The other day Microsoft announced their new version of Windows, called Windows 10. If you want to try this yourself then you can download the preview from here. This is of-course a very early preview, but the new features so far include:

  • The return of the Start Menu: It’s back by popular demand. It’s a funny one, as this is what has caused so much fuss with Windows 8. I got around the problem by just installing Start 8, but some people really did get upset.
  • Task View and virtual workspaces : I am surprised it has taken this long to get virtual workspaces. I flit between Windows and Linux and this has always been something I really like in the gnome derivative Linux front ends.
  • Snap Assist : A new Snap Assist feature also helps users work out which way is best to snap apps to. You can snap windows into new screens and tile Windows.
  • Command Prompt Keyboard Short-cuts : you can now paste directly into the command prompt. FINALLY!!
  • Home Location: The latest windows explorer has a handy home location as the default view in explorer.
  • Continuum : Continuum is an on-the-fly mode for 2 in 1 devices that can automatically change mode if it detects there is suddenly no keyboard attached. So, for example, a back button appears to help you navigate the Desktop with touch if the keyboard is removed.
  • Windows 10 Universal Apps : Windows 10 will also usher in a new app model – Universal Windows apps. Windows Universal apps are the new name for Metro apps/Modern apps/Windows Store apps. Windows 10 will be able to run on all devices from phones to servers and there will be a single app store across the lot.
Windows 10 Installation
Windows 10 Installation

I downloaded the ISO image last night and started installing it into VMWare Workstation. The installation looked very familiar to that of Windows 8 and was pretty painless. I was up and running within 20 minutes.

The basic look and feel is similar to Windows 8 also, but as you can see in the screen shot below, the Start Menu is back and it represents a hybrid between the original Windows 7 start button and the Windows 8 Modern UI live tiles. On first impressions I like it. I need to play around with it more to configure it to my liking, but on first impressions I think I can easily get used to it.

Windows 10 New Start Menu
Windows 10 New Start Menu

My personal favourite new feature is the new virtual workspaces. Whilst many other operating systems have had this for ages, it is nice to finally get this in Windows. I like the idea of running my software development applications in 1 workspace and productivity apps on another if I am working on a single screen, or laptop.

Windows 10 Multiple Desktops
Windows 10 Multiple Desktops

My first impressions are that Microsoft are on the right track with Windows 10. They have learnt a lot of hard lessons from Windows 8, so I hope that this new version, once it finally gets released, will be their new killer operating system like Windows 7 was. I have only played with it for half an hour so far as it was quite late in the evening once I got it installed, but I will have a longer play and do a longer post about it.

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