Windows 10 is finally here! If you’re a Windows user, you’ve probably noticed the little Windows icon in the bottom right of your screen which invites you to upgrade to Windows 10. All hype aside, Windows 10 is looking like it will enjoy a much smoother and popular uptake than compared to Windows 8, and it’s not just about the return of the Start menu. Ever since Microsoft tried to scrap the much loved classic Start menu with the release of Windows 8 – which made sense if you were using a touch screen or tablet but not really when you were using a desktop – there has been a strong and popular argument made for keeping the Start menu. Many PC users and tech nerds alike have argued that the Start menu is more efficient and productive than the much vilified Metro screen of Windows 8, and Microsoft copped an extraordinary amount of internet flak for forcing users to adopt the Metro screen as the only means of interface management.
Windows 10 has not only kept the Start menu, but attempts to advance the field of desktop management for users through the implementation of Task View. Similar to the Mac OS X equivalent, Task View enables you to view each open application as a thumbnail preview and is accessible on the task bar, partially accessible through the classic shortcut Alt-Tab, and fully accessible through the new shortcut Start-Tab. Task View also works with the new feature Aero Snap, which enables you to “snap” a window into place and simultaneously see your Task View windows. You can also divide the screen into halves or quarters using Aero Snap, all the while maintaining a fully functioning Task View.
Much has been made of the battle among the world’s tech giants to develop the best voice recognition. With Google’s Google Now and Apple’s Siri, so far Microsoft has been outplayed in this game, but with Cortana in Windows 10 Microsoft hopes to make a more meaningful entry into the field. Cortana is actually named after the AI in the smash hit console game series Halo. In Halo, Cortana assists the main protagonist throughout the game with handy advice and guidance. Now Cortana has been made available to Windows 10 users. It is highly customisable – even to the extent of recognising your voice over others – and seems to be quite capable as a digital assistant. Voice recognition accuracy seems to be on par with Google Now and Siri, and you can program Cortana’s answers to your preference. Perhaps the most noteful aspect here is that Cortana is available at all to desktop users, as voice recognition based digital assistants such as Siri have traditionally been exclusive to smartphones. Cortana can only get better as we go, with new features being added all the time.