Windows 10 is said to be the best Windows so far and that means it has to meet plenty of high expectations. Luckily, Windows 10 brings some really neat and interesting new features: starting with a completely redesigned Start Menu and continuing with a better desktop experience, to Cortana (a witty personal digital assistant), to Microsoft Edge (the most modern web browser built by Microsoft in recent years), so it's actually no surprise that Windows 10 got everybody excited. In this article we are going to share some of the best new features that you'll find in Windows 10. Let's get started:
1. The Start Menu is back and it’s awesome
Up to Windows 8, users got used to the Start Menu , which was ever present in earlier Microsoft's operating systems. Then, it suddenly disappeared, being replaced by the Start screen. Users started complaining about it so, with the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft listened to the feedback it received and developed a whole new Start Menu , which combines the best of the old Start Menu and the Start screen. The new Start Menu offers lists for all the apps you installed, shortcuts to recently installed or frequently used programs, as well as a separate section in which you can pin live tiles for universal Windows platform apps, as well as shortcuts for traditional desktop programs. Microsoft managed to get the best of both experiences and created the best Start Menu we ever saw.
2. Cortana is your witty digital assistant
Cortana is arguably the most interesting new feature of Windows 10. Cortana is a complex program designed to act as your personal digital assistant. She is able to understand and speak several languages , so she'll definitely change the way you interact with your Windows 10 devices, transforming the user machine interaction into a more human and natural one. Cortana can understand and do various things , like launching apps, taking notes, settings reminders, she can tell you the weather prognosis or the latest news and she even can chit-chat with you.
3. Microsoft Edge is a major improvement over Internet Explorer
Edge i s the new default web browser for Windows 10. It replaces the old and weary Internet Explorer and uses a whole new rendering engine. Edge is a lightweight web browser that is a lot faster than Internet Explorer and most of the other browsers out there. It also offers great support for the latest web standards and web technologies. You can also use it to make and share annotations directly on web pages. Add the fact that it is integrated with Cortana and it can offer you personalized information and search services. Plus, it now offers extension support, just like Firefox, Chrome or Opera. All things considered, we hope that you will agree with us when we say that Microsoft Edge is worth testing and using at least as a secondary browser, if not your main one.
4. Become a master of productivity with multiple virtual desktops
Windows 10 is the first Windows version to introduce virtual desktops. That means you can create and use more than one desktop on your device. It's a feature that will boost your productivity, by allowing you to better organize your work and apps.
5. Snap your app windows, don’t break them
The first time we saw Snap was in Windows 7 . Microsoft didn't forget about this small yet incredibly useful feature and, in Windows 10, they improved it a lot. It's one of those great examples about how small things can mean a lot: with just a few gestures you can quickly and neatly organize all the apps and windows you have opened on your desktop. Anyone who has tried this new feature can tell you just how much it can help you be more productive on your desktop.
6. Universal apps are the new trend
Microsoft mentioned their intention to create universal apps for quite a while now. With Windows 10, they finally made this reality: developers can write apps that just work on any type of Windows 10 device, be it a PC, a notebook, a tablet, a smartphone or even a Xbox One console. That means there's no need for them to create different versions of an app for each type of device, as the one app they develop will seamlessly scale from the small factor screens to the biggest screens available. It might not seem too interesting for end users but, long story short, that means a lot less work for developers and a lot more apps for users. Microsoft created quite a few universal apps that are already available for Windows 10 users. To mention just a few, you can use Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile, Outlook Mail, Calendar or OneNote apps on all of your Windows 10 devices. Furthermore, these universal apps from Microsoft are all free and they can sync across devices.
7. Continuum everywhere: mobile and desktop alike
Much has been said about Continuum. This feature is something many dreamed of and, with Windows 10, Microsoft made it real. Continuum means you can switch in an instant the way Windows 10 looks and works, depending on the device that you are using and how you are using it. In Windows 10 terms, Continuum is named Tablet Mode and it works like this: say, for example, that you use a hybrid device and, at some point, you want to leave the keyboard on your desk and walk around with the tablet portion of that device.
Windows 10 automatically detects this change and switches to Tablet Mode , meaning it will remove the normal taskbar, turn the Start Menu into a Start screen and so on. Also, apps are now opened in fullscreen mode. All this to make it easier for you to work with your device. And keep in mind that we mentioned just an example. However, Continuum works the same way in many other situations, like when connecting a screen and a keyboard to your Windows 10 smartphone.
You can learn more about how Continuum works on smartphones with Windows 10 Mobile, from this article.
8. Control everything from the new Action Center
Any smartphone user knows what notifications and quick actions are and how useful they can be. Microsoft brings this feature to all Windows 10 devices. Your notifications are placed together in the new Action Center , which pops up from the right side of the screen. The notifications keep you updated with anything happening on your device, while the quick actions help you quickly and easily open all kinds of features like Tablet Mode , Wi-Fi, VPN and so on.
9. Even configuring your settings is cool in the new Settings app
Microsoft developed a new place for controlling and setting your Windows 10 device, so that it works just the way you like it. It's called Settings and it's probably going to completely replace the old Control Panel at some point in the future. The main advantage of the Settings app is that it is easy to use both when using touch and when using a mouse and keyboard. It doesn't matter what type of device you're using, whether it's a traditional PC, a tablet or a smartphone.
10. Game on with the new Xbox App
Windows 10 comes with the new universal Xbox app built-in. The app connects you to your Xbox One console, allowing you to bring your games to your PC, access your friends lists, messages, record, edit, share and stream games you play and so on. If you're a gamer, you'll surely like the new features a lot.
11. Go where no one has gone before, with offline maps
Windows 10 comes with a new Maps app that allows you to download, save and use offline maps. It's a great feature, that has already proved its worth on smartphones. Any user who has a metered internet connection will surely be more than happy to find that this feature exists. Furthermore, the Bing maps are of good quality and cover most countries in Europe, Americas, Australia, Africa and large parts of Asia.
12. Say Hello to Windows!
Microsoft promised that, at some point, we'll no longer need a password or a PIN code to log in to our Windows devices. Windows 10 can already do this with the help of a new and exciting feature called Windows Hello . Hello uses your face, iris or fingerprint as your biometric authentication method. The only downside, if you could call it that, is that you need specialized hardware for Windows Hello to work on your computer or device.
13. Change the way you look at your gaming rig, with DirectX 12
DirectX 12 i s the latest graphics API developed by Microsoft and it is available only in Windows 10. It comes with some exciting features like low-level access to the hardware components that are inside your PC, especially the graphics card. New games that use DirectX 12 are now capable of efficiently using and distributing load among multiple GPU cards and multiple processor cores. To put it simply, Windows 10 makes new games run faster and better than they would on previous Windows operating systems.
These are some of the biggest new features brought by Microsoft in Windows 10. Before you close this article, don't hesitate to share with us your opinion about Windows 10. Is it a great operating system? What do you like about it? What would you like Microsoft to improve in future updates?