So its official – the latest version of Microsoft’s popular operating system is official, and will be known as Windows 10. But what happened to Windows 9 I hear you say? Well nothing really, Microsoft just decided to leapfrog it. The new operating system offers a new design and a host of new features. Read on to find out everything you need to know about Windows 10.
The new design and interface is where the majority of the changes can be seen. As windows 8 was criticised for being too different, Microsoft have rolled back the interface to something more reminiscent of Windows 7. Microsoft have done away with the annoying tile like meta-interface, and have replaced it with a more compromised traditional look. A big reason for this shift in design is attributed to an acknowledgement by Microsoft that not everybody loved the touch screen focus of Windows 7.
Windows 10 then, is much more reminiscent of Windows 7, and Microsoft have even made the big decision to re-introduce the popular ’start’ menu. This is one area where users will notice a more balanced user interface, with the inclusion of resizable tiles which can be customised with your favourite apps, people and websites. Microsoft acknowledge that many users are still using Windows 7 and as such want to make the transition to Windows 10 as seamless as possible.
If you prefer the full touch experience then don’t panic, the charm bar is still available for simple gesture controls and you still have the option of running the touch mode which will display tiles in the familiar Windows 8 style.
Like Apple and Google, Microsoft wants want to lock you into their own eco-system with multi platform functionality. Windows 10 has been designed to run cross platform and will offer a bespoke interface depending on the hardware. There will also be just one Windows store running across all platforms.
Continuum means that the operating system will detect the hardware set up and offer the best user experience. This means that the user interface for a mouse and keyboard setup will differ to that of a touchscreen tablet. This is good news for all-in-one devices as the operating system will be able to detect when the keyboard has been removed and adjust the interface appropriately.
Multi tasking capabilities have also been greatly improved with new features aimed at the power user. Importantly, Microsoft have introduced a new ‘task view’ button which will give an overview of open virtual desktops and apps and gives a simple way of switching between them. This is something which has been available in OSX for ages so should come as good news for Windows diehards.
Virtual desktops are a means of being able to increase productivity by having access to multiple desktops for with different setups. This is a feature which will be recognisable if you already use multiple monitors. If however you only have one display, then virtual desktops are available to give give you similar functionality.
Windows ‘snap assist’ has also been improved with a new user interface. This allows for apps to be snapped from multiple desktops and auto sized to fit either all or part of the display in a tiled format. This is a multi tasking feature which gives greater functionality by allowing multiple apps to be displayed besides each other in an expanded interface. A new improvement is the ability to now have up to 4 snapped apps running per desktop. Windows 10 also introduces a quirky little feature whereby it will recommend similar apps you may want to run besides them.
Windows apps have also received an overhaul and are now capable of opening in the same format as desktop programs. These can be resized at will and moved around the desktop. This is a big improvement compared to Windows 7 apps which could only be opened in full screen mode. This is also good for cross platform functionality with the ability to adjust apps accordingly.
Microsoft have gone and improved the search functionality with a search bar now present within the task bar and start menu. This is reminiscent of Apple’s Spotlight feature and will display results from both your computer and the internet.
Availability and price
Windows 10 is slated as being available to consumers by the end of 2015. There are still a lot of tweaks and improvements to be made and the OS will be available to business users first. Prices are still unknown but there have been previous rumours that it may be a free upgrade!
If you just can’t wait however then Microsoft are offering a beta program via the ‘Windows Insider Program’. Microsoft have pointed out however that this will give users access to a preview version of Windows 10 which will by no means be a final package. Therefore make sure you know what your doing and expect to encounter plenty of bugs and rough edges.