10 Things to Know About Microsoft Windows 10

windows 10By John Brandon @jmbrandonbb

 Windows 10 is now available. Here are ten things you should know about it.

Quick, name some big tech news from this week. If you think it’s how Apple is dominating the smartphone market (again), think twice. Or, maybe…ten times.

That’s right, Microsoft Windows 10 has hit the Internets (intentional misspelling, natch) and that means you should immediately go ahead and download it onto your laptop, right? Well, to help you decide if that is a wise course of action or if it might be smarter to just get a new iPhone app, here are ten things to know that are important for small business owners (or anyone who owns a laptop).

1. It’s a really good operating system

People are raving about it already. Quick and nimble, reliable, easy on the eyes. I’ve been using it for several weeks and just started using a new HP Elite x2 laptop for review purposes that runs Windows 10. Everything is easier to access using the new Start menu, which works like the Start button in Windows 7. Microsoft has learned from many of their past mistakes.

 

2. Careful about that privacy policy

I’ll let the experts wrangle over the privacy issues on this one, but you have to admit the new policy reads a bit funny. Here it is: “We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services.” Does it mean Microsoft could decide they can share your personal data with a private party? Or with the U.S. government? No one knows…yet.

 

3. Do your drivers work?

It’s a good question to ask, even if Microsoft has been putting a fresh face on the OS for years instead of messing too much with how drivers for your printer, scanners, and other office gear work. I’ve had great success so far, but then again, I mostly use the Web these days. Check with your vendor first to make sure a driver is available.

 

4. You probably won’t be able to go back to Windows 8

I haven’t tried this yet, but in most cases it is extremely hard to go back to a previous OS and have it run exactly the same as it did before. You can certainly downgrade, but your settings and apps might not work quite the same (if at all). I always recommend a fresh install anyway.

 

5. The tile interface still exists

I had high hopes for Windows 10 when I tested the early preview. The whole-screen tile interface is now a half-screen menu that pops up when you click Start. But if you didn’t care for those colored tiles, they do still exist. I’ve grown to strongly dislike the color scheme and still find it confusing. My suggestion is to do a search on Google for Windows 10, then click images and look through all of the pictures that come up showing Windows 10 and see if you like it.

 

6. Get ready for patch city

 There’s no way of knowing how many patches Microsoft might need to make for Windows 10, and we do live in an age when even a large security update might take seconds if you are on a fast Internet connection. However, every previous operating system had some holes and bugs. It’s a good idea to plan your upgrade to make sure you have time to deal with any issues.

 

7. The Edge works

Most early reports on the Microsoft Edge browser are positive, and I actually really like it. It’s lean and trim, running just as slick as Google Chrome in terms of not having any extra pop-ups and clutter within the interface. You don’t feel overwhelmed — it puts the emphasis back on the site you’re visiting. That said, I still use Chrome because I’m living in the Google ecosystem of Google Docs, Google Drive, and Chrome OS (when I use a Chrome laptop). I might use Edge just because I like the name.

 

8. Microsoft is ditching smartphones 

Well, this one depends on who you ask–but all signs point to a future when there is no such thing as a new Microsoft smartphone that syncs perfectly with Windows. It’s not a big deal if you use Android or an iPhone because most of the cloud data we use today is synced easily without needing to use a laptop at all. It’s just that your phone and laptop won’t work the same.

 

9. Microsoft is serious about this one

It’s worth noting that Microsoft has put a ton of effort into this release, especially in terms of making apps that run the same on many different devices — from tablets and laptops to weird desktop computers like the HP Sprout. They’ve done a great job with unification, responding to user requests to make the OS easier to use, and making it all reliable.

 

10. It’s still OK to use a Mac

I keep one handy. There’s something about using a Mac that matches up nicely with the entrepreneurial mindset, that rare breed that is not afraid to go against the norm. if that’s your statement, keep making it. You are not missing out. When I use a Mac, I still fire up the Chrome and still use Google Docs. I love that there are no colored tiles, too.

 

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