Windows 10: a guide by: GF Willmetts.

October 4, 2015 | By | Reply More

OK, I finally got Windows 10 and this is a diary with revisions of what happened and what I did. You can use it either as a guide of expectation or what to look for if you haven’t done it yet. Although this article looks long, it’s more a question of detail, comment and criticism spread over a month.

I let time roll on and four months since I got my new laptop, the message came up that it was ready to download Windows 10. Considering that the download to my back-up computer happened a month ago, I wasn’t that surprised and consistent with the time differential. After that discussion with author Andy Rathbone from ‘Windows 10 For Dummies’ regarding whether Windows 10 was better than Windows 7, I decided to wait before doing the upgrade the back-up computer, even though it downloaded the upgrade first.

Windows 10: a guide

Windows 10: a guide

Download

However, the download for the laptop came a month later, indicating there is some order to the download irrespective of which Windows you have. The only odd thing prior to the download was Windows 8.1 was a pile of 81 downloads that it didn’t think necessary to install until I insisted. A second check revealed another 10 and after that the announcement that it was ready to download W10. Maybe the software realised it was likely to be upgraded and didn’t want to burden me with those downloads. It wasn’t as though I hadn’t ticked the box to not install without permission.

What was a surprise was that the size of the download was the same as for Windows 7, 2, 28,489mb or 2.8gB. It’s quite a size but didn’t download as described in parts and when I thought to was processing the data and could be restarted the next morning, it then repeated the process. So much for downloading in sections. Mind you, this is half the size described by the book which tends to suggest the 4gB download is for a full installation although how many of you who’ve given it your settings is going to use that option and have to reinstall them all over again only you can decide. I should point out that updating does NOT delete your settings or personal files in your Windows partition. Whether this is true for a full installation I’m less sure about so I’m still an advocate of partitioning your hard drive.

Give yourself at least 2 hours to do the shorter download but you can do other things, like email and such on-line at the same time. Be careful with playing on-line computer games though as it did odd things.

After the download, there is an acceptance window to agree to. I did think that meant that was also the start of the installation but be reassured, it isn’t. Just press the button and then decide whether you want to install then and there or later. Bear in mind it will take about 90 minutes to install and about 3 reboots along the way, so have a good film on in the background. I have to confess it was a bit disconcerting seeing a blank screen much of the time and I wish Microsoft put a timer or something on screen to show it was active. Modern laptops don’t flash lights to signal their hard drive is doing something. At second stage when it was adjusting settings, you do at least see something is happening.

Settings

Speaking of which, you can use either an Express Settings or Custom to how you want W10 to run. For this article, I chose Custom, but I think I would have done otherwise anyway. I’m always curious as to what I’m committing myself to. Whichever, you can adjust these settings later although I’m darned if I can see how looking through the menu options. I should point out that all the settings and software you had there in W8.1 is there in W10, including my Classic Menu shell http://www.classicshell.net/ so am probably not seeing everything in its basic mode. Indeed, through the Menu search for programs and files, if you know the name of anything, it’ll pop up through here, including website locations and whatnot. I digress. You might change things differently but pay attention and note where you store your pictures, videos and Docs, especially if you have partitions. In fact, having partitions does come into its own even if you can’t give a directory to store them in. You can also set your where you get your emails from. Turn your printer on and it will key into that. This is how things happened with W8.1 so I’m not entirely surprised. It can also recognised anything else connected so leave your router, pads and anything else you want to connect to on at the same time. It’ll make things easier than doing it all later. All previous sound settings are there but W10’s have slightly difference noises now although I did customise some of the alerts.

You can change your boot-up pictures from a selection they have or choose your own. I plan to do that once I’ve worked out where it’s hid the picture that it currently uses. There are a variety of sign-in selections , including using a picture but I haven’t moved from the standard option. You also have the option to change time and language although standard English is American not UK. I found my laptop doesn’t have a microphone which you’ll need if you want to use Cortana. I haven’t played with it yet, mostly because you have to talk to it so it gets used to your voice and its only real value is if you’re on-line so it can store info to the cloud as far as I can see. It does make me wonder of its value if you have background music or the TV on.

