At some point inside the next 24 hours, Window 10 will “launch” in New Zealand, before spreading out across the globe. To a certain extent. Of course, for the more than 5 million folks currently testing the software, its “launch” is almost a non-event.

For the following cycles of individuals and businesses that will get the code over the coming weeks and months, the start of the launch cycle matters as it dictates the undertaking of the rollout cycle that will get Windows 10 into their hands. But the Midnight Moment, such as it is, doesn’t matter too much. If you wanted Windows 10 a week ago, you could have had it. Still, there is something notable about the end of a liminal state.

All that aside, should you use Windows 10?

Windows As A Service

Core to the launch tension we just highlighted is the fact that Microsoft intends to update Windows 10 on a continual basis from today on out. That’s to say that the final bits that it sends to OEMs, or you and I, are not final at all, but merely represent where the code was that day. Again, this tears at the concept of “launch,” but we can set aside that issue for now.

windows-10

Windows 10 is a far superior operating system than Windows 8, or Windows 8.1. And, during its development cycle, I’ve come to like Windows 10 more than Windows 7, which previously held the title in my mind as the finest version of Windows ever made.

Windows 10 combines the modern — an app store, Cortana, a new browser, and so forth — with a comfortable helping of the traditional, including, yes, the return of the Start Menu. I was unsure initially if Microsoft could manage a fusion of what worked in Windows 8 and Windows Phone, and the core DNA of Windows 7. Color me pleasantly surprised.

If you are on a PC at all, Windows 10 is where you want to go. That it is free — for now — only makes the point simpler.

Features

I’m a terrible product reviewer. If you want a granular breakdown of Windows 10 on a feature-by-feature basis, Tom Warren has done the job masterfully. His final score of 8.8 out of 10 matches my own view that the code is in decent shape for launch.

A Windows 10 sign on Microsoft's campus.

Briefly, it’s worth considering how much there is in Windows 10 that is new. The inclusion of Cortana adds a new way to interact with your desktop computer into the mix. Edge is the future replacement of Internet Explorer, meaning that after several decades, Microsoft is trying to re-take over the Internet. The app store is better. The Start Menu is a refinement of the largely failed Start Screen. And it works pretty well. I don’t use it much, but it seems that the rest of the Windows community is a fan.

If the company can quickly demonstrate that consumers are adopting Windows 10 en masse, it will be easier to command developer attention.

Summing slightly, using Windows 10 is mostly a standard experience because it works. I feel similarly about my Macbook Air that I use at the office. It works. Nothing gets in my way, and nothing slows me down. That Windows 10 has managed that level of competency this early in its life is encouraging.

(For what it’s worth, I’m granting Windows 10 a slight allowance to have the occasional bug. It still does. But those won’t last, and they don’t matter in a long-term perspective about Windows 10. What matters to me is that the operating system’s commanding heights are in good shape.)