Windows 10 is available as a Technical Preview for anyone bold enough to install it. Strictly speaking, it’s in the early stages of a beta release but if it strikes your fancy, try installing it on a separate partition or as a virtual machine.
Before you do that, let’s talk about what Windows 10 is exactly. But after the disastrous performance of Windows 8, why should you care?
Windows 10 reads like Microsoft’s apology letter for Windows 8.
1. What’s In The Name?
Where’s Windows 9? Microsoft’s official statement is that Windows 10 is a new system that sprawls all the way from mobile phones to PCs to the Xbox. It needed to be called 10 to show it’s truly something new. The number 9 wouldn’t do it justice. To be fair, ten does sound better than nine.
Some say that lazy coders are to blame. Programmers call just the first letter in the OS name to check the version. This laziness has been going on since Windows 95 and 98 days. This could potentially break software in the next version of Windows if it was called 9.
2. Start Menu (Feat. Live Tiles)
Yup. The Start menu makes a triumphant return, but as a windowed Start screen. You’ll see the Windows 7 style files and folder layout and a complete list of programs browsable in the ever so familiar tree structure. But beside it you’ll find live tiles. Here you can dock apps, shortcuts or widgets from the Windows Store.
3. Hello Multiple (Virtual) Desktops
We’ve shown you how you can use multiple (virtual) desktops in Windows 7 and 8 to improve your productivity (using a third party app). Now similar functionality with deeper integration will be available in Windows 10 itself.
4. Awesome Windows Management
Microsoft is relearning that a majority of people use Windows to get work done. So what they need are easier ways for multi-tasking, not unnecessary flare.
Nowhere is this more evident than the new window management system. If you’re a pro Windows user you already know that you can dock an app to either side of the screen just by dragging it over to the edge of the screen.
Cool Tip: You can also do this by using the Win+Left/Right shortcut keys.
When you do that in Windows 10, you’ll get options to arrange the apps that make the most sense in the remaining space. This works great with multiple desktops. Windows 10 also allows you to dock 4 apps on screen, each taking up a quarter of the screen.
5. Windows App Store Apps Will Now Run In Windows
We here at Guiding Tech have been a fan of some Windows Store apps. They are lightweight, fast and in some cases even beautiful (when did you last hear that word being used to describe a Windows app?).
This might seem like a gimmick and people might end up not using Store apps like they do now but some apps like Flipboard might end up being actually useful. As the Store apps will now run in the desktop environment you can use the same awesome window management shortcuts for them.
6. On-The-Fly Switching Between Touch And Non-Touch Mode
If you have one of those fancy 2-in-1 devices that has a touchscreen and also a detachable keyboard/mouse, Windows 10 will make it easier to switch between the two modes.
7. Windows 10 Will Lead To Either More Confusion Or More Simplicity
…and we won’t know the answer till the final product is launched in mid-late 2015.
The new stuff that Windows 10 is doing like the window management, start menu, and Command Prompt tweaks will feel right at home to a pro Windows user who’s still using Windows 7 because that’s what works the best for them.
In Windows 8, Microsoft took a bold step forward, with an all new way of interacting with the content on screen. Some say they went too far, some say they didn’t go far enough, with the legacy desktop mode being largely kept the same.
Now MS is backtracking on the radical change by, you guessed it, taking a step backwards. Windows 10 is essentially Windows 7 with the best things of the Windows 8 UI integrated in the legacy desktop interface. If Windows 7 was truly the best possible Windows version ever made, this change is only going to make it better. But what if people want simplicity, and touch based interaction all the way?
As I said, we won’t know for a better part of a year but what’s safe to say is that anyone who uses Windows to get some work done (which is a majority of Windows users) will find the new changes extremely helpful.
What Do You Think Of Windows 10? Will You Be Upgrading?
Do the productivity features in Windows 10 strike your fancy? Will you be upgrading? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Windows Newsroom
Last updated on 02 February, 2022
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