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Later on this month the next significant upgrade to the Windows operating system will be released called Windows 10. Windows 10, over the past year since its announcement, has been showing off more and more features that show Microsoft is taking what has worked, learned from what hasn’t worked and is planning for the future with all kinds of great features. In this post I’m going to be talking about more of the regular user side of Windows 10 and only touch on more technical stuff a little bit.

Start and Metro

The Start menu is back and better than ever as well as windowed apps.

First and foremost a lot of the features that made their debut in Windows 8 will be getting dialed back a bit to fit closer to the Windows 7 style of operation, while also keeping some features of Windows 8. The best example of this is that the start menu has returned and comes with an upgraded look. The new start menu can have basic locations like settings and file explorer, applications that you use the most and then your  live tiles present showing you up to date information on news, calendar and mail without actually having to open the apps themselves. Windows 7 users will also be happy to hear that while Windows 8 style apps are present, they don’t have to be full screen like they were in the past, so they can be windows on your desktop just as much as any other application you have.

Some new features are being added to the user interface so that you might have a better time navigating your machine. These changes include an action center where notifications from all of your apps appear, a search bar that is ever present on your task bar (that can be shortened in case you want more space), and the feature to have virtual desktops.

The action center is the new icon in the lower right of the screen next to your language controls and will give you a list of notifications from apps such as your calendar, Twitter or even system messages. There are also settings there to enable and disable features like Bluetooth, wi-fi, and location settings, as well as a quick link to the settings app.

To the right of the search bar is the Task View, which allows you to not only view all applications that are currently open but allows you to create virtual desktops. If you wanted to work on one desktop and play on another, then you can toggle between the two with a couple of simple button presses.

Photos and Microsoft Edge

See all of your photos from the cloud or local in one place and be able to annotate webpages for later, or just if you want to doodle…

Some new applications that will be coming to Windows 10 are the new default photo applications, Microsoft Edge, the new Xbox App and Cortana. Photos will keep its name but will give users the ability to look through all of the photos on their computer or one drive as a mass collection or in albums where, at full release, the computer will be able to group together related photos in your pictures folder to make viewing easier. This app also lets you do things like edit your pictures and share them with other devices.

Microsoft Edge is the name of the new browser that will be installed on all Windows 10 machines. Microsoft Edge has been designed as a lightweight browser with plenty of integration into some of Microsoft’s other services such as Cortana and OneDrive, as well as give users the ability to annotate webpages and save PDF’s in an easy to reach reading list. A focus is also put not on the UI of the browser, but instead focusing on what the contents of the webpage are.

Cortana and Xbox App

Have Cortana keep you up to date on the news that is important to you, even while playing the latest releases for the Xbox One.

Cortana, the digital assistant who first appeared on Windows Phone 8, is also making this leap from mobile, giving people all the use of a digital assistant on their desktop or laptop computer. Cortana can be used not just as a way to search your computer and the web but also as a way to highlight your interests for news updates, schedule reminders, look for a nice place for a meal or even get weather and flight updates. To make all of this process even easier you can also talk to Cortana using a microphone and activate her using the simple phrase “Hey Cortana.”

Finally for Xbox fans the Xbox app might be something that you’re looking forward to giving you all of the usage that you might be getting out of the smart glass app on your mobile device but adding more features. The ability to launch your games that you have installed on your computer or that you have purchased on the Windows Store is going to be a part of the app, as well as the ability to stream your Xbox One screen to your Windows 10 device, provided you’re on the same wireless internet. If you’re playing any game, through the Xbox app or not, you’re also able to bring up the Game Bar that will allow you to take screenshots or instantly record the last 30 seconds of game play for those times where you always wish you had been recording.

That covers most of the big new features that are being added with Windows 10, but if there are other features that you have questions about then leave a comment below, and if I get enough, then we can help give you a more in-depth look at some of them too. One feature that we are a bit worried about is the Wi-Fi Sense, that has admittedly been available on Windows Phone since version 8, but we will explain more about that as well as what you should do about it in another article.

Are you excited for Windows 10? Are you going to upgrade or wait a while?

Andrew Stretch

Events Coordinator

I have been playing all kinds of games for as long as I can remember with a particular interest in action adventure and platforming titles. While I am primarily an Xbox gamer I also spend a fair bit of time on the PS4 and on my PC in VR.

  • bulletbites

    Wait a VERY LONG while until I am forced to start using it when support for windows 7 is cancelled. The short explanation to my weariness of windows 10 is as follows: windows is dictating too much the way I want to use the computer internet. It should be a almost invisible, transparent & extremely flexible OS but it has become this obnoxious intrusive beast of a “middleman” clearly pushing & pulling its users thru pathways they might not favor.

