In the two years since Windows 8 hit the market, things have been interesting to say the least. While the OS worked great on convertible PCs and tablets, traditional keyboard users and enterprise users have been less than enthusiastic. For a company that works with businesses for a good portion of its revenue, that is a bit of a problem. To help with that, Microsoft is launching Windows 9. Wait, we’re scrapping that one. Make that Windows 10.
If you’re a Windows Phone or tablet user in the Metro style, this press conference was not for you. In fact, about the only touch-based announcement is that Windows 9… err, 10 will be a single OS with a single codebase across phones, tablets, convertibles, and traditional laptops, and desktops. There will also be a server version of the OS. In their words, it’s an OS that works from “4 inches to 80”. The rest of the event was more or less aimed at traditional Windows users still on XP, Vista, or Windows 7. In fact, one could argue that Windows 10 is more the follow up to Win 7 than Windows 8 was, but with Metro pieces that worked thrown in. The whole event is as close to admitting that the touch first focus of Windows 8 was a mistake as we’re ever going to get.
So what is in Windows 10? First off, Start Menu returns full force. It works much as it did in Windows 95 through Win 7, but has been expanded to include live tiles to the right. It’s an intriguing mix of old and new. The Windows Store remains and its apps are no longer full screen in desktop view. They can be moved and resized like a traditional Windows app now. They also talked about a new multi-tasking mode that can be accessed from the task bar. This works in a similar way to mission control on the Mac in how it mixes grouped windows and virtual desktops. Snap is back and works with four apps now instead of two. If you liked the old Windows Search, that’s back too and enhanced. They even fixed a really long term annoyance where you can now use CTRL-V to paste text into the control prompt. Windows 10 feels like, well Windows. There will be additional announcements to come at Build 2015.
They’re also changing the biggest mistake they made with Windows 8. The system had a long public Preview and Beta phase, but they really didn’t listen to public input and it cost Microsoft. This time around, they’re inviting their users, enterprise and consumer alike, to help them build the new Windows. You can sign up for the Windows Insider Program and get the Technical Preview. However, with any pre-release software, but with all pre-release software, don’t use it on your primary computer please.
Microsoft looks to be taking a step in the direction they need to go. What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below or on social media.
The Windows 10 Technical Preview is now available. If you have a secondary PC you’re not using and you’re brave, you can find the 32-bit version here and the 64-bit OS here. As I said earlier, this is pre-release, unfinished software. Please don’tinstall it on your primary machine.