Windows 10!

Microsoft released the news that windows 10 is on it’s way, am I exited? Kinda 😀

Following the pattern that Microsoft seems to have this OS should be good :

Win 3.1 – good

Win 95 – bad

Win 98 – good

ME – bad

Xp  – good

vista = bad

windows 7 – good

windows 8 – bad

The next windows – good?

What happened to 9?

Windows 9 bit the dust, before it even started. Microsoft thought that it would be a good idea to skip a release number to make Windows 10 to sound like a major improvement. Bit of an odd way of doing it isn’t it? but that’s Microsoft for you.

“Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows, unlocking new experiences to give customers new ways to work, play and connect,” 

With Windows 10 Microsoft is boasting of “familiarity and consistency across devices.” It wants one consistent OS from the Xbox and tablets across phones and PCs to enterprise systems – a great dream it is having trouble realising. But it does appear closer now.

“Windows 10 adapts to the devices customers are using and what they’re doing with a consistent, familiar and compatible experience, enabling even greater productivity. Windows 10 will run across the broadest range of devices ever from the Internet of Things to enterprise data centres worldwide,”

 

These quotes were from Terry Myerson in an interview.

 

What does 10 bring?

Microsoft have realised that 8 was truly, truly awful (in my opinion) and have decided to put the touch screen features on the back burner, they are wanting to create a consistency across all devices such as Xbox, phones and PC. If they nail this then a lot of good will come from it, things will perform the same functions and have the same features across the board, so you know what you want to do will always work.

They’re really pushing into the enterprise side too, with time saving enhancements such as virtual desktops ( same as workspaces in linux), an improved window snap manager and much more,  they’re also rolling out the “continuum mode” which allows for two different inrerfaces, one for touch screens, one for non touch screens – and you can swap at the touch of a button. This will be a great feature for docking touch screen laptops etc.

Lets get stuck in!

As I have access to the preview (released today) via my Microsoft Developers subscription I have downloaded the Windows 10 technical preview and installed in on my VMWARE workstation instance.

it seems really happy on 4GB of ram and a 120GB disk and only took 20 mins to install. The install is a windows 8 installer and then the 10 preview installs on top of that. When you’ve set up an account it you log in and are presented with this :

win8-1

As you can see, they have changed the start menu yet again, although I really like the way they have done it,  with the all programs on the side and a few live tiles on the right hand side. you can re-size them and move them around like in windows 8 so you can have exactly what you want. I can see me using this feature a lot for my e-mails, news and RSS feeds.So you can make it look like this :

10-2

 

Looking nice so far I think, the OS seems fairly stable and hasn’t crashed once, onto the task bar :

10-3

 

you might notice that the clock is set to american time, I should really fix that..

Microsoft have changed the icons around somewhat and I think they suit the interface really nicely, from left to right on the task bar you have the start button (duuh) the new search button, the virtual desktop button (my fav feature) IE, Explorer and the store. The system tray is the same as win 8 with the action centre and network centre.That has never really needed changing in my opinion.

The search feature is a nice addition too, you can search the interwebs via bing without having to fire up a browser, great if you need a quick reference for something :

10-4

it has apps in the store listed at the top, so you can look for apps without opening the store, if you click on a search suggestion it will open a larger window with the results, handy for spell checking too! I’ve noticed that the search lags a bit when opening and closing, but this is only beta so they’ll fix that soon ( I hope)

 

8-5

 

mmmm potatoes 😀

Next along is my favourite feature, the virtual desktop! I can see me using this a lot at work and in the office. This is Microsoft version of Ubuntu’s Unity workspaces. A feature I have always wanted in the Windows Operating System. It allows you so split windows onto “desktops”  so you can have as many window layouts as you want, and be able to swap between them so you could have 1 “desktop” for web browsers, another one for documents and another for media. So you can separate your work out and have it in a much more logical form.so to set this up you click the workspace button :10-5 which then brings up the virtual desktop switcher :

10-6its obvious but you will have to click “add a desktop” as you can see it creates two little windows, these are your desktops

10-7

 

to select desktop 1 just click it, I’m going to open two file explorers in desktop one :

10-8

which looks like this in the manager :

10-9

on the second one I am going to open powershell, calculator and sticky notes

10-10

 

which looks like this in the manager now :

10-11

so you can see the different window layouts, you don’t have millions of windows open at once and you can split your work up nicely – or even hide things from your boss! (shhhh) just select the one you want by clicking on the window in the preview, how simple is that! you can have as many workspaces as you want, however I soon had the issue of the + window not being visible after 7 desktops, I hope they fix this issue so you can scroll accross and have loads of windows! (proving your PC is powerful enough) The rest of the things on the task bar are pretty standard to windows.

Next is the window snap improvements, in Windows 7 you could only move the window in columns, in 10 they have added a few more options,  you can have it set quarterly :

12-13

 

When I dragged my file window onto the left hand side it realised I couldn’t see my IE window, so it gave me the option to have it on the over half :

10-12

Which is quite nice, although it may get irritating after a while.

 

Windows 10 also has continuum, a feature where you can swap between the touch interface and the desktop interface at the press of a button, I don’t have a touch PC so couldn’t really test it that well, but according to the man at Microsoft you can swap between the interfaces by disconnecting your keyboard, you get a back arrow and other touch buttons pop up, ideal for devices such as the surface or other dockable tablets, one min a PC – the next an tablet.

Another nice part of Windows 10 is the fact that Microsoft are really pushing for “universal apps”. This is going to be where if an app is on the windows store, it will work on every windows 10 device, be it mobile, xbox, PC or tablet. Fantastic for gaming and office utilities!

The settings menus are exactly the same as in windows 8, as is the general layout of documents, folders etc.  However a share tab has appeared at the top of the window :10-14

 

when clicked on gives me this :

10-15

 

It gives you quick access to handy sharing functions, and if you click on the left hand side share option it brings a side panel up  with apps that you can share with (only mail at the moment) :

 

10-16

looking good microsoft!

 

For the techies!

Microsoft have realised what an annoyance it is not to have short cuts in the command prompt, so in command prompt you no longer have to do right click > mark > right click > paste. You can highlight and use CTRL-P & V to copy and paste commands, saving a lot of time for people who use cmd a lot.

Standard group policy objects from my 2012 domain apply fine with no issues at all, and seem to be a little more reliable that they ever were on 7, most likely because it’s based on windows 8 underneath.

Power shell is the same, but the ISE isn’t included as default in the beta, so no scripting unless you install it manually. for now.

Task manager has had a little re-vamp too, there is now an app history tab. So you can see the network usage of the apps you had open and the time you had them open for : 10-17

System restore has made a return, none of this “system refresh” nonsense that popped up in windows 8.

10+18

and the system experience index seems to have gone walkies, not sure if this is because it’s only the technical preview or Microsoft have removed it completely, I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

 

 

Summary

 

Microsoft seem to have it figured out, they have realised that only 0.4% of the market share is touch screen PC’s so they have given both worlds options, and I like that a lot, and the fact that windows 10 is going to be a free upgrade to Windows 8 or 8.1 users gives it a good head start, It’s very nice to see handy features that a lot of us love return, and classic, never changed features (cmd) have modern, little quirks added to make peoples life easier in the daily use of their PC’s.

I’ll add more things onto this article as I find them and keep you updated!

 

– Ainsey11

 

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