BreakingModern — Microsoft’s upcoming desktop operating system, Windows 10, is currently in Technical Preview stage and is available for developers and early adopters to start testing now. The main thing this version is showing off is its new desktop features. And, to everyone’s enjoyment, this version of Windows will be a lot more like the one you remember when compared to the Windows 8 mess.
When you install Windows 10 on a traditional desktop with mouse and keyboard, the OS will automatically install so you see the desktop first. That way, you don’t have to deal with the Start screen at all. While the touch-centric interface is still accessible, you have to really work to access it. On the other hand, if you have a touch-enabled laptop, the Modern interface is featured prominently.
While Windows 10 is still early in development, and we’re only on the Technical Preview version, here’s a look at what to expect from the desktop when the final version is released sometime in 2015.
The Start Menu Returns
One of the most-controversial omissions in Windows 8 is the Start menu. Well, now it’s back. And it’s better than ever.
It’s a hybrid between the traditional Start menu you’ve known for years, and the Modern interface established in Windows 8. It works similarly to how you’d arrange tiles on Windows Phone, but it’s not limited to Modern apps. You can pin any program you want to it, which is a huge time saver.
Virtual Desktops in Windows 10
This is a feature that OS X and Linux users have enjoyed for years, and now it’s coming to Windows. You can create a new virtual desktop at any time by using the keyboard shortcut: Windows Key + Ctrl + D, or click the Task View icon located next to the Search button and then click Create Desktop.
This feature makes it easier to switch between your tasks. For instance, you can have spreadsheets open on one desktop, Internet Explorer on a separate one and entertainment apps on another. Then, to switch between them, you just need to hit Alt + Tab.
Improved File Explorer
You might know this feature as “Windows Explorer,” but it’s now referred to as File Explorer. The search feature has been enhanced to include a new Home section. This lets you get easier access to frequently used locations, favorite files and includes a new Share button. You can share files easily with Modern apps in File Explorer, too.
Floating Universal Apps on the Desktop
We called them “Modern apps” in Windows 8, and now Microsoft says the touch-centric apps will be called “Universal Apps.” Semantics aside, in Windows 10 you can use these apps directly on the desktop.
To get this type of functionality in Windows 8 you need to install a third-party program from Stardock called ModernMix. With Windows 10, it’ll be built right in.
To Be Continued …
These are the major features that have been introduced in Windows 10 Technical Preview, and they improve the desktop and make it much easier to use than Windows 8 ever was. The final release of Windows 10 is expected sometime next year.
As the journey to the final version of Windows 10 continues, expect to see a lot of new features and improvements. Stay tuned and I’ll make sure you’re up to date.
All screenshots: Brian Burgess