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Hands-on: Windows 10's latest build feels close to finished

Blair Hanley Frank | July 3, 2015
With just a month left until Windows 10's public launch, Microsoft's next OS seems on track for completion.

Those of us who already have a password manager may chafe at the pop-ups, but Edge also began offering to save passwords this week. Password storage is a feature that all of its contemporaries have, which makes it a de rigueur inclusion for Edge. Those people who are annoyed by the new pop-ups can open up the Advanced Settings menu and toggle "Offer to save passwords" off. While there, users can also choose whether the browser will use Adobe's Flash player, show a new Home button and send Do Not Track requests.

Edge's settings menu is also home to a new theme drop-down that lets people choose from the browser's default light theme or a dark theme that turns its user interface black and dark gray. Dark mode may be easier on the eyes for a late-night browsing session, but it feels out of place to me for everyday use. I may just be used to the white and light gray look of Edge's default theme, but I think the browser looks better without the dark styling.

Microsoft Engineering General Manager Gabe Aul said in a blog post that a dark theme was one of the most requested features for the new browser, so I'm sure there are some out there who will enjoy it.

This week also brought the release of Windows 10's Phone Companion app, which encourages smartphone users of most stripes to integrate their handsets with Microsoft's services. The app itself doesn't actually do any of the heavy lifting for the user, but just provides a set of instructions about how to set up apps like OneNote and Skype on a Windows Phone handset, iPhone or Android smartphone.

Yep, you heard that right -- Microsoft is providing instructions for using its competitors' mobile platforms inside Windows 10, if only for the purpose of getting them to use the company's services. The Phone Companion app also lets users see how much storage space is left on their device when they plug it in and in some cases move data to and from their phone.

The app is emblematic of Microsoft's newfound approach to many of its apps and services. Rather than keeping things like Office tied largely to its own platform, the company has been releasing versions of its applications and services for iOS and Android over the past year and is now using space inside Windows 10 to promote them.

Thursday's update brought a new tips feature that suggests people use new features in Windows 10 so they can familiarize themselves with the operating system. People who have been longtime Windows 10 users thanks to the Insider Program may be a bit annoyed by it at first, though. It tries to tell users about things they haven't tried, but it doesn't have that data on longtime Windows 10 users, so it starts educating them from scratch.


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