Let’s face it, Windows 8 did not get the best reception when it was revealed. One of its biggest problems was following the hugely popular Windows 7. I think even Microsoft would probably agree that the changes brought in to Windows 8, primarily the new “Metro” or “Modern” tiled menu and lack of Start button were probably too extreme for most people. Microsoft were banking on the majority of people using a touchscreen or tablet device with Windows 8 which, with hindsight, proved not to be the case. Windows 8.1 went some way to appeasing the mouse and keyboard brigade and I personally am a fan of this operating system.
Microsoft have recently announced the next version of Windows that will be released “sometime next year”. Bizarrely, this will not be Windows 9, but Windows 10. For anyone curious or brave enough, you can download the Tech Preview of Windows 10 and have a play yourself. Now be warned, this is a very early release and it will have problems that need ironing out before releasing to the world in its final guise. For this reason, I installed the preview as a virtual machine on VMWare Player so as not to affect my day to day installation of Windows 8.1 – you have been warned!
So, what are the main features in 10? Well there is one very welcome one – the Start Menu is back. The new Start menu does includes some of the best features of Windows 8.1 such as live tiles, with a nod to the old Windows 7 menu that most people know and love. This means that you spend all your time on the traditional desktop without having to delve into a completely different Modern interface.
Running multiple apps has also become a lot simpler. You can have a view of all open apps (similar to an Android device) as small windows that you can select from the Task View. The useful “snap” feature that allows you to dock an application to the left or right of the screen has also been improved allowing you to have more windows snapped. The snap assist also suggests other applications you may want to run alongside your current choice.
Another problem people had with Windows 8 was the fact that “Modern” apps, i.e. the ones you download from the Windows Store would only run in full screen mode. These apps now open like any other app and can be resized or minimised right from the desktop.
So these are just a few of the features that have stood out for me and I am sure there will be lots more that will become apparent as I use the preview. The preview is also due to have continuous improvements and fixes right up until the official launch so hopefully there will be lots more cool features popping up over the next few months.