On September 30, Microsoft announced the next edition of Windows, Windows 10…we were all expecting the next edition to be Windows 9 (seeing as it was going by numbers… Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1…). The new operating system boasts one system for all platforms (tablets, smartphones, laptops, and PC, etc), a completely new and fresh, return of the long wanted start menu, improved multi-tasking (this feature looks really sweet), and apps opening up in windows as opposed to the full screen. One sweet thing, is apps will have universal support across all platforms. Windows 10 is set to launch mid 2015, and the Technical Preview released on the 1st October 2014

You can read more on the announcement of Windows 10 with these links:

http://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2014/09/30/microsoft-announces-windows-10/ 

http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/30/6868695/microsoft-windows-10-announced-official

http://mybroadband.co.za/news/software/110806-windows-10-announced.html

Windows 10 Technical Preview out…Thoughts and Expectations

Microsoft started it’s Insider Program – this is where users can take part in the testing of Windows 10 Technical Preview, and are able to give feedback to Microsoft and take part in discussions (forums, etc). This is where the Technical Preview is available for download. The user can download the .iso files or download the upgrade file (I choose to go ISO…I remember having that weird upgrade Install issue with Windows 8.1).

I am pretty excited to be getting my hands on the Technical Preview of Windows 10…I will be testing it out, seeing what is cool, what is not so cool, and if it is worth the upgrade from Windows 7 (I have gotten comfortable with Windows 7 now). Windows 8.1 was not so bad, I think it was just a case of people not welcoming change.

I will be testing this system out on my laptop – I have the Dell XPS L502X Notebook, it should be good enough for the Preview. The hardware requirements for this Technical Preview are the same as the requirements of Windows 8.1 (32 or 64 bit – depending on which version you pick).

Currently downloading the Technical Preview of Windows 10
Currently downloading the Technical Preview of Windows 10…Thank goodness for University Wi-Fi 🙂

Installation and Start-Up

So after roughly 40 minutes, Windows 10 Technical Preview finished downloading. I installed Windows 10, making use of Daemon Tools Lite (mounting it into a virtual drive). The installation process was much like Windows 8 / 8.1. I chose the upgrade option, from Windows 7 (this kept my personal files, settings, programs) – funny enough, such an option was not available for upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1…

Installing Windows 10 Technical Preview went smoothly, no errors occurred. The only bummer I experienced was the long installation time – this is probably because I chose the upgrade option, so it had to use more power keeping my installed programs and settings. The installation took me just over an hour – better an hour, knowing all your software, files and settings are intact, than 3 hours trying to restore what had been erased 😀

I had to install my graphics drivers – seeing as there is no “official” Windows 10 drivers, I decided to install the latest Nvidia graphics driver (344.52) for my Nvidia GT 525M graphics card, and Intel HD Graphics software (version 9.17….). Both installed fine, and both work fine for me, which is great. My HSPA+ Modem also works fine with Windows 10 Technical Preview, which made me happy 🙂

One thing I will definitely be missing from Windows 7 is the glassy Aero Graphical User Interface 🙂

Performance Estimated

I have had the Technical Preview installed for a couple of days now, the Operating System feels A LOT faster than Windows 7, which I am really enjoying. What makes me love this even more was that I performed the upgrade….I expected the system to run really slow.

As for gaming, games that normally run no problem with Windows 7, are lagging like hell with Windows 10 Technical Preview. I am expecting Nvidia, AMD, Intel to release some Windows 10 drivers in a few months time…I am interested to see how games run with Windows 10.

Exploring the New Changes

The New Start Menu and Search Feature

I decided on getting the Technical Preview to explore the new features and changes to Windows, as well as explore the new operating system, and see if I will like it…so far so good. One change that many users will appreciate is the return of the start menu. Can’t nobody keep the start menu down!!

The Return of the Start Menu...this time, version 2.0 :)
The Return of the Start Menu…this time, version 2.0 🙂

I am really loving the new start menu – it takes the concept of the traditional start menu, and combines it with the new start menu (from Windows 8 / 8.1). In addition to this, the user can customize the size of the tiles on the right of the start menu. If you do not want the start menu, you can easily change this by going to the task bar, right-click and select properties…from there, click the start menu tab and then un-select the first option “Use the Start menu instead of the Start screen”. What I would love to see is the ability to have both options on – from the start menu, the user should get an option to view the start screen.

