All of us here at Netcom are excited about the OS for it’s new features and of course the free price tag.
There are lots of appealing new additions in Windows 10 and unless you’ve been reading the articles, you might have missed a few.
Here are 10 things to know about Windows 10:
- Free OS upgrade to Windows 10
The big news… the upgrade to Windows 10 will be free for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users (except for those with Windows Enterprise Edition) for one year after the launch date (July 29th, 2016). And to make things easier, you can upgrade to Windows 10 through Windows Update if your OS is up to date. This enticing offer will surely speed up adoption, For more information on whether your systems qualify for a free upgrade, check out the following Windows 10 licensing guide and Upgrade Paths article.
- The Return Of The Start Button
The one thing that everyone disliked about Windows 8, it was the removal of the start button in favor of the Metro / Modern UI. This drastic change to the interface was the top complaint of the otherwise very robust operating system. Microsoft listened to the feedback and they brought a semi-start button back in Windows 8.1… but not the same one that everyone was used to. So, the return of a more familiar start button experience in Windows 10 is highly anticipated indeed.
- Universal OS and apps + doc syncing
Microsoft “promises” that Windows 10 will be the same OS across PCs, supported tablets, and smartphones – all of which can run the same (select) universal applications. On top of that, Windows 10 device integration with OneDrive and Azure active directory should produce a consistent, seamless experience to users by providing the same access to files, apps and preferences no matter where they are or what Windows 10 device they’re using. That’s a big promise but it could be amazing.
- Enhanced Security
In this time of seemingly endless security breaches, Microsoft wants to better protect us against these threats. With Windows 10, Microsoft will deliver security features including multi-factor authentication built into the OS, secure containers based on Hyper-V, integrated data loss prevention solutions, automatic encryption of sensitive data, improved policy based access control to specific information even after it’s left the network, better ways to separate personal and work data, granular control over which apps are allowed VPN access and improved controls over which applications users can install.
- Faster update cycle + more options for delivery
With Windows 10, it’s time to say goodbye to Patch Tuesday. Updates and new features will be available more frequently than once a month, and patches will be pushed to home users as soon as they’re ready. Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise users will have more control over when updates are applied through either Windows Update, WSUS, or System Center. You can choose to keep pace with the latest through the current branch for business (CBB) program or wait longer for less frequent roll ups using the long-term servicing branch (LTSB) option.
- Multiple Desktops (Virtual Desktops)
If you’re like me and are always looking for ways to be more organized, Windows 10 offers a built-in way to separate your running applications into multiple virtual desktop views.
For example, you can set up one virtual desktop for emails, another for productivity software and yet another for web browsers. You can then arrange windows in each view and the OS will remember their position within each desktop. This feature is especially handy if you don’t have multiple monitors, if you are a big multi-tasker, or if you’re using a device with limited screen real estate. While this sounds very innovative, Mac and Linux users have had this feature available for years…
- Facial, biometric, and voice recognition
Microsoft has stated that they are on a “journey to eliminate the use of single factor identity options like passwords. One big part of this strategy is Microsoft Hello, which can recognize your face, iris, or fingerprint as an authentication factor. Of course, a supported fingerprint reader or an infrared camera are required to use Hello. Windows 10 can also recognize your voice through Microsoft Cortana, a personal assistant that can do things like answer questions, set reminders and appointments, and take notes. Cortana has been on Windows Phones for a while now, and she’s now making the jump to PCs with Windows 10 (not to mention Android and iOS devices too).
- New Web browser – Microsoft Edge
After many years with Internet Explorer (the first release came out in 1995), Microsoft will launch with a brand new default web browser called Edge (formerly known as project Spartan) with Windows 10. Characteristics of Edge include a new rendering engine, dropping of legacy support that arguably held IE back, better adherence to HTML standards, faster page load times, support for 3rd party extensions and the ability to write shareable notes on top of web pages.
- This is the “last” version of Windows, and it’s going to be huge
Microsoft has indicated that Windows 10 will be the last numbered version of the OS. Windows 10 will see a move towards an OS model that will provide more frequent, incremental feature rollouts to the same OS instead of the periodic OS launch cycle that we’ve become accustomed to for more than two decades. Microsoft expects that most Windows users will upgrade to Windows 10 within the first year of launch. Their goal is to reach 1 billion devices running Windows 10.
- Many questions around the operating system still remain
While Microsoft has made many things about Windows 10 clear, many questions are still unanswered. For example, Microsoft has not clearly defined what their stated “Windows as a Service” model will look like in the future, so IT pros (such as us) are struggling to fill in the blanks and figure out what the implications are for customers. For example, “as a service” implies a monthly fee for using a product to many, but at the same time, Microsoft employees have stated that Windows 10 will not require an annual fee. Also, Microsoft also muddied the waters when they said that they’ll continue to update Windows 10 for free for the “supported life” of a device, implying that updates might potentially stop at some point. Still more questions about OEM and volume licenses remain as well.