Today is a big day for Microsoft. Windows 10 is being launched and CEO Satya Nadella said it’s the beginning of a “new era”, in an interview with the BBC.
Microsoft is hosting launch parties in 13 cities globally, including Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, New Delhi, Dubai, Nairobi, Berlin, Johannesburg, Madrid, London, São Paulo, and New York City. I will be attending the Johannesburg event later this evening.
So we know that the Windows 10 rollout will work on a queue system. If you are running Windows 7 or 8.1, the upgrade is free. You just need to register for the update and you will be informed when you can install it. If you buy a Windows machine from 29 July, you will be able to jump the queue to upgrade.
Earlier this week I got a sneak peak at the final build, at Microsoft’s HQ in Bryanston, which I must say, I was impressed by. I’ve made a list of some features that users will love, because it just makes things simpler.
– For starters, Windows 10 is a unified platform, so it will be a familiar experience across all your screens (PC, tablet, smartphone, Xbox, etc)
– The Start button is back!
– The Start Menu is everything:
1) You will see a list of your most used apps
2) You will see recently installed apps (within 24 hours)
3) Your profile is customisable if you click on your pic
4) All widgets in the Start Menu are customisable/editable by dragging etc; you can resize the same way you do on Windows Phone
5) The Power button (which I struggled to locate on the previous version) is now inside the Start Menu
6) You can easily get to Settings from here
7) Your “Most Used” apps goes one step further and shows recent documents, for example on Word or Excel.
– Cortana – If you are in South Africa, you can use Cortana if you change your language to English US or UK.
– Remember how Alt+Tab let you glance at everything you had open so you could easily switch to an app? Now, built into the taskbar, you will be able to click on a task view button to see everything. In the above image, it appears next to the Cortana box (and next to the new browser).
– You will get the new Microsoft Edge browser (not that IE will be missed!)
– Snap – this will allow you to view up to 4 apps running in a single screen mode. Just drag the app into one of the four quadrants of your screen for it to snap into place. This setting works by default, no need to change settings.
(pic via pcworld.com)
– Virtual Desktops – you can have as many as you want! 1 for work; 1 for personal; 1 for social; whatever the case. If you want 99 virtual desktops, you can have 99 virtual desktops.
(pic via ZDnet.com)
– Action Centre – accessible via a rightward swipe (consistent to Windows Phone experience)- If you use hybrid devices, the system is smart enough to know your hardware has changed and will prompt you to carry on using your device in a different mode
– Whatever mode you are in (tablet or laptop), apps will work accordingly
– Taskbar – here you can pin your favourite apps (similar to the Dock on Mac); and the nice thing about this is that it is customisable for each Virtual Desktop
– If you are in a office environment or a family with multiple machines, once you get the update, you can share it with others, so everyone does not have to download it again (and waste bandwidth)
– Support – ok so my favourite method of support anywhere (website, online store, etc) is a live chat feature and Windows 10 has this!
These were the standout points for me, and I’m sure there are others, as you may have read on various reviews already published by international media. The most obvious thing though, when you look at the desktop, is that you won’t be confused about where everything is, and it’s more intuitive.
I look forward to playing around on Windows 10 myself!
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 15 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org