Hands-on Preview: Microsoft Windows 10 – by Mark Payton

Hands-on Preview: Microsoft Windows 10


Using public feedback and a fresh approach, Windows 10 is a breath of fresh air from the world’s original tech behemoth.

When it’s finally unleashed on an expectant world this autumn, Windows 10 will have two epic jobs – and it cannot fail at either.

The first is to make you forget Windows 8, the OS that alienated even the hardest of Microsoft fundamentalists. That won’t be easy. Windows purists were horrified by the way that W8 surgically transformed the signature Start Menu into a touch interface.

The result was Dorian Gray: a single OS split by two faces – a shiny new tablet experience at awkward odds with an ageing desktop. The second little task for 10 is to be the one operating system that will run on every device. Easy to say, horrendously difficult to do (note that neither Google nor Apple have truly managed it yet). But as big as those challenges are, Microsoft’s going about things the right way. Windows 10 is being made in public.

In contrast to the secrecy and sales bluster of old, Microsoft’s pleading for feedback at every step. Their logic’s simple: reduce the chance of failure by having your users perfect the product. In fact you can help with the cause today. The Technical Preview becomes a Developer Preview in April, and is free to download and install. You’ll find that Microsoft has built automatically-triggered feedback forms into every element of the interface.

But the big question is… should you bother?

zoomtrader الخيارات الثنائية INSTALLATION: FUSS FREE, FOR AN ALPHA
Windows 10 Technical Preview is free. You can either download an ISO and create a clean install, or upgrade from Windows 8.1 (visit the Technical Preview site in Explorer, hit Install and the latest W10 build will appear in Windows Update).

Now, we know that past major Windows releases have caused pain – thanks largely to the myriad drivers that Microsoft needs to support – but we found W10 fuss free, either as a clean install or as an upgrade. And a quick check of the major Windows forums suggests that our experience isn’t unusual.

We’ve managed to run it on two laptops; as an upgrade from Windows 8.1 on a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro 13in, and as a clean install into a virtual machine in Parallels Desktop on a Macbook Pro Retina 13in.

The clean installation and upgrade took 20 minutes or so each, from clicking the Install button to the final log in. And they resulted in working instances of Windows 10 – albeit both were buggy. The Yoga 2 Pro lost its keyboard functionality when flipping the screen to tablet configuration then back to laptop. No amount of re-installing Lenovo drivers fixed this, and the only, rather dramatic solution was to recover to Windows 8.1. (Fortunately, Lenovo’s OneKey makes this the work of minutes).

Now for the Macbook installation. The Windows 10 virtual machine through the Retina’s high resolution display is not a thing of beauty. But then, Windows has always been a step or three behind OS X in its handling of high DPI screens. We’re hoping Microsoft sorts this for good in the final release. But if you keep the Yoga in laptop mode and the virtual machine windowed, you can use Windows 10 to your heart’s content. And everything roughly works as it should. This is frankly a miracle.

This is a Technical Preview with health warnings spray-canned across the download site. So go ahead, but with the full knowledge that you should back up your data first, and be ready to lose a few hours to fixing and fiddling.

Once you have Windows 10 up and running, check for updates in the new Settings app. Microsoft’s releasing fixes and new features for the Technical Preview at a rapid lick by its standards. They may sort any niggles you have with your fresh install or update. And while you’re there, stay in that Updates screen. Hunt around, and you’ll find an option to change the Technical Preview update frequency.

You can switch it to ‘Fast’ if you want newer builds or updates earlier. Just be aware of the accompanying risk that you hit bigger bugs. This may seem no big deal in itself. But Microsoft wants to transform Windows from a big OS that goes slowly into a fast platform that constantly improves. This will bring it into line with the likes of Chrome OS. So expect this multi-lane approach to continue after the final release.

الخيارات الثنائية autotrading WHO GETS THE DESKTOP, AND WHO GETS TABLET?
You do not need a line-by-line account of the trials of Windows RT. Suffice to say it prevented users from installing third-party software, despite being a full OS. This, as history will now testify, did not go down a storm with users. RT contributed in no small way to the failure of the original Microsoft Surface and subsequent Surface 2 and while it has yet to be consigned to history by Microsoft, the hardware that runs it is being discontinued. Which, let’s face it, would suggest that the end’s nigh.

Windows 10 does not mark a return of RT. But there will be differences in how it works, according to which device you install it on. If your device is over 8 inches, you’ll get the full desktop Windows 10 OS, with the freedom to install any software you want. If it’s under 8 inches, there’s a version of Windows 10 where you’ll get an experience that’s closer to Windows Phone. This will have full-screen apps and no way to install desktop software.

أساسيات تداول الفوركس THE RETURN OF THE START MENU
Yes. Yes, it is. It’s back. And this time, it’s… different.

If you’re still using Windows 7 as a daily driver, having been scared off by Windows 8, you’ll feel right at home with Win 10. Tap the Windows key, and your cursor will be ready and waiting in the Start Menu that pops up in the bottom left of your screen. Type, and your apps and content are filtered accordingly.

