Tech Talk: “Yes, Virginia, the Windows 10 upgrade involves a learning curve”

Saturday, August 1, 2015

By Brian Boston

The world is a changing place. Whether it’s the weather, the nature of your work or relationships, or the fortune of your favorite sport teams, change is part of the rhythm of life. It can be something we wish would go faster (economic improvement, street repairs) or slower (the aging process, climate change).

Technological change seems to produce a schizophrenic reaction among people. Most people seem to enjoy the general benefits of a more connected and supported society as long as we don’t have to confront technology changes directly. If the computer and software you have been comfortable using for years could support of the rigors of cloud computing, portable device connection, and Internet service integration, using what you have would be ideal for most people.

“Why mess up a perfectly good present with the future?”

It seems the worst comes when software manufacturers do big updates to their applications or operating systems. People accept that some change is necessary to support new technology and changes that improve interactivity make sense, but it the learning curve can be scary if the approach is to pack it all in one release every two to three years.

That’s what happened with Windows 8. It was like waking up in Disneyland’s Tomorrow Land with no way out. Fascinating place to explore for some; frustrating place to be productive for everyone else.

Windows 8.1 a year later refined the vision started in Windows 8 and started process of incremental improvements that brought back a start button and added improvements to mouse usage and program interaction. While some of these incremental changes started with Window 8.1, a large number came after product release, adding feature updates to the monthly and quarterly cycle of bug fixes and security updates sent to our PCs. And the learning curve became much more manageable.

Change in Byte-Sized Chunks

That is what Microsoft is planning to do once Windows 10 is in place; incremental change. No more big releases of Windows. Windows 10 will be the last of its kind.

Given the rolling nature of incremental change, Windows 10 doesn’t actually have to be “finished” for release, just stable enough for mass consumption and complete enough to handle today’s needs. In other words, it can be more like most other items we prefer in our life .

Sounds great…what’s the catch?

That’s great news for the future, but Windows 10 itself is still a big release. And yes, there will be a learning curve. How much depends on the current version of Windows you are using, the system hardware you have, your level of expertise, and willingness to adapt.

What Microsoft learned with Windows 8 is that the willingness to adapt is not something to expect from computer users. After all, most people just want to check email, access the Internet for information or communication, use programs to create and edit content or play games. They don’t want to learn a new operating system.

Most previous versions of Windows let you go back to a more “classic” view of the OS. Windows 8 did not. In fact, not only did Windows 8 force you into a new mode of operation, it also made it easier to use touch than a mouse. That's great for the few people who had touch screens but lousy for everyone else.

Your learning curve depends on your current OS

For those of you chafing under 8 and 8.1, the changes to the visual style and mouse operation in Windows 10 will be more of a relief than anything else. Items that were difficult to click on have either been eliminated or new clickable options have been provided. Some touch and tablet users may not appreciate some changes (no Charms, less swiping options) but this will be offset a bit by the ability to switch to a tablet-friendly mode and the ability to detect and modify the user interface when a keyboard is attached/detached. 

If you are using Windows 7 and found it a challenging change from Windows Vista or XP, expect a similar challenge. The new Start menu is a mix of old and new as is most of the system. The more expert users might find the distribution of settings between PC Settings and Control Panel confusing.

There are things to look forward to as well.

What both Windows 8 and 7 users will appreciate is the merging of app behavior between the old-style “desktop apps” and the new style apps created for Windows 8. Initially these apps (called variously, Metro/New Windows 8/Modern apps) were full-screen and simplified in design, a totally different world than working with desktop apps. This led to a very schizophrenic user interface and more of a challenge for people to use. Windows 10 allows the new style of apps to be windowed and adjustable in size just like traditional desktop apps.

There are new items inspired by smartphones, like the Notification Center and a smarter Task View. Look for more discoverable features by using ellipses buttons and hamburger menus.

Windows is attempting to stay relevant in the face of declining PC sales by not only adopting details from mobile devices, it is promoting a “universal app” design. An extension of its Modern App design, Universal apps that will work on Windows 10 PCs, the Xbox One, and Windows 10 mobile devices due out in the autumn time frame. If you are currently using a Windows Phone with 8.1, it will also be upgradable to the mobile version of Windows 10.

So, is it worth an upgrade?

So, there are welcome changes coming and learning curves to expect in the upgrade process to Windows 10. These are part of the swirling sea of variables that you need to consider when choosing whether to upgrade or not. 

And there are more variables to catalog and add to your checklist. Look for those in our next installment.

Boston LegacyWorks, LLC offers talks and individual help on technology topics, troubleshooting and tutoring on PC usage, and services so you can manage and maintain your computer, your network of computers, or how they connect with the world. Contact us for information on how we can help you.


Sheila Long,  August 2, 2015 at 12:38 PM  

Thank you! I've been trying to figure out how this will change :)

Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP