Currently Windows 10 is under development and it’s builds have been available for quite a time now and have added multiple new features with each new release. Microsoft has released the newest testing version of Windows 10 called Windows 10 Insider Preview (formerly known as Technical Preview) for public download.
That being said, I’ve got my hands on the latest Windows 10 build (Windows 10 Pro Insider Preview Build 10074) and I’d like to share my experience with it so far. In this post, I am going to talk about the major new features in Windows 10.
The greatest improvement over Windows 8/8.1. The much anticipated Start Menu is back in Windows 10 and is now better than ever. It can now be re-sized both horizontally and vertically, can be blurred (like aero in Windows 7). It now has the most used and recent programs right in the front with additional links to File Explorer, Documents, Settings, and the User Account. The Power button is also there and we can click the All apps button to get a list of all installed apps (regular apps as well as modern apps). Also, you can pin your favorite modern apps or regular apps on the start menu just like it was done in the Start Screen. Overall, I really like the new Start Menu and find it better than any previous versions.
One of the most interesting and productive features is the Task View. Multitasking is easier and powerful than ever, we can now have multiple desktops, and better app switching. You can add new desktop(s) by clicking on the Task View button on the task bar or pressing Windows key + Tab and then clicking on the New desktop button. You can also delete any existing desktop similarly by clicking on the delete button on the desired desktop’s thumbnail. You can also move a particular window to any desktop while in Task View by right-clicking on the window and clicking on Move to -> Desktop X (X is the desktop number). Again, I really like these nifty new additions to make multitasking even easier yet much more powerful.
The new Action Center is the notification center of the OS which will notify the user about new notifications from modern apps. It can be accessed by clicking on it’s icon present on the task bar notification area. You can mute all the notification for 1, 3, and 8 hours by right-clicking it’s icon and clicking the Hide notifications for -> X hours. It also has some quick action shortcuts that appear in the bottom and can be expanded for more options. These options can be configured in Settings -> Notifications & actions.
To maintain the right balance between Desktop PCs and touchscreen devices, Windows 10 has a new feature called Tablet Mode. This is automatically activated if the OS detects a touchscreen device. It provides a experience which is better suited for touchscreen devices like, full screen user interface in Modern apps, Start Menu opens in full screen, etc.
Better Snap feature
Aero snap was introduced in Windows 7 and has been pretty much the same since then. In Windows 10 however, it has been improved a lot. Now you can snap up-to four apps on your screen at the same time. Also, you get a Snap Assist feature which helps you snap the desired app easily.
Cortana can perform some basic tasks just by typing or speaking, similar to that in Windows phones. It is worth noting that it is currently only supported in select regions (China, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and U.S). However, you can change your locale and language to United States (English) or any other supported locales for that matter in Region and Language Settings to use Cortana.
Modern apps in windowed mode
Modern apps now run in windowed mode just like any other app. You have a new full-screen button next to minimize button to run the app in full-screen mode. Modern apps also contain a new Hamburger (3 lines) menu icon which opens App Commands menu. This menu contains all the options which were previously present in the Charms Bar.
There are other many more changes in the user interface like:
- New indicators of running and active programs on the task bar which looks really good.
- New minimize, maximize/restore, close, and full screen (for modern apps) buttons in title-bars.
- Quick Access sidebar in Explorer containing favorites, frequent folders and recent files.
- Thin window borders which looks slick.
- New shadow effect in window borders.
- New icon set. I find some of them really ugly though.
- New animations. Better than that of previous versions.
- 4K wallpapers.
Windows 10 has come a long way over the past months, thanks to participants of the Windows Insider Program. This review doesn’t cover all the new features of the OS, and I will update this post or write a new one if necessary with more detailed info about these features. Windows 10 is much better than any of the previous versions of the OS and I didn’t encounter any lag, freeze, or any app compatibility issues whatsoever. However, I did face a tiny but annoying bug which makes the start menu inaccessible, clicking the button or the windows key does nothing and I have to open up task-bar properties and change any setting (like auto hide) to make it working again. You can go ahead and try this version of the OS if you are comfortable with trying out new (read unstable) stuff and trouble shooting if any things go rough.