The major news in the tech world this week is the announcement of Windows 10. That’s right, folks, Windows 9 has been skipped altogether. We're sure there's a very good reason. Regardless, after playing with the Technical Preview release of the new OS, here’s 5 things we love about Windows 10. (You can try if out yourself: How to install Windows 10 now.)
There are also 6 things we don't like about Windows 10
Things you'll love about Windows 10: The Start Menu
Praise be: the Windows 8 Start screen has gone. Well, it hasn't, but you won't ever see it unless you go changing settings deep inside Windows 10. App-friendly the Start screen may have been, user-friendly it was not. Instead, there's a return to the traditional (and, in our opinion, much more sensible) list layout of previous Windows versions.
However, while the left-hand side has the familiar list of programs and folders, the right-hand side of the start menu now contains app shortcuts and ‘live tiles’. These little widgets display things like mail shortcuts and weather information in a similar way to widgets on a mobile screen.
Things you'll love about Windows 10: Search Everywhere
Another new feature of the start menu is the pimped-out search bar. Not only can you scour your computer for whatever you’re looking for, the search bar can now perform internet searches as well. (OK, so this was also in Windows 8, but it's a massively underrated feature which deserves to be singled out here.)
Typing in your query will bring up a list of results from your computer, but it will also suggest Internet searches in a ‘Google Instant’-type fashion, which can be executed right from the start menu. This little function is a fantastic timesaver, and seems so blindingly simple that it’s amazing it’s taken this long to include. On the downside, it’s powered by Bing, but we can just about forgive that for its sheer convenience.
Things you'll love about Windows 10: Frequent Files
Speaking of convenience, one of the additions made to the new file explorer is the inclusion of separate headings within the window for your most frequently visited folders, designated favourites, and recently accessed files. This list can help you navigate easily to the things that you’re most often using.
For people juggling a project with multiple elements, this feature will prove very useful indeed, and even for those who just want to keep all their music, movies and games in easy reach it’s a boon. A very sensible addition from Microsoft.
Things you'll love about Windows 10: OneDrive
For many people, Dropbox it a vital part of everyday life, both at work and at home, allowing instant access to files from anywhere with an Internet connection. Cloud computing is something that Microsoft has been promising to focus on with this new generation of products, aiming for full integration between the user’s Windows phone, tablet and PC.
At the heart of this strategy is OneDrive, which as is was in Windows 8, is also built into Windows 10, appearing in the file explorer in the same way as the desktop Dropbox application does. Also like Dropbox, OneDrive operates on a subscription basis, with a 15GB limit for free that you can bolster either by buying more storage space through Microsoft or by completing certain actions such as referring friends. The good news is that Microsoft just lifted the restriction on file size from a measly 2GB to a whopping 10GB.
Things you'll love about Windows 10: Virtual Desktops
We all want to have multiple programs running at the same time, but keeping track of them all can get confusing – especially if you’re using them for different purposes. The last thing you want is to be rummaging through eight tabs of cat pictures in your browser in order to find your work emails, or to be constantly distracted by Facebook alerts while you’re trying to type up an assignment.
That’s where one of Windows 10’s better features comes in. Virtual Desktops is a concept Microsoft has implemented in order to help organise your digital workspace, allowing you to have multiple separate desktops with different programs and apps running in each. So you could have Excel, Outlook and various work-related programs running on one desktop, and then have Spotify, Steam and Netflix open in another, instantly switching between work and play without being distracted by either.