  • Garbagio Dumpsterino

    DX12 tho!

  • Dave The Sandman

    with you 100% mate. I like clean and simple OS GUIs, not a shagging clusterfuck of apps and fiddly crap sliding about the desktop like a 3 bottle drunk.
    Windows 8 is a total fucking mess and a nightmare to use. 10 looks just as annoying. Looks like I wont be redeeming the free upgrade to 10 after all.

  • Ryan Juel

    I’m going to try it out on my desktop as soon as its available, but I’m not afraid to nuke the drive and downgrade if needed.

    However, given Microsoft’s track record with Operating Systems, hopefully the odds are good this time around.

  • UntamedLoli

    I’m finding myself more interested in Vulkan.

  • Cy

    My biggest worry, like with all new operating systems, is how my games are going to run. Running something in compatibility mode (if that’s even still a thing) doesn’t always work and I don’t wanna get Windows 10 for free only to have all my PC games suddenly be unplayable.

  • Will it still… oh, I can’t be bothered any more. I’ve been making smartass cracks about Windows since the late ’80s, and it’s getting boring. Plus it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. It’ll still sell like hot cakes.

    It sounds absolutely awful.

  • Andrew Stretch

    What Windows 10 seems to be aiming for is that mix where if you want to use Windows 10 the same way that you use Windows 7 then you can do that, but also allowing users who enjoyed features like live tiles the option to continue doing so.

    Also none of the live tiles are ever present on your desktop so you may need to clarify what you mean by that?

  • Andrew Stretch

    I’ve tested playing various games on Windows 10 as have others I’ve seen online and I’ve seen no one have issues with playing any of the games that they own

  • Andrew Stretch

    If you do have any questions I’d be happy to try to answer them.
    I think with the free upgrade Microsoft is trying to help people off old versions and onto the newer one so they can focus on improving it even more after launch.

  • Cy

    Awesome. I might adopt earlier than I intended.

  • Nope Naw

    Speaking of the tiles. Every screenshot I’ve seen of Win10 with the start menu up has a mess of tiles on the right side of it. Can those be removed or hidden? I don’t want them.

  • I’ll probably be buying a Windows 10 Laptop within the first year, but from the looks from what I’m seeing here in the comment section, this OS like the last one still has issues 🙁

  • There is one reason to avoid Windows 10: It won’t completely abandon the Windows 8 abortion UI into oblivion where it belongs. (My PC is not a phone. My PC is not a tablet.) Making the UI switchable should’ve been in the first Alpha of Windows 8. In the 21st Century Microsoft can’t pull the “you’ll take it and you’ll like it” brand of marketing.

    And another, unconfirmed (that I know of) reason: MS is bundling Candy Crush Saga with Windows 10. Be afraid… be very afraid. 🙂

  • Andrew Stretch

    I just think people will like it once they get past their prior dislike of Windows 8, the problem is finding a way to show people

  • Andrew Stretch

    You can unpin any app from the start menu so that all that shows up is your recently used or installed programs, file explorer and power options

  • sickbroski

    It’s that hip dual-system still going strong.

  • Fenrir007

    ‘Im on WIn10 and I cant get over how slow and prone to force closing Edge is. My god, how crap this browser is.

    Also, a question – do Windows Insiders get a free copy of Windows 10 to keep? I built this PC and installed the preview right away, so it has no previous OS. Do us, beta testes, also get a Win10 copy to keep?

  • Viredae

    Yeah! I mean, how DARE he try to civilly discuss any issues you might have! Doesn’t he know he has to be a raging pessimist like you!?

  • PossiblyCthulhu

    Yes you do, but it’s a perpetual insider preview, so to keep it you’re always on an insider build.

  • PossiblyCthulhu

    I’ve got the insider preview on VirtualBox, and it’s still pretty rough around the edges, I’ll upgrade my main machine when I get my ticket to download, once I know the drivers are all good. As long as I can run my games, its all good….

    …. although I’ll be making sure I take a system image first!

  • Fenrir007

    Do I get updates?

  • PossiblyCthulhu

    Yes, but you’re essentially always on the bleeding edge build, and you have to keep up to date with the builds – you’re on an always rolling, but short term license, as long as you keep updating to the next beta build, I.e stay in the insider programme, you keep the windows license. I’m doing it, but will keep my insider copy on a VM, but if you’re fine running bleeding builds, sign up to the insider programme and away you go.

  • Fenrir007

    Noice, will do that. I’m using it on a recently frankenbuilt PC, and I dont want to buy an OS for it. I also dont want another PC with loonix.