After Windows 8’s disastrous reception, Microsoft promises that Windows 10 will right all of their past wrongs. In fact, Microsoft feels that their new OS is such leap forward from its predecessor that they leaped right over Windows 9 in their naming scheme. So is Windows 10 really progressive enough to deserve its numerical promotion, and what new features can we expect from the new OS?
A start button and a start screen: The start button’s blundered removal has been long bemoaned by Windows 8 users for years. Microsoft hopes to finally correct their PC faux-pas by returning the beloved start button to Windows 10. This doesn’t mean Microsoft has completely abandoned the metro start screen and tile system however. In fact, PC users will have more choices than ever on how they access their favorite files and applications. Clicking on the standard start button will now display all the classic start features, as well as a miniature version of metro, complete with customizable tiles. Windows 8 fans will be able to transition over to an expanded, full screen version of start that’s reminiscent of metro. Convertible devices will be able to automatically transition between the traditional start button and the start screen depending on whether you’re using a touch screen or a keyboard and mouse.
Streamlined multitasking: One of the biggest inconveniences of using Windows 8 apps is that they are permanently restricted to full screen viewing. Windows 10 remedies this dilemma by allowing users to open apps in adjustable desktop windows. When multitasking, users can snap up to 4 apps in place and see all of their open tasks on one screen. Heavy-duty multitaskers can simulate a multi-monitor setup by creating ‘virtual desktops.’ Virtual desktops allow users to view multiple desktops in separate windows and easily switch between them on one screen.
Window’s digital assistant Cortana: Conveniently named after an AI character from the Xbox game Halo, Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri. As your personal assistant, Cortana can keep track of your calendar, perform tasks, search the web, answer questions, or simply entertain you with jokes and idle banter. To engage with Cortana simply talk to her through a microphone, or you can type your desires with your keyboard. The more you engage with Cortana, the more helpful she’ll become as she gradually learns needs and habits.
Surf the web with Microsoft Edge: The birth of Windows 10 also marks the death of Window’s long time web browser, Internet Explorer. Windows’ latest browser, Windows Edge adds an array of cool new features including the ability to write sharable notes directly on webpages. Cortana is fully integrated into Edge. She can get you quick information like the definition of a word, or read you the details of a book review without you ever having to leave the screen you’re currently working on. Edge also incorporates a reading list that lets you save articles for later. Finally, Edge’s new reading mode allows you to remove distracting noise like rogue ads and pop-up videos from the screen, leaving you with a clean reading experience.
Big improvements to classic features: Windows 8 attempted to make PCs hip and trendy again by mimicking popular mobile OS features. Unfortunately, many of these features such as the unkempt Windows App Store, came up lacking. Luckily Microsoft has seen the error of their ways and has revamped many of their feature apps, making them cleaner and more convenient. The Windows Store has been completely redesigned for Windows 10, making it much easier to find what you’re looking for. The Mail, Calendar, Maps, Photos, Music and Videos apps have all been rebuilt, adding many popular, user friendly features that their Windows 8 counterparts lacked.
Microsoft has finally learned from their mistakes. Rather than prioritizing tablets over desktops like before, Windows 10 allows its users to choose how they like to interact with their devices. It takes all the things that Windows 8 did right, mixes it with the familiarity of Windows 7, and adds just a dash of Apple inspired suave. This time around, Microsoft created an OS with features to please both touchscreen lovers and mouse enthusiast alike.