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Review: New Windows 10 version still can't beat Windows 7

Woody Leonhard | Nov. 13, 2015
Microsoft’s 'Fall Update' promised to put the finishing touches on Windows 10 -- it doesn’t.

The Windows Hello fingerprint reader, by contrast, seems to work well. The new cover for the Surface Pro 4 (which also works with the Surface Pro 3) has a compatible fingerprint sensor. Other fingerprint readers may or may not work; the driver situation is still up in the air for many readers.

Find my device. As with Apple’s Find My iPhone and Android Device Manager, you can tell Win10 version 1511 to keep you posted on your computer’s last location, and reach out and find it if it’s turned on. Try Start > Settings > Update & Security > Find My Device.

Hyper-V in Hyper-V. For those who work with virtual machines, the new ability to run a Hyper-V virtual machine inside a Hyper-V virtual machine may come in handy. The trick? The Hyper-V machine that’s spawning new VMs has to be running Windows 10 version 1511. You can’t, for example, make a Windows 7 Pro VM that’s running a Windows 7 Home VM.

Windows Spotlight. It’s an advertising gimmick, but Enterprise admins may find Spotlight useful. Windows Spotlight rotates images from Bing on your lock screen (nice ones, too). But as I explained five months ago, Spotlight is a convenient place for Microsoft to stick ads. Admins may be able to access the Spotlight screens or ad slots independently. Time will tell.

SD card support. With Win10 version 1511, you can finally stick your apps on SD cards. Try Start > Settings > System> Storage.

Continuum. While the term has taken on many different meanings -- from the ability to detach a machine’s keyboard without all hell breaking loose, to the ability to use your phone as the center of a desktop system -- much of the promise of Continuum will have to wait until the hardware is ready. That isn’t going to happen until next year or later.

Better applications

It’s hard to draw a line between “features” and “applications” in Windows 10 (case in point: Edge), but the Universal/Metro apps bundled with Win10 have picked up new smarts.

Skype. There’s lots of marketing talk about “Windows 10 Skype integration.” I don’t see integration as much as I see a few new Universal/Metro apps that implement parts of the Skype shtick: Skype Video (for videoconferencing), Messaging (for text messages, but no traditional SMS), and Phone (for phone calls and audio chat). Only the video app is identified as “Skype” in the all apps list, but all three use Skype beneath the covers, and all three share a single Skype directory.

Microsoft has taken the old, monolithic Skype desktop app and turned it into three independent Universal apps. The old desktop app has a well-deserved reputation for being unstable and hard to use. The new Universal apps work much more reliably, but don’t do much beyond the essentials.

 

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