Microsoft is all set and gearing up for it’s latest system upgrade with the Windows 10 OS general release, set to be up and running by July 29. They have taken heed of some of the most common feedback they got from current and past programs and tweaked it in an effort to come up with an adaptable and user-friendly interface.
Let’s have a look at what’s in store for Windows 10 early adopters out there:
1. The Start button makes a comeback
Did you miss it too? Apparently you’re not alone, and there’s been a clamor for its return. Getting rid of the familiar Start button/menu was one of the biggest complaints when version 8 first rolled out. Microsoft assumed that nobody would mind losing it, with most of its functionality placed into the Live Tiles interface. They assumed wrong, and they listened long enough to do something about it by bringing the Start menu back.
Microsoft didn’t just haphazardly install it for the sake of a comeback. It comes with lots of useful improvements and functionalities. The new and improved Start menu is scalable and adaptable. You can pin apps, have live updates stored on the menu, search for content, and can be customized on a mobile unit. Note, however, that the “charms bar” as well as the “app switcher” hot corners have been removed.
2. Cortana’s integration into Windows 10
This means that Microsoft’s personal voice assistant will be included in PCs or desktops. (Currently Cortana is available only to mobile users of Windows Phone 8.1.) This pre-loaded AI system has the ability to answer region-specific inquiries, and is designed to adapt to its user’s preferences over time, enabling her to give suggestions on what apps to use or even productivity tips. She’s multi-lingual, too, with the ability to translate speech and documents in 25 languages.
3. Goodbye Internet Explorer, Hello Microsoft Edge
Microsoft’s historical web browser will be phased out in favor of one that promises to be leaner and a lot more powerful than its predecessor, the much maligned Internet Explorer. Microsoft Edge (formerly code-named Project Spartan) was designed to be more flexible, with the ability to adapt to the device you’re using. Some of its noteworthy features include the ability to: save pages for later offline reading, annotate over webpages with the use of either finger/stylus or keyboard, coordinate information with Cortana,
4. New multitasking features
With the current OS, floating windows and apps automatically go on full screen, which diminishes your ability to seamlessly switch back and forth between opened apps or windows. With Windows 10, there’ll be a quadrant layout where everything loads directly from the desktop and open as automatically as a window and not on full screen. There is also the “snap assist” option, which allows you to snap up to four apps on the same screen.
You’ll also see improvements in the familiar Alt+Tab shortcut, with clearer and bigger images of open windows, with the addition of the Task View button on the task bar, which shows you all the apps that are open and re-arrange them or switch between desktops.
5. Multiple Desktop
Windows users will finally have what Apple OS X users have been enjoying all these years: multiple desktops. This makes it easier to work on multiple projects, with each task having one dedicated desktop to work on and not be mixed in with other projects. For employees, this means that they now have the ability to completely separate personal and work environments on your computer.
6. Game optimization
Xbox apps will now be fully optimized, thanks to the integration of Xbox Live and Xbox Platform to Windows 10. Some of the new features that users will enjoy include the ability to: record and share gameplay videos automatically, play online with Xbox One users (instead of a desktop), enable game streaming across home networks.
7. Command Prompt
The “Copy and paste” functionality will now be available in the Command Prompt, minimizing typo errors.
8. Bundled Mobile Device Management capabilities (MDM)
The extended built-in MDM capability makes it easier for admins to manage the device using the cloud, with the use of the Active Directory and System Center.
Are you a 7, 8 and 8.1 OS user? If so, you get first dibs of Windows 10 for free in the first year. After that, reports say that Microsoft plans to adopt the traditional one-off license fee structure moving forward. At any rate, here’s hoping that this latest update proves to be the best version of Windows to date. We’re sure to find out soon enough on its general release.
BUT WAIT. Before you get too excited, make sure you read these too: