Wait! Before you sneer and grab a torch, Windows 10's Live Tiles are constrained to the customizable Start menu on a PC--yes, the contentious Start screen is gone. What's more, Windows Apps reside inside desktop windows on a proper Windows 10 PC, which--when paired with the mouse-friendly menu bar introduced for Metro apps in Windows 8.1's spring update--make Microsoft's Windows Store apps downright useable on the desktop. (Don't take my word for it; you can try it for yourself with third-party software today.)
Windows 10 also lets you Snap Windows Apps and desktop programs side-by-side, while introducing a new horizontal snapping ability. In Microsoft's example at Tuesday's event, it snapped different windows to the four corners of the display. Previously, Snapping could only occur left-to-right on the screen, even when using the feature on the desktop.
Speaking of desktop improvements, Windows 10 augments that newfound (refound?) focus on the desktop with features power users have craved for years: the ability to use keyboard shortcuts like Crtl + V in the Command Prompt, and multiple desktop support, via a new "Task View" that lets you quickly leap between open programs across multiple virtual desktops.
Even better, this is just a brief tease of Windows 10. Microsoft says it will reveal more consumer-facing features and tweaks early in 2015.
A makeover for a pig
There's no two ways around it: Windows 10 appears poised for success by enthusiastically embracing its desktop legacy while integrating mobile-compatible Windows Apps in a far more seamless way.
No, Live Tiles aren't eradicated completely, which will be sure to irritate some irrational diehards. But they never will be, not in today's mobile-first, cloud-first age (as new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella puts it). With Windows 10, it looks like Microsoft will finally put down the Metro bludgeon. You still won't have to use Windows Apps, just like you don't have to use Windows Apps today. But when you do decide to do so, the experience will be vastly improved for PC users.
And did I mention copy-pasting into the Command Prompt? I'm really excited about that, even if it is a blatant appeal to power users.
Staring at Windows 10, you can't help but wonder what history would have been like if Microsoft had given us this in Windows 8. It's ironic that Windows 10's greatest features are designed to make it behave more like Windows 7. But roll up your sleeves and stop your whining, folks: Windows 10 proves that Microsoft has heard your howls, and the tumultuous Windows 8 era is drawing to a close. Mid-2015 can't come fast enough.
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