Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system is set to change the entire Windows landscape when it launches later this summer. Microsoft’s plans are ambitious. It hopes to unite the majority of its ecosystem behind one store and one underlying operating system.
There’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be thinking critically about the Windows 10 update right now. Depending on how old your computer is, Windows 10 will be the best thing that ever happened to it. Here’s what you need to know about what Microsoft has planned for Windows 10 ahead of its release.
Free Office for Windows is Finally Here
In Windows 8, Microsoft tried to tackle the very nature of apps and programs. The iPhone and iPad both offer apps. Apps are bite size programs that are created by teams both small and large. Traditionally, apps are singularly focused on doing one or two tasks well. They don’t cost that much and they can’t harm your device because they’ve usually been screened by the store you download them from. Programs in Windows can and sometimes do harm your PC. What’s more, there’s no one place to download Windows programs.
The iPhone and iPad both have native Microsoft Office apps, but Windows 8.1 users are still stuck with the Microsoft Office apps in their program form. Though powerful, they don’t automatically save and aren’t very touch-friendly at all. For Windows 10, Microsoft is planning native apps for smartphones, tablets, notebooks and desktops. What’s more, they’ll be free.
OneDrive is Built-In
Windows 8.1 offers a touch-friendly OneDrive app. It’s used to sync settings and transfer files. Allegedly, the plan for Windows 10 is to completely integrate OneDrive cloud storage directly into every aspect of Windows even more. Music for Windows 10 checks OneDrive and streams that music whether you have an Xbox Music Pass subscription or not. Those Office apps for Windows 10 also include OneDrive integration.
Microsoft has already said that the touch-friendly OneDrive app from Windows 8.1 isn’t getting any updates because it’s including that stuff in the File Explorer.
A lot of people laughed when Apple revealed plans to include a finger print reader on the iPhone 5s, even while they continued to try the Android operating system’s built-in facial tracking as a password replacement.
For Windows 10 Microsoft is bringing support for different kinds of security hardware. It’ll use smartphones and tablets equipped with Intel’s RealSense technology to recognize users and log them in Microsoft calls this new system Windows Hello and it’ll allow app and web developers to connect with it too.
Start Screen, Start Menu & Tablet Mode
Windows 10 is Microsoft second chance at trying to marry its tablet ecosystem with its desktop and notebook form factors. With Windows 8 the company introduced a Start Screen that took over your entire display and only offered full screen apps in the Windows Store.
Windows 10 keeps the full screen Start Screen and full screen apps, but only when in tablet mode. This tablet mode turns itself on or off depending on whether it detects a touchscreen or a physical keyboard. It can also be controlled manually. When tablet mode is off, Windows 10 shrinks the Start Screen to form a Start Menu like what’s present with Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Then it makes every app – even those downloaded from the Windows Store – a Desktop app. Microsoft is rewriting all of its apps to be both touch and mouse friendly too.
One Windows Store
If you’re on Windows 7 today, you download your programs from different websites. If it’s from a reputable site, chances are it won’t harm your computer in any way. If it’s not, you’re taking your computer’s health into your own hands.
Going forward, the Windows Store will furnish apps that can be used in the Desktop or in Tablet Mode. All of the other benefits of Store apps, like purchase syncing remain intact. What’s more, the apps created for Windows 10 will work on Windows 10 for Phones too.
Task View, Notification Center, Control Panel
Running way too many apps at once? The Task View in Windows 10 acts like a switcher, allowing you to quickly view, open and close whatever app you have running. Multiple Desktop support lets users assign certain apps for work and others for play. Reassigning an app to a different Desktop is as simple as dragging it.
Balancing the new Task View is an upgraded Control Center and a new Action Center for notifications and settings. This new Control Panel replaces the Settings app that Window had with Windows 8. Action Center finally gives users one single place to look at all their notifications instead of diving inside and outside of different applications in search of the latest information. You can also pin quick links to the Window 10 Control Panel.
Cortana & Search
Cortana, Windows Phone 8.1’s personal assistant is built-into Windows 10. A search box or search icon sits on the left side of your taskbar, ready for you to look for folders, files, email and apps. Web search is integrated into the app, along with the latest news and information. Like the other version of Cortana, this version has a personality and can answer simple questions in audio or text.
Those who don’t like typing into search bar can enable an always listening, command.
These are just some of the basic and less impressive features coming to the operating system. Microsoft is still working on and revealing new add-ons every week. Windows 10 will launch as a free update to Windows 7 and Windows 8 users sometime this summer, according to Microsoft.