Whether to upgrade your operating system or not is an understandably sensitive subject. No doubt your computer of choice holds all sorts of important documents and the software you’re currently using is vital to your productivity and success. All of which can easily disappear with any change to the ecosystem. Altering the OS in any way requires some serious thought, for sure. To that end, we’ve carefully put together this list of Windows 10 pros and cons to help you decide if this operating system is the right fit for you.
The Upside of Windows 10
Windows 10 has been around for a while now. If you’re thinking about making the upgrade or switch from a different operating system, here’s a list of why you should consider it.
1. Familiar and Improved Interface
After its hiatus in Windows 8, the Start menu made a comeback with Windows 10. This time it brought along your most-used apps at the top of the list. Live Tiles that you can fully customize. As well as the ability to search for anything online (and offline). If the item you’re searching for isn’t available on your PC, such as folders, videos, photos, it’ll activate the Internet to search for your query instead.
The file explorer also has a fresh look over the previous iteration. The quick access tab lets you pin your favorite folders for ease of use. Depending on what folder is open and its contents. You’ll get a customized tab in the header with functions corresponding to the content. For example, if you open a drive folder, you’ll get a tab with options to optimize, cleanup, or format. If the folder contains videos or photos, you’ll get a tab with options to play, view, and edit.
2. Customization at Your Fingertips
Colors and transparency aren’t the only things you can customize in Windows 10. If you’re a fan of Dark Mode, you can now enable it across the OS, and even on the integrated Windows apps for a sleek, minimal look.
You can adjust the lock screen to have apps that serve as a dashboard. This includes the calendar, weather, alarms and clocks, among other integrated apps. If you don’t want a busy lock screen, you can disable this feature through settings.
Not a huge fan of the default font? Change it at any time by choosing from the available list like you could on older versions of Windows. Or if you have a font file in a folder, you can use the new drag and drop function to install it. As long as it’s not Comic Sans, we won’t judge 😊
Lastly, the new Fluent design system provides an aesthetically pleasing and intuitive interface. With the ability to customize the colors and translucence of your windows, the modern look is easy on the eyes, as well as the hardware. The design system has been so well-received that Microsoft left it open source for designers to use.
3. Amped Up Security
Windows 10 built upon the features of its predecessors and tightened security even further. Windows Defender Antivirus will be receiving an upgrade and you might not require a second antivirus to keep your device safe from viruses and even malware. You won’t have to worry about installing it as it’ll come pre-installed with the OS. You can also adjust how aggressive the defender should be against suspicious programs and files, and the actions taken against them.
Windows Hello is an added feature that lets you unlock your device using biometrics. Depending on your device, you can scan your face, iris, or fingerprint to open your device. You can still use a password or a pin if it makes things easier. But knowing that there’s an option for the added security boost is comforting.
4. Desktop and Tablet Modes
Laptops have been getting 2-in-1 models that function as both a regular laptop and tablet once you detach or rotate the screen. Windows 10 kept that in mind when designing the interface and reciprocated by creating two modes for the OS: desktop and tablet.
You can switch modes through the Notifications Center. Or it’ll automatically switch once you detach your screen. The icons will get bigger, and you can tap-hold to function as right-clicking.
All Office applications got a new touch-optimized look so you can edit your spreadsheets, powerpoints, and more when in tablet mode.
Windows has always been ahead of the curb when it comes to gaming, and Windows 10 steps up the game even further. The addition of DirectX 12, which isn’t available on older Windows versions, provides a smooth gaming experience and superb graphics performance.
If you’re an Xbox fan, you’re in luck! Windows 10 features the Xbox App which synchronizes with your Xbox so you can stream your games. See your progress. And switch playing your favorite games from the console to your computer.
6. Seamless User Experience
Windows 10 boasts of its seamless compatibility across platforms. The unified apps (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) synchronize across your devices so you can switch between your desktop and phone without interrupting your workflow.
This also means that you don’t have to sync manually every time you need something.
