1) Edge is here!
First and foremost, the greatest thing about Windows 10 has to be the new default browser – Edge! I think it’s safe to say that the internet rejoiced when it learned that Microsoft was replacing Internet Explorer. Many developers had grown to detest the browser, as prior to the release of version 8, it had poor standards compliance. In fact, one of the main reasons Microsoft renamed Internet Explorer to Edge was to alleviate this negativity.
To create Edge, Microsoft scrapped years of code which didn’t fit with modern web standards. Stripping and rebuilding their browser has resulted in one which is a lot sleeker and quicker.
2) Our beloved Start Menu has evolved
The (quite frankly horrendous) full-screen Start Menu from Windows 8 has been abolished! We’re back to our beloved pop-up Start Menu with some brilliant new features; for example, included now is a frequently used, and recently installed programs list.
If you were a lover of the full-screen start menu don’t fret, Windows 10 comes with the added option to resize it or make it full-screen.
3) Cortana Leaps from mobile to desktop
It was to be expected really, given the voice assistant battles going on, Windows 10 was always going to take the extra step and integrate Cortana into the new operating system. Not only is there a button to use Cortana (found near your Start button), but you’ll also be able to wake her up by simply saying “Hey Cortana”. The most exciting part about Cortana though, is its integration with Edge; if you wanted to book a table at a restaurant, Cortana would be able to pull all of the contact details for you.
More than that though, she works seamlessly with the operating system itself. Imagine yourself in a conference room, and you need to bring up a PowerPoint presentation. Rather than having to faff around with a mouse (which may be wireless and will have decided to run out of battery right at this critical moment) you can simply ask Cortana to open it and she’ll bring it up immediately.
HoloLens is one of the most exciting pieces of technology to come out this year and promises to be completely integrated with Windows 10. Whilst not exactly holographic – it’s more augmented reality – Windows 10 is being heralded as the first holographic computing platform, complete with a set of API’s. This allows developers and designers to create virtual 3D environments which can be displayed to you via the Microsoft HoloLens device.
The possibilities for this kind of technology are endless, but just imagine how various businesses could embrace it: interior designers could create a virtual, complete room design; or potential buyers could see their new house constructed and take a virtual tour through it.
5) The Command Prompt finally receives an update
The Command Prompt is a wonderful tool for debugging various Windows issues; however, it’s been stuck in the same design and usability slump since the 1990s. Now, in Windows 10, we finally have the option to resize the Command Prompt window (horizontally and vertically) and use familiar keyboard shortcuts to copy (Ctrl+C) and paste (Ctrl+V). Possibly the greatest update though is the ability to highlight and copy text without the need to mark it first (it’s automatic)!
These updates aren’t revolutionary, but they’re a welcome addition and certainly help alleviate a lot of the frustrations encountered in previous versions of Windows.
6) Recent Places is remade
Recent Places was first introduced in Windows 7 but I don’t know anyone who uses it… it’s slow and cumbersome. Mercifully it’s had a complete makeover as part of Explorer’s new “Home” view which lists your recently opened files and frequently visited folders. It’s certainly decidedly faster than Recent Places ever was.
7) Multiple Desktops
Multiple Desktops, or spaces, have been available on Mac’s for a long time now. Microsoft finally decided to join in and Windows 10 now introduces Multiple Desktops. The new shortcut, Winodws+Ctrl plus your left or right arrow key, allows you to switch between desktops.
Having multiple areas which you can completely customise is incredibly useful, especially if you don’t have more than one monitor; for example, if you need to share your screen but don’t want to have to close the rest of your apps/browser tabs/etc, then you can switch to another desktop.
8) Responsive Desktop Design, or Continuum Mode
Responsive is a word frequently used when referring to the web and it refers to how a website responds to different devices and screen sizes. Windows 10 integrates a responsive desktop which triggers when a touchscreen PC has “tablet mode” turned on. This can be initiated through a setting, or by simply removing, or folding away, the keyboard in a two-in-one device.
In tablet mode, the start menu reverts back to the full-screen version we saw in Windows 8, and switches all of your windows to full-screen.
9) Added Security
Windows 10 can now log you into your machine using nothing more than your face (and a few extra peripherals… namely a 3D Infrared Camera). The infrared in the camera lets the computer determine that you’re alive, and the 3D element tracks the contours of your face, meaning that a simple photograph won’t unlock your PC.
10) Xbox Games on your PC
The Xbox App for Windows 10 will allow you to not only see and interact with your Xbox friends, but also allows you to play any Xbox One game on your PC or Tablet! It will work by essentially allowing you to stream the game from your Xbox One, using your home network, with improved speed and graphical performance thanks to the new DirectX 12.
More than just streaming, the app allows you to record, edit, and share your victories, or hilarious losses with friends through its DVR feature.
11) This image
Without Windows 10, this image would’ve never existed!