3 months with Windows 10

Blacking out

Fortunately, I have only experienced the Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) on Windows 10 once on all three test systems. And yes, there is a BSoD on Windows 10; it just comes with a slightly more cheerful smiley face emoticon that alerts you that it is gathering data to send to Microsoft about this unfortunate occurrence.

But just because Windows didn't crash doesn't make me feel less like a crash test dummy.

I frequently experience issues with the screen blacking out for a second or two on my Dell Latitude 12 7000 Series (E7250) and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Third Generation laptops. Usually, it's a quick flash, but when it happens, I am never sure if the system just failed and crashed or if it's just a screen refresh issue.

I am not sure what is causing these problems. The blackout issue appears to be happening more regularly after I installed VMWare, even though the VMWare program is not running.

Additionally, I've noticed that sometimes a black window pop up, and it would disappear as quickly as it appeared. As this happens so fast, I am not able to read the text in the window, but it looks more like a Command Prompt window than a pop-up from a webpage.

Poking the sleeping bear

As a notebook user, I hate shutting down my laptop. Instead, I prefer to just shut the lid and put my laptop into standby or hibernation mode. It's faster to resume, doesn't consume too much battery life and provides a better experience for my lazy self as I don't have to re-open the twenty or so Chrome tabs and relaunch the eight running apps I have in the background.

On Windows 10, the resume from sleep mode appears glitchy. When I resume, sometimes my wireless connection would not reconnect until I restart my PC. Other times, I am able to launch or open anything pinned to the desktop or taskbar, but I can't access the Start menu, and Cortana just hides and won't respond to my beckoning cries for help.

Additionally, I've noticed on more than a few occasions that it could take two or three reboots to get my PC working again after a restart. At times, a single reboot would present my notebooks with the same issue, but restarting it for the second or third time could cure whatever ails it was suffering from.

Battery life

Battery life varies between systems. My Surface Pro 2, with the Power Cover keyboard, gets about the same battery life on Windows 10 as it did on Windows 8.1. I've noticed a small jump in battery life on the Dell Latitude 12 7000 Series (E7250) review unit, which is a plus.

However, battery life on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Third Generation dipped a little. It might be a little early to tell what effects Windows 10 has on battery life, and manufacturers are likely still tinkering with drivers to squeeze more power out of Windows 10.

Tablet experience

Even though Windows 10 appears more tailored to desktop users, Microsoft made subtle UI changes that make the OS even better for touch users.

In the desktop, compared to Windows 8, contextual menus are now more finger-friendly. I've noticed that if you right click on the desktop, or long tap if you're using your tablet, the contextual menu now has a little bit more white space between each line on Windows 10. This makes it easier to tap on the correct target, even though the menu is still text heavy.


I also found the new task switcher to be convenient. Tablet users can either swipe in from the left side of the display or tap on the task switcher icon to the right of the Cortana search bar. This makes it far more convenient than connecting a keyboard to use the Alt+Tab command.

I am not sure that I like the Continuum Start menu experience in tablet mode. On the Surface Pro 2, for instance, when I undock my keyboard, the Start menu goes full screen to make it more accessible for finger input. With this view, it almost feels like I am going back to Windows 8 and having a separate Start screen from my desktop. As a result, I just lock my Surface into the desktop mode and opt not to use Continuum.

Continuum will be a bigger draw for devices with smaller screens, like 8-inch tablets and phones running Windows 10 Mobile. Continuum will provide huge advantages for new Windows 10 Mobile devices with display-out support. With these smartphones, some apps, like Microsoft Office, will scale its UI when you connect your keyboard, mouse and display.

When you dock your Windows 10 Mobile phone, Microsoft said you should have a Microsoft Office experience that looks exactly like running Office on a desktop PC. This is different than connecting an Android or iOS phone to a display. With these rivals, you're just getting the exact screen on your phone, except now it fills the larger display of your desktop monitor.

Un-dock your Windows 10 Mobile phone and you'll get a scaled down UI with Microsoft's Reflow technology to adapt the experience to a smaller screen.

Giving the finger

Microsoft toned down its use of finger gestures with Windows 10. On Windows 8, Modern apps had settings that were buried, requiring you to either swipe down from the top or in from the left or right edges from the screen. With Windows 8, a more unified UI with hamburger menus provide additional settings and information.

This makes it a lot easier to use Windows 10 as you don't need to learn gestures or figure out where to swipe.

Despite the improvements coming from Windows 8, I am not ready to give Windows 10 the thumbs up yet. Early glitches mean that the experience is still not as reliable for enterprise users, especially for those who work in mission-critical environments. For consumers willing to bear the occasional glitches, Windows 10 is shaping up to be a great OS that marries the familiarity of Windows 7 with the modern design of Windows 8.

What are your thoughts, problems or issues with Windows 10 so far? Even though there were early problems with upgrading to Windows 10 on launch day, Microsoft deserves a bit of credit for a fairly smooth launch, considering the OS was installed on over 14 million systems in 24 hours.

Original story as follows for our Day 1 with Windows 10 experience: