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12 things to know about Windows 10

James Niccolai | Oct. 1, 2014
Microsoft promised an OS that will be more intuitive for the millions of workers still on Windows 7 and older OSes. Here's a rundown of some of the key points we learned Tuesday about Windows 10.

Will I still toggle between two distinct app environments?
Apparently not. In Windows 8, when you launch a modern-style app, it takes you into that modern UI, and when you launch a Win32-style app, it launches to the traditional desktop environment.

In Windows 10, "we don't want that duality," said Joe Belfiore, a corporate vice president with the OS group. "We want users on PCs with mice and keyboards to have their familiar desktop UI -- a task bar and a start menu. And regardless of how an app was written or distributed to your machine, it works the way you expect."

So how does it look now?
If you launched one of the new-style apps in Windows 8, it filled the whole screen and there weren't many options to resize it. With Windows 10, the familiar "windows" metaphor is back; you'll be able to resize the new-style apps and drag them around the screen like an old Win32 app. Conversely, if you're using an older Win32-style app, it will be able to "snap into place" and fill all the available screen space just like the modern apps.

What else is new?
Some users have been confused by the Windows 8 interface and can't figure out what's open on their screen or how to get back to an app. Windows 10 has a feature like OS X's Mission Control that lets you zoom out and see everything that's open on a PC, then select any app to enter it.

You can also have multiple desktop configurations open and switch between them. So if you have two apps on the screen for a particular task, sized just how you want them, and then you change to some other apps, you'll be able to get back to those first apps easily without having to resize them again. You can navigate through several of these desktop displays at the bottom of the screen.

What's in it for business customers?
Today's event was focused primarily on business users; Microsoft will talk about the consumer aspects of Windows 10 early next year. There weren't a lot of specifics but here are a few points:

-- Microsoft promises that Windows 10 will be more intuitive than Windows 8. "Windows 10 will be familiar to end users whether they're coming from Windows 7 or Windows 8. The workers will be immediately productive," Belfiore said.

-- It will be compatible with "all traditional management systems in use today." Customers are increasingly using "mobile device management" tools to manage phones and tablets. "Windows phones and tablets support MDM today, but with Windows 10, customers will be able to use MDM to manage all their Windows devices" including PCs, laptops and even Internet of things devices.

 

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