Windows 10 is here. So, what happened to Windows 9 you ask? Well, obviously 7, 8 (ate), 9!
Sorry, just practicing my jokes for Halloween…
Anyway, there’s been a lot of speculation floating around the vast internet regarding why Microsoft skipped out Windows 9. Some people say that Microsoft wanted to distance itself from Windows 8, (which has earned the same reputation as Windows Vista and ME), others claim issues with legacy code that reference it to Windows 95 (more specifically ‘Windows 9*’) and another theory points to the fact that Windows 10 is Microsoft’s compelling rival to Apple’s OS X.
Whatever the reason is, it’s probably not that important anyway. What’s important is answering the question of ‘What makes this version more special and different than Windows 8.1?’
Some Windows purists could say that the entire world was complaining about the Start page and the missing ‘Start menu’ and how difficult it is to navigate through Windows 8. I myself am probably one of the few people that actually like Windows 8.1. OK, OK, stop with the gasping and the eye-rolling. I really do like Windows 8’s clean interface and also the wide array of improvements over Windows 7. I have a desktop and a tablet that are running Windows 8.1. On my Tower, I have it boot right to the desktop, skipping the Start Page. On my tablet, I have it landing on the Start Page so I can access my favorite apps easier as well as the live tiles that tell me the weather, news or social media updates.
But while I can probably spend the duration of this blog talking about Windows 8, I’ll spare you this time and dive into the real reason I wrote this. What does Windows 10 look like and what do I think about it? Let’s walk through this together.
After hearing about Microsoft releasing the Technical Preview to the public, I immediately went to the site and downloaded it. Obviously, I do not want to blow away my Windows 8.1 setup for a non-production OS yet, I thought about how I wanted to get this installed. Sitting in front of my computer wishing that I had a virtual server dev box, I remembered one spiffy feature that Windows 8 had: Hyper-V. So I quickly fired up Hyper V Manager, mounted the ISO for Windows 10 and installed away.
At first glance, the setup looks exactly the same as going through the motions of installing Windows 8. Nothing special there, then again, this is just the Technical Preview. It may change before the actual release, but for now, we are stuck with the same install screens and loading page of Windows 8.
Nothing special there yet. Even at the next screen, it is the common ‘Install Progress’ screen we are used to.
Once you’ve gotten past the prompts to configure your install, it tells you that it is ‘Finalizing your settings’. Once that’s done, it will dump you right to the desktop. It also tells you that you have the Technical Preview version above the ‘System Tray’. Of course the first thing I did was click on the Start button and was pleasantly surprised to see this:
What do we have here? Looks like we’re getting the best of both worlds! The elusive Start button is back along with the Live Tiles! Can I rearrange the tiles and re-size them? Of course I can.
If you right click any open space on the Start Menu, you can further customize your Taskbar and Start menu. Simply click on ‘Personalize’.
Then you can choose a new color.
I chose the Green tile and voila!
Where are all my applications stored now? Simply click on ‘All Apps’ and the Start menu will display them all.
If you right click any open spot on the Start Menu, you can click on ‘Properties’ to show you the ‘Taskbar and Start Menu Properties’ window.
Another unique feature of Windows 10 is the fact that Microsoft has implemented ‘Multiple Desktops’. …I know what you’re thinking: Why would I ever need that? You’re right, your average user is not going to care that much. But, if you were talking to, let’s say, a Programmer, multiple desktops will be helpful.
Basically it lets you open up windows on each ‘desktop’ so you can continue working, while saving other documents/windows that act as quick references. Click on the corresponding icon on your start bar and click on ‘Add a desktop’:
You can also mouse over the same Shortcut icon and clicking it will take you the WDS server.
Going back to the main Start Menu, you can see that they moved the location of the Power button options:
Closing Thoughts on Windows 10 Technical Preview
I know that I basically just highlighted the Start Menu, but keep in mind, this is one of the biggest complaints about Windows 8 and it is definitely a nice looking interface.
As time goes by I am sure that Microsoft will release more versions of Windows 10 with newer features. For now, this seemed like Windows 8 with some significant updates to interface. If you noticed, they changed the icons we’re used to seeing with Windows 8 to further differentiate it from Windows 8.
So my early opinion on Windows 10 is that I like it. They brought back the beloved Start button that everyone knows and loves, but have significantly enhanced it. The preview release seems to run smoothly on my virtual machine with 4 gigs of RAM.
I think that as we see more new features that Microsoft releases for Windows 10, it can quite possibly be the OS that restores a lot of faith to PC users. Of course, that’s only until we identify a missing component and/or feature again…