Windows leaving us on the Edge

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Microsoft continues the battle to market applications that augment Windows. Two of these, Windows Media Player and the new Edge browser, come to mind. Media players abound and so do Internet browsers, but it seems Microsoft wants to continue doing battle with other big players such as Google with their Chrome and, to name only one, VLC Player.

The previous versions of Windows Media Player were not great. Apart from a menu system that confused, the most important aspect – sound – was just not right. Playing a favorite with WMP and then with VLC Player, sounded like releasing the music from a pipe into an amphitheater. Bass sounds seemed to overpower other sound levels, but with VLC this problem was not present.

Nevertheless, on the latest WMP version (12), the problem went away and we hope for good. I will still rather use VLC Player, as the menus make more sense and it’s easier to use.

On the Edge of the fence

Moving on to the new Edge browser, the headlines have been saying it all – a huge improvement over Internet Explorer. Suddenly I vacillate between using Edge and Chrome. I haven’t fallen off either side of that fence yet and I do not expect to.

You see, again Microsoft seemed to have cut short the testing time with Edge. Although an easier interface and much more useable, there are niggles. For example, browsing my favourites, with my current settings, a drop down list appears on the right-hand side of the screen with a slider to move up or down. Why does the slider disappear after a few seconds? When it does, you will not be sliding, but selecting the URL wherever your mouse pointer was at the time when the slider disappeared.

Having closed the unwanted page, you again have to launch the favourites list from the start. The other annoying thing is that when you start hovering over items in the drop down list, items are not automatically highlighted for selection and you have to click twice to activate a link. I still have not found a way to change the sort order in this list, but there must be a way and I will not complain until I have exhausted all options.

Crank up the volume

Microsoft is aiming at having one billion Windows 10 users and it has plans to make this happen. The automated Windows Update facility is a useful vehicle, as they can change Windows 10 from being a choice, to becoming an “important” update.

To accommodate users who have not authenticated their older Windows system, they will be given the opportunity to do this “easily” before upgrading to version 10. Other ways to make the upgrade happen include improved notifications about its availability and removing the need to reserve the upgrade as a first step.

For small business owners things should also get easier with the ability to upgrade multiple machines at the same time. A single image will be created that can be used to upgrade any number of machines, or install licensed copies on new machines.

No doubt making the Windows OS free should reduce efforts on Microsoft’s side to administer and police millions of licenses. Let’s hope they put those savings to good use with the maintenance of Windows 10.