When it comes to delivering new versions of Windows 10 with crucial fixes and new features, Microsoft is beginning to hit its stride. In the last few weeks we’ve seen two new versions of Windows 10 and they’ve both come complete with big fixes and even a new web browser. Things are changing rapidly for Windows 10 and the pace is only going to continue as we head deeper into the spring and closer to the summer “launch” that Microsoft has already committed to.
We already know a lot about Windows 10. We’ve seen its new Tablet Mode in action, along with the Cortana personal assistant and massively overhauled interface. Both of those were available in the version of Windows 10 that Microsoft delivered this past January.
In the last month Microsoft has made public even more details about what users can expect. Here are 3 more thing you should know about the ever-changing Windows 10 operating system.
No Passwords with Windows Hello
Like Apple, Microsoft is trying to get users to let go of the idea that a combo of letters and numbers somehow makes their stuff secure. It’s easy to understand why everyone hates the password itself. Most users write them down, and those who don’t right them down typically have very weak passwords to begin with. Some people even make it easier to remember their passwords by using the same password on multiple websites, which is a really bad idea.
Apple’s solution to this is TouchID, a fingerprint reader built into the iPhone and iPad. Microsoft’s solution is called Windows Hello. There’s no one hardware feature that we can point to for Windows Hello yet. Instead, Windows Hello is a software feature. For years, Windows notebooks and tablets have come with fingerprint readers, but Microsoft left it up to hardware makers to support these unlocking methods. This made them a disaster.
With Windows Hello Microsoft is stepping up and taking charge of supporting these security add-ons. Windows Hello will allow users to log into their devices with their thumb or with their face. The system even supports eye scanning. Microsoft says Windows Hello will support Windows itself, apps and “certain online experiences” no password required.
Internet Explorer is Taking a Backseat
Microsoft stunned a lot of people in January when it revealed that it’d been developing a new web browsing engine that worked more like Google Chrome than Internet Explorer. Longtime Microsoft users could probably be heard cheering when Microsoft announced that a new web browser called Project Spartan would include the new browsing engine and come included with Windows 10. At first, Microsoft planned to include the browsing engine in both Internet Explorer and Project Spartan. Now it’s come to its senses.
Project Spartan, which isn’t its official name, will be the default web browser in all versions of Windows 10. Internet Explorer will stay much as it is today, allowing enterprise users and anyone who liked it to continue using it. Project Spartan has built-in support for Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant that manifests itself in the form of quick searches. Additionally, there’s support for taking notes on web pages, saving websites for reading later without a separate app and Reading Mode that seems inspired by Windows Phone 8.1
The Windows Store is More Like iTunes
For a long time, using Windows has been an exercise in adding new apps. We all expect that we’ll need to download programs from other companies, but increasingly Microsoft’s best experiences required users to download apps on its website. OneDrive, then SkyDrive, started this way. So did Zune, Microsoft’s early answer to the dominance of iTunes and the iPod.
With Windows 8 Microsoft directly integrated its best Music and Video experiences into the operating system. Windows 8.1 made them better replacements for typical music and video experiences. With Windows 10, Microsoft is aiming for an experience familiar to anyone who has ever used the iTunes Store.
Today the Windows Store holds apps and games made specifically for Microsoft’s platforms. This week the company debuted a new Video Preview app that focuses on playing and streaming content. To purchase content users will need to visit the Windows Store. It seems, Microsoft’s intentions are to do the same with the Music app too.
The result will be a huge, sprawling digital shop that no longer requires users to know what they’re looking for before they decide to browse. What’s more, the apps themselves will simply focus on what they should be focusing on: a decent playback experience.
Windows 10 is shaping up to be a huge release, and the changes just keeps on coming. On their own, each of these things won’t ensure Microsoft an empire across notebooks, tablets, desktops and phones. Together they do give the software and hardware company a fighting chance. Microsoft says Windows 10 will arrive as a free upgrade for any device running Windows 8 and Windows 7.