After months of Insider Preview builds, Microsoft has let Windows 10 loose as a free upgrade for owners of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 machines. Today we’d like to give a brief tour of some of the more noticeable differences between Windows 10 and its predecessors.
The most obvious change between Windows 8/8.1 and 10 is the return of the Start Menu, the traditional popup menu that lived on the taskbar and allowed users to quickly access recent documents, favorite apps, and more. In Windows 8 the Start Menu was replaced by a Start Screen that performed many of the same tasks, but in a full screen, touch-friendly experience that was a bit jarring for users to switch to from the traditional desktop experience. The Start Screen is still present in Windows 10, but only on devices that require a touch-friendly interface such as a tablet or 2-in-1 notebook.
PC gamers will be pleased to know that the latest version of Microsoft’s DirectX 12 is baked into Windows 10. Allowing for more efficient utilization of a system’s hardware, DirectX 12 promises to give game developers the ability to produce visuals that are much more graphically impressive.
Also, PC gamers are now able to play their Xbox One games through a new streaming feature found in the Xbox App on Windows 10, allowing them to experience their game library from the comfort of their desktop PC, notebook, or tablet if their console happens to be in another room.
Microsoft Internet Explorer is dead, long live Microsoft Edge! Internet Explorer is no longer the default web browser in Windows, replaced by Microsoft Edge, a leaner, faster, more feature rich and standards-compliant version of Microsoft’s legacy browser. In addition to just being a faster browser overall, Microsoft Edge allows for annotation of web pages (especially handy if casually browsing on a touch-enabled device) as well as hooks that allow Cortana to assist you while you browse the internet.
Speaking of Cortana, she’s Windows 10’s integrated virtual assistant that has replaced the traditional search feature in Windows. In addition to standard file/web search, Cortana is able to keep track of reminders, calendar events, courier tracking info, flights, and more so that all the information you care about is just a question away. Cortana can be found in the dedicated search box next to the Start button on the Windows 10 taskbar, a dedicated Cortana Tile in the Start Menu, or through contextual menus in applications that choose to integrate Cortana.
In addition to these changes, Microsoft has introduced a wave of more subtle tweaks and improvements throughout the operating system which will receive mainstream support until 2020. Windows 10 is available now as a free upgrade (for a limited time) for current Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users who have the latest updates installed. Microsoft has refined the upgrade experience so that it’s even easier to upgrade the OS and almost immediately pick up from where you left off after the upgrade has finished. If you have any questions, require assistance upgrading your system to Windows 10, or need to purchase OEM copies of Windows 10, feel free to contact us or stop by any of our 9 retail locations across Texas.