Windows 10 In Review: A Look At What Users Can Expect

Windows 10 In Review: A Look At What Users Can Expect

Windows 10 In Review: A Look At What Users Can Expect

Windows 10 is coming later this year and Microsoft have been giving users an early look via their Technical Preview. These are starting to get a lot more stable and interesting, as the latest release includes the first glimpse at Project Spartan, the browser set to replace Internet Explorer. Below is a quick look at what users can expect from Microsoft’s latest offering.

Look and Feel
I’m coming from Windows 7 (80%, work) and Mac OS X Yosemite (20%, home) so straight away Windows 10 feels familiar to my Windows brain and looks familiar to my Apple heart. The Start menu is here again for good and it’s a lot more useful, the tiles are flat and easy on the eye, they are movable, resizable and actually show a preview of the underlying app (news stories, pictures, etc.). Notifications are new and part of the Action Center, which lives in the bottom right hand corner of the taskbar. They are very similar to the OS X system, but are still a very welcome addition. The notifications can come from the system or apps and slide out from the right hand side of the screen. So far, they seem informative without being intrusive (a far cry from Paperclip!) and I suspect they will become a lot more interactive in future releases.

The entire interface in general makes great use of the flattened style, white space and simple colours – it feels fresh and simple to use.

Search
The search bar on the Task bar is a great addition and is a very snappy way of launching apps, searching your PC or the web.  This is also where Cortana lives, which is Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Voice. It does a pretty good job of recognising natural language (ask it what’s on the cinema tonight). That said, given the amount of time I sit in front of my PC the jury is out on if I want to talk to it too!

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I am S̶p̶a̶r̶t̶a̶n̶ Edge

Microsoft’s new browser brings a much-needed revamp to the user interface and even makes other browsers look a little dated and a lot more bloated. Originally named Project Spartan, it has just been officially named Microsoft Edge. The features, in this early version, are still pretty light but the greatest promise comes from how it will integrate with other tools. For example, Inking will let you scribble notes on any web page and easily share them via email/social media or save them directly into OneNote. Cortana is also built-in and can chip in with additional information when you need it.  Both of these work really well on a laptop (and, I suspect, a tablet).

Other pretty standard features, that are still to come, include a download view, browsing history, a roaming reading list (synced with your other devices), and offline reading.

Getting Around
Two new features help you multi-task and quickly move around a lots of apps – Virtual Desktops and Snap. The former is long overdue and can really help to organise your workspace, but it feels like you need to do a lot of clicking to use it and just isn’t as slick as how it’s done in the Mac OS. Snap is a great tool and will let you “snap” apps to the side of the desktop or to a corner, it will also suggest other apps to fill the remaining space.

To Wrap Up
So the Start menu is back and there are lots of interesting new features and a clean, refreshed look and feel. I suspect this look and feel is going to evolve considerably over the next couple of months as Microsoft push hard to make the final release at the end of summer.

There also seems to be a concerted effort by Microsoft to listen to user’s feedback from previous offerings. This new outlook, coupled with the the fact that the upgrade will be free to Windows 7 and 8 users, makes me think people will flock to this release in a way we haven’t seen for a while.

Stephen Morrow

– SVP, Global Account Management at Options

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