Windows 10 review roundup: Microsoft’s new OS debuts to rave reviews

Steve Makris, Global News

TORONTO – Microsoft officially started pushing the Windows 10 update to users around the world Wednesday and the first reviews of the overhauled operating system are rolling in.

Windows 10 is available as a free upgrade to users running Windows 7 or 8.1, the two previous versions of the software. Microsoft has promised that the new OS will incorporate features from both of the previous versions, as well as introduce some new technology.

READ MORE: What you need to know before upgrading to Windows 10

In addition to a new web browser – dubbed Microsoft Edge – Windows 10 has Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana directly built in, allowing users to search for information and documents on their computer, search the web and even set reminders or calendar events.

While the operating system has just started rolling out to users, early reviews of the OS from those already using it are positive. Here’s a look at what reviewers had to say:

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“It makes sense.”

Windows 10 marks a big moment for Microsoft. The company itself now admits that Windows 8 – which was widely criticized by users – was a step in the wrong direction.

Aside from removing the beloved Start menu, Windows 8 featured a “tile” design meant to mimic apps. The design was superimposed over the regular Windows desktop. In fact, Microsoft tried so hard to distance itself from Windows 8 that it skipped the “Windows 9” name altogether.

For Windows 10 the company has promised to bring back some of the popular Windows 7 features and upgrade some of the good features of Windows 8 for a better user experience.

Yahoo Tech’s David Pogue writes, “The Windows 8 error—I mean era—is over.”

“Windows 10 is coherent. It makes sense. Its design no longer leaves you pounding your forehead on your desk, ruing the day that Microsoft lit up whatever it was smoking. For the 1.5 billion people Microsoft expects to adopt Windows 10, that coherence is a huge, time- and productivity-boosting deal.”

“Prepare to be delightfully surprised.”

“Microsoft hasn’t simply just reinstated the old version from Windows 7. Instead, it’s completely redesigned it in a way that combines the best aspects of the last two versions of Windows,” wrote Tom Warren from The Verge.

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Warren said Cortana is especially useful for locally searching for content on your computer. For example, if you hit the “My Stuff” button during a Cortana search, the voice assistant will search for items related to your search terms both on your computer and in data stored on your OneDrive.

“Having a single interface for virtual assistant searches, web searches, and traditional computer searches is a super convenient and powerful thing, and Microsoft has done a really great job of integrating it here,” he wrote.

“It might be my favorite thing about Windows 10.”

“Get it ASAP.”

“The new OS will be an essential upgrade for all Windows 8 users. (Seriously, get it ASAP.),” said Business Insider’s Steve Kovach, who tested Windows 10 on a Surface Pro 3. “It’s as close to a perfect PC operating system as you’ll ever get. Yes, it’s that good.”

“Windows users finally have a good reason to upgrade.”

Good news for Windows 7 users who were hesitant to upgrade after the Windows 8 debacle – Windows 10 is worth upgrading to, according to Wired’s David Pierce.

“The subtle, remarkable feat of Windows 10 is that it manages to introduce equally powerful new ideas without being so overbearing. If you upgrade your laptop from Windows 7 and steadfastly refuse to use any of the new features, the new OS will feel mostly like an aesthetic makeover,” wrote Pierce.

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“Windows 10 is a dramatic improvement.”

The overwhelming verdict among reviews seems to be that Windows 10 is dramatically better than Windows 8 – but this shouldn’t be a big surprise, given how many people shunned Windows 8. But many agree that the new OS provides a good user experience and runs well on both desktop and tablet devices.

“It works as single, unified operating system rather than a Rube Goldberg kludge of two operating systems poorly bolted together. It changes its interface depending on whether you’re on a tablet or a traditional PC, and runs well on both,” wrote Computer World’s Preston Gralla.

However, Gralla pointed out that the new system is bound to have a few bugs and hiccups during its roll-out and noted, since the upgrade is free for Windows 7 and 8 users for a year, there is no immediate rush to upgrade.

“It’s just okay, not disruptive.”

But not everyone is sold on Windows 10 just yet. Mixed in with all of these positive reviews is one written by Re/Code‘s Walt Mossberg, who criticized the OS for being full of bugs.

“It’s perhaps what Windows 8 might have looked like if it had been evolutionary, not revolutionary. I doubt it will convert many Mac owners, spur a shopping spree in new PCs, bring in droves of new developers, or save the Windows Phone,” said Mossberg.

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“And I advise would-be upgraders who aren’t enthusiasts to wait to upgrade at least for a few months, until the product is more stable and reliable.”

Windows 10 will have seven different versions in total, including desktop and mobile versions for both home and business users, versions for school and even an “Internet of Things” edition.

As of Wednesday, business and home users will begin receiving the Windows 10 upgrade from Microsoft for their computers and tablets. However, the Windows Phone version of the OS likely won’t arrive until the fall.

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