I’ve been running Windows 10 Technical Preview since it came out on October 1st. We’re now on our third build (Build 9879) so I thought I would share my experience so far on my Surface Pro 3. With Windows 10, they have given us access to builds earlier than we used to get in the past. As a result, you are going to get to deal with different challenges with each build. That’s just what you get when installing on an early release. We expect that though.
Dealing with issues (bugs)
When you decide to run any beta operating system, you need to decide if the potential issues are too much of an annoyance for you to get work done. I am running this on my primary device (my Surface Pro 3). Sometimes the issues can be a pain, but nothing has been a showstopper yet.
In the first build, we had to deal with issues such as mouse wheel scrolling not working on external monitors. That’s been fixed. Now the most common issue is explorer.exe crashes. When this happens, applications in the task bar may not show an icon properly. Be warned, it will also cause the clock to get “stuck in time”. I found myself being late once or twice because of that. KB3020114 is supposed to fix this issue though. If you haven’t installed it yet, you can also mitigate this issue some by reverting back to the Start screen instead of the Start menu. You can do this by right-clicking on the taskbar and choosing Properties. Then click on the Start Menu tab and uncheck Use the Start menu instead of the Start screen.
If you use any Windows Store (metro) apps, you will notice a few issues as well. In build 9879, any time an app gets minimized (or you lock your device), it will stop running. This causes streaming apps such as Xbox Music or iHeartRADIO to stop streaming.
Another issue with Windows Store apps is that they will all crash at once. You’ll find that all of them simply have stopped running. There is a process named Application Frame Host which powers all of your Windows Store apps to run in windowed mode. When this process dies, so does your Windows Store apps. When this happens you simply restart the application.
Windows 10 Features to adjust to
Windows 10 adds the ability to runs Windows Store apps in windowed mode. This sounds great in theory, but I find myself constantly adjusting the windows sizes as they are never right. This especially applies when you drag them onto secondary monitors. When you drag them over, display scaling messes it up when you try to snap them in one continuous action from the primary monitor to the secondary. This means you’ll have to snap the application again. I then often find myself resizing the application two or three more times to get it to snap just right.
I am not a fan of the new Start menu at all. The titles have no sense of arrangement and they are just all jumbled together. This leads me to go back to the original Windows 8.1 style Start screen. I know I am probably one of the few people on the planet though that prefer it though.
Selecting a WiFi network has a new touch friendly menu. This allows you to connect but getting to advanced network settings from here is tough.
OneDrive (consumer) has also changed as I mentioned in my last article. It changes the way synchronization happens. For the most part I think it probably works better now but occasionally I still have issues.
Surface Pro 3 specific issues
The Surface Pen works in Windows 10 just fine. However, the ability to wake the device up while it is sleeping by pressing the button currently does not. I didn’t find myself using that feature very often though as cool as it is.
I have had a lot of issues with the device waking up and running instead of going into connected standby mode with Build 9879. I have pulled my Surface out of my bag to find it running hot more than once. I honestly don’t think connected standby works at all right now so I have started shutting the device down when I want to make sure it doesn’t come on.
Battery life is also considerably less with Windows 10. I’ve found that this happens every time I run a beta operating system though.
Should you install it?
Unless you are just dying to see the new features, I would probably not install Build 9879 on your Surface Pro 3. None of the issues are absolute deal breakers, but they can be annoying at times. However, they aren’t so bad that I am considering going back to Windows 8.1. I am just going to hold out until the next build. Microsoft has announced a Windows 10 event on January 21st, so I would guess we’ll see something around then.
If you do decide to proceed with the install you can get it by joining the Windows Insider Program. Be sure to read the Before you Install link and have backed up your data or have it in the cloud somewhere.
- @coreyroth on twitter