Anti-Virus

One thing I did before installing was ensuring that I had the latest version of Norton Security and didn’t appear to need further updates before or after as the news information from them had requested. However, I did run Windows update and got 5 of those. The longer into the year you have to wait, I imagine the more updates there will be. If you think waiting for any possible bugs in W10 to be sorted out before downloading, there was a month’s difference between my back-up computer and my laptop receiving the W10 files and they were the same size. I suspect any changes will come from the updates once you’ve installed.

Although I can only verify this with Norton, I haven’t had a failed appearance of the Vault window since I changed over.

Reversion

You also have one month to decide whether you like W10 or have the option to revert to W8.1 except when I checked under the Control Panel, the option says W7. Not that I’m sure I want to tick that button yet. I did find that it wouldn’t allow me to make a back-up copy of the Windows.old directory and after nearly a month now, it hasn’t asked to make a back-up of W10. I presume that will happen at the point of no return so it should have give you plenty of time to get several blank DVDs or a suitably large 32gB USB flash drive.

Finally, I did think to double-check Norton Securities and it gave 3 updates but nothing to indicate any difference for W10. If you use other anti-virus software, check to see if they have any special instructions for you to follow.

Printer And Scanners

Interestingly, W10 automatically made the decision to update my printer’s internal settings. Quite what difference that makes, I haven’t discovered yet. I just hope that’s the same for all manufacturers. For those who have separate scanners, there is no change or update to get you your full settings back. With my Hewlett-Packard Scanjet, I now rely on Paintshop’s Brightness/Contrast controls to get the right levels. For Brightness, try 50% and Contrast, about 75% subject to what you see and your computer settings if you have a similar problem.

The Edge

Anyway, all this stuff started to build into half an hour and I was taking my time, especially as I was noting my actions. Now was the time to try out The Edge and that’s when I was stopped in my tracks. No Favourites!!! Even pressing the 3 dot option at the top left hand corner didn’t show them. If you have a memory of what you’re looking for on the Net that’s all well and good but this Edge looks more like a disaster waiting to happen if it’s the only choice.

Explorer 11

Fortunately, it wasn’t. The solution is to switch back to Internet Explorer 11. There are two ways to do this. Either go into the Control Panel and selection Internet Properties and select IE or Default Programs where you can select it there and it puts it back on. Instant relief but I suspect many of you will sweat and swear over this. Whichever, select its Properties option and have it hooked to the bottom menu bar to save messing around each time. The Edge is also there and although you can unpin it, it does pop up again after reboot. I’m hoping Microsoft are going to realise they’ve made some serious mistakes here and do something about this. The only way really depends on what you choose to use on the Net and let them realise it by the number of users. The Favourites option is to save you having to think where you want to go not rely on your memory of where you want to go. The Edge isn’t something I want to live by.

File Explorer

From here on, it’s more a matter of exploration of what works and what does. Explorer has been renamed ‘File Explorer’ and is pretty much the same as W8.1. Disappointingly, there have been no changes so there is no button combination to give you copy and paste. Nor is there any variable picture size slider like there was in W7.

I suspect I’ll get use to the new icons and displays in File Explorer although losing the brief glance in the folders seems a backward step, although it’s still apparently there for pre-existing picture directories.

Preview

When you select the preview option, you’ll find it isn’t in the menu box selection. You have to use ‘Open With’ and select ‘Windows Photo Viewer’ unless you want to be lumbered with ‘Photos’ which has limited options for one picture of a slideshow of the directory you’re in. Again, this is something that really needs to be sorted out. I mean, why make it so difficult to Preview? Somehow, it put my default for Preview was ‘Sketchbook’ and I’m pretty sure I didn’t choose that option and still trying to figure out how to change that.

