Saturday, June 13, 2015

Family Tech: Latest, much anticipated, Windows 10 on its way - June 12, 2015

While there may one day be a Windows 11 and then 12, Microsoft is transitioning Windows into a service. This means improvements to Windows will be incremental with new features being downloadable as they become ready. After 10’s release, there will no longer be a long wait and then massive changes and improvements in one big release.

First though, we have to get through the upcoming Windows 10 release slated for July 29. For many of us Windows 7 and 8 users, Windows 10 will be free for the first year.

And no, you did not miss a Windows 9. Microsoft decided 10 was such a big deal, it decided to skip the 9 nomenclature entirely and jump to 10.

What’s in Windows 10 is no secret. It released preview versions months ago and I’ve been running it in a virtual computer, where I can play with it without it being my primary operating system.

Microsoft made what is now regarded as missteps with Windows 8 that it has corrected in 10.

The Start button and menu is back. Gone are the two “modes” of Windows 8, the standard Windows mode, and the tiles mode. That was always confusing.

Windows 10 combines the two. Next to the pop-up Start menu are a few tiles to popular programs and snippets of information. It can be effectively ignored if you choose.

Windows 10 supports an entirely new browser called Edge. Internet Explorer has greatly improved in the last few years, but for many was the browser associated with invasive toolbars and security exploits.

Among other features, Edge lets you annotate a web page and stores the annotation for you or lets you share your annotation with others.

Larger screens let us do more. With Windows 10, we can snap up to four applications on the screen at one time to make multitasking easier.

Microsoft has its own Siri-like query ability now. Like Google’s Google Now or Apple’s Siri, Cortana asks Windows questions and it will answer them based on web searches and information it has learned about you.

Microsoft is especially proud of how it reminds you of upcoming appointments.

Since there are versions of Windows 10 for PCs, tablets, Xbox, and phones, Cortana works across your platforms if you operate entirely in the Windows ecosystem.

Developers can even create one app that will run on these various platforms. Also, Android and IOS apps can be modified by their developers to run on Windows 10.

And of course, Windows 10 works with both keyboards and touch screens.

Windows 10 comes with a number of apps at no cost, including email, maps, photos and calendar.

Windows 10 is integrated with OneNote to save new documents to OneDrive easily. OneNote is Microsoft’s online cloud storage like Dropbox.

That makes your files available to all your devices and gives them some backup protection.

Integrated into 10 is the Windows Store where you can purchase applications and download free apps as well.

Its music app is an iTunes-like store where you can purchase individual tracks or entire albums free of Digital Rights Management (DRM), meaning you can move the music freely among your devices.

Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for many of us already running Windows 7 or 8.1 at home. If you go to the page listed in this week’s link post at, you can reserve a copy. What that means is that if you leave your PC on all the time, your existing Windows will download the upgrade ahead of time, and let you install it on the July 29.

Or, you can wait and upgrade anytime during the first year for free.

If you have an old Windows XP system, and the hardware will support Windows 10, you can purchase Windows 10 Home for $11, or Windows 10 Pro for $199. Windows Pro is designed for small businesses. If you already have Windows 8.1 Pro, you will get a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. There is a link at explaining the various versions.

You do not have to upgrade now and if your hardware is not powerful enough, you may not be able to upgrade. However, when you buy your next PC, it will likely come with Windows 10.
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