[Review] What’s New in Windows 10?
UPDATE: If you have installed the recently released Anniversary Update build of Windows 10, check out our exclusive review at following link:
We know that Microsoft's latest OS Windows 10 has been released to public and Windows 7 or 8.1 users can free upgrade to Windows 10.
Windows 10 was previously referred as Windows 9, Windows Threshold or Windows TH. Actually Windows Threshold is the codename of Windows 10 just like Longhorn was the codename of Windows Vista and Whistler was the codename of Windows XP.
Windows 10 is based on Windows 8 operating system so you get a little bit similar interface as you get in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 but Microsoft has changed lots of things, modified user interface and implemented many useful and exclusive features in Windows 10 which will definitely please many Windows users.
Today in this exclusive review article, we are going to talk about some cool new features and improvements in Windows 10. Following are some worth to mention features of Windows 10:
Return of Start Menu
After a huge demand, Microsoft has finally added a fully-functional Start Menu in Windows 10 as discussed in this article. Windows 10 Start Menu contains All Apps entries similar to Windows 7 Start Menu along with live tiles taken from Start Screen.
In fact Windows 10 comes with both Start Menu as well as Start Screen. Actually Microsoft has combined both Start Menu and Start Screen into a single feature which was previously referred to as Continuum mode. Windows 10 comes with an improved Start Menu which can be converted into a full screen Start Menu which works quite similar to the previous Start Screen. Windows 10 provides users a choice to choose between Start Menu or Start Screen as mentioned in following tutorial:
Check out our exclusive review of Windows 10 Start Menu at following link:
Modern (Metro) Apps Run in Windowed Mode on Desktop
In Windows 10, modern apps run in windowed mode on Desktop similar to other software programs such as Microsoft Office, etc. When you launch a Windows Store app, it opens in windowed mode having titlebar similar to Desktop programs as shown in following screenshot:
Apart from the titlebar buttons, all modern apps also contain a new Hamburger-style (3 lines) menu icon which can be used to collapse or expand the left-side pane in apps.
PS: Microsoft has replaced the good ol' Windows Photo Viewer program with the new Photos app in Windows 10 which takes some time in opening images. You can restore Windows Photo Viewer as default image viewer program using following tutorial:
- [Tip] Restoring "Windows Photo Viewer" as Default in Windows 10
- [Tip] Restoring Classic Programs and User Interface in Windows 10
- [Guide] How to Remove All Built-in Apps in Windows 10
Virtual or Multiple Desktops (Task View)
Its one of the most interesting and useful features introduced in Windows 10. Microsoft has added virtual/multiple desktops feature in Windows 10 which allows users to have more than one Desktop at a time. Linux users are already enjoying this feature since long time.
Windows 10 contains a new button "Task View" in Taskbar which allows you to create multiple desktops. Just click on the button or press WIN+TAB keys together and you'll have a new screen on your desktop where you can add more Desktops.
You can remove an existing Desktop by clicking on the close button given on its thumbnail. You can also preview items on each Desktop by hovering your mouse cursor on desired Desktop thumbnail.
If you want to move a particular program from one Desktop to another, go to Task View screen, right-click on the desired program thumbnail and select the option "Move -> Desktop x". It'll immediately move that program to your desired virtual Desktop.
You can also use WIN+CTRL+D hotkey to quickly create new virtual Desktop in Windows 10. Also you can close an existing virtual Desktop using WIN+CTRL+F4 hotkey. To quickly switch between running virtual Desktops you can use WIN+CTRL+Left or Right hotkey.
Important Changes in Windows Theme and UI
There are many changes in Windows user interface such as:
- Thin window borders
- White titlebars which can be converted into colored using this guide
- New shadow effect in window borders which can be disabled using this guide
- New minimize, maximize/restore and close buttons in titlebars
- New dark Taskbar which now shows clear indicators of running and active programs
- New Quick Access/Home view in Explorer containing frequent folders and recent files list which can be disabled using this guide
- 6 extra folders are still present in "This PC" window which can be removed using this guide
- New icons such as OneDrive, Quick Access in Navigation Pane of This PC which can be removed using this guide
- Lots of new icons such as folders, files, This PC, Recycle Bin, Network, Homegroup, Explorer, Desktop, notification area, etc
- New animations
- New wallpapers [Hero Wallpaper], [4K Wallpaper], [Other Wallpapers]
PS: Other Windows users can get Windows 10 look-like interface using following themes:
New Login Screen (aka Welcome Screen)
Microsoft has added a new Login Screen in Windows 10 operating system which looks as following:
It features rounded user picture (avatar). Also the status icons such as network, easy of access, etc are now shown at bottom-right corner of screen.
