What you need to know about Windows 10
Whether you’re a firm member of team Apple, or you’re team PC and like a good old Microsoft Windows operating system, you’ll no doubt have heard about Windows 10.
It feels like a lifetime since Microsoft first announced the release date of Windows 10 back in January, and after what feels like countless updates, preview builds and trials the system is finally available for general consumers.
A lot has changed since the widely-felt failures of Windows 8 and 8.1, from ditching Internet Explorer to the addition of Cortana on your desktop. We’re here to guide you through the best bits of Microsoft’s latest (and reportedly final) Operating System.
The Return of the Start Menu
It would appear that Microsoft heard the cries of all the broken hearts after Windows 8 completely revamped the iconic Windows start menu.
Well the beloved menu is back, even if it is a slightly different experience. It seems Microsoft have merged the best of both worlds in the latest Start Menu as its back inits classic location with a toned down version of the Live Tiles from Windows 8.
The start menu is now very customisable; it’s quite a faff to set up initially but once you have, it’ll feel like it’s a computer made just for you.
Welcome back old friend…
And Hello new friend – Cortana
If you’re not familiar with a Windows Phone, or if you’ve been under a rock and missed the masses of adverts for her, then you won’t have heard of Cortana. Cortana is Microsoft’s digital personal assistant; think of her as half Siri and half Google Now.
We first met Cortana back in 2001 in Halo: Combat Evolved as Master Chief’s personal assistant, and now she’s here to help you save the galaxy, or at least help you search the internet.
She’ll be around to tailor your Microsoft experience, conducting web and file searches for you, learning your news preferences, and always available to answer your questions. She’ll even tell you a joke if you ask nicely.
Cortana is now fully integrated into Windows 10, and located right next to the start menu, proving how vital she now is to Windows 10. Plus, she’s pretty fun to have a chat with.
After years of being ridiculed, Windows 10 marks the end of the road for Internet Explorer. After bidding a not so fond farewell it was time to check out Edge, the new browser. As far as browsers go Edge is still in it’s early stages, and pretty bare looking, but it’s got some genuinely promising features.
So, the good bits:
• Cortana is in there. While Google has done some good work with it’s quick answers, nothing beats having your assistant right there in the browser.
• You can highlight and annotate pages then and there. Screenshot and annotate articles, and save articles for later in your reading list, straight from the browser, cutting out the need for those RAM-intensive Chrome extensions.
• You’ll finally be free of those massive ad banners and pop up videos. Edge cuts out nasty ads and reading interruptions automatically, without extensions, sounds pretty appealing right?
Multiple Desktops and Central Notifications
We can almost hear all the OS X users saying Microsoft’s new ‘Task View’ is essentially just Mission Control, and well, they’re not wrong. It allows you to create multiple desktops, easily view and navigate all your apps and even view virtual desktops, Task View is a welcome addition to the Windows experience, and it’ll certainly be well received by multitaskers and power-users.
Another welcome addition to Windows 10 is the Action Centre, the central hub of all your notifications. The Action Centre also gives you quick access to your important and useful settings like Wi-Fi, airplane mode and Bluetooth.
The tablet mode, need I say more?
If you’re lucky enough to be on a hybrid device Continuum will be your new best friend. Seamlessly switch between interfaces and enjoy the best of both worlds with a touch friendly tablet start menu, which echoes Windows 8, for those who actually enjoyed it.
Continuum also has some cool features for the standard laptop users, allowing those with touch screen machines to disconnect their mouse and keyboard to use complete touchscreen controls. A pretty handy feature.
Windows 10 looks like it’s geared up to be a great operating system and it’s got some excellent and fun new features.
If you were wondering when to upgrade, I’d say there’s no time like the present. Yes it can be a bit buggy at times, and there are some issues to iron out (namely the new error messages people are getting while installing) but bugs aside – it’s darn good.