The new Your Phone app connects your desktop to your phone to check your notifications, phone apps, make calls and even cast your phone’s screen on your desktop so you can use the apps on your phone. This feature means you can also easily copy files directly from your computer to your phone. No need for wires anymore!
7. Goodbye Internet Explorer, Hello Edge
Internet Explorer has had a dwindling fan base over the years. Microsoft decided to ditch it all together and create Edge. This new browser is built to compete with Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. It’s Chromium-based (same structure as Chrome) with an improved engine, making it a worthy opponent.
Microsoft’s Edge works off the cons of the other browsers, especially Chrome’s notorious RAM drainage, and provides a seamless experience with its integrations on both Windows, macOS, as well as both Android and iPhones.
Because they have the same base, you can sync your bookmarks from Chrome to Edge, and enjoy all your favorite Chrome plugins on Edge.
Edge also comes with a couple of neat features such as:
- Kids mode for kid-friendly browsing.
- The ability to block online tracking.
- Immersive Reader mode.
- Integrated Collections feature to save to Microsoft apps.
If you’re a fan of Google Assistant or Siri, Windows 10 has its own assistant: Cortana. While she’s not equipped for general search queries like the others. You can still use Cortana to set reminders and adjust your calendar (in both Windows and Google). She’s also integrated with Microsoft Edge.
There were multiple functions that Cortana had that have been reduced with May 2020’s update to direct the assistant toward a more productive approach. They include commands playing music, controlling Netflix or Hulu, as well as location-based reminders such as reminding you to get groceries. However, we’re hopeful that these would be rolled back in future updates.
Cortana can also work without voice recognition and help you with queries via typing. Simply wake her up using the Windows key + C, or by using the dedicated button on your taskbar. If it’s not there, right-click on the taskbar and choose ‘Show Cortana Button.’
The Downsides of Windows 10
No operating system is perfect, and Windows 10 is no exception. Despite the many perks it has to offer, there are a few areas where the system can stand improvement.
1. Mandatory Updates
Instead of getting a new Windows version every couple of years. Microsoft decided that it’s time to stick to one that works and make it better incrementally over time. Windows 10 is here to stay for a few years at least, with updates planned to be rolled out all the way to 2025.
Although each update features a bug fix or new feature, you can’t opt out of receiving them. Windows 10 updates will automatically download and install in the background, like the Chrome OS.
The issue we see with mandatory updates is they don’t give the user enough time to test the new update. This means that you probably won’t get enough time to research what the update does before it installs.
You can turn them off either! But despite being annoying at times, we still recommend installing them to avoid any system failures or incompatibility issues.
2. Incompatibility with Older Programs
If your hardware and software are older. Chances are that Windows 10 might not work well. Windows 10’s minimum requirements for devices seem easily achievable since most devices nowadays sport high specs. If you’re a fan of old programs and apps (e.g., programs that were compatible with Windows Vista or 95), there’s a fairly high chance that they won’t work with Windows 10.
However, there’s a way to bypass this using compatibility mode. Although this may not work on some old programs, it’s worth a try.
3. Possible Privacy Concerns
It’s no secret that most apps collect our data on the regular, be it usage data, crash reports, or preferences to optimize our user experience. However, Microsoft didn’t clarify which info it collects through the OS and programs. While their privacy statement is open to the public, it leaves room for speculation on how they collect the data and where it goes.
Although programs are installed with open privacy settings, you can always control exactly how much you’re willing to share (or not share) any info at all.
4. No More Windows Media Center
The all-around solution for media is no more in Windows 10. While there isn’t an alternative that serves this exact purpose. There are a few alternatives such as VLC and Windows DVD player that work just as well.
Another program that has been replaced is the Windows Photo Viewer. But the replacement is already integrated into the form of Photos.
In the spirit of full disclosure, we use Windows 10 on all of our laptops and computers. And we couldn’t be happier with its functionality. Sure, downsides like unsolicited automatic updates are a bugaboo. But it hasn’t been enough of a concern to fling this operating system for any other; no OS is absolutely perfect. But for us, especially with Microsoft’s new method of making gradual changes with updates rather than subjecting users to a whole new version of Windows. Windows 10 sure does come close.