Windows 10 is on its way later this year and will be free upgrade for the first year to those with a genuine Windows 7 or 8 licence. Despite the improvements brought about by the 8.1 update, there was always going to be room for more, and the hope is Windows 10 will impress and evolve where Windows 8 did not.
Here we’ll outline a few of the major changes on their way.
The start menu is back! It’s a mix of the traditional start menu with the addition of live tiles. These tiles can be dragged around and resized, apps can be pinned and system items such as Control Panel, Network and Documents can be added. There is even an option to remove all live tiles, pin what you want to access on the left side, resize, and it’ll look like the Windows 7 menu. The power button is back and there is also a “most used” app list. Overall an eagerly awaited and worthwhile overhaul.
Cortana – the digital personal assistant – is included and accessed via the search bar next to the start menu. Alternatively it can be voice activated if you have a mic attached. Use it (her!) to search your pc & the web and manage your calendar and so on.
“Continuum” or tablet mode will initiate if a keyboard/mouse is detached, making the O/S touch friendly. The start menu will become the start screen and your apps will run full screen. The taskbar and other icons also adapt to suit; tablet mode can be manually enabled or disabled if required.
Internet Explorer is now called “Microsoft Edge” (was Spartan prior to this). The “Hub” button allows you to view your favourites, reading lists, history and downloads. You are also able to take notes, doodle and highlight onto web pages for your own use or to share, albeit on a screenshot of the page.
“Windows Hello” will allow you to use a fingerprint, face or retina scan for security, assuming the system has biometric security hardware. For those who struggle to generate and remember passwords this could be the answer!
Multiple desktops are now a possibility if you want to keep working environments separated. “Snap” is now enhanced, allowing among other features, the ability to snap 4 windows into a 2 x 2 grid and vertical snapping for 2 windows.
Universal apps will have the same look and feel across devices – they will also now integrate with the traditional desktop environment and be framed to allow resizing, moving, minimising etc. to behave as desktop applications, removing that particular frustration that Windows 8 presented.
And finally – a small but most welcome change, especially for us IT geeks – full copy and paste support now included in command prompt!
These are just a selection of the features Windows 10 is due to bestow upon us. Personally I appreciate Windows 8.1 in its latest form but I can see why others do not and where improvements and changes needed to be implemented. Windows XP and Windows 7 turned out to be well liked and widely adopted by most – we are hoping for the same from Windows 10 if it delivers on what has been a promising preview.