Let’s face it: we’ve all been waiting (rather impatiently) for Windows 10 to arrive and now that it’s finally here, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Windows is back, people, better than ever, with a number of cool, new features and options backing it up.
While we weren’t particularly thrilled with what Windows 8 had to offer, we have to admit that Windows 10 pleasantly surprised us with its improvements. Today, we’ve decided to share with you some of our favourite new Windows 10 features that we think you’re going to like as well. 🙂
1. Cortana on All of Your PC and Windows Devices
Microsoft’s digital assistant is no longer available for Windows Phone alone – Cortana now appears as a search pane on your taskbar and you can use her to send emails, search apps, play music, open photos, etc. You can activate Cortana by saying “Hey Cortana” or simply type in your request to find what you are looking for. What’s also great is that you can edit everything that Cortana knows and improve the way it works.
2. Task View a.k.a Virtual Desktops
Switching between a multitude of open apps or “virtual desktops” of apps is a breeze now, plus they can all be organized just the way you want. When you click on the “Task View” button in the left corner of your screen, it brings up all the windows you opened on your virtual desktops.You can switch desktops using your keyboard, too – just press the Windows key + Tab.
3. The Return of the Beloved Start Menu
It’s slightly different than what we are used to, but hey, at least it’s back and you no longer have to deal with the (annoying) Start screen of Windows 8. Still, if there are those among you
who enjoyed using the Windows 8 icons, you’ll be glad to hear that the Start Menu and Live Tiles are now one. So, for example, you can have only the Start Menu on your desktop (in full screen, too), but you can also pin Live Tiles to it if you miss Windows 8.
4. Revamped Windows Store with Universal Apps
Windows 10 gets a new Windows Store with a number of universal apps that have the same code onyour Windows Phone, PC, Xbox One, and even HoloLens. The only thing that changes is the interface in order to fit different screen sizes. These universal apps include the Office apps (Word and Excel), the Outlook mail, Calendar, etc.
5. A New Browser: Microsoft Edge
Formerly known as “Project Spartan”, Edge is Microsoft’s new web browser that was created to compete with Chrome and Firefox. Built from scratch, Edge is faster, leaner, and meaner than Internet Explorer ever was. Some of the useful features include Cortana integration (there to help you search the web) and the Reading View (gets rid of all the clutter on a page and makes it a whole lot easier for you to get the info you want). Don’t worry, the Internet Explorer is still there, hidden away in some dark corner of Windows 10 for compatibility purposes.
6. Snap Away
Multitasking made easier! Dragging an open window (from any of the four corners of the screen)to one part of the screen will result in it automatically “snapping” to half or one quarter of the screen. What remains in the rest of your screen are thumbnails of your other opened windows.
7. Play Around with Continuum
Microsoft didn’t forget about its touchscreen users and so the Continuum feature lives on in Windows 10. Depending on the device you are using, you can switch the interface between the PC desktop and a tablet mode (in the style of Windows 8). PCs will use the former, Windows tablets the latter, and hybrids will switch between the two modes depending on whether your device comes with a keyboard or not. In the tablet mode, the Start menu and Windows apps fits onto your entire screen.
8. Action Centre
If you’re familiar with Windows Phone 8.1 (or Android and iOS for that matter), then you probably know all about the notification centre that you drag down from the top of your phone’s screen. Windows 8 had something similar, but the downside was that all those notifications went away for good once they faded from your screen. In Microsoft’s new Action Centre (on the right of your screen), notifications are archived as soon as they appear, plus you get various settings buttons (activating Bluetooth, for example) at the bottom of the screen.
9. Xbox Fans Rejoice: Here’s an App for You
It’s not a bad feature to have around, although we have a feeling that it might be more useful to console gamers than PC ones. On the right side of the Xbox app are your friends and when you select one of them you can see their game clips and achievements or send them an IM. You can also view your own stats and profile within the app and even stream your Xbox One games to a Windows 10 tablet or PC.
10. Windows 10 Is Completely Free
Microsoft made this announcement back in January and it’s one of the most interesting things about Windows 10. All Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users (even Windows 7) will be able to upgrade their OS to Windows 10 during this first year (perhaps longer), free of charge. However, if you need to get Windows 10 for business (through a volume licence), you’ll need to pay for it.
Do you have Windows 10 on your devices already? What are your favourite features?