Windows 10 Review
Despite the fact that numerous operating systems have appeared in the last decade, Windows still remains the most widely used OS on the market. Recently, Microsoft has officially announced that they are working on Windows 10, the latest iteration of the Windows OS, which focuses on solving the problems brought by Windows 8, while also trying to bring some interesting and unique improvements on its own.
For the time being, there aren’t any announcements in regards to the release date or the cost of the new OS, but what we do know is that an early build is available as of now. While it might be rough around the edges, which is normal for a technical preview, we can clearly see what Microsoft are trying to do with the new OS.
The answer here is that Microsoft shifts Windows 10 towards the idea of productivity, mainly because they target all those things that made Windows 8 a bad version, and they try to implement them in a different way.
In fact, this is what the technical preview tries to display, and that is the core features that you can find in the upcoming version of Windows, features that will help you improve your workflow in the end. The technical preview can be downloaded right now and it’s available in multiple languages, as well as different iterations for the 32 and 64 bit.
One of the first things that you can see after installing the tech preview is that Windows 10 is trying to balance the fact that now Windows is used on mobile and desktop devices alike, so they need to integrate touch, mouse and keyboard functionality in such a way so that you can shift between them at all times. This is one of the core things in Windows 10, which you can’t really feel if you are using a desktop computer, but once you install it on a tablet you will be able to switch between the tablet and laptop mode as you see fit, if you have a keyboard available of course.
This is where one of the major changes in the operating system takes place. We can see the original Start menu that was available in Windows 7, and this time it’s fully compatible with both mobile and desktop alike. The neat thing about it however comes from the fact that you can keep the older fullscreen Start menu if you liked it in Windows 8 a while ago.
However, the major difference to the Windows 7 Start menu is that here you can also find the live tiles right near your apps, and that’s just great from a productivity standpoint. Of course, the start menu is highly customizable as you would expect, so you can easily pin the live tiles that you want. In addition to that, we get jump lists for files, as well as a search function that allows us to find files and features in our computer.
Of course, the Start menu can easily be reshaped, so if you want it to cover less space you can shift it towards the bottom of the screen and get the functionality quickly. This makes the Start menu a lot easier to use and you still get complete functionality no matter how you reshape it. As we said before, the main shift in Windows 10 is towards productivity and Microsoft does a stellar job in this regard with the Start menu.
You still get the complete functionality from Windows 8, as you can even have the Bing results if you want. You can also find a separate search menu near Start which is more comprehensive, as it allows you to just find people, files, folders, network items, locations on your computer or the web. It can even find apps in the Windows Store, that’s how advanced this search function really is, and after what we saw during our tests, we can clearly say that it works seamlessly and helps you find everything you need much faster. In our opinion, the search bar and the improved start menu will help us shake off hours and increase the productivity tenfold.
The Store remains pretty much the same, although we receive one major difference when compared to Windows 8, the fact that the apps and the store itself aren’t fullscreen any more, instead they will be treated as normal Windows applications. This means that you will be able to easily switch between them at all times thanks to the new and improved Alt-Tab feature that enlarges the window content, making it much easier for you to see what happens in each window. Again, this is a feature specifically targeted towards a major increase a productivity, something that is very important nowadays, in a society that’s always trying to get things done faster.
Virtual desktops, snaps and apps
In Windows 10 you will now have a neat Task View button which will be located in the taskbar and which will allow you to move between Windows in a much simpler manner as opposed to Alt Tab which might be a shortcut that many don’t want to use.
Another new feature in Windows 10 is definitely Snapping. Specifically designed to help you be more productive, it changes the way you use the Windows apps like never before. To put things short, you can snap two or more windows and use them at the same time, as well as browse between each other much easier than expected. In addition to all of that, you will even have the opportunity to see thumbnails of the windows that are already opened in order to select the ones that you want to snap without having to actually rearrange anything, as all items will be within your reach, which is really neat to say the least.
Thanks to Windows+Tab we will be able to browse the opened windows and, for the first time in the history of the Windows operating system, we will be able to actually create virtual desktops. Yes, even though they were present for a very long time in other OS on the market, Windows can take full advantage of this wonderful feature as well. This is great for people that use their computer for multiple things at once (and most of us do that), so this feature is definitely one of the most promising ones in the Windows 10 tech preview. We think that both normal and power users alike will be able to take advantage of this feature, and while it doesn’t bring that much into the mix to begin with, the feature is definitely a very interesting and appealing one for both business and home users alike.
