Windows 10: Fine for the elite, but caution against the unweary.
I've been personally using Windows 10 since its official release last year. For the most part, I much prefer it to 8/8.1, but I don't like many parts as much as I liked Windows 7 Pro. For me, the sore points have mostly been the lack of privacy controls (or automatic default opt-ins for MS services), automatically forced updates/patches, and the idea that since Microsoft "gave away" the OS for free (for a time) we somehow exchanged our privacy and marketing information for a "free" OS and defaults you into their data gorging operations. I can almost tolerate the forced updates, but nowhere did I expect the OS to be so intrusive.
Fortunately, for the computing elite, there are ways to mitigate what I consider to be the more egregious aspects of Windows 10, at least for now. I've managed to stop Cortana's siphoning of data to god-knows-where (at the expense of the OS constantly vomiting into the Application and System logs), and can at least postpone forced OS
service packs Updates until they've been thoroughly re-beta tested by those less fortunate or knowledgeable. Back in the good-old days of ordinary Patch Tuesday, I'd let other chumps download said patches first, scour the web for things that were pooched, and by Thursday would know whether I wanted in on the fun. Classic Shell even allows my Start menu to work and look as I've come to expect it. In short, I can get around my hangups in Win 10 with effort and knowledge, or the knowledge of others.
But for my Mom, and the remaining 90%+ of the computing consumers, things are not so simple. Mention gpedit, and you get a look that would not be out of place on a concussed kitten. These are the people that are baffled when their free subscription to Office 365 expires and they can no longer create "letters" even though it worked fine yesterday, it must be the new Virus they heard about on the news, just take a look at it, why are my pictures and screen saver not what they used to be... etc. They are also the people that seemingly don't care that their computer is hoovering up their personal info and habits and shipping it off to Redmond in the hopes that they'll click on the ad for discount airfare to Minneapolis, what a coincidence, they just did a search on their own computer for paper that included the words "Winter Carnival", don'tcha know, or are suddenly seeing ads for alcohol abuse treatments on every site they visit after researching "liver failure" in Bing, the default search engine on the default browser on the default OS.
More is the pity, as many of Win 10's underlying improvements are just that: Improvements. Features that benefit the computer and the end user, but are largely invisible, or, for those that know about them, overshadowed by the OS's stalker-like behavior. On my 5 year old hardware of my daily-driver system, Win 10 is as speedy and more reliable than Windows 7, no matter how much I liked it.
There are many of a technically inclined sort who advocate an alternate OS, particularly Linux. Linux, especially the more consumer-friendly forms like Ubuntu, are compelling. Linux could handle 90% of what I do under Windows, without most of the hassle, but there is the hassle right there- Performing a wholesale change of OS is itself a hassle, and trying to get the remaining 10% of what I need to do (which, when you can't do it seems like 100%) is impractical. Further, that does nothing to help the majority of consumer users who are not going to go so far, for love nor money; it was hard enough replacing my Mom's OS X iBook with a Windows 8 Dell Laptop!