Windows 10 is coming out this week and there are a few things you need to know. Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first.
When can I get it? Release date is set for July 29, 2015.
What happened to Windows 9? Last year, when the first previews of Windows 10 were being released I read an interesting article that stated Microsoft didn’t want people to confuse the newest version of Windows with the 90’s versions, Windows 95 and 98.
Great theory, but the real reason is that Windows 8 received such a negative reaction from the majority of users that Microsoft wanted to put as much distance as possible between the new version and Windows 8. Calling it Windows 9 would seem like a continuation of the bad experience. That is how Microsoft sums it up.
What is the cost? Windows 10 will be free to upgrade for users of genuine Windows 7, 8 and 8.l. The free upgrade offer will last for one year after the release date. For those wanting to upgrade from XP or Vista and anyone that misses the free offer period the price is estimated to be $119 for the Home version and $199 for the PRO version.
Ok, got the basics out of the way. What you really need to know:
1. How to get Windows 10. First, Click on the small Windows icon found at the right end of the taskbar. Then, Click “Reserve your free upgrade” in the app window. Now, enter your email if you want a confirmation of this reservation. Details can be found at Microsoft here.
2. Major changes – Cortana, WaaS, Edge & New Start Menu
Cortana Microsoft describes Cortana as “Your clever new personal assistant”. Just like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Echo and Google Now They say Cortana will get to know you. Ok, kind of spooky, but if it works as described it could be pretty useful. It already works on Windows phones, but will be interesting to see how they integrate Cortana into the Desktop environment. You are supposed to talk to Cortana “just like your talking to a friend” so I’m not sure how that will work on a PC. More on Cortana here.
WaaS and Updates Windows as a Service (WaaS) is a new term that basically means Windows 10 will now start automatically updating critical patches as usual, but will also be updating features of Windows. Microsoft is basically saying it will update Windows 10 for the supported “lifetime of the device” which will apparently also be major Operating System Upgrades like the rumored “Redstone” update in 2016.
The major difference in Windows 10 updates will come in the form of “service branches” which means businesses will be able to put there systems on different “service branches” to receive updates within that specific service branch. So if critical machines related to accounting need certain updates or features they can be part of the corresponding service branch to best fit the role of the machine. More details on “service brances” here.
Start Menu The new Windows 10 start menu is pretty cool. It will basically combine the Windows 7 start menu that everyone loves with the Windows 8.1 style “Metro” menu. It seems that Microsoft really listened to user feedback and have pretty much made a fully loaded launch pad. You can pretty much do anything and search anything right from the new Start Menu. Everything you wanted to know about the new Start Menu can be found here.
Microsoft Edge Oh, where to start with Microsoft Edge. Basically, Internet Explorer has been killed off with the release of Windows 10 and has been replaced with Microsoft Edge. I guess it’s safe to say that almost anything will be an improvement to Internet Explorer.
I’m not a fan of Bing or Internet Explorer and I can tell you that I will not be using Microsoft Edge. There is nothing new in Edge that can’t already be found in better web browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. If you currently love Internet Explorer and Bing then you will most likely love Microsoft Edge and read all the details here.
3. Is it worth it? In my estimation every other major release of Windows since ’98 has been great. Windows 98 (great), Windows Millenium (awful), Windows XP (excellent), Windows Vista (terrible), Windows 7 (outstanding), Windows 8 (not so much). If we follow this logic then Windows 10 should blow your socks off.
In all seriousness it is pretty awesome. Microsoft took a ton of feedback and really listened to the market to build Windows 10. It is extremely user friendly and a continuation of the massive Microsoft effort to be a “learning” Operating System. Not to mention it is crazy fast! This is the least sluggish Operating System to date. One Mac user, Alex King, actually put Windows 10 on his 2015 Macbook Pro and says it performed better than the native Mac OS X.
Yes, it is definitely worth it to upgrade. Just make sure you do it within the 1 year free upgrade period!