Top 5 MUST KNOW features of Windows 10

By Alan Gladman

Thinking about upgrading to Windows 10, and want to know just how much better it is than Windows 7 and 8? Check it out below.

Reimagined Start Menu
We all disliked the Start Menu in Windows 8. Even when 8.1 bought back the Start button, it still presented us with a full screen, tiled interface that took you out of the task at hand, making multi-tasking difficult. While great for a touchscreen, this was unwieldy for a desktop PC. Now with Windows 10, Microsoft took cues from both Windows 7 and 8, and created a Start Menu with all the familiar, easy to use functionality of Windows 7, but with the refreshing, information-filled “live-tiles” of Windows 8. The menu can be resized, reordered, and filled with a large amount of information, thanks to this.

While Google has the voice assistant in Google Search, and Apple has the famous Siri, Microsoft brings their own personal assistant competitor to the desktop. Only present in the US for now, Cortana lives down next to the Home button, in the revamped search dialogue. She can present details about the weather, your calendar, news stories and events, whilst also being able to respond to spoken requests for information. Cortana can bring up the scores of a recent football game, or even tell you a joke.

Multi-desktops and Task View
Next to the Start button and search box is a third new addition, a button that allows a total overview of all programs running on your system. Much the way Exposé functions on OSX, you can now view all your windows in an easy view. The button doubles as a way to view your current desktop, with a dialogue to create further desktops. This allows you to group certain windows together, and switch between the groups, while blocking out the rest, giving power users the ability to sort out their work flows.

Notifications Panel
Much like current mobile operating systems, Windows 10 comes equipped with a Notification Centre. Gone are the days of having speech bubbles popping up against tray icons in the bottom corner. All notifications will slide in from the right hand side, similar to Windows 8, but will now also show up when you open the Notification centre. This gives you a history of notifications to act on, from emails to Twitter messages, to the fact that Java needs updating.

Microsoft Edge
Though Internet Explorer is still around in Windows 10 for compatibility reasons, the age-old browser is on it’s way out. IE11 will be the last major version, and it won’t be receiving new features. It’s replacement, Edge, is fast, responsive, and is the new default browser in Windows 10. The browser has a few neat tricks up its sleeve, such as being able to annotate and draw on a web page, and share these annotations on a variety of platforms. Cortana also directly integrates with Edge in supported regions, allowing you find the directions to a restaurant, show the opening hours, and put the booking in your calendar. She also provides definitions and can show information on a phrase or word if you highlight and “Ask Cortana”.

Among the listed changes, Microsoft has implemented a variety of other new and improved features, from a near wholly revamped visual design language with emphasis on flatness and contrast, to a host of under-the-hood performance increases. At Realised Technologies, we have been experimenting with Windows 10, with three of our consultants using the OS day to day. The experience is faster, smoother, and more user-friendly. We’ve noticed speed improvements when turning our computers on, searching for files, and in general system usage. It really shows how much shine and polish Microsoft put into their work. Average user reviews also remain positive, indicating that Windows 10 will shape up to be a real flagship operating system, enjoying much more success than Windows 8 had.