, have very good reasons to not want to upgrade.

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John McCann, Phones & Wearable UK Editor

Windows 10

Any regrets? No

Tell us more… Why? It still works. To be honest, I can’t really remember what Windows 7 was like.

Windows 8 sounded like a car crash, so I’m happy I held off until 10 – although the fact it was free helped massively in my decision to upgrade.

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Marc Chacksfield, Global Managing Editor

Windows 7

Any regrets? No, but…

Why? Well, it works for me. I’m not that enamored with it but it’s not broken anything (so far) and I can do day to day tasks without fear the OS is going to betray me. But, it was a ‘mare to upgrade – the free path didn’t seem to work on my Lenovo and I ended up having to get a USB with Windows 10 on it to upgrade properly.

My family, on the other hand, HATE Windows 10. My wife’s granddad was told he wouldn’t be able to get it because Sony stopped supporting the OS on selected models – to be fair he is more than happy with Windows 7, but it’s still annoying for him given this was an OS meant to be available to all.

And my mother in law got a new laptop with Windows 10 and hated it so much – something to do with its picture organisation and other niggles, and just not being as good as Windows 7 – that she’s going to replace the laptop with an older model that has Windows 7 on it. And, yes, I sent her all the Windows 10 tips and tricks I could find on TechRadar, but nothing worked for her.

She did look into the possibility of downgrading the OS on the laptop she has but Microsoft has made it almost impossible to do this. It really really wants everyone on Windows 10, but hasn’t really taken into consideration for many non-techy people having a brand-new OS pushed on to them is a big deal. I’ve seen first-hand the frustrations that can be caused when the learning curve is that bit too steep.

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Matt Hanson, How To Editor

Windows 10

Any regrets? No….with reservations

Tell us more… I think Windows 10 is a big improvement over Windows 8.1, though that doesn’t say much. I use Windows on a laptop and desktop PC, so with Windows 10 i no longer feel like I’m using a tablet OS that is awkwardly bolted onto a desktop operating system.

The return of the start menu is welcome, and it performs very fast, and reliably, on an SSD. However, I’m not too happy with the data collecting Windows 10 has been involved with, and i needed to turn off a number of settings before i was happy with Windows 10. Check out our how to fix Windows 10 privacy issues feature to find out more.

I also find it a bit distasteful how Microsoft has been forcing the upgrade on people. Windows 10 is a genuinely good OS, and I’d recommend people upgrade, especially while it’s free. But if people want to stick with what they know, let them.

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Cameron Faulkner, US Mobile Editor

SteamOS

Any regrets? No

Tell us more… I’m not a power user by any means. If I’m on the computer, I’m either playing games on Steam, using Photoshop, or browsing on Chrome. For my needs, Windows 10 doesn’t stand in my way of doing these things.

That said, I have turned off basically every single marquee feature of the OS, reducing my experience to a very limited and resource-light shell of what most will run into with the upgrade. It’s not that I hate Cortana – I just don’t want it. And I like that Windows 10 lets me turn off the features that I don’t have a use for.

Of course, for people hoping to run a slew of legacy programs, I can see how the upgrade might be worrying or cause compatibility issues. But I’m hopeful that the upcoming anniversary update will address any regrets that people might have.

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