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First 30 minutes with Windows 10 Technical Preview

October 1, 2014 3 comments

So I thought I would quickly jot down some very initial findings etc with Windows 10 Technical Preview since installing it earlier this evening. This is by no means comprehensive in nature, but those 30 minutes is usually what sets me on a direction and also enables me to decide how I would use something when some options are available. With more use your behavior will change.

Last night, like millions of other people across the globe, I was online following the reveal of Windows 10 by Microsoft. And like a lot of people I saw some interesting developments and was waiting for the news of a preview, and then it came. Needless to say I’ve been checking the preview site every hour since then to start my download. And so here it is… The first 30 minutes.

Installation, Media & Device

After grabbing the ISO, I decided that I would use my Acer Icona W710 as the first device, and I decided to use touch only. So I moved the ISO onto a USB Flash drive with the Windows 7 tool and initiated the setup. As expected, some preparation screens, a few boots, some more “Working on it” screens and finally the device was ready for initial setup. I have to mention that you do get the option to save your data, but I opted to start clean.

Initial Setup

Initial setup is exactly, or seems like it, like the Windows 8 setup. Region, language etc, connect to Wifi, Express or advanced setup, log in with LiveID… No surprises there and I didn’t really expect any. The advanced setup might be slightly different and I might try that on a different device.

So what changed…

After logging in, everything seemed pretty much the same and for the first minute I was tapping on the start button on the desktop to see the start menu. Now I have to say that I didn’t miss it at all when Windows 8 was released and even when you could add some of this functionality back, I never did. Needless to say I was slightly frustrated when I couldn’t get to the start menu. A quick check on the Preview site showed how to get it back.

And then there was change…

After enabling the start menu, I had to log out and back in for the changes to take effect. And then it started. I went straight into desktop mode and there was the start menu when I tapped the “icon”. And I must admit, it looked pretty cool with the pinned items on the right. So I pinned a few items and resized it and it works nice. Next was to try and go back to the Windows 8 start screen to tap on a tile. Ugh, and there I was stuck. How do I now get back. Any “Windows” icon you tap just opens the start menu. Ok, so I used a pinned item and open the news reader.

And this is know where I started trying a lot of things from what I knew about Windows 8 and touch devices specifically. The news reader opened and I notices the dekstop style bar at the top. It behaves as you would expect when tapping it, if you were running a desktop app. Also, the app opened in the desktop. Upon closer inspection I found an ellipses button. Tapping that opened up a little menu with the following items:

  • App Commands (This simulates sliding your finger down from the top of the app)
  • Search (Search Charm)
  • Share (Share Charm)
  • Play (Play Charm)
  • Print
  • Project (Allows projecting onto a second screen via charm)
  • Settings (Setting usually found by sliding finger from right of screen inwards)
  • Full Screen

So the full screen got me excited and I tapped it and TADA!!! Back into what the app looks like in Windows 8. So obviously I swiped my finger down… Nothing… Tried to to grab it so I can place it half way on the screen… Nothing…. Slowly I started pressing and holding down, sliding from bottom up… Nothing… And this is where I kinda felt this is not going to sit well with me. Sliding from right inward does however still open the charm bar. And only by sliding from left inwards does the “task bar” appear, which is like an Alt+Tab. Selecting the app then takes it out of full screen.

The next thing I tried was the multiple desktop feature. So for the Linux guys / gals out there, that was something I always enjoyed on Linux. The ability to have multiple desktops with windows open in them and switching between them. This is basically the same. The is a task button at the bottom that brings up the opened apps, and then the option to add a desktop. When inside this desktop you can open apps, then create another and open up some more apps. This is great for when you want your email out of the way and only focus on a specific task at hand. And I think on a desktop / laptop that will work great.

And that’s where I stopped, well almost. I proceeded to try and take some screen shots using the hardware buttons, but that failed. Trying to use the new Charm sharing only allows me to share to email and OneNote. And not having a USB keyboard handy, kind of left me without the ability to take some specific screen shots.

I will get a USB keyboard and do another post with some screenshots.

So where does this leave me now… Well, after switching on the start menu and kind of loosing the smooth usage I would expect from a pure touch environment I kind of came to the conclusion that if you are going to be using pure touch, then leave the start button with Windows 7. Otherwise the more desktop oriented “mode” will work well for those die hard Windows 7 folks out there. I will remove it for now and see what has changed from a pure touch environment first and post about that. Then set up a keyboard and mouse and test out the desktop again.

And that is my first 30 minutes. Was worth trashing my tablet for it and I’ll continue to use it for the next few months, providing some feedback to MS and also doing some more posts. I’m happy so far with what I’ve seen. Until the next post… 🙂

Categories: Windows Tags: ,

Windows 8 Release Preview as production…

July 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Not so long ago some tweets went out about the release of Windows 8 Release Preview and needless to say I went complete crazy and started downloading as soon as I managed to get a slot. And hour or so later, the ISO was staring me in the face invitingly.

The obvious choice staring me in the face, do I replace my production laptop with this or go with a virtualisation option. Clearly, if Microsoft released this a few days before they promised, it must be more stable than expected. So, after 3 seconds of deliberation the decision was made. Production it is!!!

So it’s been several weeks now and I have not yet reformatted back to Windows 7. But what happened…?

Well, I remember doing early testing of Windows 7 on my production machine and the experience was fantastic. Windows 8 has been nothing less. To date I have had zero OS crashes on my laptop. A few ( I think about 3) times logging out took more than an hour after which and just hard reset the machine. But it’s been very stable.

So impressions so far… I must admit that I am really enjoying it. Slowly getting used to using a mouse on a Metro UI, which was a bit challenging in the beginning. The preview apps for mail works well, especially once you’ve spent some time understanding them and also remembering that they were designed for touch and that hovering over an icon will not always give you a tooltip.

So what have I enjoyed the most so far. The Remote Desktop app is really great. Seeing that I do that during the day fairly frequently. Love the image viewer and also the Metro IE. I did the obvious and also installed Office 2010 for valid reasons. So I do use Outlook 90% of the time. Visual Studio 2012 works great as well. For blogging, well, I had to resort to installing Live Writer as I am having some IE issues with directly blogging to WordPress, but this has always been a nice little application for blogging.

Having a Desktop does work well and eventually finding an easy way to search for installed application had saved me pulling my hair out.

I think for new users this might be a challenge with Metro, especially if the input device is a mouse. But I am really looking forward to getting my hands on a Surface device to fully experience the Metro UI in all of its glory. I’ll post some more goodies about my experience later on, but for now I am a happy camper!!!

Categories: General, Windows, Windows 8