This week Microsoft unleashed its first update for the Windows 10 Technical Preview. Understandably, that has users asking what new features have been added and trying to once again evaluate whether Windows 10 will be the operating system that turns around the bad luck the company has had in the consumer space.
It’s too early to know whether Microsoft has a hit on its hands with Windows 10 just by judging the Windows 10 Technical Preview. The Windows 10 Technical Preview is just a glimpse, an easy way for users to provide feedback to Microsoft about the features that are working and those that still need help.
The first version of the Windows 10 Technical Preview that went out in early October included a ton of big changes. Those included a new Start Menu that includes Live Tiles and allows users to ditch the Start Screen entirely. Applications downloaded from the Windows Store ran in the Desktop in that version too. All of those features are included in the Windows 10 9860 Technical Preview update, but they won’t be rehashed here. GottaBeMobile covered those at length in Windows 10 vs Windows 8 Walk Through: What’s New & Better.
New Title Bars
Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 all used translucent glass around the edges of programs and Fire Explorer windows. Some apps, like iTunes, avoided these glass-like frames, but the overwhelming majority of them didn’t, and this meant that users could count on their Desktop background and other apps being visible through the title bar of the app they’re in. In the first Windows 10 Technical Preview Microsoft slimmed down the frames on the left, right and bottom of programs and windows. In Windows 10 Technical Preview 9860 the glass effect is gone entirely and the tops of Windows are solid colors. This takes away the glass effect for users who liked that sort of thing, but also makes windows more consistent with the new Start Menu and the Designs of Windows Store apps.
Windows 10 Technical Preview 9860’s banner feature has to be the Action Center. Microsoft says that the version included in the preview isn’t as robust as what it’ll have available for users in the final version of Windows 10, but it’s a decent start. Today, the Action Center puts notifications from Windows Store and Desktop apps into one place. Notifications are sorted by time and what app they originated from. In Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft lets users select different settings in the Action Center for quick access. Microsoft says it plans to make that feature available here too.
Battery Saver & Data Sense
When it revealed the Windows 10 Technical Preview Microsoft made it clear that it had absolutely no problem with taking influence and direction from across its portfolio of software and services. In addition to snatching the Action Center away from Windows Phone 8.1, two new features in Windows 10 Technical Preview 9860 come from the Windows Phone operating system.
Battery Saver allows users to get a grip on what app or apps are doing in the background and how they may be effecting battery life. On Windows Phone users could set Battery Saver to activate when their battery is low to prolong the time they have until a charge is needed. That’s essentially what Battery Saver in Windows 10 Technical Preview 9860 does.
Data Sense is a utility on Windows Phone that allows users to get a granular look at what apps are taking up space and make changes to make sure that they won’t be using more data than what they have available. It works the same way in Windows 10 Technical Preview 9860.
Transitions for Multiple Desktops
The first big feature to leak from early builds of Windows 10 was what are essential multiple Desktops. Users are able to create multiple Desktops and open specific apps inside of each Desktop. This allows users to better compartmentalize their different tasks, and save themselves from what could be a very embarrassing situation if they’re working on personal projects when their boss comes along.
These are still in Windows 10 Technical preview 9860 but there’s a key change. In soliciting feedback from users, Microsoft realized that there weren’t any on-screen effects to let users know they’d switched Desktops. That’s actually an issue I ran into myself running the early preview. This new version has some cool effects that let you know you aren’t in the same Desktop that you were before.
Read: Don’t Install Windows 10
These changes plus all the features Microsoft showed off on previous builds of Windows 10 are probably enough to make you think that running the Windows 10 Technical Preview on your machine is a good idea. It is not. Microsoft is committed to releasing a final version of Windows 10 for all users at some point in 2015. The Windows 10 Technical Preview we have right now is just a foundation, a way for Microsoft to quickly get feedback about the operating system and the changes that still need to be made. As I said in piece when the first Windows 10 Technical Preview went live, absolutely, do not install the Windows 10 Technical Preview on your personal laptop, desktop or tablet.
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