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10 things Windows 10 does better than Windows 8

Brad Chacos | July 29, 2015
Did the PC market collapse because Windows 8 sucked, or did Windows 8 suck because Microsoft overcompensated for the PC market's collapse? It's a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario, but one thing's certain: Windows 8 sucked.

Windows 10 supports as many virtual desktops as your hardware can handle, rather than placing an artificial cap on the action. Management of the individual desktops and their apps is handled via Windows 10's surprisingly slick Task View, which can be accessed by its icon in the desktop taskbar.

Virtual desktops can be especially handy if you don't have multiple monitors: You could dedicate one to social tools, another to work applications, and a third to PC games, for example, so you aren't tempted to goof off in the middle of a hot and heavy productivity session.

7. Yet more power user tricks

Between the Start menu, DirectX 12, and virtual desktops, Microsoft's clearly hoping to coax PC power users who avoided Windows 8 like the plague over to Windows 10--but the bribery and enticements don't stop there.

Windows 10 is loaded with more enthusiast-level tricks, from display scaling improvements to greatly enhanced Command Prompt tools (paste support, yay!) to the ability to Snap four open windows to the four corners of your screen. If Windows 8 was Microsoft's disgusting attempt to win over the hearts of mobile users, Windows 10 is a flat-out apology letter to PC enthusiasts.

8. Action Center

Windows 8's Windows Store apps may not have been a pleasure to use on proper PCs, but one key advantage they held rocked my socks: System-wide notifications. Where traditional desktop software tends to be self-contained silos, Windows Store apps will shoot you a pop-up notification in the upper-right corner of the screen when, say, you get a new email or a new direct message in Twitter. 

If you see them, that is. After a notification pops up in Windows 8, it disappears into the ether, never to be seen or summoned again. Sure, you could theoretically see missed notifications on their apps' individual Live Tiles on the Start screen, but who hangs out there?

Windows 10 cures the ill with the introduction of its new Action Center, which appears in the right-hand side of the taskbar. Missed notifications will reside there until you dismiss them--huzzah!. You'll also find quick-action buttons that allow you to swiftly manage Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, enter Tablet Mode, and more.

9. Cortana

Windows 8.1's search function already pulled info from the web with the help of Bing, but the results were just a dumb web search and you had to travel to the Start screen to conduct one. There was no way to quickly search for something from the desktop without the help of third-party software. Ugh.

Cortana, the digital assistant that first appeared in Windows Phone 8.1, replaces the search function in Windows 10 and delivers a flat-out superior experience to Windows 8.1's search. First of all, her search bar is located right within the desktop task bar--already a vast improvement.


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