5 things you should know about Microsoft’s Windows 10

26 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 things you should know about Microsoft’s Windows 10.

A couple billion smartphone sales later, Microsoft’s PC-bound operating system plays second fiddle to a Google- or Apple-powered handheld device or tablet in many people’s daily lives. SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft is aiming to build lasting relationships with Windows 10, the operating system to be launched on Wednesday and seen as critical to reviving the fortunes of the once-dominant tech giant.A lot has changed since Windows dominated the OS space, Google’s Android is now the world’s most popular Operating System as smart phones continue to outsell desktops and laptops.Two days ago, I promised to upgrade my personal desktop and laptop to Windows 10, to demonstrate how wonderful or terrible the migration from Windows 8 might be.

Just three of every 20 devices sold this year will run Microsoft’s Windows, researcher Gartner estimated in a forecast of PC, tablet and smartphone sales. For the first time, Microsoft is making a major new version of Windows available free as an upgrade to anyone using either of the prior two generations of the system. The goal is to swiftly have Windows 10 powering a billion devices, creating a gigantic audience to induce developers to crank out must-have apps for the platform. As Microsoft gets set to unveil its most ambitious iteration of Windows – Windows 10, it’s time to roll back the years and map the fascinating Windows journey.

Microsoft hopes to break the cycle in which consumers shun Windows for mobile because it lacks the large catalog of applications found on rival platforms, thus discouraging app makers from creating Windows versions. Hit apps could ramp up popularity of Windows-driven hardware made by Microsoft and its partners, and increase opportunities for the company to make money from online activities such as search, shopping and software as services in the Internet cloud. “They make it free so developers make good stuff. The Redmond company built increasingly powerful programs that helped a computer’s software play nicely with the underlying hardware, and used that platform to expand into selling a wide range of software tools. And then create an ongoing relationship instead of just a transaction, which is how Microsoft has operated in the past.” Windows remains the leading operating system for personal computers but has failed to gain traction on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, dominated by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

With Microsoft’s PC wheelhouse under assault from portable devices, the company three years ago responded with Windows 8, an operating system tailored for the growing tablet and touch-screen computer markets. Special events are planned in 13 cities around the world in tribute to the more than five million ‘insiders’ who took part in a Windows 10 test period. There’s a thumb-friendly Tablet Mode button (honestly, there’s a lot of thumb friendly buttons) in the Action Center that you access by swiping in from the right panel.

The aim is to reboot the virtuous circle that propelled Windows in earlier eras: one in which developers put their best programs on Windows, hardware-makers build devices tailored to the platform, and consumers find the appeal of both makes it worthwhile to choose Windows. Hit it, and whatever you’re looking at goes fullscreen, plus most of your taskbar items vanish so you don’t accidentally stab them while you’re swiping around. No traditional Start Menu and a jarring transition from the new touch-optimized interface to the familiar desktop mode. “That is Microsoft asking for permission to get back onto your desktop,” said Kleynhans. “That’s one of the things they have to be thankful for. The Intel 386 processor speeds things up while a new wave of programs – Program manager, file manager and print manager make their appearance and so does Solitaire! They were able to screw up at a massive level and survive long enough to fix it.” • Cortana, a voice-activated assistant designed to help with tasks like searching the Web, sending emails and setting reminders.

The software is making its desktop debut after last year’s introduction on Windows Phone. • Microsoft Edge, a new browser built from scratch to be faster and leaner, a successor of sorts to Internet Explorer (and its bruised reputation). The familiar “e” icon remains; for some users, it signifies the Internet itself. • Continuum, which automatically changes the Windows interface based on how the device is used. Aside from the first appearance of the Start menu, Windows 95 also finds room for the taskbar, minimize and maximize and close buttons on each window.

Think of a touch-optimized mode that activates when a tablet is removed from a keyboard dock, or a smartphone that displays a desktop mode when plugged in to a monitor via a cabled or wireless connection. It’s also the first Windows version that is ready to plug into the Internet era (with dial-up networking) spawning the debut of the Internet Explorer browser a few months later and also comes with easy hardware and software installation options. I spent a good half-hour slacking off from work, doing nothing but asking Cortana to tell me jokes, convert currency, set reminders, and endure my biting wit. One Billion PCs later: Windows XP arrives as all-time PC sales cross the 1 billion mark in 2001 and is compiled using a whopping 45 million lines of code.

Microsoft says there are about 1.5 billion PCs running Windows today, and Windows powers about 90 percent of the roughly 300 million new PCs sold each year. I’m pretty sure it was working that first evening, and it still works everywhere else: the Microsoft Edge browser (which also brilliantly pinch-to-zooms, by the way), my Evernote, my files, you get the picture. That’s a challenge Microsoft has to keep working through.” For home users not eligible for the free upgrade, individual licenses of Windows 10 Home edition will cost $119.

Many geeks think so; a few million beta tested Windows 7 before its commercial launch at a time when laptops have overtaken desktops and tablets are slowly signaling their intentions. The precise cost for those groups is difficult to unpack because of Microsoft’s practice of selling licenses in bulk packages that include technical support and security features. A new interface that resurrects the Start Key, a cool new browser (Microsoft Edge), better gaming integration and the Mobile Voice assistant Cortana’s desktop debut will be some of the key improvements in this iteration. If you don’t check those boxes when you’re setting up Windows 10, though, it still doesn’t respect your previous defaults for those choices, I discovered. It’ll pop up a dialog. “Are you sure you want to keep using Google Chrome instead of switching to Microsoft Edge?” Thankfully, there’s a checkbox.

And now that Windows Search doesn’t suck anymore, you can just type “default” into the Search Bar to find the default programs section of the Control Panel to fix these issues. What I’m not sure how to fix is the “Most Used” section of my Windows 10 Start Menu, which seems to think that the new Calculator and People apps are among my “most used” apps. It’s a full-size ATX tower with an Intel Core i5-2500K processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics, an ASUS P8Z68-V Pro motherboard (with onboard Bluetooth), an SSD boot drive, three hard drives, three monitors, and plenty of peripherals. Windows 10 wouldn’t recognize my network printer—at least not until I completely erased all its drivers and downloaded a Samsung printer installer package.

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