I finally got my hands on the preview of Windows 10 and I have it installed in a virtual machine for testing purposes. At first glance, Windows 10 is everything that Windows 8 should’ve been from the beginning. If Windows 8 was what Windows 10 is today, it wouldn’t have been nearly as hated as Windows 8 was when it initially came out. And now, without further ado… my take on Windows 10.
Note, this is a very media-rich article and so it may take some time for all of the images to load on the page. They are definitely worth taking the time to load because it really showcases the changes in Windows 10.
One of the most requested features of Windows 8/8.1 was the Start Menu because it was removed in Windows 8. Why they did this, I have no idea but it caused a lot of grief among Windows users. In Windows 10 the Start Menu makes it’s illustrious return. No, it’s not the Start Menu that everyone remembers from Windows 7 but in my opinion it’s better.
On the left side of the Start Menu you have all of the familiar parts of the Windows 7 Start Menu including the pinned programs/apps that you use.
Well, actually you have two areas to pin apps to. The top part of the left side that has Documents, Pictures, Music, etc. That’s what we’re used to from Windows 7 but with Windows 10 you have a second area to pin apps to, the right side of the Start Menu that has the weather tile.
As you can see, I have a weather tile, the Windows Store tile, This PC, Metro Calculator Calculator, ABC News, and Windows Feedback. The Windows Store tile and the Weather tile are live tiles, yes… live tiles on the Start Menu. Just like you have on Android with widgets.
I myself like the idea of having tiles on my Start Menu, both static and live tiles. I figure that I’ll end up attaching static tiles for many of my most used apps like Microsoft Word, OneNote, and several other apps. I’ll also be adding a few live tiles as well; the weather tile for instance. Weather at a glance, what more could you want!?
The Start Menu search function works just like it used to in Windows 7 but with one more thing; Bing Search. Note how I typed in “calc” in the search box and not only did it search my computer for apps that had “calc” in the name but it also searched Bing for content on the web that had the word “calc” in it.
Personally, I don’t like this functionality and have made a suggestion to Microsoft to have the ability to turn off Bing Search in the Start Menu if you so choose to do so. That’s my only big gripe about the new Start Menu in Windows 10.
One of the biggest issues that Windows 8/8.1 users on a traditional desktop (with a keyboard and mouse) had was the fact that using ModernUI apps was a very, shall we say, unnatural experience. If you were on the desktop and you opened a ModernUI app the whole screen would switch to that of the ModernUI app. That was very abrupt and not at all like the multi-tasking, multi-window experience that many of us have come to be used to working with in Windows on a traditional desktop with a keyboard and mouse. Well, that has changed in a very BIG way.
Not only that, I also have the ModernUI calculator and the XBOX Music ModernUI app open on the desktop as well.
Note that these ModernUI app are running in a window much like traditional desktop programs run on the desktop. No more abrupt change over from the desktop to a full screen ModernUI app. That doesn’t mean that a ModernUI app can’t take up the full screen, that is, make a ModernUI app maximized.
Note how the ModernUI XBOX Music app is maximized but like traditional desktop programs it has a full program title bar on the top of the window with the name of the app (program) on it along with the Minimize, Restore, and Close button in the right corner of the window. Starting with Windows 10, ModernUI apps look, feel, and function just like traditional desktop programs and that’s a good thing!
Speaking about the Charms Bar… the Charms Bar has been completely taken away on the traditional desktop. Yeah… the Charms bar may have been a good thing on a touch screen or a tablet but it was one of the worst things to try and work with on a traditional desktop with a keyboard and mouse. Instead, we have a new menu in the upper left corner of a ModernUI app next to the icon for the app that has all of the things that the Charms bar had on it.
Multitasking in Windows has just gotten a shot in the arm in Windows 10 with the introduction of Virtual Desktops. Virtual Desktops allow you to separate your groups of tasks into separate compartments, for instance… a desktop for work and a desktop for play.
Note how I have two “desktops” and the thumbnails of the two desktops have a picture of Internet Explorer and Calculator in them. They are two separate desktops each with their own taskbars with their own set of open program icons on them. This means that you can have lots of program windows open in multiple desktops and not have your taskbar populated with a ton of icons leaving you wondering where that icon for Photoshop or Firefox got to.
Now this is just a taste of what Windows 10 is going to be like and all of this is based upon an very early developers build that Microsoft released to the public on October 1st. Some of the things that are featured in this article may change, get some polished, or even removed and have something new added to it to replace something.
All in all, Windows 10 is what Windows 8 should have been right from the beginning and if it had been, Windows 8 wouldn’t have had the same amount of hate for it heaped on it over the years. Windows 10 is quite simply a galactic-sized step in the right direction.