Launched last week, the new Windows 10 operating system arrived with a bang, installing on about 18 million machines by Monday. If you’re one of the owners of the new OS, you’re probably still tinkering with it and if you still don't have it, you might be interested in learning more. In either case, here ere are 10 things you’ll want to know about the new edition.
You Can Get It Free -- Maybe
The upgrade to Windows 10 is free to customers who already have Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 installed on their PCs or tablets, according to Microsoft. That offer is good for the next year. Otherwise, it's $119 for the Home edition of the OS and $199 for the Pro version.
Set Aside an Hour for Installation
It might take only 20 minutes to install the upgrade on newer devices, but it will take longer -- up to an hour --for many other devices. Users must download the installation files before starting.
It Will Work on Most Devices
That includes laptops, tablets, the Xbox One console and devices and servers related to the Internet of Things -- and, of course, the humble desktop PC. Computers that are just a few years old should work with Windows 10 as long as they run Windows 7 or newer operating systems and have 1 GB of RAM, 1 GHz processors and 16 GB of hard disk space. A smartphone version, Windows 10 Mobile, is said to be on the way later this year.
Internet Explorer, RIP
Microsoft has replaced IE with Edge, a new browser that Redmond promises will be much faster and more secure than its predecessor. It will also offer the Cortana digital assistant and simplify the process of sharing and annotating Web sites.
The Tablet Version Comes with a Free Office-like Suite
If you run Windows 10 on a tablet, you get free access to Universal Apps for Office, a basic version of the Office suite that can be used to view and make simple edits to documents and presentations.
So Long, Tiles
Many users didn’t like it when Microsoft replaced its traditional desktop and Start button with the tiled Metro display, but Windows 10 mostly does away with that in favor of the more traditional Windows interface.
It’s All about the Multitasking
Features of Windows 10 include Action Center, Task View and Snap Assist, all of which are meant to improve multitasking capabilities. Snap Assist lets the user snap up to four things onto the screen at once, while Task View makes it easier to see open apps, docs and files in a single view.
It’s Already Raising Privacy Concerns
Reports indicate that in its default setting, Windows 10 has permission to transmit user data to Microsoft’s servers, profile Windows usage and other disconcerting functions. Experts advise using the custom installation options and using the feedback and diagnostics usage toggle to opt out of sharing data (Start->Settings->Privacy: Set diagnostic and usage data to Basic).
It Embraces Holographics and Virtual Reality
HoloLens, the virtual-reality headset from Microsoft, is a Windows 10 device, meaning the holographic technology is built into the OS. The digital work space is getting closer to reality.
This Might Be It for a While
There’s little if any indication that there will be a Windows 11. Instead, expect access to regular updates to Windows 10 via subscription.
Image credit: Product shots by Microsoft.