By default the Login Screen shows Hero wallpaper image on its background but you can disable the background image with the help of following tutorial:
The startup and shutdown screens have also been modified a little.
Notification Center (aka Action Center)
Microsoft has also implemented Google Android and Windows Phone style Notification Center (or Action Center) in Windows 10 which notifies users about new activities in Windows 10. It also contains a few quick access buttons such as Tablet mode, Connect, Location, Settings, etc to turn those features on/off quickly and easily. Actually the quick action buttons have been added to Notification Center to replace previous Charms Bar.
Notification Center can be accessed by clicking on its icon present in Taskbar notification area.
It shows apps and system notifications which can be removed by clicking on the close (x) button or by swiping them to the right. You can also hide or mute notifications by right-clicking on its icon and selecting "Turn on quiet hours" option.
Another instance of the new notification center can be seen in various notification pop-ups (toasts) such as safe to remove hardware, etc which are shown in bottom-right corner of the screen.
If you don't like the new Notification Center UI, you can restore the previous Notification Center fly-out using a simple Registry tweak given in following tutorial:
You can also disable Notifications and Action Center in Windows 10 using following tutorial:
New Tablet Mode (aka Continuum)
To balance Desktop PCs and touch-enabled devices, Microsoft has put a new feature Tablet Mode (codenamed Continuum) in Windows 10. This mode is automatically activated if the OS detects a touch-enabled device. It provides a full screen user interface such as Modern (Metro) apps launch in full screen, Start Menu opens in full screen, etc.
Users can also manually enable/disable this mode using the new Notification Center or by going to Settings -> System -> Tablet Mode.
New Network Fly-Out from Taskbar
Microsoft has also added a new fly-out menu to access Network settings from Taskbar. Just click on Network icon on Taskbar and the new fly-out will appear on screen.
It'll help users in accessing network settings as well as connecting to wireless networks quickly and easily.
If you don't like the new Network fly-out, you can restore previous Windows 8/8.1 style Network sidebar with the help of a simple Registry tweak given in following tutorial:
New Calendar Fly-Out from Taskbar
Similar to network fly-out, Microsoft has also added a new Calendar fly-out from Taskbar which looks as following:
Just click on date/time in Taskbar and the new fly-out will appear on screen.
If you don't like the new Calendar fly-out, you can restore the classic Date/Time UI using a small Registry tweak given in following tutorial:
New Volume Control Slider UI in Taskbar
Similar to above mentioned fly-outs, Microsoft has also added a new horizontal UI for volume control slider in Windows 10 Taskbar which looks as following:
Just click on Volume icon in Taskbar and the new horizontal slider will appear on screen.
If you don't like the new UI, you can restore previous vertical volume control slider using a small Registry tweak given in following tutorial:
New Battery Fly-out UI in Taskbar
Microsoft has also replaced the classic Battery fly-out in Windows 10 Taskbar with a new modern fly-out which looks as following:
Just click on Battery icon in Taskbar and the new fly-out will appear on screen.
If you don't like the new UI, you can restore previous Battery fly-out UI using a small Registry tweak given in following tutorial:
Microsoft has also put Windows Phone's Cortana feature in Windows 10 which talks and performs some basic tasks when the user types or speaks the commands similar to Windows Phones.
You can either type your search queries or click on small microphone icon to use voice commands. You can also enable the built-in hands-free feature "Hey Cortana" to direct search using your voice without clicking on microphone icon. Just set the option "Let Cortana respond when you say Hey Cortana" to On in Cortana Settings.
Please note that Cortana feature is only available in certain countries such as China, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, U.S. If you are not using a supported locale but want to use Cortana, you can change your locale and language to United States (English) or other supported locales in Region and Language Settings (intl.cpl) and you'll be able to use Cortana.
