Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Windows 10: Day one, so far.... and too much reflection on my ongoing go slow

So it's day one working with Windows 10 on my main work laptop. I've used the preview on a very old desktop machine, but now it's time to get in some power use. Plus I'm doing so off the background of a new (under 6 months old) Toshiba laptop that has become incredibly unresponsive (despite 16GB RAM, having added and extra 8GB, and a 4th Gen i7 under the hood).

So, firstly, Windows 10 hasn't resolved my speed problems. The HDD (a mere 5400RPM SATA) is still bottle-necking my system with remarkable regularity. I still can't communicate properly with SMB on our development server, though that may not be entirely down to Windows, and running Netbeans, FireFox and Thunderbird at the same time results in fairly regular episodes of "Not responding". 

I've tried playing with power plans, disabling indexing, switching browsers (Chrome/FireFox), switching virus checkers (Avast/AVG), switching malware scanners (MalwareBytes/Spybot), and even running then switching personal firewalls (ZoneAlarm/PrivateFirewall). I've also disabled the evil that is the Mail App, and have scanned my drive to within an inch of its life.

My slow down seems to have begun when Flash Player was installed on Chrome a few weeks ago, and despite running a "Refresh" on the machine and switching all of the above software, as well as wiping Flash and removing all files (excluding Windows and App required ones) from said machine, I still can't get to the bottom of my slow downs. Other than establishing that it seems to be related to my hard drive, and adversely affects applications using the network (despite no evidence of excessive network usage), I'm at a loss.

I was therefore clinging to the vain hope that it was something to do with reserving and upgrading to Windows 10, or even something to do with having my user account spread across five machines (one running Windows 10 Technical Preview, four running Windows 8.1). It is still possible that the latter is the cause, so I intend to upgrade everything I have as soon as humanely possible, but I know I'm basically clutching at straws because I don't want the pain of going through a full reinstall from recovery media (possibly followed by having to re-upgrade).

Anyway, seeing as it is day one with Windows 10, what do I think of it? So far it has been pretty smooth. The process of upgrading took about two hours and once done my Apps worked as well as before, bar a couple of go slows (which may have nothing to do with Windows itself). The new icons look great and the layout and feel are a huge improvement in my view. The only bum note on the layout is that I miss being able to fill my screen with a list of all apps within two clicks but, as I used Windows Phone 7 (on an HTC Titan), I'll quickly get used to the all apps layout in Windows 10. 

My favourite innovation so far is the action centre, which makes me feel like Windows has finally started to get what makes Android and iOS so great. I really hope that Windows will use this as a full notifications centre for quickly scanning through things like social media and app updates, though I suspect a lot of those will come form the Start menu. I don't mind if the duplicate the notifications in both places to be honest, because sometimes I want to skim (action centre) and other times I want to peruse (Start menu). We'll see how it goes on that score.

Until I resolve the issues with my laptop (is it poor hard drive or poor security on my part, who knows) or get to install it on another machine, I won't be able to reflect on the speed of Windows 10, beyond the fact that everything is working at least as well as it did on Windows 8.1, but I think Microsoft may have pulled their proverbials off of the coals with Windows 10. I may still end up dual booting Linux on my work laptop to try to resolve the go slows, but it will be with less glee than I would have yesterday...



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