Monday, September 7, 2015

Windows 10 Upgrade? Is it worth it?

A great hype has been created around and about the latest offering from Microsoft - Windows 10! So, is it worth upgrading to windows 10, Just now, more importantly while the Redmond giant is offering its latest windows OS as a free upgrade to anyone who is upgrading with a Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Windows 10. Should we? Should we not?
Just like a lot of other techies, I too wanted to have a hands on experience with Windows 10 as soon as I could get my hands on it. Apparently there were a number of ways to upgrade to the new Windows OS, it's worth mentioning that the best one is to do an online upgrade, wherein, the Windows Update downloads the specific files which prompt you to upgrade windows. Once you sign up for an upgrade, it starts installing the upgrade files once it makes sure that your PC is compatible with all the hardware requirements for the new OS to run without any problems. Infact, there's rarely a chance any modern PC's and laptops will not be compatible, hardware wise. Going by the Windows 10 Hardware requirements page, it appears as if an age old PC too will be powerful enough to run Windows 10. Pentium 4 on your mind? Well, I've got an Intel Pentium 4 processor still lying around, which is pretty much powerful to run the OS properly, given the minimum requirements.

Anyways, I got the installation of Windows 10 using a workaround I found at CNet, Thanks for that Matt, since I didn't get that upgrade notification, and as a matter of fact I still haven't got it for any of the other Windows 7 SP1 installations I've got, including Genuine ones. The 4+ Year old laptop I'm using is still powerful enough to run the OS and all the installed applications with all bells and whistles, so, I moved on with the upgrade. Day 7 since the Launch of Windows 10, I turned on my Laptop while in Office, and it started the download process there itself as soon as it connected to the internet over WiFi. The ~2.5GB download took around 2 hours to complete, and the upgrade process started. Now I chose to upgrade a second copy of Windows 7 on my laptop which multiboots with two instances of Windows 7, ofcourse for safety purpose, in the unlikely scenario of one of the OS installations going kaput. Then started the loop of feature installations and restarts and upgrades and restarts. It took another ~2 hours to copy all the files, install all the features and upgrades, after that what I was presented was a rather stunning piece of Software programming and extensive work, for FREE! I was mesmerised with what I was seeing. A newly redesigned UI with the black theme, a new logo, some upgrades here and there. What intrigued me most was the kind of upgrade. Earlier, as far as I remember upgrading instances of Windows XP or Windows Vista with Windows 7, it used to be a clean installation, over the top of the present OS. You could choose to save the files, and all the folders by choosing not to do a clean install, but it wasn't something it happened here. The installation actually worked like an upgrade, which replaced just the system files, to upgrade the system to a new OS. All the other application installations, system settings, and all other things I could think of remained as it is. No change whatsoever. This was a welcome note. The re-introduction of the start menu, will be appreciated by a lot of people, though, frankly speaking, I never had any problems with the Metro UI and the tiles layout on Windows 8.

So, what are actually good with Windows 10? Well, there have been praises all over from all corners of the web, so, I'm guessing there has to be something that MS did to get all the praises. I somewhat agree to this fact. When compared to the not-so-popular Windows 8, I believe Windows was quite a leap ahead. To me, Windows 10 appeared to be somewhat a drastic measure to fix all the things people didn't like in Windows 8 or even in the subsequent service pack releases in the form of Windows 8.1. Personally, I don't have much of an experience with Windows 8 as I never moved beyond the Windows 7 OS that shipped with my laptop. Though, as I described I did participate in the Windows Insider Programme by installing the Developer Preview of Windows 8, and for the time (of 180 days) that I "tested" it, it was a refreshing change to the Windows 7, if one could ignore the drastic learning curve for general public had to go through with the Metro UI, the tiles layout and removal of the start menu. Other than that, personally, I liked all of what was rolled out in Windows 8, but that was not enough for me to upgrade to Windows 8.

This time around, with Windows 10, it's a different story altogether. With MS deciding to give away copies of the latest iteration of Windows free of cost to eligible devices running Windows 7 and 8 with latest service packs. This made the deal much sweeter for anyone looking to upgrade to the new OS, more so, with the support for all flavours of Windows 7 ceasing to exist, which meant no more hotfixes, no security patches, no feature upgrades, which also meant hardware manufacturers would also gradually leave out Windows 7 in future. With the rollout of the Windows 10 Upgrade Notification on eligible systems pushed through Windows Update, MS played a sort of master stroke to reach the masses. Imagine yourself turning on your computer one morning to see a notification which gives you an option to Download and Install Windows 10, that too FREE OF COST. Now who doesn't like free stuff? I do! But here ends the good thing. Microsoft built a good enough hype around its latest offering, with a lot of media coverage for the latest offering. However, I feel the implementation of this was a bit flawed. How? Well, if I cite my own example, I used to use two separate instances of Windows 7 on my laptop, something that I learnt the hard way when I upgraded  my PC to Windows Vista from good ol' Windows XP, which was quite dependable. Since then, I always had my computing devices running in multiboot mode, at times, running three different OS' Two Windows and a third one running Ubuntu. Okay, coming back to Windows 10 upgrade. I was being critical of the implementation strategy. Now the problem, that has happened with me is that None of the Windows installations on my laptop, the PC at home, and infact, no one I know ever got the upgrade notification on their own. As of writing this article, I am yet to get the upgrade notification on my laptop running a Genuine copy of Windows 7, that shipped with my Dell Inspiron notebok, even when Automatic updates are turned on, and I regularly choose to install windows updates. This says tonnes about the implementation strategies chosen by MS. Apart from this, the hundreds of workarounds to get the Upgrade Notification on our PC's also tells the story for rest of the world.

