Windows 10 Technical Preview

By Rory Monaghan

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I’ve been using the Windows 10 Technical Preview since it’s launch. I thought I’d post a short little blurb about my thoughts so far.

First off, I hated the experience with Windows 8 on a desktop and laptop. It really didn’t make any sense for users who used either of those types of machines, unless they had a touchscreen monitor. The good news is, Microsoft have made significant improvements and now the Operating System feels right when you use it on a Touchscreen laptop or Tablet or an old school PC. I must admit, I do not own a Windows phone, so, at this moment I have not tried that out. I actually started this post weeks ago and held off on Publishing because I was trying to convince myself to buy one of the compatible phones and try it out. But I could not part with my money on the hope that I like it. I went to a Microsoft Store hoping to try it out on a demo model, but they told me they are not allowed to put it on any of their phones…so…bummer! If you’d like to see what it looks like on a Phone, check out this video.

From what I see of the phone so far. I’m not sure I’d race to move from Android just yet. I really like the idea of getting the same notifications on my phone and my desktop. The idea of using the same apps on my phone as my PC only holds water if Windows 10 takes off and more developers start putting out apps for the platform. I’m going to hold off and hope that they improve the OS before the official launch as right now, I’m not sold.

Desktop10

 

Above is a screenshot that I took on my laptop. You can see there’s a start menu, REJOICE! I really like it. You can customize what apps show up to the right, you can also scale up and down the size of the start menu too. Cortana as shown in the video posted above is also available on your PC. I’ve used Google Now and Siri, Somehow, Cortana seems to be a lot more accurate and powerful.. On the task bar, by the¬†search bar, you can see two white tiles. That’s for creating Desktop containers. What I mean?

desktop

So get this,¬†currently if you are using your desktop at work and maybe you’re browsing for flight or you have Gmail open, you’ve got all of that open alongside your work stuff. All of that can get cluttered. With the desktop containers in Windows 10, you can add a virtual desktop and keep your personal stuff on one desktop and work stuff on the other and simply toggle between them as you need!

If you look to the right of the task bar beside the clock, you can see a white speech bubble looking icon. That’s for notifications.

Notification10

 

As per the video, your desktop can now receive notifications too. You can get your Facebook and Twitter notifications. E-mail notifications or whatever else you have. It would be pretty great if I get the same notifications on my Xbox One, PC, Tablet, Phone and even Microsoft band.

tabletmenu

 

If you click on the Windows icon on the desktop of a tablet as I did above, by default you get the familiar tile UI. If for some reason you don’t like that on a Tablet, you can drag the corner of the screen down and convert it into a start menu. They can’t be more accommodating than that!

exp1

 

As you can see to the left on this image. Windows Explorer default icons have changed. They look a little more flashy, I guess.

exp2

 

Just like in Windows 8, ribbons are a thang! As you can see when I click on a image file, I have a Picture Tools option in the ribbon. As well as other ribbon features unique to what I’m doing. It’s one of the things I really liked in Windows 8 and I’m happy that it’s being carried over. I also like Task Manager, some people do not, but I do.

Login10

 

Good news if you’ve already tackled Windows 8 and customizing\branding the OS. From what I could see, making customization was pretty much the same on Windows 10! One interesting thing I noticed, I put Windows 10 on a Virtual Machine and it seemed to think it was a Laptop….as indicated by the battery low warning on the screen. Hopefully that gets fixed before release! I really like how on the newer Windows Operating Systems, if you change your desktops wallpaper the menu theme color will now update to be color co-ordinated with your wallpaper. The little things!

ModernApp10

 

When you launch a Windows 10 modern app, it no longer takes over the entire screen when running on a PC. Instead, It runs natively on the desktop. When it’s run from a tablet it takes up most of the screen but the menu bar is still visible so it’s easier to get out of the application. Another major issue I had on Windows 8 with the apps I downloaded\purchased from the store was the fact, if I logged in as a different user on my device, I could not access the apps I downloaded. Very annoying when I logged on with my domain account. That has now been resolved! In fact when you launch an office product and pass your Windows live credentials which you have used in the store, your apps will sync to the account you’ve logged into the machine with. Woohoo! I can’t wait to see what other nifty app management features will be present for Admins.

10Xbox

 

There’s a really cool Xbox Live application and with the recent announcement that PCs will now be getting Xbox Live. I expect greater integration between all Windows platforms and the Xbox One. Yay! I’ve used the Smartglass application a few times, that’s pretty cool if you can’t find your controller and are too lazy to look.

Conclusion

Windows 10 is likely still a few months from an official release. I’d like to see more from the Mobile version of the OS. So far I really like the experience on a PC and tablet. Microsoft have addressed the issues I had with Windows 8. I will gladly moved to this OS and in fact, I already have. All of my machines are currently running the Tech Preview and I haven’t had any issues of concern. I’m hopeful that Microsoft will get Windows 10 compatible with as many models of phones as possible. I’d like for every phone including the iPhone (not going to happen, Apple won’t allow it, I’m sure) to have the option of installing Windows 10 on it. I look forward to seeing what Skype for Business also has in store for us when it’s released next week. With OneDrive, Skype for Business, Office 365, Xbox Live on the PC, Cortana, Notifications, a rejuvenated Internet Explorer (Spartan), Windows 10 on all devices. The Microsoft ‘ecosystem’ is shaping up nicely!

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