Microsoft has skipped “Windows 9” and went straight to Windows 10. The first Technical Preview has released for everyone, tech enthusiast and enterprises, to test drive and get a sneak peek of what is to come in the next version of the operating system arriving in mid-2015.
In Windows 10, Microsoft is significantly adding a lot of new features and changes to make the operating system a better improvement over Windows 8.1 and more appealing to Windows 7 users.
Although there are many features we’ve already seen on leaked versions of Threshold, many of them aren’t yet in the official Technical Preview release. As such let’s look at the features Microsoft considered for build 9841 – the version you can download today by being a register Windows Insider.
Windows 10 Technical Preview features
Start menu: One of the most notorious change when you install Windows 10 is the new Start menu that looks very familiar to the menu in Windows 7, but inherits many features from the Start screen in Windows 8. The Start screen still present and it’s the default view on tablets without a keyboard, but for those hybrid and regular PCs, the new Start menu is the new default view, even for the Surface Pro 3 (although, this will change once Microsoft pushes the Continuum mode). In the new menu users can easily resize Live Tile, like they are accustomed in Windows 8, and users can also resize the Start menu as a whole too. There is search box, a listing for all, recent, and pinned apps. And from the top users can switch account and turn off their PCs as you would expect. Basically everything works like in Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Snap: The Snap feature in Windows 10 has dramatically improved. Now thank to modern apps that behave like traditional apps, snapping is more pleasant. For example, users can now snap apps in the four quadrant by dragging apps to the corners. Snap Assist also is a new mode that will aid users to select more easily what to snap next.
File Explorer: The Windows 10 File Explorer has a new enhancement a new Home location is the default view that lists frequent places users browse and recent opened files. And in the Share’s tab there is a new prominent Share button to share one or more files via email, network, or Universal apps.
Command prompt: As Microsoft is focusing on convincing enterprises to move to Windows 10, the company is making changes for the one Windows utility IT professional use the most: the Command Prompt. Although CMD looks identical like it did before, Microsoft has now added standard test selection, cut, copy, and paste.
Virtual desktops: I heard it all before, Microsoft is bringing a feature that other operating systems had for years. But when you think about it, Windows also had virtual desktops for years too. It was a tool that you needed to install first, before being able to create new desktops. In Windows 10, Microsoft has included this feature and is part of the new Task View. Users can now create multiple desktops to group different applications together that correspond to specific tasks such as work and personal.
Task View: The Task View is the new place that replaces the default ALT+Tab app switcher in Windows, though to view, manage, and create virtual desktops, you need to use the +Tab keyboard shortcut. Just keep in mind that the +Tab Task View is to work with virtual desktops and the ALT+Tab Task View lists all the apps regardless their virtual desktop location.
Universal apps: In Windows 10, the software giant is transforming apps and they will now become Universal apps, meaning that these programs will run on PC, tablet, and phones without programmers having to prepare a different app for each platform. As previously shown, these Windows Store apps now can run side-by-side with traditional desktop apps as windowed apps, providing a more consistent experience.
Charms bar: The Charms bar still present in Windows 10 and it’s not going away completely, at least for touch devices. However Microsoft has mentioned that Charms will evolve eventually and they will not look the same as they do now. In Windows 10 Technical Preview, we can already see that charms has been moved to a menu located in the top-left corner of app with access to all the charms options, even to Full screen option.
Windows Feedback: The Windows Feedback app is perhaps the most important aspect of Windows 10 for Microsoft. In this Technical Preview users will access to new build quite often, as such Microsoft wants to know what you think of the new changes and features, and the company is also open to suggestions to make the operating system better. In the Feedback app, you can easily send feedback by category, voting other user suggestions, and submitting their own suggestions. Oh! And there is a toast notification that will pop-up every now and then asking for feedback on specific tasks.
Those are main points of interest for Windows 10 Technical Preview, but of course there are tons of tweaks and enhancements including new animations, borderless windows, new icons merging to a more flat design in the desktop, no modern version of IE (but you can bring it back), and a lot more with other improvements under the hood as well. I will keep following closely all the changes as they happen, so stay tuned for more, I’ll be writing a series of articles about Windows 10.