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Question: What underlying system efficiencies would I benefit from, if I upgrade my Windows 8.1 x64 PCs to Windows 10?

My OP clarifies the exact nature of efficiencies, which is quite narrow, and not over broad - efficiencies related to performance and stability.

It also tries to clarify my usage and perspective, in order to guide what kinds of efficiencies would matter, even more narrowly. Some examples I gavce were -

  • New things "below the hood" that significantly enhance disk access, file shariong access, desktop software compositing, and memory handling for larger processes, for example, especially when used with VMs and with office + browser packages.
  • There might be a significant API change that means a whole area of issues no longer causes problems it once did, or a whole new subsystem.
  • I also state that I'm not a developer, but an end-user, so matters that a developer would need to know for coding purposes, aren't important to me unless they will impact me as an end-user.

The question asked is, "what specific OS changes are noteworthy between an up to date Windows 8.1 install, and an up to date Windows 10 install, that people have noticed or which are publicly known".

A full list obviously can't be given, but the idea that a list could be open ended or only contain highlights relevant to the OP's apparent needs, hasn't ever stopped a good summary of factual relevant key points from being a valid answer. So the idea that the question could be "opinion based" because an opinion is needed which facts to curate, isn't really a problem. Mainly because the question is tightly defined and has guiding examples of relevance. Pick what seems useful and applicable, like any other question.

The underlying matter seems well defined, tight, and factual - if I were a microsoft technical specialist, what would the main differences since latest WIn 8.1 be, that a user might gain from, if they move to WIn 10? Answer - factual list of highlighted points. There is a new version of SMB. Explorer can handle long paths properly. Security enhancements such as controlled folder access. WDDM 2.x may significantly reduce memory demands for intense compositing. Win 10 updates are notoriously stablity-rocking, but LTSB doesnt have that problem. All factual points relevant to the question's narrow limits. None subjective beyond answerers deciding "is this likely to be relevant to the OP" which is usual and not what the close means.

Can this question be reopened?

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    While you have tried to narrow it and define the problem it still falls into two categories: 1) it needs to list every possible change that might affect anyone and be too broad, or 2) it is opinion based in that people would have to go guessing what exact features you or a user like you might need and form vague opinions on just what things particular user groups need. It is a problem that is hard to solidly define and "list of everything that might..." questions tend to not fare too well, particularly with the fast release schedule of the various products known collectively as Windows 10. – Mokubai Oct 1 at 10:34
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My OP clarifies the exact nature of efficiencies, which is quite narrow, and not over broad - efficiencies related to performance and stability.

Your question lists only a very small subset of the efficiencies Windows has received since Windows 8.1 was released. I would estimate that number of performance and stability improvements Windows 10 has recieved would be in the dozens.

The question asked is, "what specific OS changes are noteworthy between an up to date Windows 8.1 install, and an up to date Windows 10 install, that people have noticed or which are publicly known".

As you might expect this list would be very long, even if we kept the list exlcusively limited to what you are worried about, the list would far exceed the limitations of what could fit in a single answer (word capacity). Simply listing the fact Windows now has the ability to run an application in a isolated environment isn't helpful. A good quality answer would have to explain what exactly Windows Sandbox does.

A full list obviously can't be given, but the idea that a list could be open ended or only contain highlights relevant to the OP's apparent needs, hasn't ever stopped a good summary of factual relevant key points from being a valid answer.

Any list of improvements would be based on the author's opionion of what changes were important enough to even mention. I already know the list I would write, would be extremely different, than the other users with expertise with Windows.

The underlying matter seems well defined, tight, and factual - if I were a microsoft technical specialist, what would the main differences since latest WIn 8.1 be, that a user might gain from, if they move to WIn 10?

Even one of your examples, "Windows 10 updates are notoriously stablity-rocking" is a matter of opionion, I have been using Windows for nearly 2 decades. Any Windows update, for any version of Windows, can be stability-rocking. For example, a few months ago I changed a group policy, in order to become compliant with a security rule that I am required to implement, once this policy was enabled it prevented the mounted NAS drive from being accessible. Since the mounted drive was required for the system to be used the policy had to be reverted. My entire point, is while I believe Windows to be incredibily stable 99.99% of the time, many people do not agree with that fact. So while a person like myself might think that making cumlative updates be required is a worth while change that happened with Windows 10, other people might disagree with that fact.

I recently wrote an answer to Windows 10 Pro 1709 update to 1803, 1809 or 1903? where I highlighted the fact, every single version of Windows 10, have outstanding unresolved issues.

All factual points relevant to the question's narrow limits. None subjective beyond answerers deciding "is this likely to be relevant to the OP" which is usual and not what the close means.

Some of your examples, for instance "LTSB doesnt have that problem", are not true. In other cases, "There is a new version of SMB", also applies to Windows 8.1. In the end the amount of changes Windows has received over the last 4 years, is an extremely long list, even if somebody were to limit it to only the topics that interest you.

In the end you point the following in a comment to your question, "I'm running a small home lab and workstation, I don't think its a good idea to disrupt that way, or to hope that somehow I'll know what to look for.", in response to a user indicating only you can determine if upgrading to Windows 10 is a good idea.

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