Windows 10: A User’s Perspective

ZoHa Islands resident Traugh Underwood (Bluebane Akula) contacted me in-world recently, and said that he was a Windows 10 user and would be happy to answer any questions I might have about the OS. I was delighted that he was willing to discuss his experiences with Windows 10 and sent him a note card with my questions, which he most graciously answered for me. Below is Traugh’s discussion of his experiences with Windows 10. (Traugh lives in the UK).


Q: How long have you been using Windows 10?

A: Since October 1st, 2014. As a technical support for a lot of my friends, I wanted to get used to it quickly. Despite Microsoft advising people not to do so, I have been using as my only OS on my PC since then.


Q: Are you using the Alpha version or Beta version, if there is one? Has it been real buggy?

A: Its always been beta. There have been some bugs, especially in the early builds. But unlike other operating systems, Microsoft had a special insider app for Beta testers we could send feedback through, and a LOT of changes have happened along the way because of insiders voicing their opinion, even down to silly things like the icon for the recycle bin.


Q: What OS were you using before Windows 10?

A: I was using windows 8.1 before i jumped up to 10. 8.1 was very controversial. Although I can understand why people didn’t like it, for me the change in 8.1 to the start bar that people were so upset about, was far outweighed by the benefits of apps and a much faster OS than 7.


Q: Did you ever use Windows 7, and how does Windows 10 compare?

A: I did use 7, from its launch until Win 8 was launched. How does it compare to 10? Ummm well 10 is as if 7 and 8 had a baby. So take all the things you like about 7 and combine it with added apps, faster booting, better memory management and a much better DirectX system.
Also for gamers and multitaskers especially, the multi-desktop is invaluable if you only have 1 monitor. I actually dropped my second monitor because I just wasn’t using it on windows 10.


Q: What do you like best about Windows 10 in general?

A: It’s difficult to pinpoint just one thing, to be honest. There are a lot of things in Windows 10 that I now use daily. Cortana is very useful when I’m feeling lazy and just want to tell my PC to do stuff instead of clicking and using my keyboard. Multi-desktop is invaluable especially as a gamer as you can devote one desktop just to running a full screen game, and then switch desktops to check things without having to use alt tab (there is a shortcut to change screens – Crtl-Win-Left/Right). The notification bar is very useful to anyone used to a smart phone. It’s wonderful to have the ability to see whats going on with the PC without having all the annoying pop-ups you used to get in 7 and 8. But above all else, I would say the performance boost is what I really admire about Windows 10.


Q: What do you like least about Windows 10 in general?

A: Up until this point its been certain bugs, or when some app you use daily stops working and you had to wait a few days for the fix. But that’s something you have to accept when beta testing, and for the past week everything has been working flawlessly.


Q: How does Windows 10 interface with Second Life? Good and bad?

A: Second Life runs exactly as it did on all my other OS’s I personally don’t see a difference, but a friend of mine running Windows 10 on an Apple machine saw vastly improved frame rates. On Apple OS, he gets 15 fps. On windows 10 he gets 25/30 fps.


Q; What viewer are you using for Second Life?

A: As a builder I use a combination of Firestorm and the official viewer, depending on what I’m doing.


Q: Did you change viewers because of Windows 10? If so, what were you using before?

A: I haven’t changed any programs I was using since windows 7. Since 8 and 10 are built upon 7’s code, I’ve not found any incompatibility so far moving up from 7.


Q: Do you do other gaming besides Second Life? If so, what do you play and what do you like or dislike about Windows 10 as it pertains to your gaming experience?

A: I play a LOT of games on Steam, I currently own over 150 games, as well as software. I’ve tried every one of my games testing them during the beta process, and not had a problem with any so far.


Q: Finally, would you recommend that Second Life residents upgrade to Windows 10 right away, or wait awhile? Why or why not?

A: That’s an interesting question. I would say it comes down to personal preference. If you’re someone who is competent with technology and likes the idea of having the latest in features, then you may want to get it straight away. If not, then you may want to wait a little while. Personally I don’t see a downside to it, and I have personally helped a bunch of people make the transition from Windows 7 and 8 up to 10, and nobody has ever complained about it. Most have said its the best version yet. But all that aside, my biggest advise would be don’t just read one review. If you decide to wait, everyone will have their own personal view on Win 10 including me, and to really get a good view, you will need to look at multiple reviews and make a decision for yourself.


Please comment about anything else you’d like to say, good or bad, about Windows 10?

In reference to the “forced update” conspiracy everyone is ranting about I have this to say:-

Windows 10 does do SOME forced updates. This is exactly the same situation LL had to do not so long ago. They had so many people running outdated viewers on Firestorm, and even some still on Phoenix that they were forced to deny access to SL on any viewer that wasn’t mostly up to date. This was for the benefit of all SL residents and for SL as a platform.

