Let’s flash back to 2012. About three years ago, Windows 8, the last major release of Microsoft’s ubiquitous operating system, was released to manufacturers. This was to be Microsoft’s most ambitious release yet. Traditional PC sales were in decline, and more personal devices such as the iPad tablet were poised to end the dominant PC platform. Microsoft’s response to this was to change Windows more than in any previous release, in a bid to make it usable with the tablet form factor. Windows 8 launched in October 2012 to much fanfare.

Windows 8 Start Screen

There was much fanfare, but little in the way of sales. Yes, Microsoft did sell many copies of Windows 8, but it did not help the declining PC market rebound. Windows 8 came to be with a touch first interface, with a new Start Screen replacing the traditional Start Menu, and a new breed of Windows 8 apps, which run on the WinRT framework. These WinRT apps have been named many things over the past three years, starting with Metro apps. A trademark dispute ended that naming scheme though, and over time they have morphed from full screen apps to universal apps to Windows Store apps, and practically none of them were able to rival the older Win32 platform in popularity or productivity.

Windows 8 did bring some great features to Windows, but they were overshadowed by the major design shift which, while good as a touch based operating system, alienated many who still used Windows on a traditional desktop or notebook. The Start Screen was a big turn off to many people, and full screen apps were not very efficient on a large screen display. Even the multitasking in Windows 8 was less than ideal, with the initial release only allowing two Windows Store apps to be open at any one time, and the second was relegated to a small side bar.

Microsoft’s own faith in Windows 8 was clearly not strong. Only a couple of weeks after Windows 8 launched, they unceremoniously dumped the project head Steven Sinofsky from the company, and spent the next two years trying to make Windows 8 more usable on traditional mouse and keyboard type machines, which were the vast majority of Windows devices in the hands of users. Windows 8.1 arrived and fixed some of the key issues with Windows 8, and 8.1 Update launched with the ability to boot to the desktop, and avoid the touch interface almost completely if you wanted to.

Windows 10 Start Menu and Desktop view

When looking at Windows 10, I think it is pretty important to look back over the last three years, because none of this is ever built or designed in a vacuum. Microsoft has a huge number of devices running Windows, but a large majority of them are running Windows 7, which was an evolutionary desktop upgrade. Windows 8 struggled to ever take over any of that usage share. Windows 10 is Microsoft’s attempt to bridge the divide. Windows 7 is used by hundreds of millions of people, but its touch support is practically zero. Windows 8 works well in a touch scenario, but is not ideal for keyboard and mouse based devices. Windows 10 promises to be the version of Windows which bridges this gap.

Windows 10 brings about as much change as Windows 8 did, but in almost all cases it is going to be appreciated by users rather than avoided. It will run on a dizzying number of device types, including the traditional desktop, notebook, tablet, two-in-one, phone, IoT, Raspberry Pi, Hololens, Surface Hub, and even Xbox One. What it will bring to each of those device types is not the single interface that Windows 8 pushed on the desktop, but a unified app platform. Each device type will have its own interface, but the underlying app platform will allow developers to target a huge number of devices. And developer buy-in is the one thing Microsoft needs more than any other in order to make this vision succeed. For all of Windows 8’s quirks, it was really the lack of quality apps in the Windows Store which was the one hurdle Microsoft could not code around. Only time will tell whether or not the new model succeeds where the old one failed, but at the beginning of the life of Windows 10 we can go through all aspects of it and see what’s new, what’s changed, and how it fits in on today’s devices.

Return of the Desktop and Start Menu
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  • SeleniumGlow - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - link

    What about the changes and enhancements to the Audio stack. The new windows 10 Audio stack is redesigned completely so that it reduces inputs and recording latency. This supposedly makes windows 10 Audio API on par with something like ASIO, by reserving a complete CPU core.
  • Rickkins1 - Thursday, September 3, 2015 - link

    Bwahahahaha, this is comedy gold. Browse microsoft's forums to see the multitude of complaints about win10 breaking sound cards etc.
  • Rickkins1 - Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - link

    I'd just like to thank microsoft for that totally unbiased review of windows10.

