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As we approach the home straight for the release of Windows 10 later in July 2015, here at The 848 Group we can’t wait to get our machines upgraded to the RTM (final release code). Members of the project team who specialise in desktop lifecycle services have been running the technical preview and subsequent build releases, so we are ready to help customers upgrade to the new operating system. Something that is generating a lot of noise is that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for users on Windows 7 and 8. Some of you may have seen your PCs at home asking you do a free upgrade, so please read on to find out about some of the main features that we at 848 simply love. They just might rock your world!

 

So, what makes us excited about Windows 10?

 

1. In-place upgrade for many users upgrading to a new operating system means reinstalling applications. With Windows 10 users have the option to upgrade and retain these applications, eliminating the need for a (sometimes unwanted) ‘clean-sweep’ of your machine prior to an upgrade.

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2. The Start Menu is back after a short holiday in Windows 8! We will see the trusty Start Menu back with the lots of new enhancements, particularly the ability to split the menu itself to create a hybrid menu area that combines the traditional list of programs and directories with the Windows 8 styled custom tiles. Combined, we think they make for an excellent addition to any employee’s experience – enabling incredibly fast and precise navigation and searching.

The ability to customize the new menu and the items, links and applications it contains also enables the user to truly create their own personalized portal – letting you change the background colour, tiles and pin your favourite apps and games. Perhaps more importantly, you can customize which system items appear, such as Control Panel, Documents and My Computer / This PC).

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This is the more traditional Windows start menu. In general, this has always seemed to be the people’s favourite despite the contemporary tile design showcased in Windows 8
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Below are the powerful Windows 8 style tiles available alongside the traditional start menu (left). These can be fully customized and even removed if the user prefers.
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3. Modern Apps – we can access a growing number of apps from the store and they even have Office applications in preview! Microsoft is bringing quite a few changes to how Windows works with Modern Apps, with a key addition being that apps now run inside a window on the desktop. While they can go full screen when you open the app, they are windowed like traditional apps by default.

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4. Security – a number of enhancements have been added like joining a PC to an Azure Active Directory, multi-factor authentication and “Windows Hello” which, with supported hardware, will allow users to login via face recognition.

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5. Cortana – Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri is being ported from Windows Phone 8.1 to Windows 10 so that we can interact with the OS and applications using voice commands. Having your very own adaptive personal assistant will help you find things on your PC, keep track of your calendar and gain navigational or local information almost instantly. This is another feather in Windows 10’s cap when it comes to speed and accessibility, as alongside the new start menu (just to name one of the other features that helps in this regard) you will never find yourself fumbling or using the ‘Search this PC’ function again. Bliss!

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6. Edge – A new, faster performing Internet browser that will support emerging web standards. Internet Explorer is still including for compatibility and the two browsers are designed to work together. Microsoft Edge comes with Windows 10 by default and is accessible across all Windows 10 devices. Built from the ground up (so as to be completely independent from Internet Explorer) Microsoft Edge is set to truly be the next-generation browser, delivering a better web experience that’s made for easy sharing, reading, researching and getting things done. We’re really looking forward to sinking our teeth into Edge further to push it to it’s limits and seeing / developing it’s relationship with systems like Sharepoint, Dynamics CRM and Office 365.

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7. Unified Operation System (OS) – Windows 10 is designed to run on all device types, from the phones, phablets, tablets and laptops through to the traditional PC. This on-the-fly optimisation will be achieved by the new ‘Continuum’ feature – which is essentially a way for the operating system to adapt to the way a device is being used at a point in time. This approach to reactive adaption has been tested since the first version of Windows 8 and Contiuum is the largest, most robust effort so far.

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8. Performance – Windows 10 is snappy and fast with similar hardware specifications to Windows 7 and 8. If you’re doing an upgrade and your machine ran Windows 7 or 8 well then you can expect to see the same performance on Windows 10 while benefiting from the plethora of new applications and features.

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9. Stability – Microsoft released the technical preview in 2014 and recruited millions of testers around the world under the Insiders program. Here at 848 we are proud to be part of that team and as a result we expect the initial release to be the smoothest and most well-received Microsoft OS release ever! Let’s see!

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10. Virtual desktops – For you power or laptop users out there! In Windows 10 you can create several virtual desktops and switch between them. This allows you to have Office applications on one, internet browsers and tabs on the other and photographs on the other and so on. From Graphic Designers and Music Technicians to Law Firms and Business Managers, virtual desktops will revolutionise the way they work and keep organised. Both multitasking and separating your work / personal computer areas will have never been easier.

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 Roll on the release date so we can move the whole of 848 Group’s device estate to Windows 10! Keep watching this space while we keep you updated on all things Windows 10!