Sunday, 5 October 2014

Microsoft unveils Windows 10

Earlier this week, at a small press conference San Francisco, Microsoft unveiled the Windows 10 (yes, they've skipped Windows 9). Its predecessors, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 were heavily scrutinised and even the latest update to Windows 8.1 which made the software more mouse and keyboard friendly, earlier this year, didn't make the operating system more popular.

Windows 8 was introduced two years ago and put focus heavily on touch devices however still leaving a desktop mode so it was like having two user interfaces in one. This made Windows 8 too complicated for many users which is one of the factors for Windows 8's unpopularity.

Microsoft has pushed to make Windows 10 more appealing to businesses as many still use older systems such as Windows XP which came out over a decade ago. Microsoft planned to stop offering support and updates for Windows XP earlier this year however after a mass amount of security concerns Microsoft has extended the support life to 2016.

The Windows 10 start menu with both a list of programs and live tiles.
Anyway, Windows 10 looks aesthetically a hybrid of Windows 7 and Windows 8. If you are on a desktop PC you are automatically taken to the familiar Windows desktop with the start button in the bottom left corner and your open programs along the bottom. However, once you open the start menu you will see two columns: one of ye olde programs, the other one with Windows 8 live tiles. The Windows 8 apps are updated so they work in the desktop however they will still work on tablets also.

In Windows 10 you can set up multiple desktops so you can have completely different spaces for work and home despite being on the same PC. This is a feature that Windows fan-boys have been wanting for a while now. In the Windows 10 desktop you can also now snap up to four apps/programs - one in each corner. Also, despite looking no different, Microsoft says that command prompt has been updated a lot so it now supports pasting in directories and other new features.

Moving from one app/program to another has been made easier too with a new program manager which lets users seamlessly move from one app/program to another. Despite this, the Windows charm bar which debuted in Windows 8 remains for now, it is uncertain whether this will still be there when Windows 10 goes on sale sometime in Spring 2015.

When you're using a Windows 10 tablet the experience will be optimised slightly for touch (with the option still to return to the Windows 10 desktop). The transition and difference is shown clearly in this video:

Windows 10 is one operating system that will run across all of your Windows devices; from your Windows Phone and Surface, to your Windows desktop and XBOX One. Microsoft is boasting how there will be one universal app marketplace for all of these devices and each form-factor will just have its own slight modifications to cater specifically to that type of device.

I predicted this a year ago (sort of): Microsoft One