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Windows 10 public "beta"

Posted Thursday, July 30th, 2015 5:20:00 pm
If you've at all been keeping up with the news, you've undoubtedly read that Windows 10 is a godsend, a vast improvement over previous versions of Windows, and that you should upgrade to the latest version and you'll have absolutely no regrets.

One thing that Windows 8 had over Windows 10, however, is that it worked.

Don't get me wrong, Microsoft got a lot of things in Windows 10 right. They took the god awful start screen in Windows 8 and managed to blend it with the typical Windows 7 start menu in an appealing way. They added an action center for your notifications. They even made speech recognition a thing with Cortana, which is a pretty decent addition even if I'm not going to use it much.

But there is SO MUCH wrong with Windows 10 right now that I say that casual users should not bother upgrading until they fix the major issues. Keep in mind that I spent much of yesterday upgrading all my drivers and software in an effort to eliminate these issues, to no avail.

Perhaps the biggest issue I have with Windows 10 is items missing in the start menu and from Cortana's search. Sure, Voicemeeter may not be a common application. Skype is. No matter how I install Skype, through the "Get Skype" application they added in Windows 10, or through Chocolatey, Skype simply does not appear on my start menu at all. Even if I find Skype.exe and make a shortcut to it and throw it in c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs, I still end up without access to it unless I pin it to my taskbar. What the hell, Microsoft? Having items in the start menu has been a basic Windows feature for TWENTY YEARS. You couldn't get that right?

Now, I think this might be due to the fact that Windows 10 hasn't finished indexing my computer (it was about 40% done last night when I went to bed), but still, you shouldn't have to index the start menu. If it's there, let me use it! Ugh.

Another pretty noticeable issue is the fact that sometimes you can't right click on a tile in the taskbar. If you try it, you might get a context menu, or it might do nothing. Annoying when you're trying to close windows. The workaround for me was to hover over the tile to bring up the preview, right click THAT, and close the application that way. Or you can Alt+F4, but I have so much running at any one time that often right clicking the taskbar is simpler.

A huge problem for me is the case of the disappearing USB display. I run a three monitor setup, with two standard 1080p monitors side-by-side and a DoubleSight 1024x600 touchscreen below the main display. It's wonderful when it works, and had no problems in Windows 8.1. And to be fair, it works most of the time in Windows 10... up until the point that I run Crypt of the NecroDancer full screen. And even then the screen will continue to work while the game is running. The moment I alt-tab out of the game, the display freezes up, EXCEPT for the mouse. Then I'll go back into the game and the display will be fine. When I quit the game, though, that's when the display freezes up for good, and is entirely useless.

The worst part about this is that it so far seems to only happen with Crypt of the NecroDancer. Not Descent. Not Portal. Not World of Warcraft. Not other full screen games. It's something Crypt is doing when it's full screen that is killing that display. I thought it might be drivers, but I have the latest Windows 10 drivers for both the DoubleSight display and my AMD card. This is seriously messed up.

The list of annoyances continues:

  • Occasionally when you hit the Windows key, you can't type to search, and remains this way until you reboot. (Workaround is to use the Win+S combination to search via Cortana, which is the same thing, really).
  • The location finder is way off. I live in southeast Houston, and it shows my location up around The Woodlands. Within a 14 mile radius, of course. Oh, The Woodlands is 50 miles away.
  • You have to be an absolute power user to figure out how to get separate images as backgrounds on different monitors and NOT have Windows try to do a slideshow of those images. Basically, highlight the icons you want as your 3 background images and left click Set as Background Image. Then go into c:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Themes and delete the slideshow.ini file. If your images are not on the desired screens, flip the numbers on the filenames in this directory and REBOOT after changing them to see the updates.
  • The action center will refuse to open sometimes, and behave that way until you reboot. See a theme here?
  • Some live tiles don't work. The calendar application used to display today's date, now it just display's the application's icon.
  • PC Meter for my 8GadgetPack gadgets is not being detected by those gadgets, resulting in some of them not displaying information, such as CPU or GPU temperatures.

This is just an example of the beta-ness of Windows 10. Many of these issues would cause the average user so much frustration. Do yourself a favor and stay away for now, unless you are a power user, or have very basic PC needs. Hopefully Microsoft gets on the ball and fixes these soon. Without pushing a broken update.

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