Life with a Thinkpad and Win 10


With my new gig, I was issued a sparkly new Lenovo Thinkpad T450 (must have gotten the tail end of the run, as it was revved to T460 shortly after I started) with a reasonable sized SSD, 8G ram, a decent screen, and the expected accouterments.

About the same time, my employer began rolling out Windows 10 on the desktop, so I am part of that world now. Prior to this, I had been using Windows 7 since 2010, and had become comfortable, passing up the whole Win 8 and 8.1 in the interim.

First thoughts were that I hated it. No, it wasn’t forced the “metro” interface that came with the initial launch of Win 8, and which turned off all the enterprise IT people I knew, but it still had some of that flavor that, well sucked.

It is different. Yes, there is a similar paradigm where the start button is, the window actions (snap when dragged to an edge or top of the display), and whacking the window key and typing what you want to open or find still works. Yay.

But, Cortana? Meh. Sure, I’m certain some people like it. It just feels weird talking to my PC (and no, I am not a big user of Siri. I guess I am just old).

Office 2016 that was also installed is pretty good. Very similar to Office 2012 that I was using before, so no big surprises. For what I do in Excel, Word and Powerpoint, all is good. I will admit that OneNote is incredible. I do not miss the weirdness of evernote now that there is a OneNote port for my Mac’s.

Being a Mac person, and participating in some very techie groups of Mac people, I hear that Microsoft has really upped their security game with Windows 10, that it is in many ways more secure than Mac. A good thing, me thinks, but hopefully, I will never need to test the assertion.

The Microsoft store is strange. It seems to be a blend of phone and surface apps with the Windows apps added in, so when searching, you might find things that don’t run ont he computer. You need to look at whether it is supported on X86 or X64 architecture, or just ARM (Windows Phone and Surface RT). Not a huge deal, but a complication. I will point out that I was looking for a mail client that handled Gmail well (as most of my accounts are hosted and run by Google. It just works, and their spam filtering is outstanding). And what came up was a bit of a mess. Some that looked okay, but lots of poor reviews, and the two I tried had a heavy ad presence on the free version, and I wasn’t going to drop $5 to remove ads, especially with them being panend by the reviewers.

One thing I did/do miss about my Macs is the built in, solid SSH client. Generating RSA key pairs is a snap, and it is trivial to get the keys integrated in the VPS’s that I have out there on Digital Ocean. Not built into the Win 10 install, so I went hunting. The Microsoft store was my first stop, and ugh, the reviews all sucked, so I fell back to the old standby, PuTTY. It works. It works well, but it is a bit of a pain to get the key based authentication. Not difficult, but not intuitive, and different from the Unix based MacOS.

After 3 months of using it, I am pretty functional. I am more functional with my Mac, but at this point Win 10 isn’t awful.

The laptop is pretty solid with two exceptions.

First, the touchpad, like every Synaptics touch pad I have ever used sucks. It supposedly supports multitouch, and gestures. True, but the implementation is cumbersome, and prone to odd actions. Like if you happen to have two fingers touching when you “click” the pad, it is interpreted as a right click. Groan. And it isn’t very sensitive, except when it is too sensitive.

Second, the keyboard sucks donkey balls. It is hands down the worst laptop keyboard I have used in probably 10 years. Mushy key presses, too much travel, and often even firm key strikes fail to register, especially the space bar. It is a shame, because my last Lenovo, a 2008 vintage Stinkpad was quite good.

About the author


Product Manager in Tech. Guitar player. Bicycle Rider. Dog rescuer. Techie.

By gander

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October 2016

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