Review: Migration To Windows 10 For Photography

While watching some online photography videos, I noticed that several photographers are still running Windows 7 even though the Windows 8 travesty has been officially buried by Windows 10, which has been available as a free upgrade for a while. Perhaps they are wary of the compatibility and stability of their post-processing software in the new operating system, so caution is chosen as the best course of action.

It could be sheer recklessness. It could be healthy confidence after hearing all the success stories from other users. It could be just stupid curiosity. At any rate, with an unexpected dose of bravery and nonchalance, I upgraded my PC from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

The quick summary of my experience is that I do not regret performing the upgrade, and is in fact quite glad I did. After one week of use, I find that only some unpopular software has some caveats after the upgrade, and these should not affect the majority of users running more mainstream image processing applications.

The equipment

Intel i-5 2400 3.1GHz, on-board Intel HD 2000, 8GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Windows 7. I built this DIY kit at the end of 2011 and I am surprised at how well it still performs today, despite the fact that I only chose mid-range components available at the time. For comparison, it launches applications faster than the 2.7GHz demo iMac in an Apple showroom (Well, so much for my iMac expectations. Let’s see if the rumoured iMac refresh in November comes to pass.) and I have not experienced any unreasonable slowdowns while processing images in the past four years.

The process

The Windows 10 upgrade process consists of two steps, and you have the convenient option of scheduling the second step to another time after the first step was competed. The first step consists of downloading 2GB of installation data. I performed this in the background while I was processing images and watching online videos one evening. I performed the second step on another evening. This is the actual installation process with the installation data that was downloaded earlier. I just selected the install to proceed, waited for the on-screen gauge to appear, then went out for an evening church service. I got back three hours later and Windows 10 was humming happily on my PC. One restart after initial login and the work was completed. Microsoft deserves an award for how smooth and trouble-free the upgrade process was.

Performance

Win10
There was no visible post-upgrade degradations in general performance. This is a pleasant surprise, as we usually expect major software revisions to bring new features that inevitably cost more CPU cycles. In fact, my PC actually ran faster and smoother because some wonky driver in my Windows 7 installation was causing a lot of disk activity in the last six months. Imagine that, my PC actually ran smoother after the the move from Windows 7 to Windows 10! Excellent! We wish all software revisions turned out this way.

Internet Explorer’s successor, Edge

A lot of positive things have been written about Edge, and it is all true. More streamlined and faster. Mainly it is about it being visibly faster and more responsive, which are what really matters to most people. It has some minor issues, like an image I uploaded into Flickr may not display properly. However these are minor quibbles and the positive experience far outweighs the negatives. Sure maybe the number of browser extensions available are not that numerous yet, but I don’t use those anyway.

The Photos application

Photos
This application is the default image management application in Windows 10. Simply names ‘Photos’, this is probably the desktop equivalent of a photo app on a mobile phone. As expected it is simple to use and has all the familiar, convenient editing options and user interface that most people are used to on mobile phones. This is quite a smart move on the part of Microsoft, adapting something that most people are already familiar with as the default. However for all its simplicity and ease-of-use, it is also too simple for any in-depth post-processing. Large images are also poorly scaled to fit the screen, resulting in blurriness.

Compatibility of other post-processing software

Here is the important part. Let us take a look at compatibility and performance of third-party image post-processing software that are not a part of Microsoft Windows 10.

  • Datacolor SpyderPro 4 calibration software: Works as usual.
  • Adobe Lightroom 5.7: Works as usual.
  • Nikon Capture NX-D: Experiences problems running on a virtual desktop. Run it on the primary desktop and it works as usual.
  • Nikon View NX-i: Intermittently unable to render NEF files. This happens frequent enough to make it unusable. JPEGs render as usual. I am now looking at some alternatives and will write about them once I find a suitable (cheap ;)) replacement. If Nikon’s NEF codec is installed the Photos application and Windows Explorer can actually render the NEFs, while View NX-i could not!
  • Alien Skin Exposure 7: Works as usual.

In conclusion, most of the important post-processing applications work as usual. Only Nikon’s unpopular imaging software selections experience problems. Since those are not the most stable post-processing applications to start with anyway, so this minor regression is tolerable. The whole system has been extremely stable and responsive after the upgrade. Microsoft did a fantastic job with the Windows 10 upgrade programme. Good work!

5 comments

  1. Aha, it seems to work now. Okay, let’s try again.

    When did you upgrade to Windows 10? Surely before this article (7 Oct 2015), but how soon was it after Windows 10 release date?

    My experience was not as smooth as yours. I upgraded at the end of Aug 2015, on a Surface Pro 3 (MS own machine), still I had issues with the driver. It took about 2-3 weeks to settled down with patches and driver updates.

    Regarding software(s), most of the programs I used work right away — except the ones for my Fuji X100. It takes Fuji until Nov 2015 to update the driver, so that I can access the SD card by connecting the camera through USB (otherwise use separate card reader)… and need to wait until Dec 2015 for Fuji/Silkypix to update Raw File Converter EX to be able to work with Windows 10.

    Don’t get me wrong. All in all… I still love Windows 10 🙂

    Like

    1. I did it sometime in September. At any rate things have improved, with most software working properly now. Lightroom 5.7 however, has not fared so well. It has been giving me random metadata-write errors. Of course I could possibly fix that by upgrading to Lightroom 6. Ah well…

      Like

  2. I wrote a considerably lengthy comment on this Windows 10 post, but then it said comment cannot be post.
    Let me try a shorter one, before trying to rewrite what I said 😀

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s