Microsoft’s Windows operating systems encompass the vast majority of the computer market. However, their current operating system (OS) has been met with dislike and is generally seen as dud. So it’s not entirely surprising to see the company roll out a new OS only three years after the release of Windows 8, ditching the 5-year intervals we’re used to seeing from Microsoft.
There is no official release date yet for Windows 10. The only word from Microsoft is to expect the operating system to be available in 2015. The Microsoft conference on September 30th allowed Microsoft to divulge more information about Windows 10, as well as an early release version available starting Wednesday.
New Features and Redesigns
One of the largest complaints about Windows 8 is the lack of a start menu. While not necessarily a new feature, the start menu will be back in Windows 10. This is one of the few things Microsoft has released about the operating system. The released screen shots (see below) show a start menu that is a hybrid of Windows 8’s start screen and the classic start menu seen in Windows 7 and earlier.
Microsoft’s Cortana will also be a part of Windows 10. According to their commercials, Cortana is presented as a response to Apple’s Siri. It is a voice responsive program that can conduct searches, provide reminders, and activate other programs.
Metro Apps will be run inside the traditional Windows desktop. This means that those applications run from the Windows 8 start screen—the ones many users don’t know how to close because there is no red X—will be run in the familiar windowed format. All the windowed options will be there too; so you can close it with the red X, you can minimize the program, reposition it, and resize it.
Learning From Windows 8’s Mistakes
Other features for Windows 10 are confirmations that some of the features of Windows 8 will not be there. Besides the start menu, Windows 10 will at least have an option to disable the start screen, if it is not done away with entirely. The Charms bar (the icons that appear in Windows 8 when the mouse is resting at either right-hand corner) will be removed. There are rumors that the options accessed in the Charms bar will be accessed by a new button located next to the Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons seen on the upper-right of a windowed application.
There is no official word on how much Windows 10 will cost, only speculation. Based on current software pricing trends, and especially comparing how Apple has treated their OS updates, a lot of speculations believe that Windows 10 will not cost a lot. Some even go so far as to suggest that it will be free. Another thought is that the new OS will be subscription based, following what Microsoft offers with Office 365.
What This Means To You
If you have an older computer, especially if it’s running Windows XP or Vista, upgrading to Windows 10 when it is released will be a great plan. Windows 10 is expected to rise from the ashes of Windows 8’s disgrace and flourish; much like Windows 7 did compared to Vista. As will all new major software releases, it’s safest to wait a month or so after Windows 10 is officially released. If you use any custom software, always make sure it is compatible with the new system before switching.