Microsoft

Windows 10 Launch Update

Not too long ago we wrote an article  regarding potential concerns you should have before updating to Windows 10. Now that Windows 10 has officially reached 45 million users per Microsoft’s estimates, it only seemed fitting to do an update on the Windows 10 release. There were some minors bugs as was to be expected, but it turns out a whole list of other features have come up that might have some users scratching their heads.

It was well known that Microsoft was going to take a more invasive role when it came to Windows 10, but there are certain areas that Microsoft’s All Seeing Eye shouldn’t be able to access from a privacy point of view. If you select “Express Settings” during Windows 10 installation you apparently give Microsoft access to contacts, calendar details, text and touch input, location and more. While Microsoft claims this information is only used for personalization and targeted ads, the reality is that it can be potentially hazardous given the nature of cyber-attacks in today’s Internet society. Even more concerning is Microsoft’s access to keystrokes, which include your user name and passwords for most of your online accounts, even online banking. The threats are easy to see, but if you would like to opt out of these settings you may do so under the privacy tab in Settings.

Microsoft has slowly watched its Internet Explorer browser wither and die over the years, and its new Edge browser was designed to reverse this. While Edge is designed to be the go-to browser for Windows 10, it really doesn’t innovate much over other iterations of Internet Explorer. What is more interesting though is the issues some users have been reporting with Mozilla Firefox not playing nicely with Windows 10. Microsoft’s deliberate push to force users into using the new Edge browser has resulted in Mozilla CEO Chris Beard writing an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella criticizing the lack of control when it comes to selecting a default browser. While Beard might be making a big fuss over nothing given that users can choose their preferred browser by going into Settings, it does raise concerns over the experience that Microsoft is forcing its users to have.

While not as big of an issue to some users, Microsoft has received criticism for removing its DVD player from Windows 10. In order to play DVDs, users must purchase a $15 app from the app store. There are some work around solutions by using third party DVD players, but in a time where streaming has replaced DVDs as the primary method of viewership, this doesn’t seem like a game breaking issue for Microsoft.

With a launch as big as Windows 10, it’s not surprising that Microsoft ran into a few hiccups. What users should be concerned about is the approach that Microsoft is taking to Windows 10 regarding personal information and privacy. Windows 10 is intended to be the last iteration of Windows, and all subsequent changes will be updates that most users won’t have control over. The best thing users can do is stay informed about any changes coming their way in future updates, and take all the precautions necessary to keep their private information private.

Have you updated to Windows 10 yet? Share your thoughts in the comments down below!

Windows 10: Should you Update?

By now Windows 10, Microsoft’s latest operating system, has begun to slowly roll out onto computers across the world. The response to the Windows 10 launch has been overwhelming positive, with much of the praise being towards the improvements it has made over its predecessor Windows 8. With that being said, there are a few key details that you might want to keep in mind before you update to Windows 10.

When it comes to the first iteration of either new software or hardware, it is always a good idea to consider the likelihood of bugs or other glitches before updating. There have not been many reports of any large scale bugs in Windows 10, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist on a smaller scale. A July 27th update to a Windows 10 prerelease version suffered from a glitch that crashed the system when trying to uninstall a program using Control Panel versus the new Settings feature. Technical problems are nothing new for Microsoft software, however one that appears a mere two days before the worldwide launch can’t be good. Microsoft has fixed the issue thus far, but the larger issue at hand is that there are going to be bugs for some users regardless of when they update.

If you have ever used a Windows PC in recent years then you are aware of Microsoft’s incessant updating system. If you are taking advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 (by currently running either Windows 7 or 8) then you won’t have much control over deferring the scheduled updates that Microsoft has planned for Windows 10. If you purchase the Pro or Enterprise version of Windows 10 you can defer the updates temporarily, but this is a large price to pay just to avoid Microsoft’s controlling nature when it comes to updating. On the one hand this system helps to keep Windows 10 constantly updated and more secure, but if Microsoft decides to roll out an update that many users don’t like, they will be unable to avoid using it.

The Control Panel is one of the more notable features of Microsoft’s OS, but as noted above, it is slowly being phased out in favor of the new Settings feature. Windows 10 is attempting to bridge the gaps between Microsoft’s PC, mobile, and console divisions, so it makes sense that they are attempting to create a more uniformed system across all platforms. If you are used to using the Control Panel for all your system’s needs don’t fret, it’s still there. However the new emphasis on the Systems feature indicates that Microsoft might just decide to drop the Control Panel in a future update, an update that you won’t have any control over remember?

As a whole, many users have responded to Windows 10 with praise rather than the disappointment and frustration they gave Windows 8. While there isn’t much necessarily wrong with Windows 10, Microsoft is very much sticking to the idea that Windows 10 will be the last version in their long line of OS’s, and that comes with its own pros and cons. Certain features that users are used to in previous versions of Windows are being phased out in favor of newer ones, and Microsoft is taking more control over what types of features are coming to what users. The reality is that this is Microsoft’s vision, and it’s up to you, the user, to decide whether or not you buy into it.

Have you upgraded to Windows 10 yet? Let us know in the comments section what your thoughts are!

Prepping for Windows 10 – and other big software upgrades

Windows 10 was officially released on July 29, and for the first time Microsoft is making their OS upgrade completely free to previous owners of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. So far, the reviews have been highly positive for Microsoft’s new operating system. The installation process has even seemed pretty painless for most users. But before you upgrade, as with any major software update, there are a few things you should be aware of.

  1. Back up your files: It’s true that Microsoft has made the Windows 10 migration as smooth as possible, keeping all your files and preferences that are tied to your Microsoft account virtually the same when you boot up with your new download. But it’s always good practice to keep a copy of your most important files just in case something goes wrong. An external backup drive or cloud storage is the way to go to making sure you don’t lose anything in the upgrade process.
  2. Check your system requirements: There’s the expectation that newer software upgrades will take less space. As we know (cough iOS 8, Apple cough), that isn’t always the case. It’s best to check whether or not your machine, especially if it’s older, can handle the latest and greatest software. Or that you have enough memory space in general. Because no one wants a new operating system installed only to have it run super slow. Most updates will tell you how much space you need, but it’s up to you to look at your memory (ex. in My Computer for Windows) to see if it’ll work.
  3. Clean out old programs/files: If you need to make space for your install, be sure to delete old apps, photos, documents, etc. so your machine is in the best state possible to receive the new software. I like using WinDirStat on my PC to check how much space each file and program on my computer is using, then deleting the largest, unused culprits.
  4. Be patient and plugged in: When updating to a brand new operating system, or installing other large pieces of software, it isn’t going to take 10 minutes. Be prepared to wait on your installation. Also, make sure no other programs are running. That could cause some interruption or slowdown of your install. And while you’re waiting, make sure your laptop or other device is plugged in – you don’t want it dying in the middle of an update! You should also check in on your device every once in a while – you may need to click through some user screens or choose installation features.

Those are my quick tips on what you should be aware of when installing new software, especially with new operating systems coming out from Microsoft and Apple. Follow these and you should be good to go!