BY KYLE VAN DEN HEUVEL
A look at Microsoft’s new version of its famous operating system
Windows 8.1, the newest version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system, has not exactly been well received by computing enthusiasts. Microsoft made a bold move to make the operating system friendlier to tablets at the expense of making the experience for non-tablet users somewhat awkward. Windows 10 aims to bring back many features of the highly praised Windows 7 while still moving forward with additions to bring the operating system in line with current alternatives.
For starters, one of the most missed features from Windows 7 and all versions of Windows before it, the classic Start Menu, will be making its return with some new features. The Start Menu feature in Windows 8 was fine for tablets with only touchscreen control, but it was too much of a hassle for those who have the precision of the mouse. The new Start Menu will feature an easy and convenient way to see all your installed programs while having some of the Metro layout from the Windows 8 iteration.
One of the big pushes Microsoft is making for Windows 10 is its new Internet browser called Edge. Microsoft’s old Internet Explorer will still be there but only for legacy support. The new browser will be based on more modern web engines similar to WebKit. It aims to be more like browsers like Chrome and Firefox. It even aims to support the same extensions as Chrome.
Another big feature that Microsoft is pushing is its answer to Apple’s Siri, Cortana. Cortana was previously exclusive to their Windows Phones. It is essentially a service that you tell to do things like setting alarms or looking up things online for you. This service will be integrated into Windows 10 and will make things a lot more convenient.
One big feature for people who own Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming console is the fact that the Xbox app has been greatly revamped. It will now allow you to stream games from the Xbox One to anything running Windows 10, whether it be a tablet or a full desktop computer. Initial reports have said that the streaming service works well with even low-grade hardware. It will also allow for users to record footage from their game and upload it much like the Xbox One already does.
A feature that those who have used MacOS or Linux is the addition of virtual desktops. Virtual Desktops allow you to have multiple desktops that you can switch between at any time. For example, you can have one desktop that has all your internet apps open, one that has all your work apps that are open, and one that has a game open and not be cluttering up one desktop with all that open at the same time.
Windows 10 is looking to ship in late July, and Microsoft has announced that anyone who has Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 can upgrade for free. There is a mantra among Windows users that states that Windows releases cycle between good and bad with every iteration. In the last 15 years, Windows XP was considered good, Vista was considered bad, Windows 7 was considered good and Windows 8 has been considered bad, so, from what has been shown so far, it seems that Windows 10 may be the next best version of Windows.