What comes after eight? Well, it's the number 10, if you work for Microsoft. That's what the Boys from Redmond are calling their new version of Windows, apparently wanting to distance themselves from the dreaded Windows 8 syndrome.
We've been playing with the Windows 10 Technical Preview for about a month and, so far, we like what we see.
The Start Menu has returned with a few enhancements that will satisfy Windows 8 haters and lovers of the much maligned Metro interface that substituted a page full of tiles for the more familiar list of programs. Now we have the best of both worlds - - - a list of programs and apps running down the left side of the menu and a few small tiles on the right. Those users that can't live without the Metro interface just need to change this option, telling the system to boot to their favorite interface.
The tiles are customizable and can be reformatted to any size you want. Also, programs and apps can be dragged from the list to the tile section and a new tile will be created.
Another new feature we really like is the Notifications Tab. All notifications, including error messages and email alerts, are easily accessed by clicking on an icon on the bottom left side of the desktop. There's also a new Task View Tab that shows you what programs are running.
Those of us that were frustrated with Win 8 can now run newer applications (which were designated by tiles) in windows that can be reduced in size, taking a step back to the flexibility of Windows 7 and its predecessors.
It's also a hair faster than Win 8, but this could be because we have yet to play with the complete operating system. Hopefully it won't be a memory and resources hog when it's ready for prime time.
Other new features include:
- The Charms Menu is gone for those of us using keyboards and mice
- Windows 10 will be a universal interface for all Windows devices including phones, tablets, PCs laptops and the Xbox One
- You can access frequently used files and recently used programs through File Explorer
- A Battery Saver (for laptop and phone users) and Data Sense App monitor drains on the battery -- and help you deal with them -- and data usage
Future builds of the Technical Preview (there have been two since Oct. 1) may include a new two-step verification system to keep cyber thieves from accessing your files and a more robust version of Windows Defender.
We were told that we might lose some of our files when we installed the upgrade, but -- so far -- everything is where it's supposed to be and running without a hitch. This could be due to the fact that we upgraded from Windows 8.1, so it may be a problem for users of older versions of the operating system.
The folks at Microsoft are warning users not to install the Win 10 Technical Preview on their main computers or computers that they rely on for work. The system, they say, is still a bit "buggy" as they experiment with new features that may or may not work. In fact they often prompt us to see how we feel about certain features and to monitor how well they are working on our PCs.
This, they hope, will result in a much more stable product when it's released in mid-2015.
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