This is an absurdly specific way of describing the way that the Start menu has always worked. Or did, before Windows 8, which relied on a Search Charm on the right of the screen.

Only, Windows 10’s Start Menu is still different from that in Windows 7. That Start search box doubles up as a web search box, with Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant built right in. So you’ll be able to talk to your laptop, and it will present results.

Plus, in the W10 desktop interface, the panel to the right of the Start Menu now houses a shrunken version of Windows 8’s Modern Tiles. This will expand to full screen automatically if you switch to tablet mode. Or at least it will, once Microsoft and hardware manufacturers have finished the new bridge between laptop and tablet modes, called Continuum.

For now, that desktop Start Menu is in a state of flux. In earlier Windows 10 builds, the menu would grow as you added apps. It could then be expanded manually, either vertically or horizontally. We guess that the Windows 10 design team realised that this could get unwieldy: the updated menu in the current 9926 build now scrolls. It can still be expanded, but the scrolling means that there’s less need to.

Is it heading in the right direction? Yes. There’s a way to go until the final release, but Microsoft is finding a way to seamlessly move between laptop and desktop in a single OS. And it’s doing this without the distressing leaps required by Windows 8.

This is Windows 10’s single biggest new feature. It aims to allow a single OS to work seamlessly on desktops, tablets and the host of laptops that are a merger of the two, such as the Yoga 3 Pro. Yes, we know, that was the promise of Windows 8. But 8’s solution was to weld two radically different interfaces together. Windows 10 is aiming for something a lot less jarring.

ou can try it in the latest build of W10 (9926) by going to the new Control Panel and turning on Tablet Mode. Instantly, all of your apps will fill the screen, as will the new Start Screen. Microsoft has already demonstrated the planned end result. If you twist your Yoga into tablet mode, or remove the keyboard from your HP Split, you’ll get a small prompt to switch to Tablet Mode.

At the moment, this doesn’t work automagically on our Yoga 2 Pro. Lenovo has yet to update its drivers, although we’ll wager they will – either when Windows 10 is officially released or shortly after. For now, it’s a massive improvement on Windows 8, although we’ll understand the tablet community’s concerns that it will lose 8’s Early Learning Centre touch-friendliness.

Windows 10 could be the end for Internet Explorer. And it’s long overdue, right? Today’s IE looks tired, and behaves like it. Oh sure, IE11 is miles better than the versions that almost killed its reputation (and its users… IE6, anyone?). But while Google Chrome has evolved from a browser into a complete platform, Explorer remains steadfastly limited.

Explorer’s replacement goes by the working name of Project Spartan, and will pack an entirely new rendering engine of Microsoft’s own design, called Edge. You can get a taste of Spartan today in the latest 9926 build of Windows 10. Open Internet Explorer, type about:flags into the browser address bar, then Enable Experimental Web Platform Features. Restart Explorer, and you’re now running the new Edge rendering engine.

Performance feels snappy, even if we couldn’t discern a world of difference between it and IE, and we didn’t encounter any surprising compatibility issues. Like us, you may lift an eyebrow at the news that Microsoft’s developing an entirely new web rendering engine. We get the decision to split with the past – but why not fall into line with the other tech giants? After all, WebKit powers both Chrome and Safari, and they’re hardly obscure browsers – why not join in, and give the web one road to follow?

Perhaps the logic is that Explorer remains the world’s most popular single desktop web browser, so Microsoft has every license to reinvent the wheel if it feels like it. And given the new rush of inventive blood in the company right now, it may do Chrome and Safari some good to face a serious adversary.

Spartan will apparently support extensions (so catching up with its rivals). And – according to The Verge – it will feature integration with Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant. It may even escape its Windows OS jail and be available as a separate download from the Windows Store.

If that’s true, it’s great news. It will allow the browser to update at its own pace, rather than that of the OS. And it hints that Microsoft may make the new browser available on more platforms than just Windows.

الخيارات الثنائية القواد WINDOWS 10 UI: A PRETTY FACE, AT LAST
Windows 8 desktops looks cluttered and dated by comparison to OS X Yosemite. It’s all thick frames, crudely rendered separators and fussy ’90s iconography (can you believe that My Computer icon looks the way it does in 2015?). So it’s a relief to see Microsoft giving the Windows 10 desktop an aggressive spit and polish.


Those chunky frames have gone from File Explorer, and each new build sees the emergence of a completely new icon family. We’ll save final judgement until the finished OS emerges, but what we can say is that 10 is moving the Windows desktop on at a pace – each new build and update is bringing more and more refinements. The results, for now, see the desktop taking on more and more of the flat, frameless Modern look.

And in the process, the Windows interface is becoming cleaner, lighter and sharper. But while the new brown folder icons are welcome for their freshness alone, reactions to them have been mixed. Some in the Stuff office claim to see similarities to the flat look of Yosemite (and iOS), but without the finesse.

We guess you’ll just have to learn to love beige and powder blue.

