Apparently, Windows 10 is going to be to the unpopular Windows 8 what Windows 7 was for Windows Vista – a much better user experience. Release date is expected to be towards the end of this year.
Microsoft can’t afford to get this one wrong and it looks as if the new version lives up to expectations.
Only the Technical Preview has been released; the Consumer Preview is expected to be made available in the next few months. I never install release candidates or previews because I use all of my computers and installing a test operating system, even as a dual-boot system, can screw a desktop or laptop PC up. I’ll be waiting for the official release before I attempt an installation. There is no hurry. I am still using Windows XP and Windows 7, as usual without any problems.
The really lovely aspect of the coming release is that it will be a free upgrade for all users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.0/8.1.
Windows 10 is designed to be used on Microsoft’s Xbox One, laptop and desktop PCs, smartphones and tablets. During its installation it adapts itself to the device that it is being installed on. There are signs that Win10 will continue to be developed indefinitely, which means that it will be the last version of Windows. Business versions look as if they will be paid for by subscription bundled with the software that they run, such as Office.
There is a proper Start button when Win10 is installed on a desktop or laptop PC – the live tiles that used to be on the Start screen in Windows 8.0/8.1 appear on the right side of the Start menu with a standard list of apps and programs on the left side.
The Charms menu bar that appears in Windows 8.0/8.1 when swiping in from the right on a touchscreen or using the mouse pointer to do so has been dropped from Windows 10. An improved Action Center still exists that now shows notifications from apps, Skype calls, social media updates (Facebook, Twitter, G+), etc.
There is a single settings app instead of having the settings split between the Control Panel and the separate Start screen, as is the case in Win8/8.1.
Tablet Mode makes it possible to switch from Desktop Mode to Tablet Mode on tablets that function as laptops with the addition of a keyboard, as is the case when using Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 tablets, when the tablet is detached from its keyboard or docking station. A popup asks for permission to switch to Tablet Mode, which is touchscreen mode. The process works in reverse when the keyboard is attached or the tablet is docked to a docking station.
Cortana is Microsoft’s speaking personal assistant. It can be asked questions by typing them or asking them and the web can be searched vocally by using Microsoft’s Bing Search engine.
Microsoft Cortana – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Cortana
Microsoft is also working on a new web browser, code-named Spartan, for Win10 to replace Internet Explorer 11. The use of IE has fallen steadily after Microsoft refused to allow any version above IE8 to be used on Windows XP when it was still running half of all PCs. A name for the new browser has not been made available. Apparently, Win10 will provide the new browser and Internet Explorer 11.