Windows 10 is here. Microsoft's latest release is intended as the last-ever version of Windows -- from here on out, the company will upgrade the software regularly through Windows Update, acting more like a service than a traditional software package. It's free for a limited time for Windows 7 and 8.1 users, but should they consider upgrading?
"If you use Windows 8 without a touch screen or you’re a gamer, it’s a no-brainer: Get it as soon as you can, but back up first, of course," said tech writer Jack Schofield in his review for The Guardian. Schofield highlighted the return of the Start menu as a major plus that should ease the transition for Windows 7 users, but for that group he suggested waiting four to 12 months before upgrading.
Despite some reviewers recommending that users hold off for a bit until the bugs are worked out, or at least upgrade only if they really want to, most reviewers reacted positively to the new features Microsoft has been promoting. "Microsoft’s Xbox app might be my favorite new feature, because it lets you stream Xbox One games to your laptop," said Tom Warren at The Verge. "It works surprisingly well, with no lag even over a Wi-Fi network."
Microsoft Edge, the browser that finally replaces Internet Explorer, was noted in several reviews as a welcome improvement, but not quite there yet. "Yes, it is quite fast, thanks to a new engine that leaves behind support for Active X and other legacy technologies," said Lance Ulanoff at Mashable. "It also has more than its share of crashes and could stutter badly on some sites."
Brian X. Chen, reviewing for the New York Times, highlighted the Cortana digital voice assistant and Continuum, where the interface switches between tablet mode and mouse mode, as strong points. However, Chen also sees room for improvement. "Cortana often falls back to doing searches on Bing.com, Microsoft’s search engine, which is less proficient than Google’s search engine," he said.
Overall, reviewers were positive about the improvements that have been made. The bugs need ironing out, but it's the same with almost every version of Windows, and what's important is whether the package as a whole is any good. Walt Mossberg, in his review for Re/code, sees Windows 10 as more what Windows 8 might have looked like if it hadn't tried to change so much. "I regard Windows 10 as a solid, evolutionary operating system that’s likely to be a good bet for people who like Windows," he said. "But don’t upgrade until more of the bugs have been worked out."