Nick's Tech Blog

I'm a software developer, and these are my thoughts.

Windows 10 Insider

06 Nov 2015 | | comp-sci, windows

Windows 10 Insider Preview

I’ve been using the Windows 10 insider preview for quite a while now. When Windows 10 released, I decided to stay on it as it was easier than trying to restore my system and then do the actual upgrade. So I’ve been sticking with the latest builds fairly regularly. I’m pretty happy with Windows 10 overall, but there are also a few things that really annoy me.

The Start Menu

One of the cool things that Microsoft finally got a clue about in Windows 10 is re-introducing the start menu. The start menu is a core component to the Microsoft ecosystem and has always been. They tried to remove it in Windows 8 and that didn’t go over well, and brought it back mostly in 8.1. I had ended up using one of the registry hacks to re-enable the old-style one so I wasn’t as critical of 8/8.1 as I otherwise might have been. Now with Windows 10 we have the start menu back, and it’s mostly alright, however with the latest insider preview I’ve noticed a hugely unacceptable delay in how long it takes to open. This is exacerbated if I turn on location services. It can take upwards of 30 seconds to open a menu that should be fully cached and available anytime I press the windows key. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to make an instant menu like this. All of the data I care about is on my system and instantly available so the slowness does not make sense to me.

Program Changes

Another portion of the OS that is annoying is the change to the built-in small programs like the calculator. The old program worked great, it launched instantly and had no hang-ups. The new re-write uses the new Windows 10 boxed interface, it takes 10 or more seconds to even open and it’s super.. well. Super large and blocky. I just want a normal calculator but Microsoft had to go and ruin the built-in one. I wouldn’t mind a graphical update, but the thing takes longer than a video-game to launch.

Run-As-Administrator

For the most part, I only need to use Run as Admin when installing new software, which is fine. There are certain circumstances that I like to run things in administrator mode because they either don’t function properly without it (old games). Or they fix functionality that shouldn’t have required admin mode in the first place (steam overlay in non-integrated games). Unfortunately, the previous insider build, 10565 broke Run-as-Admin for any web-kit based application. Steam will load, but the only usable portions of it are the library and Big Picture mode. All of the web-based displays are nonfunctional. I tested out Vivaldi as Administrator, and sure enough Vivaldi wont even load the program window. The tray icon shows up but the browser doesn’t even create the UI for me to interact with it. Fortunately, I only need run-as-Administrator for some added-value uses such as running external games from steam, so I can get by without it for now, but I really am hoping this isn’t a long-term issue.

Conclusions

Overall, I like the changes to the start menu and the UI changes are fairly good, except where they are not consistently applied. The file manager browser still looks like the old browser with it’s side-panel and still forces white-background onto the user when it would be much nicer for it to inherit the same blue as the revamped start menu. I’m going to continue using Windows 10, and hope that Microsoft can continue to improve on it.

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