Today Microsoft officially unveiled the latest version of its traditional computer operating system, though not what we were expecting. Many previous rumours had suggested the newest OS to be labelled Windows 9, however Microsoft today announced a re-branding, completely skipping to Windows 10.
Described as the company's "most comprehensive platform, ever," Windows 10 stresses a single product family, platform, and store. While the announcement covered quite a bit in terms of enterprise customers, general consumers have some changes to look forward to as well — one of which is an updated and familiar Start Menu that many haters of Windows 8 will be eager for.
The new version looks more like the pre-Windows 8 Start Menu, revealing a list of apps, folders, and a search bar, but to the side will be a series of Live Tiles. Essentially, you'll find a Windows 7 Start Menu with a Windows 8 twist. The search function works much like it does when typing from the Windows 8 Modern UI, revealing apps, files, and web results.
Windows 8-style apps can now be windowed within the traditional desktop, adding more flexibility in how you use them—currently, they can only be used at full-screen or within the confines of "snapped" windows. For the newly-designed windowed apps, you will be able to snap them to the edges of the screen like you would from the traditional Windows desktop.
Microsoft has also added a new multi-tasking feature that looks and works similar to what we see on other platforms. When you initiate "Task View" a series of small desktop views will be displayed at the bottom of the screen, with larger previews of the apps being shown off in the middle of the display. You can also quickly select and move around apps from different desktops with a new "Snap Assist" function, which will be nice for the power users out there.
While a Windows 7-style Start Menu is good and all for mouse users, Microsoft will also introduce a different version for those using touchscreen computers. Instead of a small menu consisting of a bunch of text and small Live Tiles, touch users will be greeted with something that more resembles the Windows 8 Modern UI, while still in the traditional desktop. Microsoft is really working to blend its two distinct interfaces into one experience that works for all users.
If you want to get your hands on an early version of Windows 10, Microsoft will be launching its Windows Insider Program tomorrow, offering a preview build for both laptops and desktops. The company plans to discuss more about consumer-facing changes during the first part of 2015.
Thoughts on Windows 10? Let us know in the comments if you are thinking of picking this one up, or will you be sticking with the fabled Windows 7?