New logo for Windows 10

10? I don't think so. Maybe a 6.

| Months ago that little white icon appeared in my system tray, the one that invited me to get Windows 10.

Get Windows 10
Early notification

Amazingly, it would be free. Makes business sense, actually. Microsoft has produced so many versions of Windows, so many of which have been clunkers, that giving away a free upgrade would be one way of getting rid of the need to support so many lousy versions. If they could just get most people onto Windows 10....

When the official release date arrived, I waited with bated breath for something to happen. Anything at all. Nothing did.

Various of my friends began to report that they had gotten theirs, that a pop-up had notified them that Windows 10 was ready to install.

Ready to install
The popup alert that I never saw

How unfair! I'm the more technically savvy one — I should be first!

Weeks went by and still nothing. I began to nose around the internet. The first thing I discovered was where the humungous download was supposed to be stored. And sure enough, there were tons of files there. But nothing had happened. The next thing I found was instructions on what to do if it didn't all go as planned. Those instructions began with deleting everything in that folder! Then subsequent steps were supposed to make the upgrade happen "immediately." Well, it didn't.

The next discovery happened by accident. For another reason I was looking at the history of Windows updates, and discovered numerous occasions on which an upgrade to Windows 10 had failed! But those all happened in the middle of the night. Like I'm going to be sitting at my computer at 1 o'clock in the morning in anticipation of an upgrade! I don't think so.

So, I went looking for a way to manually do the upgrade and quickly found the instructions on Microsoft.com. Because I have super-fast Verizon FiOS internet, the download (said to be 3GB) took just a few minutes. Ok, let's do this!

The installation process went through three phases, the first of which was essentially getting ready to do something. There were interminable interludes of "Checking for updates" and "Getting a few things ready." This took so long that eventually the messages changed to "This is taking longer than we expected, but be patient."

The second phase, which also took a long time, was the actual installation of the new Windows. This was followed by a third phase of "Configuring" this and that. Finally it flashed the "Let's start" screen. Yes, lets.

start menu
Start menu

In fairness, I must note that on a second computer that runs Windows, the first phase took even longer, but the second and third phases happened in a trice. I guess it all depends on what you have on the computer to start with.

The fact that in Windows 10 Microsoft brought the Start menu back has been much ballyhooed, so I was eager to see how it looked.

There are actually two parts, a narrow section like the previous menu, then a wide panel to the right.

placeholder_375x250
Panel in the start menu

It's telling, I think, that Microsoft's idea of "Life" is a calendar, EMAIL (double-size), browsing the internet, looking at photos, talking to Cortana, the weather, phone companies (phone companies?), and OneNote. From there it goes down hill to numerous animated tiles for social media, and so on. Nothing for people who actually use their computer to do work.

First impressions

All of that said, my first reaction was quite positive. My programs, once I found them — and believe me it wasn't easy, worked. I like the clean look of things on the screen, generally, although the borderless windows are a challenge sometimes. Several times I clicked the wrong X to close a window.

I was able to do some work and access files stored on the several other computers in my network, so I was surprisingly quite happy. Although it had taken a long time, the upgrade was relatively pain-free, and there is a coherence to the system that previous versions didn't have. It's almost as if somebody designed the system rather than just aggregate a bunch of dissimilar pieces.

Then, disaster struck!

On second thought

At some point in my exploration I decided I would try out this "Cortana" assistant that Microsoft touts so much. To do so I would have to sign in with my Microsoft Account. OK, no problem. What I did not realize is that by doing so Windows 10 was switching my login from my usual one to the Microsoft Account login, without warning and without my agreement.

Cortana turns out to be a troll. I tried to get her to find the Control Panel for me. What I got back was a list of internet articles about the control panel. Same thing for Task Scheduler. Great! Now I'll have to get down in the weeds of the File Explorer!

Then I tried to do something with one of the files on another computer. "Unknown user." "You do not have permission..." Pain all around.

Alright, I'll restart the system. Now the login screen wanted my Microsoft Account password. What the f*ck? Most of my passwords are the "strong" sort, with upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols, etc. The kind nobody could remember. Therefore all my passwords are stored in a password manager. Which I could not get to because I could not log into my computer!! Fortunately I have other computers and was able to get to a copy of those passwords stored in the "cloud" but I was sweating profusely for several minutes.

Even after switching my login method back to my local login, the pain did not stop. Connecting to the other computers was still impossible because of usernames and permissions. It was only after I shut everything down and restarted everything that I could get back to normal.

But now my list of grievances is growing:

Do I regret upgrading? No. Eventually I'll get used to all this folderol and stop nursing my resentments. But I have to say, Ubuntu linux (which has it's own share of problems) and the Apple Mac are looking better and better. Ubuntu is free, but even the Mac may be worth the price.

Last updated on Apr 29, 2016

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