After working for Microsoft for so long, beta testing or dogfooding products is deeply ingrained into my being. So when Windows 10 released last week I was very quick to download and set it up as my primary operating system on my Surface Pro 3. I’ve been running on Windows 10 now for a little over a week as my day to day computer. All in all it has been very stable especially for such an early release. There have been quite a few detailed reviews so I will focus on some of the features that will most likely affect business users.
- Start Menu – This seemingly very simple change is going to open up Windows 10 to far more organizations. The user experience is very similar to Windows 7 but has some of the niceties of the Windows 8.1 modern UI experience built into the start menu. Having the start menu present will greatly lessen the burden for training the end users on how to use the system and help prevent the “jarring” effect that users experienced on Windows 8 and 8.1 the first time they went to the Start Screen from the desktop
- Multiple Desktops – This feature has been on other operating systems for years and is a welcome addition to the Windows OS. I often had 15-20 windows open with different applications and different web pages up and now I can organize desktops based on the work that I am doing. For example I can separate different customers (apps, documents, web pages) on different desktops so I know what frame of mind I should be in when I switch to the desktop
- Simplified task switching – Switching between applications in Windows 8.1 was painful especially if you were using touch. Trying to explain to someone that they had to do the slide dance (slide to the right, slide to the left, everybody clap their hands) with their finger to bring up applications (and only Modern applications) was just painful. The simplified approach of a single slide to the right to bring up all applications greatly improves the experience
- MDM Management – Like Windows 8.1, Windows 10 can be fully managed with MDM providers including
WindowsMicrosoft Intune. The integration right now is pretty basic but I have been able to register my Windows 10 machine into our Intune environment and manage the device like I would another tablet. This is going to help with BYOD because you are no longer a second class citizen if you don’t want to join your machine to the domain
- Hyper-V improvements – Client Hyper-V is very important to how I do my work and needs to work well. A full list of Hyper-V improvements can be found here. Most notably from the client side is the ability to use Connected Standby. Connected Standby is a fairly new power state that is available on the Surface Pro 3 and other devices. In Windows 8.1, if you installed Hyper-V then it disabled Connected Standby. Since the Surface Pro 3 did not have another form of sleep you could no longer put the device the sleep. This all works well in Windows 10
- Feedback to Microsoft – There has been a lot of discussion and debate about the feedback mechanism in Windows 10. I won’t rehash the details here. This will only be available in the preview releases of Windows 10. I find it very useful to be prompted when I perform a new action in Windows 10 to immediately provide feedback on that particular item while it is still fresh in my mind.
- Modern Application Compatibility – Not all applications perform well in the new window mode. For example, in the Kindle app it is extremely difficult to search a book or see where you are at in the book if you don’t have a mouse to “right-click” in the application. This is a short term pain but something that will need to be addressed.
- Consumer experience – This will change in future preview releases but right now the Technical Preview is focused on business users so the touch or consumer experience is greatly lacking. I am greatly looking forward to using the coninuum features once they are released
All in all this is a really solid preview release. I have have run technical previews as my primary operating system for the past 4 Windows releases and by far this is the most stable with the least amount of headaches. If you don’t feel comfortable with the feedback mechanism then I wouldn’t recommend running it as your day to day Operating System however I think it definitely warrants as much play time as you can in order to provide Microsoft the feedback it greatly needs to make Windows 10 a truly solid enterprise ready and consumer friendly Operating System.