I took the plunge installing Windows 10 on my ASUS EEE PC Netbook, results so far have been fair.
First things first, this is a low powered machine with 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive which is partitioned as 100GB for the system drive and the remainder as a data drive, it came with Windows 7 Starter Edition which is a full Windows 7 machine with some features missing (not too many though).
The limiting thing about this machine is that it has a low resolution screen 1024×600, this was too low for Windows 8 to be installed, seeing as Windows 10 is designed to be more universal this is now no longer a limitation.
Before doing anything I prepared the machine, specifically I removed any software that I really did not need (more than I thought), then I cleared space on the C Drive by moving files to an external drive or the data drive. I then ran CCleaner and did a full defrag using Defraggler. Finally I created a full system backup so I had a way of getting back if things went wrong.
Installation seemed to go very well, it helped that the setup was downloaded to the hard drive because this machine does not come with a DVD drive (makes sense) and I don’t have an external USB DVD drive. I left it installing overnight (rather than watching progress bars) and it was installed when I got up the next morning, A+ for this part.
My first impression on this machine is that Windows 10 looks cool and seems to work quite well, the post setup process is interesting in that you get asked for more information as you go on. Cortana is pretty cool too, she asked me what she should call me and how to pronounce my name, seeing as my name is not that common (in the US) she got that completely wrong. After a few attempts on my part I typed in how my name should be pronounced phonetically and she can now say my name (Breaking Bad reference there).
This is what my desktop looks like with the start menu, some things of note, the task bar was moved from the left hand side to the bottom, the desktop icons were preserved along with the icons in the taskbar, the icons and notifications seem to be migrated correctly too, not too bad.
Overall the memory consumption was reasonable, a little more than Windows 7, speed of the new Start Menu with the Live Tiles was more than acceptable for this low powered machine. Responsiveness of Cortana was OK, she seems to be able to understand most my speech (better than some humans can in fact).
Finding my way around the OS was a little challenging in that I know where most things are in Windows 7 but not so much in Windows 10, this is where the Internet helps tremendously. My favourite place is to visit Scott Hanselman’s blog where he has a ton of videos which describe how to do common things with Windows 10 but Bing or Google are your friends.
Then we come to the new browser Edge, the first thing that the installation did was to make Edge my default browser, it used to be Firefox, not very cool but understandable. Start-up speed Edge was great, it was ready in a few seconds, performance is great for this machine so far, I just hope that this does not get bloated like the other browsers out there.
First Sign of Problems
One thing that Microsoft has stated is that consumer editions of Windows 10 will be automatically updated, this is a good idea so we don’t have that problem where less tech savvy users are left vulnerable. The problem is that if you get a bad patch then things become very difficult, this is what seemed to happen to me. Things were going well and then Explorer started crashing continually (crash-restart-crash again), did I make the wrong decision?
On top of that a message is displayed when Windows initially starts, this indicates that there is a driver missing. I don’t recall removing any drivers or being told that this was an issue that I needed to resolve.
So I then spend ages looking for help on this one too, I eventually find out that I need to reinstall the ASUS hotkey utility (select ATK and install the latest version), again this is really random and I could have done without it.
Back to the crash, after some more searching on the web (thanks Bing) I found some articles about a couple of patches that were installed that could cause this. I removed these from the machine but the crash still persisted, crap! More detective work led me to an article that suggested that it could be something that is started automatically when the machine loads, OK, that could make sense.
Windows 10 (and Windows 8) is cool here, the Task Manager has a tab named Startup, this shows you what is started when the machine is loaded and you can enable or disable things there. So, I disabled everything except a couple of minor things, yippee, the crash stops, now what was causing the crash? Well there is only one way to find out, keep adding things back, reboot and if the crash occurs the last thing you added is the culprit.
Well it took a whole lot of experimentation and digging, first I thought it was the Ad-aware virus scanner, I uninstalled and reinstalled just to make sure. Then I found this article about iCloud which seems to suggest that there are some issues with permissions that cause this issue. So, iCloud gets uninstalled and voila the crash disappears.
Now another crazy issue, this time with OneDrive of all things. When I setup the machine it asks you whether you want to use a local account (like the one I had in Windows 7) or a Live account, like you can use in Windows 8, I elected to use a Live account, this is cool because you get 2 factor authentication and you only need to remember one password for multiple machines. Anyway, the issue I had was that one of the folders did not get updated in regard to permissions, this meant that I could not write anything to the folder. The resolution was to add my Live account to the permissions of that folder, the strange thing is that all the other folders seem fine.
Nearly there …
So I have a couple of things that I want to play with, first I want to setup a theme for my current favourite movie (Mad Max – Fury Road), Windows 7 Starter did not have this feature built in and you had to use a third party application to do that. The other thing I want to find out is whether the memory consumption I got is real, i.e. once everything has settled down and I am using the system rather than configuring it will memory consumption be the same or better than Windows 7, time will tell.