Music

The same also applies to playing sounds although you can use the Default Programs and switch from Groove Music to Windows Media Player as your choice. Interestingly, both can play at the same time.

No Help Off-Line

If you get stuck, there is no Help if you’re off-line which is going to be very helpful for those out of range of their router.

You do have the option not to put in the password bringing the computer up from sleep mode. Do this only if you know your computer is secure.

Gaming Issue

Although I’m not so sure about the boot-up speed of W10 is much faster than W8.1, after a few days, I noticed just how fast booting up programs within it is as well. Of the older games I have installed, I have it annoying that I can’t get into Unreal Tournament 2004, getting blocked by an error message, although everything else seems fine. I’m investigated their forum and in case anyone wants to play after switching to W10, you go into the UT2004.ini file in its directory and do the following changes that I found in the Unreal Tournament forum:-

  1. [Engine.Engine]
  2. ;RenderDevice=D3DDrv.D3DRenderDevice
  3. RenderDevice=OpenGLDrv.OpenGLRenderDevice
  4. ;RenderDevice=Engine.NullRenderDevice

I don’t know if this applies to all game buts it looks like if the GL render isn’t on and render off by putting a semi-colon (which is equivalent of the REM or REMember but don’t use for those who remember early DOS commands rather than deleting the line) at the beginning of the line done through notebook, you won’t be able to play. I’m hoping the same kind of thing applies to other older computer games and a reassurance that games back at least to 2004 can still be played with a tweak like this.

Updates

The first real update was an interesting experience. Unlike earlier versions of Windows, where you could clearly see a screen telling how far it had to go, there was just a very long time before shutdown. I should remind you that the shutdown is normally very fast. As with other updates, I immediately rebooted and that took a couple minutes or so with only a circle of spots showing after a grey screen. As you can’t shutdown in the two opening screens, you have to password in and complete the boot-up before shutting down again. The next morning, the first boot-up was a little slower, which I presume was still installing a few extra things.

I’m pointing out these details because I suspect some of you will wonder if something has gone wrong. I do think it would have been helpful had Microsoft had set up a better update screen as with previous Windows.

Word

Just a side detail for those who use Word and find a ‘Paste’ icon appearing in the middle of a sentence which won’t go away and obscuring the text. If you paste and delete again at the end of a paragraph, the icon will disappear.

Something I have noticed with copying and pasting with Word now is that the formats, including font and size, aren’t changed when moving between documents which has been a bugbear of mine for a long time now.

Calculator

An odd thing that I hope some of you will might want to compare is that I had the original Windows Calculator on the vertical menu bar for the opening 5 days and when it got pushed out of there briefly, my attempts to find where it had gone failed but I did find if you typed ‘Calc’ into the ‘Search Programs And Files’, up pops an Apps version which allows you to do a lot more, including conversions and it can be stashed on your menu options.

Looking at the menu system of a fresh W10 install , I’m kind of glad the Menu Shell I had put on W8.1 spared me a litter of Apps. Assuming some of you went the same way, you’ll find a little icon on the bottom menu bar where its hidden away.

Apps

The section of the book that shows the free Apps is something that I’m now going to try and see what they are like but you still have to download them from Microsoft’s free shop. Mahjong will happily download off it but the Solitaire Collection will only play on-line. I haven’t done much experimenting here yet but don’t expect to get the old Windows style games back. I’ll probably look a little closer on these in the next month or so.

I should point out that I’m not finished experimenting yet and I’m hoping to sort out a couple of the issues I’ve had for a later instalment article.

If you find anything that needs to be said or even around some of the problems, there is a section below this article that you can add your own comments. Nothing rude, just solid useful comment please.

Good luck.

GF Willmetts

October 2015

 

Tags:

Category: Computers

avatar

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Leave a Reply

Enjoy scifi? Please spread the word :)