It’s the biggest leap forward for Windows since, well, since Windows 8, actually!
Windows 10 started rolling out to the public in late July of this year. A few weeks later, there are many people who’ve taken Microsoft up on their offer of a free upgrade from any version of Windows greater than (but not including) Vista. Many more are still waiting patiently.
Several of us here at Fivel have upgraded our machines to Windows 10, and the process has largely been smooth and easy. Applications remain installed and functioning. Data is untouched. Settings and preferences are also unchanged, where possible. Our Production Director, Lyne, declared it to be the easiest upgrade she’d gone through with any computer, ever.
What awaits you on the other side of the upgrade?
Well, at first, it won’t actually seem like a lot has changed! The Graphical User Interface (the mouse cursor, the window and application dressing, the Start Screen & Menu “Tiles,” etc) all still bear the “flat” look that Microsoft adopted with Windows 8.
When looking at your desktop (where most people start their activities from), you’ll notice that the taskbar (usually at the bottom of the screen) looks slightly more flat and clean…and there may be a few more icons on the left side of the taskbar, too.
1. The “Start” button, which made a return with Windows 8.1 is still in the lower-left corner. It looks like the four-pane Windows logo.
2. You might see a search box. Click here and start typing. Windows 10 will search your local machine and the internet to find what you’re looking for. Use this to locate and start those applications you don’t have “pinned” to your taskbar or Start Menu/Screen!
3. Windows 10 introduces multiple desktops, and you can access them by clicking this icon. Think of each “desktop” as a separate desk in your work area, where you’re doing a different task on each desk. Each desk will have separate open applications and document visible in the taskbar, keeping things less cluttered and easier to find.
4. Windows 10 introduces Microsoft’s new web browser, Edge, which they hope you’ll find a major improvement over the venerable Internet Explorer, while keeping the usual integration with Windows.
5. The File Explorer looks largely like it did in Windows 8, which was featured the introduction of the MS Office “Ribbon” bar to the interface to help organize functions.
6. And lastly, you might see the Windows Store icon here.
All of these icons and functions can be moved around on the taskbar to suit your preferences, or removed entirely, if you don’t want or need them that often.
The Windows Store bears some mention here, though, because it’s key to Microsoft’s vision for this new version of Windows.
From now on, Windows will always just be “Windows.” The version number “10” is just a handy descriptor, for now. Microsoft imagines that from now on, your Windows-based machines will be kept continually up-to-date via frequent updates. New features and functionality – as well as the inevitable security and efficiency enhancements – will be introduced on a regular basis, downloaded in the background, and installed while your machine is idle. Windows users in corporate environments will probably find that updates are controlled by their IT/IS departments, but many users will simply log in and find updates have been done.
Microsoft is also using Windows 10 as the point where all devices that can run Windows will run a common set of applications. So, your Windows desktop, laptop, tablet and even some phones will all be able to run “Universal Apps.” These “Universal Apps,” will be familiar to users of Windows 8 and 8.1 as the “Modern UI” or “Metro” applications that may have been installed on your machines. The same underlying technologies (developed from Web technologies for creating applications that work in the web browser) are being harnessed by Microsoft to let developers create applications that will run on ANY device that runs Windows.
Imagine, in the near future, using a version of Microsoft Word developed as a “Universal App” that runs the same on your desktop machine, your tablet, and your laptop, depending on when and where you need to work on a document. Or Excel, or PowerPoint…and, by using OneDrive cloud storage for your files, as soon as change are made on one device (assuming the device is connected to the Internet), the change is “saved” to the cloud, and made available to all of your other devices, almost instantly.
These “Universal Apps” will be purchased and downloaded from the Windows Store to your device(s). Software delivery for full computers is taking a cue from the “App Stores” that smartphone users know so well, and that’s a great thing!
So, that’s what Windows 10 is all about: One way operating system for all your devices, with some common applications that run on all of your devices (Don’t worry! “Power applications,” such as Photoshop, or Adobe Premiere, or 3D and CAD systems will still run on your Windows 10 machines! And will possibly run faster, and with more stability, than before), and as many common features as make sense for the different devices you might use it on.
We’re excited about Windows 10, and we’re working on more Learning Moments to help you get the most out of this new direction from Microsoft!
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Written by Bud Latanville, Content Producer, Fivel Systems Corporation