- [Tip] Disable Cortana and Bing Search Results in Windows 10
- [Did You Know] Windows 8 "Search Everywhere" Feature Still Works in Windows 10
Cortana Search and Task View Buttons in Taskbar
Windows 10 Taskbar shows 2 extra items Cortana Search Box and Task View icon next to the Start Button. If you don't like them on your Taskbar, you can take help of following tutorial to get rid of them:
Also check out hidden secret "Exit Explorer" option in Windows 10 Taskbar:
New "Microsoft Edge" (or Spartan) Web Browser
Windows 10 also comes with a new web browser "Microsoft Edge" which was previously known as Project Spartan.
You can read our detailed review of Microsoft Edge web browser at following link:
Improvements to Command Prompt
The Command Prompt aka Console window has been improved a lot in Windows 10. Microsoft has added some much awaited features such as text wrapping on resize, CTRL hotkeys, etc to Windows 10 Command Prompt.
You can read a detailed review of all new features introduced in Windows 10 Command Prompt at following link:
Improvements to Registry Editor
This improvement is actually surprising. Registry Editor is rarely improved or modified in any Windows version but in Windows 10, Microsoft has added a very useful feature to Registry Editor.
Now you can switch between registry keys in Windows 10 Registry Editor. In other words, you can jump from one key to another using a new context menu option.
But there are some important points to keep in mind! You can toggle between HKCU (HKEY_CURRENT_USER) and HKLM (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE) keys only. Also the selected registry key path must be present in both hives.
New ALT+TAB Interface
Microsoft has also improved the "Alt+Tab" switcher screen in Windows 10. Now when you press Alt+Tab keys together, it shows a full screen interface containing large thumbnails of running programs.
The funny part is that the good ol' Registry tweak to get Windows XP style classic Alt+Tab dialog box still works in Windows 10. So if you don't like the new interface in Windows 10, you can enjoy classic Alt+Tab screen with the help of following tutorial:
Improvements to Aero Snap Feature
Aero Snap feature was introduced in Windows 7 which lets you minimize, maximize or resize program windows using a simple drag-n-drop to screen corners.
This snap feature has been improved in Windows 10. Now Windows 10 allows users to snap program windows into quadrants as well so you can put four program windows at the same time on screen using Aero snap feature.
Also a new Snap Assist feature has been added in Windows 10 which automatically shows a list of other running programs when you try to use Aero Snap feature.
You can also use WIN+Left or Right or Up or Down keys combination to snap windows.
New Settings App
Windows 10 also comes with a brand new Settings app which can be considered as a combination of the good ol' Control Panel and Windows8/8.1 PC Settings app.
Microsoft has replaced the Windows 8/8.1 PC Settings app with this new Settings app which shows almost all Control Panel items and PC Settings options.
Also check: [Guide] Best Privacy Settings for Windows 10
New Data Sense, Storage Sense and Battery Saver Options
Settings app in Windows 10 comes with many new options such as Data Sense, Storage Sense, Battery Saver, etc.
These new options provide useful information to end users for example, Data Sense has been developed for users who use metered Internet connection. It helps users in restricting their Internet connection usage while roaming. It contains 3 tabs: Overview, Usage and Settings.
Similarly Battery Saver option helps users in saving their computer battery when required. It limits background activities and adjusts hardware settings to conserve battery. Users can manually turn the feature on or can set it to start automatically when the battery gets below the given percentage. When Battery Saver mode is on, it shows its icon next to battery icon in Taskbar notification area (system tray).
Storage Sense option helps users in finding which files and folders are taking maximum space on your hard disk. You can also change default save locations for apps, documents, music, pictures and videos.
Progress Bar with Download Status in Windows Update
That's a welcome change. In previous Windows versions, Windows Update doesn't show any kind of status or download information to users. It just shows progress bar animation and users don't have any idea how much updates have been downloaded and how many updates are remaining.
In Windows 10, Windows Update shows a progress bar as well as download percentage information to users so you always have idea how much download has been completed.
But there is a big issue in new Windows Update app in Windows 10. Microsoft has disabled the ability to customize Windows Update download behavior in Windows 10. Now users can't set Windows Update to notify before downloading and installing new updates in Windows 10.
