Well we can now finally wave goodbye to Windows 8/8.1 as 10 is now available to download for most users of 7 or 8/8.1 (and it’s free!). For me, and I suspect many others, this is a blessing as whilst I liked the speed of 8/8.1 it was conceptually a real mess.. ..trying to integrate both tablet and desktop features and not really succeeding fully at either.
The good news is that 10 gets the design aesthetic and user experience right for the desktop user. The start menu is back and contains all that was good about the ‘live tiles’ in 8/8.1, without them getting in the way. I am also happy to report that it is fast, not quite as fast as 8/8.1, but no slouch either.
I could wax lyrically about the new features.. .. there are many e.g. better searching, control, universal apps, virtual desktops, Cortana etc., but there are already many reviews on the web which provide more than enough information on these aspects. What I want to tell you is how Windows 10 is for running your older games and emulators.
However, I should first start by saying that Windows 10 is not all about the new additions, some things have gone for good. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I have already lamented the removal of Windows Media Centre.. ..this is the big ticket item that has been removed, but it is gone and we have to move on. There were also rumours that support for floppy disk drives would also be absent from 10, but this is not my experience.. ..I plugged in a USB 3.5” disk drive into my ageing VAIO* R Master and it was recognised immediately with no problems. Other things that have been removed are Solitaire and desktop gadgets, but these are no great loss and have been replaced with better alternatives. One final removal that is perplexing, is native DVD support (it’s about as daft as Sony having removed CD support from the PS4.. ..a format they co-invented!).. ..but again there are better replacements out there for free (if you had Windows Media Centre installed before upgrading to 10 you do get a very minimal DVD playback app called ‘Windows DVD player’ for free, but according to the feedback its appalling.. ..I would just stick with VLC) .
So how does it handle the older stuff and emulation?
Well now I have spent some time with Windows 10 I am happy to report that it works great with old games and emulators! I have so far not come across anything that 10 will not run as well as 7/8/8.1.. ..which is a huge relief. Games run really well, as does DOS Box, MAME, GOG, STEAM etc. I did download the latest driver for my Radeon HD7750, which I was automatically prompted for when the Windows upgrade process had completed.
Finally, it is also worth mentioning that the upgrade process was quick and easy.. ..a huge improvement on past experiences and all my files were exactly where I had left them – even my start menu tiles were carried over from Windows 8.1, very nice. In addition, the product key is also a thing of the past.. ..hurrah!
“Upon upgrading to Windows 10, the activation state from a prior version of Windows (be it Windows 7, Windows 8 or a prior build of Windows 10) is seamlessly carried over,” a Microsoft spokesperson told PCWorld. “Once activated, a digital entitlement for your PC’s hardware is created in the Windows 10 activation service. This entitlement can be used by the same PC again for re-activation of the same Edition of Windows 10 in the future.”
This is really a no brainer, especially for those of you running Window 8/8.1.. ..upgrade to 10!
It is as easy to use as 7, but contains the useful parts of 8/8.1.. ..however, this time they don’t get in the way of doing things! It is also as good for the old games and emulators/games as Windows 7 was.
There are some caveats, if you use your PC as a home theatre hub or PVR and depend on Windows Media Centre you may want to pause before upgrading as this has gone and won’t be coming back.. ..as such my HTPC will be staying with Windows 7. But to be honest most modern ‘smart’ TVs do most of this media stuff now anyway, especially now Android TV etc. has arrived.
* WARNING FOR VAIO USERS – Sony is warning VAIO users against upgrading to Windows 10 at the moment as they do not have drivers available yet.. ..for more information follow this link. I am happy to report though that I upgraded both my VAIO R Master (desktop) and my VAIO FIT 15e (laptop) to 10 with no problems whatsoever.. ..but do so at your own risk.