I have had Win 8.1 installed on both my desktop and laptop. I ABSOLUTELY HATE the Windows 8 standard start screen. To resolve the issue, I have installed Classic Shell on both computers. Given that addition, Win 8 is pretty good.
I also installed the Insider preview builds of Win 10 in a virtual machine on my desktop. I reported one problem to MS and it was fixed on the subsequent build. I submitted suggestions regarding the Start Menu but they were not implemented.
Here's what I experienced with a Win 10 upgrade on my laptop:
- The upgrade process itself was flawless.
- After the upgrade, my ClassicShell program was uninstalled. I downloaded and installed the latest version and it works well. (more on that later)
- After the upgrade, there was no access to my network and networked printers. I manually enabled file and printer sharing and had access to the network but the printers were not available.
- I used the standard Windows process to find network printers but it didn't find them. I had to manually add them and they worked afterwards
- My touchpad didn't work. A subsequent Windows update fixed the problem but it took a few days to get the update.
- My microphone didn't work (Via HD Audio on an ASUS laptop). I spent a week trying many alternatives but finally got it working with help from ASUS tech support. See the following thread for more info: Via HD Audio - Sound and Mic not working - Windows 10 Forums
- I use the desktop version of Skype. I don't have it set up to load at Windows start. I only load it when I want to use it and exit afterward. In Win 10, Skype for desktop loads and works correctly but you can't exit it after it is loaded unless you go into Task manager and end the task.
- I don't have a compelling reason to update my desktop but I've decided to delay updating for a few months until more Win 10 bugs are resolved. I'm only upgrading to stay current.
So far everything seems to be working.
My opinion of Win 10:
- In addition to the standard e-mail and browser programs, I have a large number of programs installed for audio, video, and photo creation/editing as well as web development tools. The Win 8 start screen was totally unusable given the large number of programs. I installed ClassicShell and chose the "Classic Style" menu (i.e. Win 98 style). This allows me to add cascading menus to the start menu and group my programs by category (video, photo, music, etc) making them much easier to find.
- Most of the writers who review Win 10 are glowing in their praise. I suspect that, after Win 8, this is a little like "no longer banging your head against the wall. It feels so good when you stop!" While the return of the start menu in Win 10 is welcome, it is a feeble effort. The right side of the menu with the tiles is no better than the Win 8 start screen. The left side of the menu is totally inflexible. All programs are arranged alphabetically and you can't change this. This may be acceptable if you have a small number of programs. However, it is unwieldy if you have a large number of programs. Thank goodness for ClassicShell. I can restore my Classic style menu with it's user defined cascading menus.
- After installing ClassicShell, Win 10 is pretty good but I don't see a huge improvement over Win 8 with ClassicShell.
- I like Cortana but so far it seems more like a novelty rather than a really useful tool. My opinion of this may change as I use it more.
- I really don't like most of the apps. They are obviously designed for a smartphone. They appear childish on a 28" monitor. Most of them are far too limited in scope to be useful beyond basic tasks.
- I'm not a "gamer" so I really can't fully comment on the game environment. The only games that I use are Solitaire and Minesweeper. I might play them for a few minutes while I'm waiting for a video to render. The Win 10 application of these games attempts to sign on to the XBox server. For me, this takes unnecessary time and effort. (I think they did the same thing in Win 8). I just want these games to load locally and quickly like they did in older versions of Windows. At least it would have been nice to have that option.
I'd be interested to hear the opinions of others.