Yesterday I spent a couple of hours playing with a preview release of Windows 10 Enterprise. This might be a different release to what the mainstream press has covered, but the interface should be the same. To do Windows 10 full justice, I’d have to spend longer playing with it and cover the OS internals at some point.
The Start Menu and Metro Interface
From the average user’s perspective, Windows 10 is essentially Windows 8 with the Metro interface contained within the Start menu – Microsoft promotes this particular feature as a selling point of Windows 10. Almost all the defects I encountered were related to this one thing. It’s a little rough around the edges, taking several restarts to get the Start menu working properly. Well, it is a demo at this point.
The rest of the operating system appears quite stable, and the system requirements are modest. On a VM with around 2GB memory and a dual-core CPU (roughly the spec of my ten-year-old laptop) the interface was very responsive and immediately intuitive. The same UI should work perfectly across devices as the the corner icon switches the Start menu into a full Metro interface.
A superficial gripe I had was the default appearance. It looks more glossy after ditching the (literally depressing) themes and changing the colours a bit.
Other than a web search and Cortana being integrated into the Start menu, Windows 10 has roughly the same online features as Windows 8. This is surprising, given it’s apparently the final version of the OS, and I expected this preview to showcase the OS as the interface to Microsoft’s ‘ecosystem’ (i.e. all the online services and recent APIs).
Everything else was near identical to Windows 8. The old command prompt, PowerShell, Task Manager (with minor changes), other default applications and features were present.
Windows 10 includes the replacement for Internet Explorer – Microsoft Edge, formerly called ‘Project Spartan’. Its design is clean and minimalist, compared to Explorer.
Its innovative feature is the ‘Web Notes’, which can be used to overlay whatever web page with notes, highlighting and drawings.
Finally the concept of multiple virtual desktops has arrived in Windows 10. This feature has been native ro CDE, Gnome and KDE since the late 90s. In Windows 10, we can have more workspaces (at least 200), and the applications can be dragged between them.