The first thing I noticed was the return of the Start Menu. You not only get access to your regular programs, as in previous versions of Windows, but you also see the new Windows Store apps. This means no more switching between the Desktop and Start Screen modes.
Windows Store apps can now be resized like traditional programs. In addition, the “Snapping” feature has been upgraded with more useful options when running multiple programs. In Windows 8, Store apps could only be in full screen unless snapped with another app. This was often frustrating when using them on a desktop. In Windows 10, Store Apps will also scale automatically to fit the area you’ve snapped them to.
Windows Search has been upgraded. Now when you search for an item, not only is your hard drive checked, but a web search is also initiated.
Windows 10 will also customize itself to your platform. If you have a desktop you’ll get the Start Menu by default. With a tablet, the Start Screen will be enabled until you dock the tablet on a keyboard when the Start Menu will take over.
The other big new feature is the addition of virtual desktops. With virtual desktops you can group different programs together, then switch to another desktop and open more apps for a different set of tasks. For instance, you could run one desktop with your works apps and another with a game or recreational apps.
So far, I find Windows 10 to be a great improvement over Windows 8, in terms of ease of use. The new and updated multi-tasking features are a boon for productivity, while the return of the Start Menu and adaptability to different hardware forms will make it easier than ever to use. Only time will tell which of these features remain in the final version, but Microsoft seems to be heading in the right direction!
So when will Windows 10 be available? Probably mid to late 2015. Microsoft also hasn’t hinted at pricing yet, so no word on whether there will be a special upgrade incentive as with Windows 8, or if it will be strictly retail.
If you’re feeling adventurous and you’d like to try Windows 10 for yourself, head over to the Microsoft Website and click the “Get Started” Button. I recommend doing this only on a secondary computer, as Windows 10 is still being developed. However, it’s a good way to see what might be coming and take part in shaping it.
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