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Rediff.com  » Business » Looking forward to Windows 10

Looking forward to Windows 10

By Abhik Sen
July 20, 2015 16:19 IST
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Image: Jerry Myerson, executive vice president, Operating Systems Group, introduces Windows 10. Photograph, courtesy: Microsoft

Image: Jerry Myerson, executive vice president, Operating Systems Group, introduces Windows 10. Photograph: Kind courtesy, Microsoft

We're nearly there but some of us are still in two minds about taking the plunge.

After all, it'll have far-reaching consequences, as this would probably be the last of the lot.

Confused? It's Microsoft's Windows 10 we're talking about.

While we're still more than a week away from the operating system being rolled out (July 29), the question uppermost in the minds of most is: Should we upgrade? Let's find out:

You've probably heard that Windows 10 is a free upgrade, but might not know the fine print: It is free if you have a licence for anything upwards of Windows 7, but you have to upgrade within the first year.

If you're running such an OS, you've probably already received an alert in your notification tray asking you to reserve your update.

The good news is that since Windows 10 is apparently set to be the last version of Windows to be rolled out (after that, there'd be regular rollouts of build updates, like it is for other software such as browsers and chat programs), it will support the device for the rest of its lifetime, free of cost.

Therefore, unlike Windows XP users being left in the lurch when the product reached its end of life, Windows 10 users can breathe easy.

Since Windows 10 has been tested by millions of people before it is rolled out (as many who are part of the Microsoft Insider programme will vouch for), it'll possibly be less buggy, though the pre-release version does throw up a few blue screens sometimes.

Also, much of the stuff which works with Windows 8, works with Windows 10 (based on our experience with the pre-release version).

For me, the best bits about Windows 10 have been the return of a "better" Start menu; Cortana, the digital assistant; Task View on the task bar; and as a gamer, the fact that Xbox One games can be streamed to a Windows 10 PC. I'm not too impressed with Microsoft Edge's minimal interface (but I'd possibly like it if I give it time) and the fact that Windows Media Center has been dropped. But I'm sure you'll find something or the other to like (or dislike) from the brand new features (see box).

We shall review the final version of Windows 10 after it rolls out, in detail, but the fact is if your system supports Microsoft's new operating system, the pluses of upgrading far outweigh the minuses.

10 NEW THINGS IN WINDOWS 10

Cortana: Microsoft's digital assistant makes her debut on the desktop. It's great to talk with her as she organises one's digital life but sometimes she seems stumped for answers to what one is searching for. Give her time, she'll get better

Start menu: Yes, its back and better. Taking the best of Windows 7 and Windows 8, it now features both the list of frequently used programs and the tiles interface. You can customise it or go in for the full-screen interface. Best of all, the shutdown button is back on the Start menu

Task View and virtual desktops: Right next to Cortana (the search bar, if you please) resides a new icon clicking on which brings up the open windows on the desktop. Just below the open windows is a bar which allows one to add virtual desktops

Microsoft Edge: The successor to Internet Explorer believes in minimalism, thus everything is stripped down to the basics, helping for a distraction-free interface. Trouble is, if you, like me, prefer to load your favourite browsers with plug-ins and customisations, it'll take a mountain to make you migrate

Snap Assist: If you like working on multiple windows, you'll love the fact that you can customise each of them, while you snap them together horizontally or vertically

Continuum: Basically, if you're running Windows 10 on a hybrid device, the OS can automatically detect when it's being used in desktop mode and when in tablet mode

Notifications: If you've used Windows Phone 8, you're quite familiar with its Action Center, which seems to have been grafted on to Windows 10. A superb fit, mind you. No more missing notifications, and best of all, one can dismiss all with a single action

Gaming: Windows 10 will allow Xbox One games to be streamed to the PC over home Wi-Fi - Forza on PC, anyone? Also, Microsoft has promised the rollout of DirectX 12 (a graphics protocol), which will apparently halve the power consumption of the preceding version

Apps for all platforms: If you're invested heavily in the Windows ecosystem (meaning if you own a PC, a tablet/notebook and a phone running Windows), you can use the same apps across multiple devices and since all your work will be saved on OneDrive, you can start something on one device and seamlessly move to the other one

Windows Hello: Well, if you have hardware powerful enough to support this, then logging in would just require you to saunter into your PC camera's line of view, and it does the rest. We couldn't try this one but if articles online are to be believed, the PC's camera needs to be trained by the user, and then on it recognises the user and logs on to his/her account. But it'll require pretty powerful cameras for that to happen

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Abhik Sen in Mumbai
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