Microsoft Aims to Reboot Connections with Windows 10

25 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

It’s not a wise move to hang on to older versions of Windows.

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.Microsoft said Thursday night that it will begin selling a number of arguably quality games on the Windows Store “over time.” Those games will include a Windows 10 version of Square Enix’s Rise of the Tomb Raider, the sequel to the unexpectedly popular reboot of the franchise. 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. With just a week left before Microsoft launches Windows 10, as it embarks on its quest to reach a billion customers, a lot’s been spoken about Windows 10 already. The Store plays an important role in Microsoft’s plans for the operating system, since it serves as a hub for people to purchase games, apps, music, movies and other content when using Windows 10.

Under Windows 10, developers will be able to submit a broader range of apps for inclusion in the store compared to Windows 8, including web apps that are built to run on a user’s desktop and legacy Win32 apps in addition to “Modern” apps that feature a Windows 10-esque interface. Even worse is the games portion of the store, which seems to highlight casual games for phone users more than traditional PC games. (One exception is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a game that was ported to Windows Phone and can be played on Windows 10 PCs.) On Windows 10, two apps stand out for their entertainment value: the Microsoft Solitaire Collection, an attractive group of traditional Windows games like Minesweeper; and the Xbox app, which is home to a social network as well as innovations like game streaming from an Xbox One to a PC.

I spent most of my second day with Windows 10 just working from my newly upgraded ThinkPad X240 laptop, without noticing any major issues with my usual routine. Another reason for suspicion is that an icon has been installed in my notification area for an “upgrade.” Several times I’ve gotten an error message that “gnwuw” or something like that has stopped working and it turns out it’s the “upgrade” icon. The new operating system also includes support for what Microsoft is calling the Windows universal app platform, which lets developers build core application code that can then be run across devices from smartphones to the Xbox One.

So far, I’ve tried with my Logitech G930 wireless headset, my Blue Snowball microphone, and—hey, why not—a Blue Icicle plugged into an XLR-equipped analog microphone too. Cortana definitely seemed to interpret my commands a little faster with the higher-quality mics, but all of them seemed to launch Cortana, and issue a variety of voice commands, just fine. What I wouldn’t recommend is hanging on to older versions of Windows. “Mainstream support” — during which Microsoft offers free security and nonsecurity updates and telephone support — for Windows 7 ended last January. Microsoft has been rapidly pushing out updates to build 10240 that include bug fixes and other performance improvements over the course of the past week, and plans to continue doing so in the immediate run-up to Windows 10’s launch.

Using Windows 8 now feels like using an early build of Windows 10 when they has just started putting in a touch interface, but hadn’t integrated it just yet. 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. Once one has upgraded, Microsoft says it will provide support for the “supported lifetime of the device.” Microsoft hasn’t clarified what is meant by that phrase.

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. A better modern control panel that doesn’t have you constantly switching needing to access the old control panel because things you want to configure are missing.

Gone is the charms bar that would suddenly pop out from the left edge of the screen, except if you wanted it to of course; and gone are the convoluted gestures for switching between apps. In short, while you will have to pay for an upgrade if you don’t do it within the first year, if you beat that deadline you won’t be charged subscription fees. 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! 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. 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.

Desktop applications running in a window isn’t a fresh concept, especially in an operating system called Windows, that launched with support for running apps in a window nearly 30 years ago. 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. If that doesn’t turn up anything, and if I know approximately when the problem started, I’d try a System Restore and pick a date just before the problem occurred.

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. 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. For example, if you search Ask toolbar removal, pretty close to the top of the list you’ll find a short item from PC Magazine that details what to do. 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. The new virtual desktops feature in Windows 10, called Task View has been talked about a lot, but it isn’t the only improvement to window management that you will see in Windows 10.

Finally we have Continuum, an exciting new feature that allows Windows to smoothly adapt the user experience based on a device’s use as a desktop, tablet or phone. 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.

Right-clicking them offers me the choice to never show them in that list again, but what if I end up loving the new Calculator app and want it to pop up if I get in the habit of actually using it? 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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