But you can take help of following exclusive tutorial to force Windows 10 to notify before downloading new updates in your computer or you can permanently disable Windows Update if required (not recommended):
Hidden Secret Retail Demo Mode
Windows 10 also comes with a hidden secret Easter egg which is known as "Retail Demo Mode". As the name suggests, this secret mode has been created for retail stores to advertise and show off Windows 10 devices. You can reveal and activate this hidden mode using Settings app.
Check out following exclusive article to learn more about this secret feature of Windows 10:
List of Useful Windows 10 Hotkeys (Keyboard Shortcuts)
There are a few useful hotkeys (keyboard shortcuts) present in Windows 10 which can make your Windows 10 experience better. Some of them are given below:
|WIN key||To access Start Menu|
|WIN+1, WIN+2, ...||To switch to the numbered application in Taskbar|
|WIN+A||To access Action Center or Notification Center|
|WIN+B||To highlight Taskbar Notification Area|
|WIN+C||To launch Cortana in listening mode|
|WIN+D||To toggle between Desktop and programs screen|
|WIN+E||To launch File Explorer (This PC or My Computer)|
|WIN+H||To show Share charm|
|WIN+I||To launch Settings app|
|WIN+K||To show Connect pane to connect to wireless display / audio devices|
|WIN+L||To lock the computer and show Lock Screen|
|WIN+M||To minimize all running program windows and switch to Desktop|
|WIN+O||To lock device orientation mode|
|WIN+P||To show Project pane to select projection type|
|WIN+R||To launch Run dialog box|
|WIN+S||To launch Cortana Search in typing mode|
|WIN+T||To cycle through all running apps in Taskbar|
|WIN+U||To launch Ease of Access Center|
|WIN+V||To cycle through notifications|
|WIN+X||To launch WIN+X menu (Quick Access Menu)|
|WIN+Z||To show command bar in apps|
|WIN+,||To peek at Desktop|
|WIN+Home||To minimize all non-active program windows and then restore them|
|WIN+Prt Scn||To take screenshot and save in Pictures -> Screenshots library folder|
|WIN+Pause||To launch System Properties window|
|WIN+Plus||To zoom in using Magnifier tool|
|WIN+Minus||To zoom out using Magnifier tool|
|WIN+Esc||To close Magnifier tool|
|WIN+Enter||To launch Narrator|
|WIN+Space bar||To switch between input language and keyboard layout|
|WIN+Tab||To open Task View (Multiple or Virtual Desktops)|
|WIN+Ctrl+D||To create new virtual desktop|
|WIN+Ctrl+Left arrow||To switch to the previous virtual desktop|
|WIN+Ctrl+Right arrow||To switch to the next virtual desktop|
|WIN+Ctrl+F4||To close the active virtual desktop|
|WIN+Left arrow||To snap the active program window to the left half of your monitor|
|WIN+Right arrow||To snap the active program window to the right half of your monitor|
|WIN+Up arrow||To maximize or resize the active program window|
|WIN+Down arrow||To restore or minimize the active program window|
|WIN+Shift+Up arrow||To maximize the active program window vertically|
|WIN+Shift+Down arrow||To restore or minimize the active program window vertically|
|WIN+Shift+Left arrow||To move the active program window to the left monitor|
|WIN+Shift+Right arrow||To move the active program window to the right monitor|
|WIN+?||To launch Windows Feedback app|
|Ctrl+F1||To minimize or maximize Ribbon in File Explorer|
|Ctrl+Shift+Esc||To launch Task Manager|
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That's all guys. Also check out following useful articles containing important information about Windows 10 such as editions, pricing, hardware requirements, etc:
- Windows 10 Release Date, Pricing Details and System Requirements
- Windows 10 Upgrade Paths and List of Deprecated Features
- List of Windows 10 Editions (SKUs)
- Who Will Get Free Windows 10?
- Things You Should Know and Do Before Upgrading to Windows 10
- [Guide] Things To Do After Installing Windows 10
PS: Check out following exclusive video showing the new features of Windows 10 live in action:
We'll keep updating this review as soon as we find new features in Windows 10. So keep checking this place regularly...
- Windows 10 RTM Build Changelog and History
- Windows 10 November Update (Version 1511) Changelog
- Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Version 1607) Changelog
Posted in: Windows 10
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