As some of you may have been following, I have decided to upgrade one of my
machines to windows 10.
This is just very short review/first impressions write-up.
Upgrading process was relatively painless. As discussed on this list, no
screen reader kicks in automatically, so it's hit and miss, but after a
couple of hours or when you notice that hard drive activity has died down,
one can press win + enter or win+u then alt+n to launche narrator which will
guide you through the initial setup. After that, once the computer reboots
again, your default screen reader should kick in.
NVDA: though NVDA works perfectly fine with windows 10, Microsoft thinks
that it doesn't, therefore there are various warnings and notifications
explaining that NVDA will not function properly. Also, a few times a website
may launch in your default browser, pointing to NVDA statement about windows
Jaws for windows: when first launched, jaws will notify you that video
displayed drivers are not installed properly and that you should reboot and
if that doesn't work, repair it. On one of machines I've played with repair
did work, however on another it didn't. Jaws did not work at all with the
start search screen, so a full reinstall was needed, but once this was done,
it was working fine.
Microsoft edge/web browsing experience: when windows 10 is first installed,
Microsoft edge is set as a default browser. For anyone using screen readers
it is strongly recommended to change this to a browser that was used in
windows 7. There's plenty of documentation on the web as to how to do this,
so I won't waste your time.
Office/outlook: in theory, Microsoft office/outlook and all its
functionality should be untouched if you upgraded. I had major issues with
ability to send mail, though this did not affect my Gmail account but my
account that I host myself through my own server, so this may not affect
many people. I have managed to eventually fix this and now office and
outlook are working fine. If anyone is seriously interested about what
happened message me privately or tweet me and I will explain.
Cortana: unfortunately Cortana seems to not be usable at all with screen
readers as it relies on Microsoft edge interface, so it seems like it is
impossible to use with JFW or NVDA. Hopefully this will be fixed soon, as
this could be a very useful part of windows for the blind community. We
already use the voice command feature so much on our IOS and Android devices
and I was really looking forward to testing Cortana to check out how this
functionality will look like in windows, but sadly it seems difficult if not
impossible to test it properly. There is apparently a way to launch Cortana
by voice command, but I haven't quite had time to investigate this properly
and will report when/if I find out more.
Other windows 10 metro/universal apps: since all other windows 10 universal
apps rely on Edge interface, they are not screen reader friendly at the
moment and it's best to avoid them.
Old style desktop programs: most of the apps that you may have used on
windows 7 will still be there once you upgrade and will still function. Apps
such as skype for desktop, already mentioned office, winamp, ETC. will work
fine, though I did have to reinstall skype as it was not working properly at
the initial launch.
Twitter clients: it's important to note a few issues about the qube and
chicken nugget, probably two most popular windows twitter clients. The cube
currently does not even launch with windows 10. Chicken nugget works fine,
however due to the fact that it's current keystrokes conflict with new
Microsoft windows 10 shortcuts, common chicken nugget keystrokes have to be
changed manually or it needs to be used through the GUI.
I have not had time to test windows 10 with windoeyes, but according to the
manufacturer, windoweyes latest version is windows 10 ready.
There may be things that I have forgotten or things that may interest others
that I haven't mentioned, so feel free to send me a message on or off list.
You can also find me on twitter at http://twitter.com/internetking
But please bare in mind that, of course, I might not know the answer.
In conclusion: it's up to you whether you want to upgrade. If you're not a
geek and have no real need, you don't have to, though if you want to upgrade
for free you will need to do this before 29th July next year. However, if
you're a geek, brave and like playing with knew things, hopefully this
little review has helped you and you are aware about what you can expect.