Monday 31 August 2015

Windows 10

Windows 10, Microsoft's latest operating system, was released at the end of July in Australia. If you are wondering what happened to Windows 9, Microsoft decided to skip a number and go from Windows 8.1 to 10. It seems that Microsoft's marketing team want to seperate the latest Windows release numerically and figuratively from the unpopular Windows 8 family. Although extensive testing was carried out in Windows 8, the focus was primarily on the ability for Windows to become a tablet interface and largely ignored the dissatisfaction from traditional Windows desktop users. Now the pendulum is swinging back to the desktop space and Windows 10 has included features that make it easier to use in this modality, such as the beloved Start Menu. They have also made Windows store apps run in the desktop and not full screen as they used to (e.g. Mail and Calendar), which will actually make them useable in my opinion. The good news is that if you are currently running Windows 8 and would prefer a better desktop experience, you can get a free upgrade to Windows 10. This also applies to Windows 7 PCs. Microsoft has been very aggressive in pushing out the free upgrade and would be keen to remove any vestiges of Windows 8 from the planet. My opinion is that this is probably a good thing, especially for current model PCs, but older Windows PCs may not benefit as much from the upgrade (although Microsoft seem confident that Windows 10 will be compatible with most devices). If you do want to upgrade you will need to download the 3GB update from the Windows store. Do a google search on "Windows 10 upgrade" to find the exact details. 

Some other notable features of Windows 10 is the new Web browser called Microsoft Edge. This has the ability share and edit web pages on the fly and store favorites and PDF documents all in one place. Cortana is Microsoft's version of Siri, the voice recognition software. I have always found these apps to be limited so I don't hold out much hope on the accuracy of Cortana's interpretations. In addition I worry about the privacy aspect of sending my voice and images to Microsoft. This is true for any of the vendors that provide these interpretive services so it pays to check the privacy settings for these apps.

Overall Windows 10 promises to be an improvement and an apology to faithful Windows fans for mistakes of the past. Microsoft seems to have struck a reasonable balance between the tablet and desktop modes which people are operating on these days. For more information check out the following sites:

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