WIndows 8 introduced many new features that Windows had never had before and one of those was the Windows Store. Why not have a store, since everyone has one these days? The problem was execution. It was awful, especially the first version. You had to scroll horizontally, very little you could see on the main pages, etc. It improved some through Windows 8.1 but I believe most users either never used it or really didn’t like how it was done.
Windows 10 – Store (beta) main screen, build 9926
Enter Windows 10 with a re-design. Does it fix what was broken in Windows 10?
Most of the features that Microsoft is adding or changing with Windows 10 are ones that have existed in one or another for quite some time. Task view is an addition to Windows 10 that brings to the OS a feature that has been in competing operating systems for quite some time, especially Linux.
Windows 10 – Task Preview build 9926
There a bit of familiarity with the task switch of old but it is also a fresh take on it. It has larger screenshots than before, which is probably a nod towards better manipulation with a portable device (i.e. tablet).
You may have heard of Cortana, especially if you have used a Windows Phone device. It is a search assistant much like Siri on the Apple iphone or Google Now on Android, but it is on the Windows 10 desktop/laptop as well as the smartphone.
Cortana in Windows 10 , build 9926
Now I have the taskbar on the top of the screen on my desktop, so Cortana doesn’t adjust for that position of the task bar. It is probably more convenient where the search bar is located. Of course with Cortana there is an advantage to using it for search that wasn’t available before on a Windows device (aside from the phone).
One of the major additions to Windows 10 is an Notification / Action Center. It is very much like what was added to Windows Phone last year. Do we need it?
Clearly one of the biggest changes needed with Windows 10 was with the Start Menu. In Windows 8 the number one problem many had with it was the Start Screen. It was a Start Menu that took up the whole screen. If you were working on the desktop, having to open this screen obliterating menu just wasn’t practical.
I actually liked it, but it took me awhile to get comfortable with it. The hidden charms menu and other hidden things took getting used to, but I made it work. However, when you think about a good operating system, having to find a way to “make it work” isn’t worth the trouble for most users.
Win10 – Start Menu build 9926
In Windows 10 they have reworked the old Windows 7 Start Menu to include much of what people are used to with that menu but added in a smaller version of the Start Screen. In its current state it is a cross between Windows 8 and Windows 7. It has the menu down the side and you can choose to display apps to the right. The whole menu can also be enlarged to near full-screen (always retaining the taskbar unlike in Windows 8) so you can view more apps if you so choose.
I was unsure at first about trying out Windows 10 as a Technical Preview. I finally decided I could deal with it as they made it so easy to upgrade to the official version when it is released – even this preview was easy to get through Windows Update. Should you download it as your daily use? Probably not. While I haven’t run into any major issues yet, it isn’t ready for your average user.
The first thing I noticed after installing Windows 10 was the absence of the full screen Start Screen. The OS went right to the desktop. I had got used to using the Start Screen with Windows 8, although frankly I ended up on the desktop most of the time anyway. In fact I used to use a program called Modern Mix to allow me to do what Windows 10 does natively – put the Apps in a window rather than full screen.
The Start Menu is something like the one with Windows 7 but now has Apps attached to its side. It works pretty well and I’ll go into it in more detail in another article. There is also a new notification area for system messages and the ability to use multiple desktops.
Windows 10 – Full Screen Start Menu build 9926
By far the biggest difference is the lack of “hot corners” in Windows 10. There is no hidden charms bar, no hidden task switcher, it is all gone. After having used hidden areas for a while, it is weird for them not to be there.
If you like Windows 7, this version of Windows is far closer to it than Windows 8 ever was or ever could be. It retains some of Windows 8’s uniqueness and I’ll look at in future articles whether they should still be retained or not. Suffice it to say it won’t make everyone happy, but hopefully brings those who have been hanging onto Windows 7 more willing to update their operating system.
Windows 10 – you may have heard of it – is on its way later this year. I am trying it out, similar to how I did Windows 8 before when it first was available. Although with WIndows 10 I am in even sooner, with the Technical Preview.
Windows 10 – Tech Preview build 9926
This is it. More to come.