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Window's 10 Upgrade - How to make the most out of it!

by Jason Fletcher | Nov 12, 2015

Let’s just get this out there from the start – in my opinion Windows 10 is one of the best operating systems Microsoft has ever made. It has taken the best of both worlds from Windows 7 and Windows 8 and combined them into a single system.

But what is it exactly that makes Windows 10 better than its predecessors? Well, one thing comes to mind, and that is the banishment of the full-screen apps that plague Windows 8. Plus, the metro start screen has now been redesigned and can only be seen in the more traditional start menu that everyone has grown to love since Windows 95. Don’t get me wrong, the tiles are still there, they are just now in a more convenient spot. Windows 10 didn’t just stop there with the rework of the start bar. They have given even more power back to the end user by also allowing them to now decide if they want this metro style start menu, or if they want to completely revert back to a more traditional Windows 7 style start menu. On top of this, the end user also has the ability to unpin any of the tiles they want, or if they prefer the Windows 8 style start menu where it takes up the whole screen, then they can set it up so that this happens. One other cool feature of Windows 10, while we are on the topic of the start menu, is that it now detects what kind of device it is running on. What I mean by this is if you have a hybrid laptop/tablet Windows will actually detect what kind of mode you are in and switch the start menu accordingly. So, if it detects you are using Windows 10 in a pure touch screen environment, the system will accommodate by giving you the old Windows 8 style system. At the same time, if Windows 10 detects that you are using your device in a more traditional desktop setup, it will switch back to this kind of experience. In a sense, it is making the best of both worlds and adapting to how you want to use your system instead of saying this is how you must use our operating system.

The next cool feature that we can see in Windows 10, even if it is something you may not use in your business, is Cortana. For those of you who don’t know what Cortana is, Cortana is the Microsoft digital assistant that is available on windows 8.1 phones (kind of like Siri for iPhone, or Google Now for android). Cortana has finally been able to break out of its confinements from your mobile phone and make a new home on your Windows 10 device. But what exactly does Cortana do? Well the first thing she will do is take control of Windows 10 search functions, she will then want access to your personal data (don’t be alarmed here and listen to all the people with tin foil hats, no one is actually reading your personal data. Cortana is a piece of software, she is just code and in order for her to assist you she needs access to your information. I mean how else will she know you have an appointment with the dentist tomorrow at 11:00AM?). She then combines all this knowledge together with her Bing powered cloud smarts and is able to assist you and perform helpful tasks. You are able to ask Cortana to do all sorts of things by either talking to her in your natural language, or through typing at your computer. For instance, you can ask Cortana, “Find pictures from November”, and she will go off and search your computer for you, locating pictures from November. On top of this she is able to play music for you, set alarms, create reminders. She can even crack jokes if you want. Now that I have you all excited about Cortana and what she can do for you, it’s time for the bad news. Cortana isn’t currently available in Windows 10 if you live in Australia. Microsoft have said she will be available in Winter of 2015, but have not given an official date as to when.

One of the other exciting features of Windows 10 is the new edge browser. The edge browser has been created from the ground up and is going to eventually replace the out dated and tired Internet Explorer (I can already hear you all screaming that you have applications that only work in Internet Explorer. Don’t panic just yet, Microsoft can hear you as well and because of this they have left Internet Explorer within Windows 10. You just have to look for it. Not hard really, just type Internet Explorer into the start menu and Windows 10 will find it for you). There isn’t much we can say about the new Edge browser – it’s pretty cool, and is worth giving a try. You never know, you might just end up loving it.

One of the other new cool features of Windows 10 (which I am convinced Microsoft borrowed from Linux seeing as this has been a part of Linux ever since it got a Windows Manager) is the ability to create virtual desktops. But what are virtual desktops? In its basic form it allows you to setup multiple desktops on your operating system and have different programs running within different desktops. You can then switch through these Desktops just like you would with multiple applications running. It is a nice way to be able to organise your desktops and running applications. For instance, you could have one virtual desktop dedicated to browsing the internet, while another is dedicated to office applications. I would suggest that if you haven’t used virtual desktops in the past to give it a try. You never know, you might find that you love the idea and never look back.

We could go on for ever talking about the new features of Windows 10, but I think we might leave it there. At the end of the day, Microsoft has done a really good job in trying to bring the best of both worlds with regard to Windows 7 and Windows 8 into one complete operating system that wil appeal to the masses regardless of how you want to use your operating system. Combine all of this with the free upgrade offer and what have you got to lose? If you decide you don’t like it you can always roll back to what you had before the upgrade. 

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