Windows 10 — Breaking a Computer to My Will

The computer’s name is Yesha. I named my Lenovo, gaming machine that because it is Hebrew for salvation. She saved me from the planned obselescence of Maggie Mae, my trusted Windows XP machine, that served me well for ten years. I haven’t figured out yet what to do with Maggie Mae. I didn’t want to give her up, and that still makes me feel sad.

The good news is that Yesha runs Windows 10!

That she runs it on the big, green desk in my study at home, is a small factor. She runs it. Having Windows 10 at home means I can do what I want, and what I want to do with any computer is break it/him/her to my will. I name my computers, and they are almost always female.

Of course being able to use and run GIMP really helps in making oneself at home on a new computer. Even before Yesha arrived, I knew the pixel measurements of her monitor. All new monitors are huge, so huge, I almost never expand anything to full screen and Windows 10: The Missing Manual taught me how to turn off the automatic docking. The comfortable size for on-screen software is about 1200 pixels by 1000 give or take, and tiled so the edges stick out or else with the unused software shoved to the bottom of the screen with an edge showing.

I have also ordered a copy of Windows 10: The Missing Manual for work, because it is good, thorough, and not dumbed down. That is useful for a power user like me, but it also may be useful for others. Even with a clean install and simple copying of backups and flash drives, which meant a lot of manual file management (Easy if you have been keeping pretty good track of everything which I do. For some reason, I am much better organized on a computer than in real life.) Windows 10 so far has an ABSOLUTELY FLAT learning curve.

So far I have found new cursors, which are large and eye-easy, built a library for files that due to history (and all those flash drives) are scattered all over the place, and of course learned how to prioritize tiles in the start menu and add an appropriate size graphic for the wallpaper and lock screen.

Thumbnail for a picture of my Windows 10 Wallpaper

All of these are important and for different reasons. First, Wallpaper can be a productivity aid. It should be. The picture is an incentive to keep your screen clean and do a clean sleep/switch user. The shortcuts should not be so numerous as to cover the image. They should stay away from the image. That is why good wallpaper has a blotter or other area in which to park any icons. Wallpaper on a monitor that is 1900 plus pixels wide also needs to include several images. You can see: a stick insect, two, very busy red eared slider turtles; a caddis fly; and a very, uplifting message. Click the thumbnail to see a reduced size but still very, large version of my wallpaper.

This is Yesha!And here is the uplifting message all by itself (no thumbnail needed). The funny thing about Windows 10 wall paper is that even with a larger monitor size and need for several illustrations, it is not that different than XP wallpaper or Windows 7 wallpaper. The reason is the menu bar can go on the side. This is very, old school (Windows 2.0 and beyond), good screen management. It keeps you from accidentally turning off your computer. You either like side task bars or you don’t.

The lock screen

In contrast to wallpaper, a lock screen is pure vanity. On the other hand it is better to have something there instead of an advertisement for Bill Gates and Co. I do admire Microsoft because they have come through with a fantastic product in Windows 10, but I don’t think I want to advertise them. I’d much rather advertise Momo Pet Land and add another walking stick insect, and of course my computer’s name.

Here are those tiles!The scariest part of Windows 10 because it is the newest feature are those tiles. When you get a Windows 10 machine, it tends to have all kinds of useless bloatware and unnecessary stuff on the tiles. I zapped a lot of tiles. I made some really small in case I might need them. I’ll probably get rid of those some day, but I don’t need that many tiles. I downloaded Commodo Ice Dragon for a browser. I use Word Pad a lot for html. I switched to Win-SCP for FTP (uploading files and downloading them off a server. Windows will do this directly but one of the servers I use is BSD, a species of UNIX, that requires secure FTP). I also downloaded GIMP for graphics, Spotify, and yes Second Life. I made sure the software I use frequently has big tiles. And yes, it really is that easy. It’s just a matter of doing it.

So should you upgrade to Windows 10. My answer is if you are a Windows 7 user, why not! If you are an XP user, you need to save your money or really look at your system. Buying my new computer took me six months of planning. If you have an XP machine (especially if it is really old and the better a user you are, the more you know how to make do.) you are already so far behind the eight ball that you can wait another week, but you should start making plans because a lot of software no longer works.

My one issue with Windows 10 is that my machine came with Macaffee software that I can’t seem to turn off so I can start Windows Defender. I guess that is my next lesson.

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