These 5 Windows 10 Features Will Make Apple Users Jealous

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

New era for Microsoft as Windows 10 is rolled out.

NEW YORK (AP) — It took me just a weekend to get comfortable with Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system, something I never did with its predecessor, Windows 8, even after nearly three years. The new software is the first to work across all Windows-powered devices, from smartphones to tablets and desktop computers, as well as Microsoft’s Xbox One games console. Following a hostile reception to Windows 8 in 2012, which was only placated in small part by the Windows 8.1 update in 2013, Microsoft is hoping that Windows 10 can help it regain favour among its 1.5billion daily users. Microsoft is also introducing a new web browser — Edge — to replace Internet Explorer, while the firm’s voice assistant Cortana will also move to desktop computers for the first time.

But in this new model, the steering wheel is in the back seat. “That’s the future!” says the salesman, rattling off a list of reasons it’s better to steer from the rear. One of the things that people hated about Windows 8 was the feeling that they were constantly being pushed to use “live tiles”, which were designed for touch-based computing, even when they were using a traditional desktop set-up with a keyboard and mouse. The launch will be accompanied by a global marketing campaign for an event the company hopes will be pivotal — both for its own future and for a vast audience of computer users around the world.

Millions of PC users are able to upgrade for free as Microsoft is making the update available at no extra cost to those who are already using Windows 7 or 8, though this offer expires next year. Windows users who have registered their interest will be notified once Windows 10 becomes available to them, with the roll out beginning this morning, and set to be staggered over the coming days. In a desperate plea for relevance in a smartphone and tablet world, Windows 8 presented radical ideas about operating computers with fingers and pens instead of mice and keyboards.

This was replaced in Windows 8.1 with a Start button in the bottom left hand corner of the screen, but rather than opening up a navigation menu, it launched the tile-based touch user interface that most people were trying to escape. It has new features, a streamlined Web browser called Edge and a desktop version of Cortana, the online assistant that is Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Apple’s Siri.

There are still separate desktop and tablet modes, but you largely stick with one or the other depending on whether you have a keyboard. (Microsoft skipped Windows 9, by the way, as though to distance itself from Windows 8 and its criticisms.) Apps for Windows 8 were designed to take up the full screen, just like tablets. When you open up the new Start menu, there is a panel of live tiles on the right, where people can “pin” their favourite apps, but there is also a traditional Windows 7-style Start menu on the left, that allows users to sort through all of their files and apps systematically. Although you could split the screen, apps could be placed only side by side, not top to bottom, as you’d probably want when having email and streaming video open at once. More importantly, clicking on a live tile does not result in you being transported to another virtual universe where the app takes over your entire screen and it feels impossible to escape, as it did in Windows 8.

So if you’re working on an Office Word document at your desk and then have to go and catch a train, you can switch to tablet mode and carry on working on the same document in touchscreen mode as soon as you get a seat. Some people might not get it the first day; Microsoft says it will deliver downloads in waves, to ensure things go smoothly, but it hasn’t said how long that will take. Given that Windows 7 is now six years old, it inevitably feels a bit clunky, but it is really noticable that programs starts faster and run faster in Windows 10, and the whole system feels more slick. It feels more like the Google Chrome browser, with a light, stripped-back user interface and a simple set of tools along the top, under the search bar.

Executives also believe that if people are exposed to the latest and best Windows, they’re more likely to try other Microsoft products on PCs and mobile devices. For example, “favourites” lets you bookmark a page and cache it for reading offline, “web note” lets you annotate live pages and then save a screenshot of the page, and “share page” lets you send a link to friends via email or social network. You get some functional improvements, such as a virtual marker to draw arrows or circle an entry on a Web page to share over email, Facebook and other means. Read mode is also great for people who like to read long articles online, allowing you to strip out all the ads, and sidebars, pop-ups and links, and scroll through a single column of text and pictures. These days we’re spending more of our time on smartphones and Web browsers, and it’s Microsoft’s burden to keep evolving Windows to stay relevant to that reality.

Some websites, including those from Google, aren’t as smooth on Edge as they are on other browsers, but the problem might be limited to Microsoft’s Surface tablets. — An Action Center offers quick access to settings such as Wi-Fi, brightness and “quiet hours” — a way to suspend notifications and sounds if, say, you’re giving a presentation.

A: Microsoft says Windows 10 is designed for the way people use computers today — with a faster Web browser and features that make it easier to start tasks on a PC and then switch to a hand-held device. (Apple and Google tout similar features in their software.) Windows 10 also lets users log in with their face, iris or thumbprint, instead of remembering passwords, though this works only with computers equipped with the right hardware. If you give her access to your email and calendar clients, for example, she can start to act more like a real personal assistant, extracting relevant information and proactively offering information. Because you might feel awkward talking to your computer, you have the option of typing in commands, such as “Remind me to get milk.” Cortana is integrated with the Edge browser, too. A: The growth in mobile devices has caused PC sales to decline for more than three years, hurting manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard and companies like Microsoft and Intel, whose products are used with PCs. Windows 10 won’t make people give up their hand-held gadgets, but it’s part of Nadella’s strategy to reposition Microsoft for a world where people use multiple devices.

Copies were grabbed from the Internet only when you needed them, which meant files weren’t always available when using laptops on the go, away from Wi-Fi. As with any upgrades, make sure your favorite apps and accessories will work, as it might take time for outside developers and manufacturers to catch up. Microsoft has also competely revamped its entertainment offering, replacing Windows Media Center with modified versions of Xbox Music and Xbox Video, which have been renamed as ‘Groove’ and ‘Movies & TV’ respectively, and a built-in Xbox app, that offers a unified view of your games, the activity of your friends, and your own gaming activities. With permission, Cortana learns about you based on what you search, plus information that passes through Windows 10s Mail and Calendar applications. (You can edit some, but not all, of what Cortana knows about you in her Notebook.) When you tap on her circular icon next to the Start button, Cortana presents a digest of news and events she thinks you’d like to know about.

These days, technology should be intuitive enough that you can just pick it up and use it without any instructions or guidance, and Windows 10 just about achieves that, which – given the carcrash that was Windows 8 – is high praise indeed. The most impressive new protection, called Windows Hello, is straight out of “Mission: Impossible.” It replaces passwords with your face, your eyeball or your fingerprint. And Cortana is not helpful enough to get me to ditch Google for Bing. (There are Android and iPhone Cortana apps coming.) Strangely, Windows 10 doesn’t even have a special relationship with Microsoft’s own Office suite, a core product for millions.

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