Windows 10 is Here. Is it Worth the Upgrade?


Windows 10

By now many people are seeing that their reserved Windows 10 upgrade is available, but is it worth doing so? Aside from the fact that Windows 10 is 100% FREE to upgrade to over its first year if you’re going from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, I think it’s pretty safe to say you should take advantage of the upgrade as soon as possible.

Over the last twenty-four hours I’ve upgraded three systems to Windows 10: a three-year old desktop running 8.1, a six-month-old laptop also running 8.1, and a seven-year-old desktop running Windows 7. With the exception of one issue I ran into on the Windows 7 box (more on that in a minute), the upgrade process was relatively painless.

Two of the machines updated via Windows Update automatically. The laptop didn’t, so I downloaded the ISO creation tool from Microsoft’s website and upgraded via that. The only difference is the interface downloading the OS, once it begins to install the upgrade process is identical no matter what method you take to upgrade.

The 8.1 desktop had no issues upgrading at all, and aside from some bizarre speedncg the most issues with the upgrade, so that seems to be normal. If it continues or gets worse I may do a OS reset (which is basically a clean install) and see if that fixes it.

Speaking of that reset, that was the issue I ran into on the seven-year-old system running Windows 7. It fell into a IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL blue-screen-of-death reboot loop due to some issue with an ancient driver on the machine. The only option was to reset the OS. This preserves all personal files on the machine while wiping every program that isn’t included with Windows and doing a clean install. That fixed the issue and the machine is actually running better than it has in a long time.

Once you get your machine upgraded, Windows 10 is what 8 should’ve been. Gone is the “metro” interface for touch screens, which kind of still exists but you’ll only ever see it if you’re running a touchscreen. That’s a huge improvement over one of the bigger complaints about 8. Also gone are the annoying corners of 8 that made every bit of configuration more of a headache. The new Windows 10 configuration screen is well organized. You can still find Control Panel on the machine as well as all the other deep dive stuff you need with the Win+X keypress that was so useful in 8.

I think accessibility to what you want to use is perhaps one of the best things about Windows 10. The Start Menu is back, modernized, and even cooler you can drag the corners to resize it. I was never much of a fan of Siri on Apple’s devices, but I find saying “Hey Cortana” to launch a program is pretty handy when I don’t want to dig through the Star Menu to find its shortcut. So Cortana has its uses. I also like its ability to check traffic and travel times in real-time to give me the best time to leave the house for somewhere I need to be (like work).

For gamers I haven’t run into a single issue yet. I’ve played numerous games on Steam as well as WoW, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and StarCraft II and all ran flawlessly. Windows 10 is the only way to get DirectX 12, so if you want to play any of those games later this year you’ll want to take advantage of the upgrade.

If you have an Xbox One on your home network you can stream games from it to any Windows 10 device. You just go to the new Xbox app and connect to your Xbox One. It mirrors the screen (it can’t stream TV) and then you can control it with a connected Xbox One controller on the PC. The Xbox app also allows Game DVR recording an screen shots for any game running on your PC, but you can only share captures on Xbox Live if it’s an “Xbox” recognized game (so no Steam or WoW, for example).

Aside from the driver freakout on the old Windows 7 box, I personally haven’t encountered many huge stability issues yet. I’ve seen some minor bugs here and there, but right now they’re not anything that should scare you away from Windows 10.

Microsoft claims Windows 10 is the last version of Windows that will be built upon over the years to improve it much like Apple’s OSX. If that’s really true, they have built an amazing foundation to build upon, and it’s easy to recommend Windows 10 to anyone who is able to upgrade to it.