An Introduction to Windows 10, Part 1

This Wednesday, July 29th, Microsoft rolls out its long awaited Windows 10, and with this update Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, is changing the way Microsoft operates. This is the first time ever that they are letting users of Windows 7 and 8 upgrade for free, no strings attached.

Over the course of the last year, Microsoft launched a Windows 10 insider program. This let users test it out and provide feedback, versus trying to design what they believed users want. This has led to some real highlights:

  • The start menu will merge Windows 7 and 8 in an alphabetical list of drop down programs, with the ability to go directly into folders like Windows 7, or live tiles / most used app icons from Windows 8.
  • It will all be customizable to user preference, from size of the menu to what it displays. For people with tablets/surfaces running windows, if it detects no keyboard and no mouse, it can switch to the full screen start page automatically.
  • One new feature that’s a big move, is Edge. Microsoft is moving away from Internet explorer and introducing its new browser, Edge. This browser is light and simple like Chrome and Firefox, but with added features from Microsoft.
    • Edge features include various extensions, reading view, the ability to view PDF’s or E-books in a clean layout so you see what you want to read without any interruptions.
  • You can markup web pages to take notes and make things stand out for the next time you view the page, and these can be shared with friends.
  • Windows 10 also offers multiple desktops, which helps a lot in regards to efficiency by keeping things organized when multi-tasking on mutliple projects (new hotkey shortcut – windows + tab allows you to switch between them).
  • Microsoft has a new personal digital assistant, Cortana.  Similar to Siri, she can listen and respond to your voice. There is also the option to type to her as well.  She is built into Edge, so you can type or ask her just about anything.  She provides results without even having to click enter. You can tell Cortana to remind you to email co-workers, make calendar events, set alarms, or even just ask her who won the super bowl in 1999. Since she lives in the cloud she can constantly gather information for you.

windowsMany may have had the new Windows icon show up on their bottom right task bar for the last few weeks to reserve a free copy of 10.  Don’t worry if the icon hasn’t popped up on your computer, though. Microsoft is allowing Windows users a full year to upgrade to 10 for free. Microsoft is moving away from generating income off licensing and pushing users towards appealing subscription based products like Skype, Office 365, Outlook, and OneDrive. If you upgrade within the time frame its free, forever.

The upgrades should be effortless for users running Windows 7/8. You can run Windows updates the same way you would usually download security patches. No more ‘service packs’. It’s all through Windows updates now. Any program you use on 7/8 should work just the same on 10. The upgrade won’t change any of your personal settings or affect anything, even specific drivers for varying manufactures won’t be affected.  Although the upgrade should be seamless, it’s always a good idea to have backups of your important files (if they’re not already on OneDrive). Also, it’s a good idea to collect your software product keys with a helpful little program like Belarc.

As with any new OS there will always be bugs, but thanks to the aforementioned insider program they should be minimal. Microsoft definitely wants everyone using Windows 10, and in my humble opinion, it is Microsoft’s greatest operating system yet.  Let us know what you think!