Microsoft made it clear that Windows 10 is in the very early stages. There are likely many new features to come—and many improvements to the interface beyond what we see today (the Charms bar, for example, will likely change, according to Microsoft).
Some new features, which haven’t been mentioned before, include a full-screen start menu, a new action centre for interacting with notifications in a sidebar area, and a brand new settings experience where you can quickly tweak your system settings. Microsoft believes its new operating system is such a major step forward from Windows 8, that it skipped Windows 9 entirely. With a single design for devices ranging from smartphones to PCs, Windows 10 combines key functions from each of the major platforms.
Windows 10 also features a “Continuum” feature for computers that double as laptops and tablets. You can move around with a mouse and keyboard, but when you switch into tablet mode, Windows 10 will prompt you if you’d like to operate the device as a tablet. Tap the Start menu, for example, and it will automatically switch into a more touch-friendly full-screen mode.
Some of those features have already been discussed, and Microsoft covered new ones as well that are coming to the preview over the next 3-5 months. That includes Cortana for Windows 10, which is the first time the voice assistant is coming to the desktop. Cortana will exist in the search bar at the bottom left-side of your machine, where she can be called up by voice through the “Hey Cortana” command, and where pop-up notifications from Cortana will be displayed. Cortana can also be used to search OneDrive, your hard drive and more. You don’t always need to use voice, either, as you can also type out commands for Cortana inside the search bar.
What does Windows 10 Fix?
Migrations started to get a lot better with Windows 7, but they are brilliant with Windows 10. You basically log in with your Microsoft -- or if you're on a work PC, your work ID -- and all of your settings, apps and personalities transfer down from the server (be aware that this doesn't apply to legacy apps or if you are coming from Windows XP).
Once on Windows 10, getting one, two or six PCs is login-easy, and as you move to the newer apps, the experience is similar to what you currently get with iOS or Android. You buy a new PC, log in, and after a short wait, your new PC looks like your old one.
The even bigger move, at least when it comes to creating a reliable product, is that those of us testing Windows 10 automatically will get upgraded to the final version with Windows Update. Since we started with a valid version of Windows 7 or 8, we still get a free upgrade to Windows 10 without having to figure out what happened to our old Windows disks.
This means more of us actually are using Windows 10 in production, and that the number of testers Microsoft thinks it has internally and externally is one hell of a lot closer to the number it actually does have. I do think it is likely going to take a while for some people to break a decades-old habit of using two machines, but it is still a huge step in the right direction.
Most interesting features of Windows 10
Made for Enterprise
Windows 10 is stated to be Microsoft's "greatest enterprise platform ever”. The operating system's four enterprise values.
First, there's compatibility "with all the traditional management systems used today." Second, there's the customised store. Third is the quite excellent addition of data security by separation of corporate and personal information. And finally there's productivity, something that Windows 10 is heavily geared towards.
Windows 10 task view allows you to access multiple desktops. Joe Belfiore, the man behind Windows Phone, said Microsoft has "embraced the idea of productivity for the widest scale of Windows users." The centrepiece of this feature is multiple desktops. Users launch on the desktop task view, which opens multiple miniature windows at the bottom of the interface that shows all apps currently open.
The new 'Snap Assist' UI allows users to then grab apps from multiple desktops, meaning users can do things faster and easier.
The emphasis on productivity is equally served by a more seamless integration of touch and keyboard functionality. Windows 10 adds Continuum, a feature which allows users of 2-in-1 devices to switch between touch and keyboard inputs easily.
Windows 8 had confusing user experience when launching modern apps. It's a merging of Windows 7 and the few good things of Windows 8, chief among them Touch. The Charms bar will continue to exist on touch systems, but will be adapted.
And that's not all for improved keyboard use. Command prompt has been made easier and more powerful. Users can now paste in directories into command prompt with Ctrl+V instead of having to trigger a context menu and hit the specific paste option.
Windows Insider Program
Microsoft also announced the launch of its Windows Insider Program, designed to get feedback from users on how to improve Windows 10.
Forums will be set up for insiders to discuss technical issues and ideas, and engineers will be made available to consult with. The presentation urged users to become insiders and participate in building "a product that all of customers will love." The programme is pitched in at technology enthusiasts, for "people who know DLL is not the new OMG."
With Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to keep some of the touch and tablet features it created for Windows 8, combine them with the familiar Start menu and desktop, and run it all on top of an improved operating system with more security, a new browser, the Cortana assistant, its own version of Office for on-the-go editing and plenty of new features intended to make life simpler. Of course, that also means it's very different to use, whether you come from Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows XP. You have to look in a new place even to turn your PC off.
On top of that, Windows 10 is more than just a PC operating system; it's also what will run on Windows phones – and on small tablets as well, because a 6-inch phone and a 7-inch tablet aren't such very different devices. Microsoft is expecting people to put Windows 10 on a billion devices (which ought to encourage more app developers to at least take a look at building their apps for Windows phones and tablets, as well as for Xbox One and HoloLens).