So now that Microsoft has taken the wraps off its next-generation Windows platform, it’s time to take a quick run through everything we learned about the platform on Wednesday and also address areas where we still have questions. Without further ado, let’s look at everything we know about Windows 10.
- Why is it called Windows 10? Much for the same reason that Spinal Tap’s amps go up to “11” — Microsoft thinks this new release is just too big to be called Windows 9.
- When will it be released? A technical preview of the platform will be available starting on Wednesday. The full version will come out in mid-2015.
- Will it have a full Start menu? Absolutely! As previous reports have indicated, the new build will have a full Start menu that will also include some elements from its Modern UI. While it will look different from the traditional Start menu, it will function much the same way.
- Will it be free for me to download and install? That’s something we don’t know yet as Microsoft never mentioned pricing.
- What features will it give to us desktop users who hated the Modern UI? The new Windows will have a feature called Continuum that will automatically detect whether your device is hooked up to a keyboard and mouse and give you the Desktop UI without at all taking you to the Modern UI. This feature will also take you to “tablet mode” when you touch your display or, if you own a 2-in-1 PC-tablet hybrid, when you aren’t hooked up to a mouse and keyboard.
- What about the annoying way that Windows Store apps I open take up the entire screen on Windows 8? Microsoft is addressing that too. The new Universal Windows feature will let you open up apps from the Windows Store that will appear in the same format that desktop programs do. That means you should be able to minimize or close Windows Store apps with icons on the top of the apps just like the ones on your desktop programs.
- What about more consumer-oriented features like the integration of Cortana? Apparently Microsoft is saving consumer features for another date. This day was all about introducing Windows 10 to its core enterprise customer base.
- So what’s the bottom line? This is Microsoft’s attempt to win back longtime desktop users who felt isolated by the touch-centric features added to Windows 8. Microsoft clearly knows that Windows 8 was hugely polarizing and it wants to make sure that Windows 10 has features that will make everyone happy.