I remember Windows Vista; in fact I still have a laptop that came installed with Windows Vista. What comes to mind first about that experience is that my disk drive became corrupted multiple times and I had to re-install the operating system from scratch at least twice. I also remember that it became stable after Service Pack 1 came out.
Fast forward to Windows 10, another promising but very buggy operating system. I have read horror stories from my friends and on the Internet about machines locking up and being basically unusable after upgrading to Windows 10. Lots of folks put this thing on the first few days, and several have reverted back to their former operating systems. I decided to “take arms against a sea of troubles and, by opposing, end them.” And I did basically fix or work around all the bugs and migration issues after a week or so of work–a few still persist that I’m living with almost 2 month later.
Cortana is a bad joke. How do you set up Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant? It’s not in the Control Panel or the new “All settings” app. It’s not even in the bottom drawer of a locked file cabinet in a basement room with a sign on the door, “Beware of the leopard!” Internet help pages say that the way to configure Cortana is to type “Cortana” in the search bar. That works on some of my machines, but not on at least one of them. Another help page suggested selecting Settings from the upper left of the Cortana screen: there are 4 icons there, “Home, Notebook, Reminders and Feedback.” Not to keep you under suspense, it’s under “Notebook.” 😯
The more serious problem is that the vast majority of attempts to use Cortana result in errors like “Sorry, the internet and I aren’t talking right now.” Try, “Hey Cortana, where’s the nearest hospital” to appreciate that message. Update: Cortana is working better this morning. Update: Cortana is now mostly working, but it relies on Bing for all its searching and Bing is broken and has been for weeks. Update: Bing seems to be working reliably now.
Siri can set a timer, but Cortana cannot.
I have never appreciated error messages from Windows that are little more than “Search for this 8 digit number on the Internet and figure out for yourselves which of the dozen things it could mean apply.” That’s not improved in Windows 10 and with new Windows 10 apps, they are more likely to just wink away and tell you nothing, like the Camera app did when it couldn’t find the Camera Roll directory. Stuff like this shouldn’t be tolerated from a programmer trainee!
General stability and operability
I have two tablet computers, a Microsoft Surface 3 Pro and a Dell Venue 8 Pro. I have to bang over and over on the screen to get it to recognize taps, and Windows 10 is just too tightly spaced on many of its critical functions to be usable with finger input. Update: with the latest Threshold 2 Insider Builds, there is more finger space.
There are persistent problems getting the on–screen keyboard to pop-up when it’s needed. Sometimes the Windows start page in tablet mode is blank. It’s not unusual for your application to just disappear because you brushed the tablet. And Skype, which runs in the background keeps popping up when the desktop whatever it’s called is supposed to be there. Update: In the Insider Builds, Skype no longer runs as a desktop app, rather as a separate Phone app. The app is totally buggy and crashes a lot. You can, however, still install and run the Desktop version.
Settings are still scattered all over the countryside and hard to find.
A huge bug that can be worked around is OneDrive resetting permissions on your folders so you can’t save your stuff in them. This makes itself known in a variety of ways depending on the application. Office can’t save files; Live Writer can’t upload blog posts; Lightroom can’t open its catalog; you can’t import pictures; you can’t download files. Update: this seems to have been worked up through various Windows updates.
Windows converts all your private networks to public networks during upgrade, so none of your shared files and devices work until you change it back.
Lots of folks are screaming about their web cams not working. My Camera app didn’t work due to a permissions bug.
Windows 10 is a fairly good design and an improvement over Windows 8.1. But it is very buggy and many people are having problems with many things. I personally have most everything working (one machine did crash this morning), and I’m productive again. Windows 10 is only for early adopters.
The title of my article asks if Windows 10 is a reprise of Windows Vista. Just as Windows Vista got a whole lot better with Service Pack 1, Windows 10 has gotten a whole lot better with Build 10586 that came out last November.
For most folks, and particularly Windows 8 and 8.1 users, I suggest upgrading to Windows 10.