Windows 10 First Impressions

Feb 4

Windows 10 First Impressions

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Windows 10 is Microsoft’s bet on a unified platform for phones to PCs and everything in between. It is a big bet and in today’s constantly shifting device landscape it is hard to say how it will fare.

I loaded the OS on an HP Elitepad 900 G1 to take a look at the new features and see how everything works. It was a simple upgrade from Windows 8.1 using the Technical Preview (available here). After the upgrade was complete, I logged in using a Microsoft Live account and got to looking around.

The Start Menu

The first thing that stands out is the new Start menu. It is a cross between the traditional Windows 7 interface and the Windows 8 Start menu.

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Minimized Start Menu

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Full Start Menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, the Start menu doesn’t take you away from the desktop in either mode. You still have immediate access to your task bar and open applications.

Windows Store Apps

Windows Store Apps no longer feel completely different from traditional Windows applications. Gone is the requirement to run them in full screen or split screen. Now Windows Store Apps open on the desktop in re-sizable windows. It looks like the name for these apps is “modern” apps in Windows 10.

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Netflix and Money Apps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This makes the work space much more usable on devices with larger screens (10″+). You no longer have to switch between full screen apps. You can still run apps full screen if you want, just expand them using the top bar. You can re-size out of full screen mode by swiping down from the top and using the top bar that appears.

Ask Me Anything

You might be able to make out a little box at the bottom of the images above that says “Ask me anything”. Cortana, your digital assistant stands ready to respond to any question. I say respond because she doesn’t answer every question and usually doesn’t do what you ask if you stray too far from the well documented Cortana commands. Cortana services as a digital assistant and actually does a lot of nice things from setting meetings in your calendar to creating reminders. There are other things like looking up stock quotes that might be handy. I think the true power of this feature will be recognized by those who have bought into the Microsoft ecosystem and have Microsoft on mobile and desktop devices. Cortana will learn about you and your preferences over time and will take that into account. I haven’t seen much to differentiate it from Google Now or Siri, but it has potential.

Verdict?

The platform is robust, functional and incorporates several improvements over Windows 8. I think it will be well received by the general PC user and has a chance to pull back folks that have gone over to the Apple and Google platforms. There is a lot I hope to cover in future posts about the free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8, and the lifetime updates for a device that make this the most appealing version of Windows in a long time.

I would choose to run it on my primary computer based on what I’ve seen so far.

 

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