Win­dows of op­por­tu­nity?

TECH TALK: David Behrens ques­tions whether it’s worth up­grad­ing.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Front Page -

OUR days from now, if you let it and if the date doesn’t slip, the latest – and last – ver­sion of Win­dows will ar­rive on your desk­top.

Win­dows 10 is Mi­crosoft’s fi­nal throw of the dice in at­tempt­ing to de­liver an op­er­at­ing sys­tem that will work across all your de­vices: home com­put­ers, lap­tops, games con­soles, tablets and mo­bile phones. The com­pany has said there won’t be a suc­ces­sor – just in­cre­men­tal up­dates once in a while.

In a com­plete break from tra­di­tion, you won’t have to buy Win­dows 10 – it’s be­ing of­fered as a free up­grade to users of the pre­vi­ous two ver­sions. But is it any bet­ter that its im­me­di­ate pre­de­ces­sor, the unloved and com­mer­cially un­suc­cess­ful Win­dows 8.1?

The short an­swer is, yes, it’s a lit­tle bet­ter – but it’s still a close call as to whether it’s worth the time and trou­ble even a free Mi­crosoft up­grade tra­di­tion­ally in­volves.

The list of new fea­tures in Win­dows 10 lays bare the catch-up game the com­pany is play­ing here, not to men­tion its un­easy grasp on pop­u­lar cul­ture and im­i­tates Ap­ple’s “per­sonal as­sis­tant” Siri, which Mi­crosoft calls Cor­tana.

The re­turn of the Win­dows Start Menu sig­nals a U-turn on the move to phone­like “tiles” on the desk­top, and the in­tro­duc­tion of a new web browser to re­place In­ter­net Ex­plorer may tempt one or two users. There are also new apps for email and photos. Un­less you also use a Mi­crosoft Xbox, which does ben­e­fit from some in­te­gra­tion, you will gain lit­tle.

Yet the cen­tral flaw in Win­dows 10 is more fun­da­men­tal still: it is Mi­crosoft’s belief in a one-size-fits-all op­er­at­ing sys­tem across mul­ti­ple de­vices. The most ef­fi­cient com­put­ers run the lean­est op­er­at­ing sys­tems; catch-all Win­dows is ex­actly the op­po­site.

You will have a year from Wed­nes­day’s launch date to de­cide if Win­dows 10 is worth your while; af­ter that, Mi­crosoft says the free up­grade win­dow will close. If you’re still run­ning Win­dows XP, the free of­fer won’t ap­ply and an up­grade will cost £99. Given that you can cur­rently buy a de­cently-spec­i­fied com­plete PC for £150 from dabs.com, that’s a non-starter.

If at the mo­ment you’re run­ning Win­dows 7 and you’re happy with it, you will gain noth­ing sub­stan­tial by up­grad­ing, It might even slow down your ma­chine. If Win­dows 8 or 8.1 is your cur­rent sys­tem, go ahead and up­grade – not be­cause the new sys­tem is great but be­cause the old one is worse.

WIN­DOW DRESS­ING: Win­dows 10 is free to most PC users and re­stores the Start Menu.

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