Microsoft unveils preview of a new Windows

Woody Leonhard

At a much-anticipated event held in San Francisco, Microsoft vice president Terry Myerson unveiled the official Technical Preview of the next Windows.

The presentation packed several surprises, not least of which is the new operating system’s name: Windows 10.

Depending on how you look at it, either Windows 10 is such a leap forward that there just couldn’t be a Version 9, or Microsoft is making a not-so-subtle attempt to distance itself from Windows 8.

Joining Myerson on stage, Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore rousingly demo’ed some of Windows 10’s new features. (You can see the entire presentation on YouTube.) Keep in mind that this release is the Windows Technical Preview — it represents the final product but is certainly far from complete. If you want to do your own preview, sign up for the Windows Insider Program (site) and you, too, can try this early version of Windows 10. Here’s what you’ll find:

A new Start menu: This change from Windows 8 is an obvious no-brainer. No one was going to accept Windows 10 without a real Start menu; Microsoft got that message loud and clear from its customers.

In the new Start menu, the left half looks much like Windows 7’s. But the right half is a pastiche of scaled-down Metro tiles. Both sides are customizable; you can click-and-drag or pin/unpin both menu items and tiles till the cows come home. Drag a menu entry from the left side to the right side, and it instantly turns into a Metro tile. Unpin all tiles, and you end up with a Start menu that looks and works much like Win7’s — at least to a first approximation.

Universal apps: It’s heartening that Microsoft has given up trying to shove Metro apps into our collective faces. Metro apps (aka Full-screen apps, Immersive apps, Windows 8 apps, Windows Store apps, Modern apps, and who knows what else) are now called “Universal” apps. Whatever you want to call them, they’re not the full-screen monstrosities found in Windows 8. Universal apps will now run on the standard desktop in their own floating, resizable windows (think Stardock’s ModernMix).

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2014-10-02:

Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.