Microsoft released their latest operating system, Windows 10, into the wild on July 29th, 2015. Windows 8, like Vista before it, left many users feeling alienated. Lack of third party development and poorly implemented user interface (UI) design left the operating system feeling stagnant and forced. Microsoft listened to their customers and came out swinging with Windows 10.
Users booting into Windows 10 for the first time will immediately notice the missing “metro” style start menu. The start menu tiles moved into a familiar, Windows 7-like start menu. However, those using touch screen devices still have the option to switch back to the touch-friendly tiles. Packaged in the start menu users will also find easy access to settings, shutdown and restart, file explorer, and more. There is no longer a need to awkwardly navigate between apps and menus by moving your mouse into the corners of your screen, known as “hot corners.” The regression back to a style similar to Windows 7 and removal of many features found in Windows 8 should bring those left bitter back to Microsoft.
Like each previous version of the operating system Windows 10 also brings its unique style. Microsoft has steered away from the gradient laden look of Windows 7 and the overly bright, square style of Windows 8. Menus, windows, and the taskbar feature a flat and dark theme. Users can add accent colors to bring some pop to the interface, bringing perfect balance between subtlety and flash.
Cortana, Microsoft’s take on a personal assistant, is also here to help. Weather forecasts, trending topics, and more are available at your fingertips or via a simple voice command. Using Cortana is easy, but it occasionally relies on browser searches. Simple tasks such as looking for nearby gas stations are relegated to Bing searches. Google Now and Siri overshadow Cortana, but Microsoft’s assistant is still young.
Microsoft also implemented performance and speed improvements in Windows 10. Early benchmarks show notable improvement in frame rates (frames per second). Gamers may find their minimum and maximum frame rates increase when upgrading to Windows 10. AMD and NVIDIA, graphics card manufacturers, both saw issues with drivers during the release of Windows 10, however both companies have since released updates.
Windows 10 is a large improvement over Windows 8 with a user friendly interface, slick new look, and improved performance. Windows 10 is a free upgrade for anyone using Windows 7 or higher and users should not hesitate to take advantage of this offer. Users left unsatisfied by Windows 8.1 may find a comfortable home with Windows 10.