Category Archives: Windows 10

Windows 10 – First Impressions

Interested in Windows 10? Hate Windows 8? We were in the same boat so we  headed over HERE , downloaded the Windows 10 preview and installed it on an older laptop. Wow! Are we glad we did!  Here’s what we think of it so far.

Background: Our older Lenovo laptop gave up the ghost recently. It wouldn’t boot into Windows 7 no matter what we did to try and fix it. Since we’d done a full back-up on it very recently, we decided that it would be the perfect guinea pig for Windows 10.

In the past, Microsoft has warned us against installing a new O/S (operating system) on an older computer. We were very thankful that this wasn’t the case on our older Lenovo. There was never a mention or warning that there might not be enough CPU power or RAM, normally the two main problems when upgrading. Thankfully, Windows 10 installed perfectly and has run smoothly since.

TIP: In order to install Windows 10 from the file that you download from Microsoft, you have to burn the iso file to a DVD. That’s the easiest and simplest way although you can use a flash drive. The flash drive process is more complicated and involves other software so, for now, burn the iso to a DVD using Burnaware, the free software that we recommend highly. (Make sure you get the FREE version, it works perfectly.)

Photo of Windows 10 desktop
See the start button on the left? It’s a window now but it’s there. Phew! Thanks Microsoft!

First Impressions of Windows 10

The biggest and most lasting impression is that Windows 10 is NOT Windows 8. That comforting impression cheers us up every time we start using it. An O/S shouldn’t get in the way of your work. It should run in the background and, simply, allow you to get things done, whether those things are for work or pleasure. No one needs an O/S that tries to be something else. That’s what Windows 8 tried to be. We’re not sure exactly what it was masquerading as but, trust us, it wasn’t pretty.

Windows 10 is much like Windows 7 except it’s faster, faster in just about every way we can think of. Booting up is quick, so quick that we originally thought that we were missing something, that the version we had wasn’t the full one. Turns out we were wrong. Microsoft has somehow managed to streamline the boot process to a level that we haven’t seen in years.

Everything is where it should be. There’s the Start menu, the desktop, familiar icons across the bottom of the screen…it’s all there. No weird looking screen with a jumble of unknown icons blocking your path to productivity. That in itself is very calming. We know that Windows 7 can’t last forever but if we were faced with Windows 8 as the only alternative, we’d nurse Windows 7 along for years. No need to now. Windows 10 is here!

Wait…if you can

If you’re in the market for a new computer, see if you can wait until the public release of Windows 10. This is mainly to save you some money. If you get a laptop or desktop now with Windows 8, you’ll have to spring for a copy of Windows 10 when it comes out. If you can wait until closer to the release date, you can almost always get a very substantial discount on the upgrade. You’ll be offered that discount by Microsoft when you purchase a qualifying PC within weeks of the Windows 10 release date. It’s been that way in the past and we don’t see Microsoft changing this.

If you can’t wait, don’t worry. Virtually any laptop or PC you buy now will run Windows 10. Just make sure you get at least 4 gigs of ram and a dual or quad core CPU. Both of these are pretty much standard now except for the very lowest priced laptops or refurbished PCs. Our Lenovo was over two years old and runs Windows 10 just fine.

Remember that the version of Windows 10 that we have installed is NOT a permanent version of the O/S. It will expire at some point. Because of that, don’t install this on your main computer. Either get another hard drive or use a spare PC/laptop, not your everyday computer. That’s partially because it will expire but also because this is a beta or trial version, not the final retail one. It might crash, taking all of your personal files with it. We’ve found it to be very stable but you never know what might happen in the future.

We loved Windows 7, hated Windows 8 with a passion but, right now anyway, we think that Windows 10 will surpass Windows 7 in popularity. It’s that good. We’ll post more details on it as time goes by.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading! Comments and questions are welcome but  Likes on our Facebook page get immediate attention.  Here’s the link: Computers Made Simple on Facebook 


Buying a Laptop? – Better wait for a while.

We recently picked up a new laptop for a very good price. Good price or not, we returned the laptop yesterday. Why? Although it was advertised as having Windows 7, this Toshiba 15.6″ laptop came with Windows 8. We use Windows 8 on a few of our desktops but find it impossible to use on a laptop. That’s why we returned it.

Out of the box the Toshiba had the old version of Windows 8 installed. Try as we might, we couldn’t get it to update itself to the 8.1 version, the one with the old style desktop. Aside from that, the computer was almost six months past its warranty date with Toshiba. Yes it was new but it seems that Toshiba limits its warranty to a one year period which starts when the retail outlet gets the computer. Hmmm, not good if that laptop sat on a shelf for a year and a half. Although the outlet offered a one year warranty of its own, we know how hard it is to get parts for anything that is more than a year old.

This experience made us think about you, our readers, and how you’re going to be faced with a dilemma if you’re thinking of picking up a new laptop in the next six months. Our suggestion is to wait, if you can, until next spring. Windows 10 will probably be released around April 15, 2015. In the past, Microsoft has offered free or heavily discounted upgrades to their next operating system if you purchase a computer in the weeks immediately prior to the O/S’s release date.

Take it from us, you don’t want to be stuck with Windows 8 on a laptop. We also don’t think that you want a Surface tablet, Microsoft’s own hardware product that uses Windows 8. We could buy two or three regular laptops for the price of one Surface Pro and the laptops would come with keyboards. The Surface does not come with one, even though every single ad shows it with a keyboard.

Aside from the free or discounted Windows 10 offering by Microsoft, laptop and computer manufacturers always tune their products for the next O/S. That means that they design the latest products around test versions of Microsoft’s latest operating system, even if that system hasn’t been released yet. We’re sure you’ve all heard of horrendous upgrade tales from friends who tried to install a new O/S on an old computer. In most cases, it just doesn’t work.

If you can, wait. If you can’t wait, see if you can pick up a Windows 7 laptop. Dell and other manufacturers still offer some models with the very stable Windows 7. Although the products may be a bit long in the tooth, you’ll appreciate using an interface that you know instead of looking at a desktop full of icons.

Photo of Windows 10 desktop.
Right now it’s a mish-mash of icons and what looks like a start menu but we’re sure it will be more like Windows 7 than Windows 8. It has to be.


If you want to download the early beta of Windows 10, go here: Windows 10 Beta Download The file you download will be an ISO. You won’t be able to do anything with it until you burn it to a DVD (easy) or put it on a flash drive (more complicated). Regardless of how you install this beta, DO NOT use it as your main Operating System. Play with it, get used to how it looks and operates but don’t do any real work on it. While these releases are usually stable, there is no guarantee that your data is safe. One glitch and you could lose everything.

For that reason we suggest using a new drive and dual-boot. We’ll get into that later in another post but whatever you do, don’t install Windows 10 Beta over your old, stable version of Windows.

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