Maybe it should have been called Windows 7.5 instead. Windows 10 has some Windows 8 in it, but the new OS is mostly a partial apology for Windows 8 and bears the burden of building a bridge into the modern world for Windows 7 users. In my opinion, after using it every day since release, it’s a much better experience for Windows 7 users than those of us who used and enjoyed Windows 8.
Let me explain with a story.
We have family in this week from out of town. And, as you might guess, I'm the designated IT guy in our family circle. So, after hello hugs it was straight to business. "What do you think of Windows 10?" I was asked straight out of the gate. I try to avoid situations like this, so I pretended to be busy shoving food in my mouth, hoping that would be reason enough for my shorter than normal answers – most in the form of grunts. It didn’t quite work.
One family member had been using Windows 8 and allowed her PC to upgrade to Windows 10. She wasn't that impressed and found that it worked quite a bit differently and took extra time to get used to doing things differently. She was happy that her programs still worked, but a bit unhappy with how much time she spent learning a new system. She was glad to see the Start button make its reappearance, but found the All Apps area unwieldy. You see, despite misconceived news coverage, some people actually do (or did) like Windows 8.
However, it was interesting to find out that her daughter, who upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7, has no problem with it – at all. Why? Because there's more Windows 7 in Windows 10 than Windows 8.
And, this story is confirmation of what I've been experiencing myself. I've been using Windows 8/8.1 as a daily driver since the initial release and I'm also one of those people that liked it. I gave up the Windows 7 experience long ago, adapted to the new world, and felt I was better off for it. All while the masses grumbled, complained, and made conscious attempts to avoid Windows 8.
From a touchscreen perspective, Windows 10 is a step backward. Windows 10 has changed how I work, and in my opinion, it’s a change in the opposite direction. I use the touchscreen less and less these days, opting instead to jump out of tablet mode to use the keyboard and mouse – on both my Surface Pro 3 and my HP Spectre x360. I can kind of expect that with the Spectre, since it's an adapted laptop (2-in-1), but to alter how the Surface Pro 3 functions seems a bit strange, considering it was built for touch.
Snap Assist just doesn’t work as well in tablet mode. It's more difficult to pin app windows side-by-side using touch than it is using a mouse. And, for some reason, the Start screen scrolling vertically now instead of horizontally just doesn't seem functionally correct. It works, something just seems off about it. You could blame it on a couple years of using Windows 8 every day or a personality tic, but whatever.
And, with the recent and continuing Windows 10 Mail app woes, I've had to switch back to the full Outlook 2013 email client to ensure that my email messages are delivered reliably. Using the Mail app, I've had some email messages that never delivered, apparently still sitting somewhere out there – probably the same place where all missing socks go after a wash. The Outlook 2013 client is NOT touch friendly in any way. So, when I'm emailing (which is probably about 60% of my daily activity) I'm back into non-touch, laptop mode.
I do still use touch, but not for work related activities anymore. I use touch in tablet mode for games. That's it. The rest of the time the keyboard and mouse are my prominently in play. I loved touch in Windows 8 and used it constantly, but Windows 10, whether intended or not, is slowly weaning me off the reliance. I guess the old adage is true: what's old is new again.
It does make sense, though. Windows 8/8.1 was never able to gain market traction and the majority of Microsoft's audience for Windows 10 is those Windows 7 holdouts. Several in the industry, writers and vendors alike, blamed Windows 8 for a failing PC market. So, obviously, the new OS has to bridge the gap for those with upgrade plans and those who gave Windows 8 such poor scores. But this is the bridge that should've been built long ago and should've been labeled Windows 7.5. There's no question that Windows 10 is a compromise between Windows 7 and Windows 8, but it's extra heavy on the Windows 7 sauce.
Windows 10 is turning me back into a Windows 7 user, whether I like it or not.
Don’t get me wrong, Windows 10 is a fantastic upgrade, if you can get past the current list of quirks and bugs. I'll continue using it because I do like it. But, I hope over time that those of us that were able to tune into the Windows 8 way of doing things get better representation in future feature upgrades.
So, I'm curious. Do your experiences mirror mine? Are you a Windows 7 user with no trouble at all using Windows 10? Or, a Windows 8/8.1 user who finds it more difficult to get things done now?