What is Windows 10?
Windows 10 is the latest PC operating system from Microsoft, and the follow-up to Windows 8 which came out in October 2012. In the PC Plus era, people have various computing devices like a desktop PC, a notebook computer, a touch screen smartphone, or a tablet PC. Now, device and gadget trends have shifted toward the simplicity and directness of touch screen interaction, now that technology has advanced to enable thin LCD displays, with touch sensors. As the technology has advanced, Windows is also changing to a new and improved system with common styles that will work on both a desktop, a notebook, a tablet, and a phone, in both cases where there are touch screens, and where the keyboard and mouse rule instead. This is where we wanted Windows 8 to be, and instead of making Windows 8.2, instead of Windows 9, which hey, we've been through Windows 9x already, they took it to 10.
|Windows Phone 7|
Windows Phone 7 introduced Live Tiles. These are square or double-wide rectangular icons which have various read-outs on them. They're superior to icons because they can hold more information. An e-mail Live Tile would have the number of unread messages. A calendar tile would show your next appointment or event on it. A voice mail tile would show the number of new voice mail messages that you have. A sports news tile could have frequently updated scores for whatever teams you tell the sports app to track. Information that you set up that is important to you can be available at a glance.
Now Live Tiles are integrated into the Start Menu in Windows 10. It is adaptable for the desktop, for 2-in-1 devices, and tablets. For touch screen devices it can be resized to operate full screen, like the Windows 8's Start Screen.
|A Desktop in the Windows 10 insider preview edition with the new Start Menu and the Microsoft Edge web browser.|
When your Windows 10 PC powers on you are presented with a lock screen, not unlike on a smartphone, where you will enter your password to unlock the PC and log in. When you log in with a Microsoft Account, formerly known as a Windows Live ID, a Microsoft Passport account, or a Hotmail account, this allows saving your preferences "in the cloud" with Microsoft, so when you log into a different Windows 10 machine your preferences can follow you. Microsoft services like Hotmail/Outlook.com and OneDrive, Bing Maps, and MSN Weather also follow you.
After you log in you will be presented with the desktop, more like Windows 7 and 8 combined. You'll have Microsoft Edge, the new web browser with a streamlined look, which speeds things up by shedding some of Internet Explorer's features that aren't really used anymore. Internet Explorer 11 is still available. You also get Cortana the virtual assistant that you can speak to, and it will talk back with speech synthesis. Cortana has been available since last year in Windows Phone 8.1, and now it has been brought to Windows 10. Cortana can integrate with the Edge browser for even more usefulness. Windows 10's Start Menu you can see has a very new look. As an aside, third party programs, such as Start 10 and Classic Shell, are already available to bring back a Windows 7 style Start Menu if you prefer using it like that.
Another change from Windows 8 is that Modern UI apps, now called just Windows Apps, are now allowed to run windowed, where before they were limited to running full screen or pinned as a vertical section. The Charms bar on the right and the app switcher of the left in Windows 8, have been replaced by a vertical notifications panel and the Alt-Tab interface, respectively. The apps you got from the Windows Store in Windows 8 will still run in Windows 10. In fact, the app ecosystem is a big part of the new changes. Windows Phone 8 phones are largely bit-by-bit being updated to 'Windows 10 Mobile'. Windows 10 borrows a great deal from Windows 8, and the interface is adapting to a common design language suitable for desktop PCs, and tablets and phones. The result is so-called universal apps, which potentially, you can buy once and run on multiple Windows devices. Your settings will be sync'ed and shared, allowing you to switch devices, and pick up where you left off.
Windows 10 comes in two main versions: Windows 10 and Windows 10 Pro. Pro lets you connect to a business network with a Windows server and includes Hyper-V and other features that IT pros might use through the course of their work. Pro users will have more control over Windows Updates.
Updated March 19, 2017