Now, moving forward to what's in Windows 10. I must say, MS did a good job. But that ends there itself. It wasn't something that I'd expected them to build upon beyond Windows 8. The majority of work was already done in Windows 8. Like the ability to pause file copy and paste operations. Some nifty additions like network usage monitoring was already built in Windows 8. With roughly 20 days of usage experience on Windows 10 under my belt, I can say one thing confidently. All MS did was to make the OS seamless throughout different platforms and devices. The fact that Windows 10 now runs on computing devices, notebooks, desktops, as well as tablets and cellphones, makes the experience on a PC running Windows 10 not that good. All I could make out was that my notebook was now just a huge cellphone with a landscape clamshell form factor, a big keyboard, a 14inch screen, and packing some bulky hardware including a defunct optical drive.

All I could experience was too much similarity to Android running on my cellphones. Almost all the interfaces, from connectivity options, bandwidth usage among applications. Even the OS is an 'app' based one. What used to be called application in previous version are now called 'Apps'. The new browser - Microsoft Edge is an app. When I search for something in the search bar of the start menu, it refers to it, if it is an application as an 'App'. I mean what's this fix about the App based ecosystem that you try to erase the line between the OS running on a fullfledged computer and a half baked computer in the form of Smartphones? Frankly speaking, there has to be a sort of delineation when it comes to our devices.

As of writing this, I checked the Windows Update to no avail

As of writing this, I checked the Windows Update to no avail. It still gives me this error that it can't go online. While my other browsers can.

Now, coming down to all that is wrong with my particular installation of Windows 10. Well, I installed it on my notebook. It all went well initially for the first couple of days. Everything was fine until one day I realized that none of the windows services could reach the internet. Other Applications or what MS now likes calling "Apps" could easily reach the internet. My Avast antivirus was updating daily, all my browsers were working fine, except MS Edge. Even Internet Explorer too was working properly. The store app failed with the well known "The Server Stumbled Error." Then the bundled browser "Microsoft Edge" couldn't reach the internet. My Windows last updated on 06-August-2015, probably the day I upgraded to it. Now it too can't find any updates as it "fails to check for updates." A search over Google turns fruitless as the internet is too obsessed over telling people how to upgrade computers running Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10.

Well, you are right, but for now, you are giving me a bad day.
And then when someone offers to help, like in some instances where I searched for the Server Stumbled Error on the Windows Store app, the solutions provided were all useless, atleast in my case, to say the least, and unrealistic for a regular user who doesn't know how to run the Windows Powershell in Administrator mode, more importantly when the search results on the start menu doesn't give you an option to right click and run it in Administrator mode. Now imagine yourself as a regular user of the Windows operating system. Why would you care for app registrations and stuff like that when the app itself came with your OS? There's no reason for you to bother about that, but MS has made us bother about that as well, as a number of "solutions" to problems faces, like the one with the store app, seem to be caused by this service registration corrupted or missing. But none of these have been able to solve my problems.

This is not all. I have been dealing with a lot of this. Start menu suddenly freezes, not responding to anything, which means you can't access the programs from there, no way to do anything from the RUN command too by pressing Win+R keys, no way to shutdown, restart or hibernate your PC when this happens, especially when you don't know where cmd.exe is located. Thankfully enough, you can still access the Windows Explorer, navigate down to C:\Windows\System32 and here you go with cmd.exe. The notification toolbar at times fails to show you wireless networks you could connect to.

Over everything else, there is too little you can do to fix it all. None of the fixes I got my hands on rectified the issue. The individual updates are no longer downloadable like they were in the times on Windows XP of Vista or even Windows 7 as Hotfixes. I believe MS is pushing fixes to most common problems faced by people out there, but then that's not for me, for the time being. The only resolution that appears to me right now is a clean install of Windows 10, that would mean I will have to do away with my windows installation of 3 years and will have to redo it all since I am now past the roll back windows time frame of 30 days, trying to experiment, setting it all right.

So, for anyone, who is looking forward to install Windows 10, I would say, please check out before you do that.

No comments:

Post a Comment