Windows 10 Release Imminent

Hello, everyone. Thought it was time for another post, now that Microsoft almost has Windows 10 ready to go.

Microsoft has been working on a new version of Windows pretty much since they pushed Windows 8.1 out the door. They’ve been paying attention to criticism of the tool by mainstream users and tech blogs alike, and have decided that their new version of Windows needs to address the needs of both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. Their new OS, which you might expect to be called Windows 9, hopefully does just that.

Here’s a screen cap of a typical Windows 10 (not 9, they decided to skip 9) desktop, with start menu displayed.

You'd see a Windows 10 desktop here, if you were using something from this decade. :)

Daily Tech’s capture of Windows 10.

Prominent in the above screencap is the one thing that Microsoft had to do to get Windows 10 right. Yes, the Start Menu is back, with a few modifications. The Live Tiles from Windows 8 are visible, with the updates you would expect from them, but so are the old Windows 7isms of the recently used apps list and the pinned apps list. All Programs exists as a small link at the bottom of the Start Menu called All Apps. Finally, Microsoft realized that on a desktop, we want our OS to behave like a Desktop OS.

Another key way that Windows 10 fixes the Desktop Environment is realizing that all apps need to run in windows, even Modern apps. Here’s a Screen Cap of Windows Store running on the desktop.

You'd see Windows 10 Store in a window if you had something that was built in the last 15 years. :)

Windows 10 Store running in a Window on the Desktop.

Modern apps running in windows, and a Start Menu that doesn’t take over your screen, are both useful things on desktops. Mind you, the tablet experience hasn’t been ignored. There is a Tablet Mode that changes the look and feel of the UI completely, forcing all applications, including Desktop Apps, into full screen mode. While desktop apps are not forced into a tablet paradigm (you’ll  need a stylus to interact with their user elements…), they still become ‘tablet apps’, and you only interact with them one at a time. Here’s how that view looks:

Stop using Lynx to view my articles, already!  :P

Windows 10 can run in Tablet Mode as well, giving a slate the ability to run like a full slate.

There are other noticeable changes. The circle on the Task Bar belongs to a Siri and Google Now competitor, called Cortana. This VI personal assistant functions much like Siri and Google Now do, offering you assistance in your daily tasks (setting reminders, doing tasks, etc.), and running programs for you. She’s both text and voice enabled, also

The Action Center is a notification bar like what you’d find on a mobile OS, where things like ‘your Java is outdated, do you want to fix that’, ‘you just got an e-mail from so and so’, and ‘The Stock Market lost A MILLION POINTS, everyone panic NAO!!!!’ pop up. It’s also useful in letting you know if there’s bad storms in your area or someone has shot up a store. This leverages other apps, so theoretically anything that pops up a notice to Windows can use the Action Center.

Windows 10 also features many under-the-hood type changes, including a new version of DirectX (yay gamers), improved security (don’t we all need this), and the latest updates. If you are running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you should be getting a notification about this new OS over the next few months. Once you get it, I strongly recommend you make the move. It’s free for the next year, but after that year, you’ll get stuck with buying a new license, which has a $119 (Home) or $199 (Pro) price tag. Move quick.

To lay this idea to rest, however, there will be no “Subscription” to Windows 10. The free upgrade to 10 offer means your 7 or 8 license will become a 10 license at no charge if you move before 29 July 2016. After then, it’s like upgrading from XP to 7 — you have to pay for it.

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