If you have been using Windows 8 and didn’t really like how the desktop experience worked, you can now get the Windows 10 technical preview. The preview is to collect feedback from the users so that they could build an OS that people want to use. Be warned though, the site says that the early build might be unstable and you could end up losing all your files. Removing it isn’t a straightforward affair either, you’ll need a recovery disc for this process. Our advice for you is to install the preview on secondary machine or through virtual machine.
Why is this release called Windows 10 instead of 9? Some theories state that the number 9 is unlucky in Japan and since Microsoft has a strong presence over there, they would want to skip this number. Another theory is that some developers coded their software to check for Windows 95 or 98 by looking for the number 9. Whatever it is, Microsoft certainly isn’t telling, with Windows chief Terry Myerson and Joe Belfiore joking about how “seven ate nine”.
Now that we’ve got that straightened out, lets get to the juicy bits.
Metro apps now run in windows, giving the familiar feel of being able to resize, minimize, maximize, close and drag windows using the title bar at the top. It is a welcome move as we usually like to have different windows to view on the same screen. Windows 8’s always full screen mode made the desktop seem more like a mobile device, but not anymore with Windows 10.
The start menu is back!! The new start menu looks like a hybrid of the old Windows 7 start menu and the Windows 8 Metro view. The Live Tiles in the metro portion of the start menu can be added and removed as desired and may work as notifications or shortcuts. The start menu can be resized, giving users more control over how they would want to customize their start menu. There is also the return of the search field in the start menu.
Alt-tabbing has been around for ages, and it is one of the first few tricks we learn for decreasing the time we look for open windows. Trying to identify the required window with small icons when you have many windows open can truly be an annoyance and they’ve decided to visually upgrade it. In Windows 10, Microsoft presents us with a much larger preview, which is a step in the right direction.
Snapping and Quadrants
Snap into quadrants now with Windows 10. Past users of Windows 7 and 8 may be familiar with the Windows Key + Left or Right shortcut that is used to fill half a screen with that window in the corresponding direction. It is now able to further divide that functionality into quadrants with the use of the up and down buttons. Personally, I feel most laptop screens might be a little too small for this to have much use but maybe for larger screens it will be more productive to use it. Windows 10 has upped this feature another notch by introducing a suggested similar app whenever you snap anything. This is intended to save you time from hunting for another app. Time will tell whether it can provide a solid suggestion or we will end up ignoring it.
Task View and Virtual Desktops
New in Windows 10 is the Task View and Virtual Desktops. Task View can be activated by pressing Windows Key + Tab, and what it actually does is let you switch between Virtual Desktops. This kind of reminds me of Linux’s Workspace view. Anyway, for those of you who are not familiar with this, it actually lets you simulate the usage of an external monitor. You can have different windows open in different Virtual Desktops. What happens in each Virtual Desktop is completely separate from each other, and you may think of the Task View as a kind of desktop alt-tab.
Here are some shortcuts for you to play around with:
- Snapping window: Windows key + Left or Right
LeBlanc says: “Can be used with UP or DOWN to get into quadrants.”
- Switch to recent window: Alt + Tab
LeBlanc says: “Hold shows new Task View window view, let go and switches to app.”
- Task view: Windows + Tab
LeBlanc says: “New Task view opens up and stays open.”
- Create new virtual desktop: Windows key + Ctrl + D
- Close current virtual desktop: Windows key + Ctrl + F4
- Switch virtual desktop : Windows key + Ctrl + Left or Right
This is not the final version of windows 10 and it is actually a preview for enterprise users. More end-user features will be introduced in early 2015. We are expecting new features like inclusion of Cortana. Windows 10 will also run on devices with no display (Internet of things), small display (Mobile) and devices with up to 80″ displays.
So what do you think about Windows 10? Let us know in the comments. As a final reminder, be sure you know what you are doing if you plan on trying out this early release.