In August, Microsoft released its latest version of Windows (Windows 10). Here is some good-to-know information about the new product.
Let’s start with the really good news: Windows 10 is available as a free upgrade for existing Windows 7 and Windows 8 noncorporate users, and the new OS has quite a few fresh features:
- A fast Internet replacement called Edge
- Cortana, Microsoft’s equivalent to voice-controlled virtual assistant Siri
- The ability to stream real-time games to your desktop from an Xbox One in another room
Windows 10 runs on an incredibly broad set of devices with a tailored experience for each Bridevice. There is one way to write a universal application; one store; and one way for apps to be discovered, purchased and updated across all of these devices, according to Terry Myerson, Microsoft Executive VP of the Windows and Devices Group.
The start menu is back. Since its inception in ’95, the start button has been offering access to apps and settings. But in 2008, the start menu had disappeared with the intention that frequently used apps could be pinned to the desktop and opened by tapping the screen, instead of having to access them through the start menu. This did not go over well. Windows 10 is designed to bridge the gap between touch and non-touch devices. And because there are so many hybrid devices, users will not be alienated and forced to choose between one or the other.
A favorite new feature among many are the virtual desktops. By clicking on the new Task View button on the taskbar, you will have a view of all of the apps that you have open at that time. Drag one of those apps onto the “new desktop” button, and it will be moved to have its own individual workspace. These desktops have been available in past Windows versions, but always through third-party apps.
Wi-Fi Sense connects your devices to trusted Wi-Fi hotspots. Through the switch of a button, you can give and get Internet access without seeing shared passwords. You’ll get connected to Wi-Fi networks your contacts share, and they’ll get connected to the networks you share.
Now joining the ranks of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge is a fast, modern browser with a lot of possibilities. When Cortana is integrated into the browser, she offers detailed information on things like the weather or flight statuses while you’re typing into the browser’s address bar. Land on a bar or restaurant’s website, and Cortana can pull up more useful information like the menu, reviews or directions.
Some features new, some old and some improved, Windows 10 is fundamentally different from any of the versions that have come before it. It takes some navigating around on your own, but we recommend it.