WITH the latest Microsoft operating system Windows 10 now ready to install on laptops, tablets and mobiles, Daniel Wright runs the rule over its new features and similarities with previous operating systems.
It appears that Windows 10 is actually more of a rescue mission than a new operating system.
The reputation and usability of Windows had taken an assiduous beating when Windows 8 was introduced to the world, throwing to the wind one of the most iconic features of any desktop. The dominating square tiles became too much to bare, yet tucked deep within 8’s intentions were the makings of something remarkable.
Windows 10 is able to salvage the positive elements of Windows 8, intertwined with everything we adored about Windows 7, the latter of which continued to carry 8’s disbelievers through one of the darkest periods in Microsoft’s history.
Consisting of Windows 7’s main appearance, first booting up Windows 10 feels like shaking hands with an old friend. The Start menu is all too recognisable, yet the touch features and less intrusive tiles from Windows 8 are now welcome additions rather than an alienating dominance.
New life is injected into 10 courtesy of Microsoft’s voice assistant, Cortana, and the new incarnation of Internet Explorer in the form of Microsoft Edge. With a promise that generations to come will still be using Windows 10, it appears that we’ve been promised a service rather than a product. A noble dedication from Microsoft rather than something to tie us over until the next big hit.
The initial upgrade process is virtually painless, if a little sluggish to begin with, is forgivable due to the sheer scale of the task at hand. Once the new OS has been installed however, being reacquainted with the familiar look of 7 is a satisfying feeling.
Then come the tweaks of Windows 8 being incorporated into the design, making the whole package that little bit sweeter. But immediately one of Microsoft’s bold new visions can become slightly too staggering.
The impression that the developers were focusing almost too much on a touch experience over a bog standard desktop system is noticeable, and there’s a troubling feeling that the forced updates may become problematic down the line.
Cortana feels more suited to mobile devices and tablets than an actual desktop, and in many scenarios will most likely be a useless yet draining feature.
Thankfully you don’t need a personal assistant with Windows 10 to be organised, as you can organise your entire start menu almost effortlessly, dragging and dropping tiles as you wish for ease of access. There’s somewhat of an inelegance about the whole concept, but the functionality of this process more than makes up for it.
One of the most intelligent moves by Microsoft is perhaps sticking the search box onto the task bar, allowing it to be on hand whenever the occasion arises. It’s hardly intrusive either, cuddling the iconic Start logo into the bottom left corner of the screen where it’s belonged since the 90s.
The search box can also be used for more than searching, particularly as it can be the main port of call for Cortana on desktops. And should Cortana fail to answer anything you desire from utilising this new feature, Microsoft Edge is immediately opened with answers attempted to be displayed.
Edge, along with dozens of other pre-installed Microsoft apps, look crisp and appealing to use, particularly the Mail, Calendar and Photo apps. It’s this crisp visual that spans across Windows 10 that makes it joyous to use, one of the highlights that made it through the barrage of sacrifices to Windows 8 features.
It’s an oddity to believe that Windows 10 is the last OS system by Microsoft, a feeling that will never quite settle. Whilst competitors continue down the line of small upgrades before an entirely new system, Microsoft finally seem to have reached a pinnacle in their operating systems.
Everything from the past 20 years of Windows seems to be represented in one manner or another in its finest form, a fitting conclusion but also an intriguing introduction into arguably the biggest chapter of Windows OS history.
By Daniel Wright