Windows 10: Core Features of Technical Preview

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No Windows 9 for us! Microsoft didn’t follow the chronological number-OS labelling, so here comes Windows 10. “It represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows, unlocking new experiences to give customers new ways to work, play and connect,” says Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Executive VP on Operating Systems. Apparently, we could only get a sneak peek of the core features for business users while the “consumer” features are set to roll out earlier next year.

Windows10-features

Just like what they did with Windows 7, the Technical Preview of Windows 10 is available for the public to download and test. The only requirement is for you to join the Windows Technical Preview program. In addition, you must:

  • Have a spare desktop/laptop to download the evaluation copy on and check the system requirements.
  • Create a backup of files and OS if you wish to go back to Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8.
  • Have intermediate to advanced Windows proficiency because you’re going to install it yourself.
  • Not forget the product key; you’ll find it on the program page once you download the OS version compatible with your system.
  • Not mind the updates you will receive eventually – since this is an open collaboration, you’re welcome to send feedback for improvement.
  • Expect system hiccups and bugs.

Other things to keep in mind can be found in the official Preview Program page.

The easiest way to test Windows 10 is to install it in a virtual machine.

Improved and Expanded Start Menu

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The Start Menu is back, and it comes with customisable features for users. Pin and unpin your favorite live tiles, websites, and programs. It has a a resize option, allowing you to adjust it vertically or horizontally for more space. The Search bar is visible and the “All Apps” menu can be expanded to see the list of programs and folders.

Run Store apps and Desktop apps simultaneously

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Another new and improved feature in the Windows 10 environment is that you can run both native and desktop apps. In Windows 8, launching a native app is done in a separate Metro UI, while you need to switch between desktop and native apps in a different environment. With Windows 10 you open the store apps like desktop apps and run them in the Windows UI simultaneously – you may drag, resize, close, minimise and maximise.

Windows10-taskview

There’s this small button beside the Start Menu dubbed the “Task View” button that allows you to view all the open apps in just a click. Switch between apps and see the current snapshots of what you’re working on in small screens and also add a desktop with one click.

Multitasking with Enhanced Snap View

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In Windows 8, enabling the snap view involves some steps, and it’s limited to two apps. In Windows 10, you can maximise the Snap view feature in the desktop regardless of the type of app, whether it’s a store app or desktop app. The transition is smooth and simple: just drag the window to the side, and you’ll see a divider at the center.

Snap Assist

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In connection with Snap View, Microsoft demoed this rudimentary feature for Snap Assist in multitasking that snaps windows when using multiple programs – you may activate and resize the tiles as you wish. However, I don’t find this attractive to small screen displays. While on a Snap View, drag another window and include it on the screen for viewing.

Quick Alt-Tab for Keyboard Task Switching

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With a keyboard shortcut, “Alt + Tab” provides a smooth transition when switching into multiple programs and desktops.

Command Prompt keyboard-friendly

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In Windows 10, you can hit “Ctrl + C”, “Ctl + V”, Alt and Shift keys and use other keyboard functions naturally like the way you use them in Win-32 apps and other programs.

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While this feature is yet to be released for a real machine demo, Joe Belfiore showed a design motion study of “Continuum” where Windows 10 intuitively morphs into a tablet UI when a device changes its hardware settings (e.g. a detachable keyboard of HP Spectre from a desktop environment turned into a tablet UI when the user detaches the keyboard and the app is maximised, plus the back arrow is seen beside the Start Menu for quick task switching). Store apps will intuitively work on the familiar UI.

The early build comes with caveats like bugs and system hiccups. So expect instability and errors if you want to install it on your workstation. Microsoft’s new approach – mobile-first and cloud-first – is obviously amplified in this upcoming operating system. Windows 10 has a combination of Windows 7 and 8 features; it’s quite complex because of the wide range of users and devices – from novices to experts, from smartphones to desktops – that the software giant is trying to reach for a better experience.

What do you think of the early build’s core features?

8 comments

  1. The one feature I would love to see eradicated in some future version of Windows is the Registry. While the Registry has delivered the users from DLL Hell, it has introduced its own purgatory. No other O/S that I know of uses the registry paradigm and yet they do not have to deal with the problems that the Registry was designed to eliminate. OTOH, it wouldn’t be Windows without the Registry.

    • From what I see, Microsoft keep using the same code base to build new version of Windows. Unless they change the base structure (which require them to code from scratch, and that is quite impossible), the core elements like registry, dll, will always be there. And some of the underlying problems (like having to restart your computer after each update) will never be fixed.

      • “which require them to code from scratch, and that is quite impossible”
        Not impossible, just improbable. If Microsoft started from scratch they may wind up with a much better O/S but why bother when the sheep, ooops I mean users, keep buying the old junk. They might even create a better O/S than Linux. :-)

        • I am definitely looking forward to that day when they create a better OS than Linux or OS X, though I am sure it will be a long long wait.

        • Microsoft has a massive base of existing installations. A significant portion of those installations are corporate enterprises installations. Backwards compatibility is one of the most important factors with each new version of Windows, as if Microsoft ever broke that (i.e. say by removing the registry, which is a completely hidden and non-intrusive underlying facet of windows these days for 99% of users) they would lose their significant corporate customer base.

          Why any average user would complain about the registry is beyond me. It is no longer used by modern apps, most modern apps store their local application configuration in isolated program and user storage anyway, so the registry is rarely used by anything other than the system, system services, and possibly some enterprise applications that NEED the kind of capabilities the registry offers.

          Microsoft relies on the upgrade cycle from their existing customer base. They can’t simply scrap their current operating system and write something new from scratch. Doing so would cost them their most valuable feature: backwards compatibility. It’s naive to ask them to eliminate that, it’s naive to expect them to eliminate it.

          Microsoft with Windows 10 has already done an amazing thing…they decoupled the core kernel from the rest of the OS, and abstracted it away from the hardware platform enough that it can run on ANY device…computers, tablets, phones, systems on a chip devices (i.e. Raspberry PI), TVs, you name it. The rest of the operating system is modular, and composed on top of the Windows 10 IoT Core. That makes Windows one of the most compact and flexible operating systems on the planet, if not THE most. If you want just a bare-bones operating system that will run on the smallest computer system you can get your hands on…Windows will do it. You can have powerful command line access to it and no UI, or you can have a UI.

          Windows 10 isn’t just the same old thing. It’s actually something new and interesting that paves the way for a very interesting new future for Windows users, across the entire spectrum of computing devices we use today, not just the desktop. Most people won’t notice that…but if you actually take the time to look…this is the first time since Windows Longhorn that Microsoft is actually doing some truly interesting, intriguing things with their platform.

  2. I’ve been trying out Windows 10 and I just wanted to say to those people who see that massacre of a start menu can be tamed down by removing all of live tiles so that the start button/menu looks normal.
    There are other changes that I’m not so impressed by, but it’s still early so things may change.

  3. after reviewing this piece of shit it looks like ill be using m windows 7 on a new machine or just fork over a few more dollars to apple. too bad I loved 95 XP Vista and 7
    Nobody likes 8 so what do the people who think they know better then the buyers do they make a windows 8 with a few more bells and whistles ill take anyone’s bet it will never see the light of day in the workplace

  4. If Microsoft decided to create a brand new OS and base it on the Linux kernel, would it be called Scruyutu?

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