Yes, believe it or not, the most hated feature in Windows 8 does make a return, but instead being a fully fledged menu that appears in the right side of the screen, now you can use it only with a particular set of apps. In fact, it can only be used with the modern apps that you get from the store, and these will bring you some neat benefits. In order to access them you will just have to access the modern app’s menu that is located in the upper left side, and from there you can access almost the same functions as you did before.
We think that integrating the charms this way is a good idea, because there are quite a lot of people that got accustomed to this function so using it is indeed essential! Yes, the Charms menu might be less touch friendly but in the end the main focus of Windows 10 is to bring you back that wonderful functionality and optimize it for the desktop. Using this menu is quite neat and the functions that it provides now, such as the Wi-Fi changing and project printing is actually very useful.
This shows, just like many other changes made by Microsoft within Windows 10, that they are listening to the customers and, once again, customer satisfaction is the most important thing for them. Even though they keep the modern interface, the main focus here is to optimize the OS for desktops, and Microsoft does a great job in this regard.
Business management and data container features
The tech preview is mainly created for the desktop users to see the new features, but it’s important to know that Windows 10 will also bring some great business features as well. What we do know is that it will bring an interface that allows you to manage all the PCs and mobile devices through the Mobile Device Management system. This feature is great and very useful for those businesses that make use of multiple devices.
The business version of Windows 10 will include an enterprise app store where businesses will be able to purchase bulk licenses for their necessary applications. Another neat features comes in the form of encrypted containers that will come in handy for separating business and personal data, while also keeping it secure as well. It’s rumored that many of these will be included in the Windows Server preview that is expected to appear sometime next year.
Even if they aren’t included in this tech preview, you can clearly see that Microsoft does want Windows 10 to become the next best thing for the enterprise sector and we can safely say that through these features it has a high chance in doing just that. Of course, we expect that more and more features will be added close to release, but even now the Enterprise version seems like a great fit for small and large businesses alike.
As expected, Windows 10 will integrate a new version of IE, but the one that we can see right now in the tech preview is a placeholder, the full desktop version. Microsoft has announced that the IE improvements will come in a separate schedule which is different to the Windows 10 release schedule, but all modifications will be included in the OS release, of course. Some new additions to the IE experience include Web GL support, and it’s said that the browser will come with different modes of use. In fact, it is rumored that the Windows 10 version will provide a plugin free version of Internet Explorer, which will remove many of the security risks that the browser is now experiencing.
One of the major power features, mainly the Command Prompt is making its triumphant return as well. To put things short, the design is almost the same, as you can use the old keyboard shortcuts and copy or paste them without an issue. Another neat feature in regards to the Command Prompt is that you can easily copy or paste text in/out of it according to your needs. Making it a fully integrated feature within the OS is great, as we can now include the CMD in our productivity. Also, the CMD comes with a wide array of modifications that span from looks to functionality, and even in the tech preview we can use them with ease.
Despite the fact that many users nowadays forgot about the Command Prompt and other advanced features completely, the ones that still use it will find the Windows 10 attention towards this a refreshing and very welcoming addition!
Many users have experienced performance issues with Windows 8, and Microsoft wants to make things right with the new release. In fact, from our experience with Windows 10, we can state that the OS worked almost perfectly, even if it is a tech preview and not a standalone OS. You can browse the web without crashes and even use many advanced functions without a problem. Overall, Windows 10 doesn’t seem to ask for many resources, as the requirements are quite similar to Windows 7, so the OS can run on most modern computers without any hitch.
Windows 10 isn’t released yet, but even in its tech preview form you can easily see where Microsoft is trying to bring the new OS, and dare we say that they are making a monumental shift in the organization. Listening to the customers is essential and thanks to the feedback that they will receive from the tech preview they will be able to make the OS the best Windows we can find on the market. We can’t wait to see more of the features that will be added in the long run and, of course, we are eager to check the final release of Windows 10 for custom built pcs which is said to come sometime in the autumn of 2015.