The Tenth Windows
Microsoft has released their newest operating system called Windows 10. If you’re keeping track, it’s their tenth windows version – NT, 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, 7, 8, 8.1, and finally 10. Microsoft is at a turning point in their company’s history and they’re offering a Windows upgrade for free again. Windows 10 is a coat of polish on a somewhat stable Windows 8, but with many advantages. Below I’m going to tell you why you should upgrade and how much of an improvement it is over our beloved Windows 7.
So What’s Different?
Right from the beginning you’ll notice some differences coming from Windows 8/8.1. If you’re coming from Windows 7, there’s a lot you’ll need to get familiar with. To save time, I’ll only be explaining the glaring differences in Windows 10 over any other Windows version.
The biggest and most request difference is the Start Menu. In Windows 8 a new ‘metro-style’ Start Menu was introduced that commandeered your entire screen. This has been toned down in version 10 by still allowing for the metro tiles, but bringing back the small corner pop-up menu we’ve come to love in Windows 7.
Another difference is the addition of a new default web browser called Microsoft Edge. This is not a new version of Internet Explorer, Edge was been completely rebuilt from the ground up to be an actual good browser. IE is still present in Windows 10 to preserve backwards compatibility, but you’ll spend most of your time using Edge as it is snappy and safe.
Microsoft has finally included the one feature that both Linux and Mac OS X have over Windows and that is ‘Virtual Desktops’ (‘Spaces’ in OS X). You can manage a totally separate desktops in another space within Windows 10. This allows you to have applications running and windows open and then clean the slate to a new desktop without closing or losing anything on the original.
The last new feature and difference I would like to write about is Windows Explorer. Microsoft has done a great job polishing the backbone of Windows by allowing pinned locations, get access to common tasks in the ribbon, and making it overall faster. OneDrive has a tighter integration into Windows than ever before, which can be annoying if you don’t use it, otherwise it’s great.
Is Windows 10 for me?
Should you upgrade to Windows 10 if you are running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1? The short answer is Yes, and you should do it as soon as possible. Microsoft is giving away Windows 10 for free for the first year, and after that you’ll have to pay a price to upgrade. They have yet to announce what that price is but it will probably be $119 or less. If you have an older computer that has trouble running Windows 7, you may want to reconsider new hardware before upgrading as Windows 10 utilizes new hardware to it’s fullest capacity and you may have performance issues on an older computer.
I’ve been using Windows 10 exclusively at my day job as a IT System Administrator. Windows 10 has proven to be a great tool for managing other Windows computers and servers. At home, I’m primarily a Mac user so I don’t get a lot of Windows use, but I do keep it installed just in case. It’s my stance that if I use it day-to-day to support other Windows machines it will be a great home operating system.
The consumers always win
Microsoft has been taking a long hard look at how their user interface and user experience is in past versions of Windows and you can tell they have improved it in Windows 10. I like to be diverse so I use both Windows and Mac OS X every day, that being said, they are starting to become more alike. This is good for consumers because you can switch between the two without having to relearn everything. Both Apple and Microsoft have great features and since it seems they are no longer feuding, the two operating systems share some of these great user features.
Don’t freak out
Microsoft Windows 10 is the best Windows operating system to date and you shouldn’t be afraid of it or judge it before using it. Anytime Microsoft makes big visual changes to their OS people freak out, like with Vista and 8. In retrospect both of those jumps needed to happen and I don’t think Microsoft regrets anything they’ve released. Personally, I think Microsoft Vista was a little ahead of it’s time and the hardware wasn’t ready yet, in fact there are still some features in Windows 10 that were born out of Vista. In summary, don’t hesitate and get your free upgrade of Windows 10 before you have to pay. The upgrade process is really easy and can’t be much more simple. Someday we may look back at Windows 10 and it will be as memorable as Windows XP or Windows 7… or maybe even more. BB