People who are using windows 7, 8 or 8.1 should definitely upgrade to Windows 10. It’s badly needed, since Microsoft seems to have fixed all of the mistakes they made with the launch of Windows 8. The interface this time around is a lot more intuitive across both touch screens and regular computer screens. But the best part is that Windows 10 outshines any other version of Windows in sheer raw performance and customization options.
Gamers and other power users stand to gain the most, owing to DirectX 12 and the Xbox app. Windows 10 offers something for everyone, and most home users can upgrade for free.
Power User Features
Windows 10 brings the Start Menu back with a bang. This time its desktop-friendly, with new features meant to make the life of desktop power users easier.
The first addition worth mentioning is virtual desktops. This will allow users to have multiple desktops as though they have multiple monitors spread across various workplaces. This is a very useful addition especially if you need to switch between applications a lot and don’t want to be limited by space.
There is also a new view when you press Alt+Tab. It brings up the Task View, which allows you to switch windows and manage your virtual desktops. Don’t expect it to be as smooth as the one you’ve used with OS X, but there is a chance that it will be improved with subsequent updates.
The Command Prompt has also been improved. Unlike previous versions, you can now perform numerous basic functions like copy and pasting. Plus there is support for hotkeys.
Cortana is a brand new feature in Windows 10 and will benefit almost every user immensely. Think of Cortana as your personal assistant, a feature that Microsoft introduced in its phones last year, and it’s now available in Windows 10. Cortana can be used to find files, search the internet for information, or log an appointment. It can also track your interests and monitor your calendar as well as places you visit. This allows it to offer you useful information like the weather, meeting alerts, and even directions.
You can simply hit the microphone icon on Cortana on the bottom left of your screen and talk normally to it. This is going to be a useful feature in tablets and other touch devices where voice input is a lot easier and quicker than tapping on the touch screen. However, it is reported that Cortana can be frustrating for people with certain accents or those who are non-native English speakers.
While Windows 8 did nothing to excite gamers, Windows 10 has done a lot. One notable addition is the Xbox app which allows users to track their gaming stats, view the activity feed, chat with friends and stream games from their Xbox one. So, this means that Xbox one-exclusive games can be played on your PC if you have an Xbox one. The app also allows gamers to record games and create a 30-second clip which can be uploaded to the internet and shared with friends.
The other big addition is Direct 12, which essentially allows games to be optimized so that they use both the onboard or built-in graphics card for post-processing along with the dedicated gaming graphics card. This translates to a much better gaming experience, but games may have to be optimized for this feature. Though in our testing we’ve found that many games like GTA V played at a slightly higher frame rate on Windows 10 than Windows 8.
One big improvement over Windows 7 and 8 is that Windows 10 boots faster, and when on standby it will wake up much faster. Also programs load noticeably faster, e.g. Adobe Photoshop and 3D Max loaded three and twenty seconds quicker respectively.
The Edge Browser
If you browse the internet a lot then you’ll definitely benefit from the Edge browser. This replaces Internet Explorer which has just turned 20. Microsoft has scrapped the ActiveX framework and is now using open web standards. So, the performance boost is noticeable regardless of whether you’re watching an HD YouTube video or just making sure that your website looks good in Edge. There are a few bugs that Microsoft still needs to iron out, but most people will experience a speed increase over browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
We found Windows 10 to be a lot better than any other version of the operating system. However, it is not yet not fully polished. There are certain places that appear out of sync with the general theme of Windows 10. The Edge browser is also not perfect and may still require up to a dozen updates to compete with more seasoned browsers. But on the whole, your experience will improve and you’ll be less frustrated once you’ve switched to Windows 10.