Microsoft says that Windows 10 is the best Windows ever. That means that the most popular computer operating system of all times - Windows 10 - has to meet plenty of high expectations. Although it has its fair share of problems, especially with updates, Windows 10 also offers some exciting features. Starting with a well designed Start Menu, continuing with a pleasant desktop experience and excellent gaming features, and going all the way to a completely new Microsoft Edge, Windows 10 is the best operating system built by Microsoft in the last decade. Here are the things we like most about Windows 10:
1. The Start Menu is back, and it is better than ever
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 apps from the Microsoft Store, as well as shortcuts for traditional desktop programs. Microsoft managed to capture the best of both experiences and created the most efficient Start Menu we ever saw.
2. The new Microsoft Edge is the best browser Microsoft ever made
Microsoft Edge is the default web browser in Windows 10. It replaced the old and weary Internet Explorer and used EdgeHTML, a completely new rendering engine. That was up until recently when Microsoft decided to change it again. Although the name of Microsoft Edge carries on, the new version of the browser uses Chromium as its rendering engine. It's the same engine used by Google Chrome or Opera, and, besides being very fast, it also means that you can download and install extensions from the Chrome Web Store! Keep in mind though that, at the time of publishing this article, the new Microsoft Edge is not yet installed by default in Windows 10 (May 2020 Update). It's rumored to come to all of us via Windows Update this year, but for now, you can manually update it from its download webpage.
3. Game on with DirectX 12, Game Mode, and Xbox Game Bar
DirectX 12 is 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. Modern 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.
Windows 10 also comes with a built-in Game Mode that prevents system background activities, such as Windows updates or notifications from apps, during gameplay, aiming to offer a more consistent gaming experience. Not only that, but you also get Xbox Game Bar which lets you do all kinds of useful things: capture screenshots and record the games you play, see details about your PC's performance while playing games, chat with your friends, and even control sound volume or play music on Spotify without having to Alt-Tab your game.
4. 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 little 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.
5. Become a master of productivity with Task View, Timeline, and virtual desktops
Windows 10 is the first Windows version to introduce virtual desktops, available through what Microsoft calls the Task View. This is one of the best things in Windows 10, allowing you to create and use more than one desktop on your device. Furthermore, Task View also has something called the Timeline. Essentially, it's a tool that lets you continue the work you started on one of your Windows 10 devices on any of the other devices you have. For example, you can start working on a document in Microsoft Word on your main PC, close the file, and then continue editing it on your laptop. It's definitely a feature that can boost your productivity by allowing you to organize your work and apps better.
6. Windows Sandbox
Windows 10 is the first operating system made by Microsoft that bundles a built-in virtual machine of sorts that's easy to install and use by any user. It is called Windows Sandbox and you can use it on the Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows 10. It can be incredibly useful for all kinds of things such as testing apps that you don't trust or visiting websites that look deceitful. The latest version of Windows Sandbox even lets you customize it a bit, as well as make it run scripts and apps automatically. We're pretty sure that this app is going to become even better in the future.
7. Windows 10 loves Linux
Windows 10 includes an optional feature called Windows Subsystem for Linux, otherwise known simply as WSL. You can install it on your Windows 10 PC and then have your own Linux distribution like Ubuntu, openSUSE, or Fedora to work with. In the latest updates of Windows 10, Microsoft improved the integration with Linux even more, releasing the second version of WSL which brings better performance. Furthermore, Microsoft promised that WSL will also get support for graphics rendering. That means that, in the future, we should be able to also run Linux graphical apps directly from Windows 10, without having to run any virtual machines or dual boot into Linux.
8. Increasingly more apps are cross-platform
Many of the apps available for Windows 10 are developed to be cross-platform, meaning that they can work on any type of Windows 10 device, be it a PC, a notebook, a tablet, or even an Xbox One console.
That means there's no need for developers to create different versions of an app for each type of device, as the one app they develop scales seamlessly from the small factor screens like the ones used by tablets, to the biggest screens available like 30+ inch computer monitors. 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 us. Many such universal apps are commonly used by a large part of Windows 10 users: Word Mobile, Excel Mobile, PowerPoint Mobile, Outlook Mail, Calendar, or OneNote apps.
9. Control everything from the Action Center
Any smartphone user knows what notifications and quick actions are and how useful they can be. Microsoft brought this feature to all Windows 10 devices. Your notifications are placed together in the 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, etc.
10. The best Task Manager ever
The Task Manager has always been an essential part of Windows operating systems, and also one of the best tools ever made by Microsoft. In Windows 10, it's even better and lets you do things like checking your system's performance, monitoring and killing processes, or controlling startup apps. Not only that, but it also shows you incredibly useful information about your devices. It's the go-to place when you want to see the utilization of your processor, RAM, disks, or to check the temperatures of your graphics card.
11. The Settings app gets better by the day
In Windows 10, the Settings app is the go-to place for controlling and setting your computer. Although there are still some things left in the old Control Panel, the Settings app steadily takes over. 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 on, whether it's a traditional PC, a notebook, or a tablet.
12. Say Hello to Windows 10!
Microsoft promised that, at some point, we'd 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 the best features of Windows Hello to work on your computer or device.
13. Windows Security
Digital security is essential in the world we're living in, and Microsoft knows it. Long are the days when you absolutely had to spend money on an antivirus to protect your computer. Windows 10 includes one of the best security toolkits you can find in an operating system. It's called Windows Security and provides you with the latest antivirus protection, scanning for malware, viruses, and other types of security threats in real-time. Windows Security is so good that it's actually better than some third-party security solutions.
Which are the best things about Windows 10, in your opinion?
For us, these are some of the best features and things about 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 want Microsoft to improve in future updates?