Windows 10 aims to be the one OS that works on every device, so it’s only logical that the Action Center from Windows Phone should find its way into Windows 10. You’ll feel at home with Windows 10’s notifications and quick settings if you’ve used the latest iteration of Windows Phone. Even the iconography is the same, albeit at the bottom of the Action Center in the desktop version.

There are three ways to trigger the Center. The first is to click a toast as it appears on the bottom right of the screen. Or you can click the new notifications icon in the task bar. Or if you’re using a touchscreen device, swipe in from the right of the display to reveal the entire Action Center (a gesture that invokes the Charms menu in Windows 8).

As such, there’s not a world of difference between OS X’s Notifications Center and the new Windows 10 Action Center, albeit the latter lacks the depth of widget integration of its Apple rival.

الخيارات الثنائية تخاطر المهن الحرة MICROSOFT OFFICE REBORN – THRICE
Where there’s a new Windows, there will be a new Office. In fact, three Offices, to be precise. Microsoft recently released Office for Windows 10 Previews, with touch and mobile-optimised versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. You can install these ‘Universal’ preview apps on Windows 10 today – just search in the beta Store.

The iOS, tablet-friendly version of the Office suite has been available for some time, and has drawn plenty of praise for its design. We’ve yet to use the new Windows 10 Office apps on a touch device. But can testify that they’re beautifully designed. And features such as Word’s Insights for Office look genuinely useful, with Bing calling on relevant images, web references and definitions. So good news, then, that they’ll come pre-installed for free on Windows 10 mobiles and tablets.


You can also expect an all-new desktop Office later this year in the guise of Office 2016. There’s no news of major new features yet, but current Office365 subscribers can try early alphas of the next versions of the Word, Excel and Co by heading to Microsoft’s Connect site. They won’t see much difference to Office 2013 today, bar an optional dark theme and new ‘Tell me…’ helper.

Finally, there’s a long overdue Office for Mac in the pipeline. If you’re a Mac user today, you don’t need telling how welcome this update will be: Office 2011 for Mac was actually released in 2010, and looks every day of its five years on this earth. Expect a beta in the first half of 2015.

سماسرة الخيارات الثنائية ONEDRIVE GETS SELECTIVE
Microsoft’s cloud storage rival to Google Drive has felt generous in recent months. In the US, subscribers to the Bing Rewards Programme have just been given an extra, free 100GB. In the UK Office365 subscribers were recently upgraded to 1TB at no extra cost. And in Windows 10, OneDrive finally catches up with Google Drive by giving users a single view in its settings of which folders are synced locally, and which are kept on their servers.

Today’s OneDrive users will cheer in unison. Up until now, OneDrive’s settings panel has only given an option to take all files online or off. The only way we know today of choosing to store locally or keep in the cloud is to right click each individual folder and make the selection. It works, sure, but it’s time consuming and hard to remember at a glance.

أربح المال اليوم XBOX ON… YOUR PC
Gamers rejoice: Windows 10 heralds a new Xbox app that aims to link your laptop to your Xbox One. The app shows the usual stuff you see in your Xbox Live profile – games, messages, friends, and your activity feed. But you’ll also be able to stream your Xbox One games over your home Wi-Fi through the W10 Xbox app, either on your desktop, laptop or tablet.

And while you’re about it, Game DVR makes its way from the Xbox One to the W10 app, letting you record your feeblest FPS failures and share them with the world.

تجارة الاسهم الالكترونية HERE, FIDO: A FAREWELL TO PASSWORDS
Windows 10 includes FIDO (or Fast Idenity Online), a new standard that’s aiming for a world without typed passwords. Instead, FIDO will use biometric information to grant access to the system or specific apps. Once you’ve registered a device as a trusted authenticator, you can then in theory use your face, voice or fingerprint to authorise a login. Not only does it save you the hassle of remembering and typing a password, but actually eliminates the concept altogether.

اسعر الذهب فى السعودية يوم 4 7 1334 …AND THE BILL FOR THE WINDOWS 10 UPDATE?
Microsoft may rightly claim generosity in giving Windows 10 away free to Windows 7 and 8.1 consumer users in the first year after its release. But while free is as generous as it gets, we also think that Microsoft has little choice. Windows 8 hurt the desktop install base to the extent that it created a market for PCs with Windows 7 as the default OS.

When your new thing makes people want your last thing, you know you’re in trouble. Putting a price on W10 from the day of release would have been strategic suicide.

استراتيجية اختلاف الخيارات الثنائية THE VERDICT – FOR NOW
Windows 10 is a relief.

Yes, you can accuse it of some, er, similarities to other famous desktops. The Action Center isn’t a million miles from Apple’s Notification Center, and the multiple desktops have been alive and well in OS X for yonks.

But we like Microsoft’s ambition and approach: building in public, and aiming for a single OS that makes moving between devices that much easier for users (and a whole lot simpler for developers).

We also think the company’s on a roll. From the Surface Pro 3 to the recent Outlook Preview for Android, there’s a buzz back in the corridors of the world’s original tech behemoth.

If we’d looked at Windows 10 in its current state of development five years ago, we would have been mildly interested.

Today, we’re fascinated.

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