Windows 10 pushes updates to the PC that are required for the improvement of the user experience, so stuff like bug fixes, security hotfixes, etc. However there is also an addition released last Sunday to allow users to choose updates not directly linked to the actual OS; for example graphics updates, sound drivers etc. These will be optional, so if you don’t want to do them you wont have to, which is very good news for gamers who don’t want to update their nvidia/AMD graphics drivers. In the past, updating drivers on AMD, for instance, caused problems in SL so you couldn’t see mesh avatars/clothing etc.

Best wishes, Bluebane Akula.


Thank you so much, Traugh, for your first person perspective on using Windows 10! It sounds exciting and I am really looking forward to the ability to have two screens on one monitor, among other things. It sounds like Windows 10 is mostly positive, taking the good things from both 7 and 8.1 and melding them into an OS that is going to be user friendly. SL residents would benefit from the upgrade to Windows 10, and I personally will be upgrading with it’s initial release on July 29th. I’ll let you know how it goes!

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

Windows 10 Update

I’m sure by now most of you have heard about the hoopla surrounding the new Windows 10 update. This OS for PCs will be the be all to end all, and is the last version of Windows that Microsoft will release. How could that be? Well, they will begin to release updates to Windows 10 with versions, kind of like the viewers do for Second Life. For instance, Firestorm is on viewer 4.7.1 (45325), so I assume we will eventually see Windows or whatever.

Most people who have upgraded to the Windows 8.1 have moaned and groaned about its aggravating interface. Windows 7 users seem quite happy with their version, but with the release of Windows 10, support for both Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 will eventually be discontinued. Microsoft is very focused on getting users on board with Windows 10. Microsoft insists that Windows 10 is the be all to end all of operating systems.

One of the things that has caused so much uproar is the “forced” update. Many conspiracy theorists and control freaks have a problem with Microsoft “forcing” this update on them. People worry that it is way too big brother, similar to the Xbox fiasco where they forced users’s web cam to be active and Xbox connected to the internet all the time, whether the user wanted it to or not. PC users with Windows 10 will lose control over Windows updates. The updates will happen automatically, whether you want them to or not.

Switching to Windows 10 will be optional and free for a year after release. After that, you must pay for the upgrade, which will cost approximately $119 USD. They will quickly discontinue supporting Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, because having a unified OS is Microsoft’s ultimate goal.

windows 10 iconIf you have an updated, officially registered legal copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you may have noticed the new little Windows icon at the bottom right of your computer screen. If you can see it that’s because you qualify for the free upgrade to Windows 10. Clicking that link opens a small popup that tells you a little bit about the new OS and then asks if you would like to register to receive Windows 10 on July 29. Registering will allow Microsoft to patch your PC with a few updates between now and then to speed up the full upgrade when it becomes available next month. If you’re wanting to switch that’s quite the little bonus. The big question is: will you make the switch?

Windows 10 update window
There are many pros to making the leap to Windows 10. Windows 8.1 users will be happy to hear the Start Menu will be back. Windows 10 is a little less touch-centric. Gamers will be excited to see the new PC to Xbox integration. Direct X 12 will be built into the system, which will be great for anyone that is into gaming. There is a new version of Internet Explorer, called Edge. Hopefully it will prove to be a much more viable choice in comparison to it’s predecessor. Windows 10 also adds the convenience of Cortana, which will be useful. Cortana is an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator which has been on the Windows Phone 8.1 and will be added to the Windows 10 and the Xbox One. However most people are excited about the most beneficial feature of Windows 10 == the added security. With only one uniform OS, Microsoft will theoretically be able to better manage and protect its systems because they won’t have to divvy their time between each version of Windows.

So what’s the downside, you ask? Microsoft has been fairly silent on that topic. The one thing that has some users concerned is that after switching to Windows 10, users will lose control of updating their OS. Once you’re in, you’re in; you will lose a level of freedom on your system. You will also lose Windows Media Center, but there are other alternatives. In addition to this, some of the new features will have limitations.

There are obviously both pros and cons for jumping to Windows 10 and everyone will feel a little differently about it. Second Life residents worry if the SL viewers will be compatible with the new OS. The answer is yes it should be, and it should improve your SL experience. As always, though, when you install a new OS on your computer, be sure that you also update all of the drivers for your video card and other components to be sure that they are working together. Most of the problems that SL residents have with OS upgrades can be traced to faulty or incomplete installation. As Second Life users, we should be enthusiastic about the perks that Windows 10 provides in the gaming arena. It seems to be a good step in the right direction after the backlash from Windows 8.

I will be upgrading when Windows 10 releases. I’ll keep you posted!

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger and Social Media