Microsoft has launched Windows 10, the next version of its desktop operating system. Following user feedback from unhappy Windows 8/8.1 users, the Redmond giant has overhauled the user interface optimizing it for desktop use, besides adding some features already available on rival platforms.
Start menu makes a comeback
Microsoft has brought the Start menu back with Windows 10. The menu features a search bar with Cortana integration (in regions where it’s supported) and customization space for pinning app shortcuts and live tiles. It looks similar to the traditional Start menu in form, which Microsoft discontinued with the Windows 8. However, it has been refined and now sports a minimalist design. On touch devices, there’s an option to switch to Windows 8-like full-screen Start menu.
Updated command prompt
Microsoft has pleased power users with some improvements in the command prompt interface. The command prompt now supports copy and paste keyboard shortcuts so you’ll be able to use Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V commands easily.
Windows 10 introduces Hello a new way to authenticate users through face recognition on supported devices. You can also use a fingerprint sensor or other biometric sensors to log in to Windows. The feature makes use of Intel RealSense 3D camera with 3D depth-sensing.
New Edge browser
Microsoft has replaced Internet Explorer with a new browser called Edge which features a minimalist, clean interface similar to Google’s Chrome. It offers Cortana integration, a reading view mode like Apple’s Safari and tools to annotate web pages. The performance is also faster compared to Internet Explorer.
One Windows version across devices, Continuum
Windows 10 runs on all devices across form factors, including phones, tablets, 2-in-1s and PCs. The OS will come with a feature called Continuum which detects when you remove a keyboard from a 2-in-1 and switch to a touch-optimised UI with big tiles. It will also have a universal app marketplace.
One key feature of Windows 10 is Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-based personal digital assistant. With Cortana, Windows catches up with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android in a major way. Cortana can be accessed from the search box that’s right beside the Start menu. Windows users in India will, however, have to wait for some more time for Cortana as Microsoft is still updating it with local content.
With Windows 10 Microsoft has introduced a new space that displays alerts for new messages, email and notifications from social apps in addition to toggles for commonly used settings such as Brightness, Bluetooth, and power options. It can be fired up by clicking on a message envelope icon in the system tray at the bottom right corner. It is similar to Notification Center seen in Apple’s OS X operating system.
The Windows 10 Start menu also features a universal search box (integrated with Cortana) similar to Apple OS X’s Spotlight feature and offers web results in addition to results obtained by searching across files, apps and settings.
Users can now have up to four apps snapped on the same screen with what Microsoft calls a new quadrant layout. Windows 10 will also show other apps and programmes running for additional snapping and will make smart suggestions on filling available screen space with other open apps.