    But seriously, c'mon, will ya...?? Do you really take us for complete idiots...??

    At least have the honesty to label such a piece as "advertisement".
  • Oracv4Prez - Friday, September 4, 2015 - link

    Amongst all the glow and gushing comments I think that Windows 10 is horribly flawed. Lets start with the upgrade: Th new font renders incredibly poorly on my screen (1920 x 1200) Samsung and looks horribly blocky - like an ancient PC from the 80's. Secondly, half of the programs dont work anymore and when I tried to open Microsoft's own office applications, the links all failed.

    SO you want to try out Edge??? No doubt it is faster for all the sites I visit. But...what about your bookmarks/favorites. It wont except anything but IE 11 and if you have them neatly sorted and try to move from another browser to IE the organisation dies.

    And finally when you think you have a few things working, it crashes. Oh well, we all have the dreaded blue screen of death now and them. It politely tells you that there is an error so it will restart. You could wait --- and wait ... and wait for something to happen, but no - nothing!!!!

    Tried the solutions on the web, but obviously there are still a LOT of holes to patch. Oh, and the last update (before I banished it) did more damage than the initial install, causing perfectly functioning applications to crash/or the link to disappear.

    Rating: - pre-beta software status. Use at your peril!
  • TheReviewWriter - Monday, September 7, 2015 - link

    I love it Very smooth makes me feel organized and smart LOL :)
  • Ramon Zarat - Monday, September 14, 2015 - link

    No matter how you slice it, Windows 10 is a step in a VERY wrong direction. If the product is free, YOU become the product. I *HATE* this business model consisting of trading most if not all your privacy *AND* control over your product for $149.00 (typical Windows license price).

    The entire M$ product portfolio is going into that direction. Their first failed move was the Metro atrocity to force you into the M$ store with Windows 8. Then you had Office 365 you rent for a monthly fee FOREVER instead of owning the product. Then they tried to impose an "always on" connection to the XB1 + restriction on sharing games and failed miserably. Now, it's the turn of the entire OS to be free, but at what price?

    I'm a paying M$ customer since Windows 95 but this time, I'll wait until a fully hacked and fully sanitized version of Windows 10 comes out, including with the choice to install or not "upgrades" from Windows update and turning off and all the spyware shit for good.

    I want to own my stuff, not rent them forever, not for free with tons of negative impacts either. I want to control what I own. I want my data stored locally, not in the cloud. And finally, I don't want to share anything that concerns only me. The *ONLY* technological improvement Windows 10 bring to the table compared to Windows 7 that is worthy of mention to me is DirectX12. If hackers can one day bring DX12 to Win7, I'll simply never upgrade.
  • clarkrptg - Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - link

    I would think twice about upgrading to Windows 10. I did so and now have a completely unusable computer with a black screen. I guess I should have known better,but don't understand how Microsoft gets away with this crap over and over and over again. I am moving to Mac . . . no doubt about it. I googled the issue and find a comment from Microsoft, oh, gosh golly,yes, resulting black screens are a problem. Oh, gee whiz, sorry about that. Take your computer into a Microsoft store, blah, blah, put back to factory settings, blah, blah. I have a suggestion for you Microsoft . . . I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER MICROSOFT COMPUTER AGAIN.
  • Miller1331 - Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - link

    Such an upgrade over Windows 8. Microsoft have done good this time
  • ConcettaBustamante - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - link

    My colleagues were searching for NY DTF IT-2663 a few weeks ago and used a document management site that hosts a lot of fillable forms . If others want NY DTF IT-2663 too , here's a link http://goo.gl/JQA7yV
  • kelli stark - Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - link

    WINDOWS 10 reviews are coming positive mostly like start menu is back, internet explorer is replaced by Microsoft edge there are soo many changes that are done to windows 10 you can also check reviews on this site https://www.ticketgateway.com/profile/user_profile... and you will get more updates about Windows 10

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