I’m not going back to Apple after using Windows 10 for a year

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From Apple’s old “Get a Mac” commercials.
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On July 29, Microsoft’s Windows 10 will turn a year old.

And while Microsoft’s tactics to get people to upgrade to Windows 10 have been annoying, the operating system itself came out great.

At first, Windows 10 was just supposed to be an experiment for me. But I ended up liking Windows 10 quite a bit – especially when paired up with the Surface Book, Microsoft’s first laptop, released in late 2015.

In fact, I like the Windows 10/Surface Book combo better than any of the many MacBooks I’ve ever owned since I went all-Apple around 2008. In many ways, I’m more productive and a much happier computer-user on Windows 10.

And on August 2, Microsoft is releasing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, a big free upgrade to the operating system that adds a mess of new features, makes a lot of little interface tweaks, and generally changes things for the better.

Here’s why I like Windows 10 so much, and why I have no plans to go back to Apple’s camp after years of being a Mac guy.


I’ve been running Windows 10 for most of the past year, pausing only to go back to my Mac for a few weeks at a time and compare notes. For the past few months, my device of choice been the Microsoft Surface Book laptop, which I love.

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Melia Robinson/Business Insider

The first, and biggest, reason to love Windows 10 is Cortana — the digital assistant that comes with every copy of Windows 10. Not only can Cortana search your files and folders, but she provides a look into your daily calendar and other info when you click.

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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

If you’re an Android person, it’s like the best parts of Google Now, which present you with the most relevant information from your apps …

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Android Niceties

… combined with the personality and voice-responsiveness of Apple’s Siri.

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Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

Apple is moving to match Cortana by including Siri in the forthcoming MacOS Sierra. But she’s pretty limited on the Mac when it comes to things like checking your calendar, and you have to use your voice to talk to her. Meanwhile, Cortana lets you use your keyboard.

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Apple

There’s also a Cortana app for Android and iPhone that can keep all of your information in sync for you across your PC and phone. Once the Windows 10 Anniversary Update drops on August 2, installing the Cortana app on Android will also let you send text messages from your PC or tablet.

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Microsoft

That update brings some other goodies to Cortana as well, like the ability to remind you of specific information, like a frequent flyer number, on demand. Here, I had previously told Cortana “remind me that the nuclear launch codes are 12341234,” so when I ask her “what are the nuclear launch codes …”

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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

Plus, Cortana is smart enough to read your calendar and remind you of specific things when you’re scheduled to meet with different people. It’s all pretty great!

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MathandCoding.org

Another thing I very much liked about Windows 10 from the get-go was its focus on using a stylus to write, especially on Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book devices.

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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

Microsoft tells me to expect more stylus-enabled PCs hitting the market this holiday season, which is also why Microsoft is giving styluses a lot of love with the Anniversary Update, too, starting with a new “Windows Ink Workspace.”

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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

The Windows Ink Workspace will appear by default when you click the button on the back of the Surface Pen stylus, or you can get to it by clicking a little icon next to your clock.

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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

The headlining feature of the Ink Workspace is a new Sticky Notes feature. For the first time, Windows 10 will actually recognize your handwriting, so if a note contains a phone number or a date, it’ll prompt you to add it to your contacts or calendar.


Beyond the newer stuff, there are some things that Windows has always been good at. For instance, Windows always gets more games than the Mac, and new games like Gears of War 4 are coming to Windows 10.

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Microsoft

Windows 10 ups the ante with a sweet Xbox app that lets you stream gameplay from the Xbox One console to your PC or tablet. So a Windows 10 computer lets you play Xbox or PC games from your same chair. Nice.

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Microsoft

Windows 10 also packs Windows Hello, which lets you log in to your computer by looking at it, provided your PC’s camera supports the feature. It works very well, and no, it can’t be fooled by a mask. The new update lets you use Hello to buy apps from the Windows Store.

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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

But the one thing I might like most of all about Windows 10 is, well, windows. Windows 10 makes it easy to split your screen and manage your apps by dragging them to the sides or corners of your monitor. It makes multitasking a breeze.

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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

Fair is fair, and Windows 10 isn’t perfect. It’s still Windows, and I’ve definitely run into little glitches here and there that require a reboot. And the Windows Store app market is still pretty under-stocked, though Windows 10 itself can run any Windows software ever created.

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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

I also ran into some glitches with my early preview version of the Anniversary Update, including app instability and notifications that arrive just a few seconds (or minutes) too late. I’m assured by Microsoft that it’s working on bug fixes right up until the official August 2 launch.

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Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, Apple is always upgrading the iPad, especially the iPad Pro, to be more laptop-like, bringing it into closer competition with Windows 10. And bringing Siri to the Mac is a huge step in the right direction for Apple.

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Matt Weinberger/Business Insider

But as it stands today, after a year (give or take) with Windows 10 — well, if it’s Mac versus PC, I’m definitely a PC kind of guy.

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