Next month, July 29th to be exact, Microsoft launch the next iteration of their fabled operating system, Windows 10. For those of you keeping count, yes, we seem to have skipped 9 but clearly that is unimportant. We attended a launch overview yesterday that gave us some more details on some of the finer points of the OS. A lot of it was enterprise related, so we will skim over that and give only the details that matter for you, the end user.
Is it free or “free”?
This is kind of tricky to answer. The simplest way is to start off by saying you need Windows 7 or Windows 8, next, they need to be one of Home, Pro or Ultimate versions and finally and obviously need to be legitimately licensed software. If you tick those three boxes, you are in luck, Windows 10 will be free for you! You should see an icon appear in your taskbar allowing you to reserve your free upgrade. I like this move by Microsoft, it should result in more devices than ever before upgrading to the latest OS providing more features and more security to a greater user base.
For more information, take a look at Microsoft’s “How to” page here.
The start menu makes a return
Yes, that’s correct. Microsoft backed out of removing Start entirely in Windows 8 when they re-added the button in 8.1, which made a lot of people happy, however, the Start screen just didn’t have the same feel to it. Enter Windows 10 and Microsoft have listened to their users. Both the Start button and menu have returned in full including some cool new features. If you have used 8.1, consider the new menu to be a mini Start screen. It has live tiles as well as all the usual features. It looks great too and most importantly, feels like Windows.
One OS to rule them all
That may sound ominous, but trust me, it is pretty cool. For the first time ever, Microsoft have decided that across their product range, they will share a common kernel for their operating systems. Windows 10 has been designed with essentially everything in mind, from Xbox One to tablets to your laptop and even to HoloLens. What this means in English is that all of these devices, will run a common base of Windows 10. Allowing developers to build an app once and it will work on all platforms. How will this help you? It unlocks the potential for more apps delivered to end users quicker. It also means that there is now a focus on what Microsoft are calling Continuum. This means that you can expect the same behaviour from applications regardless of what platform you are on. An app that runs on a four inch screen mobile device has the same features on a twenty seven inch screen desktop device. In fact, if you connect a compatible mobile device to a larger screen, the OS will scale to match. If this works well, it will be huge. Trust me.
Should you upgrade?
Regardless of which previous OS version you are on, the answer here I think is yes. I’ve been using the Insider Tech preview build of Windows 10 and so far I love it. It genuinely is an excellent OS. It combines the best of Windows 7 and 8, adds some cool new features and promises even more over the years to come. Microsoft have said this will be the last full launch of an OS, from now on they will offer minor updates every few months. This means their vision of an OS is changing, the numerical iterations will be void, you’ll just have Windows on your device. Overall, I think these steps are promising and look forward to the final build and launch next month where we can do a full review of how it works in the wild. Stay tuned!