Another cool feature added to Windows 10 is the search feature – you do not need to go into the start menu to search for files. In addition to searching your computer for the files/folders that match your search criteria, the search feature also searches Bing for results…to view a result from Bing, you just click one of the search suggestions, below the line.

The Windows 10 Search Feature
The Windows 10 Search Feature
The user can choose between the start menu, or or the start screen
The user can choose between the start menu, or or the start screen

Snap up to 4 Windows on a Screen

The user can now snap up to 4 windows onto one screen. Snapping them onto your screen is straight forward – you take your first window and drag it to the top left / top right of your screen, with the remaining 2 spaces, you will be presented a list of windows you would like to fill up the space(s) with. This is a really cool feature, and I think it becomes really useful when you want to view multiple windows at the same time….of course, it would be much better to view these on a big, Full HD Screen 😀 You don’t need to always snap 4 windows, you can easily snap 3 windows, or snap the usual 2 windows side by side 🙂

Running Multiple Desktops

Another really sweet feature added to Windows 10 Technical Preview – the user can now have multiple desktops running…use this feature to “separate” your desktops according to group – a browsers desktop, a work desktop, etc. I am not sure of the limit to the number of desktops a user can run. The way in which it displays the windows, and the desktop is a little confusing at first (I was a little confused at first) but now, it really is easy to use, once you get the hang of it. Nice to see Microsoft catch up a little, on features that have been there for Linux 🙂

Running Applications in Windows

Apps opening up in full screen became an annoyance for many desktop users. I didn’t bother me that much, but it became annoying at some point. Windows 10 now allows the user to open apps in windows, like a normal application. This I believe will make many desktop / Laptop users happy and be more accepting to the idea of running apps on their desktop’s and/or notebooks. In addition to this, I love the new improved App store, they have improved the Graphical User Interface, and I love it. Now, we just need to have some quality apps on that store! If you love your apps running in full screen, you are offered the option to make the app full screen:

Overall Impression

I have had just a few days to play around with Windows 10 Technical Preview, and I must say, I am enjoying every second of it. Windows 10 does not put the desktop user at a disadvantage by forcing them to live with full screen apps, making use of the start screen (Windows 8 Style User Interface). Windows 10 Technical Preview runs and feels a lot faster than Windows 7, which I am loving so much (this I see with the fast shut down, start-up, hibernation and even the time it takes for tasks to be done on my laptop). I am hoping the gaming side of Windows 10 will be faster (I am currently experiencing lag with my games) in a few month time – this is, after Windows 10 display drivers are released.

As far as application compatibility goes, almost all my Windows 7 applications and drivers work well with Windows 10 Technical Preview – I guess this is due to the system taking Windows 8.1 as the base. One application that seems not to work –  I assume it doesn’t work with Windows 10 Technical Preview, is Avast. I am hoping Avast will be releasing a newer Windows 10 Technical Preview version…until then, I will be using Windows Defender (has virus and spyware protection).

A few things I am keen to see is the idea of apps being cross-platform (smart phone, tablet, desktop, laptop ), as well as how Windows 10 will be looking and feeling like with other platforms. I will continue playing around with the Technical Preview, hopefully I will get a full hang of the Operating System 🙂

I cannot wait for the final release version, I am loving the way Windows 10 is going…I will definitely be moving away from Windows 7 now 🙂

Improved Windows Apps (Music, Video, Mail)

One thing I have noticed is the improved Windows Apps – these being the Music, Video and Mail apps. These improvements make the apps feel a lot more organized, and makes using these apps a lot nicer. I find myself loving the new music app, I might just stop using Windows Media Player. The video app organizes video’s really well – I am not sure of the video formats this app may support, but I will not be dropping VLC Media Player any time soon. The mail app really makes going through emails less painful as it was (having newsletters blowing up the inbox, together with social networking emails). This app can now sort E-Mails – it places most Newsletters in a Newsletter folder, and Social networking E-Mails in social networking.