Windows 10 screenshots
Windows 10 launches in just a few days and it's full of new features and tweaks. Here's Windows 10 in screenshots.
Let's have a look at the most obvious feature: the return of the Start menu.
The left-hand side is a lot like Windows 7's start menu, complete with pinned programs, plus recently accessed apps. To the right is a kind of cut-down Windows 8 Start screen.
The Start menu is resizable, by dragging up and down on the top edge, or the right-hand side. So you can make it tall, wide or both.
Since older builds, the Start menu has gained a new live tile animation and a relocation of the power button from the top right to the bottom of the left-hand menu. A fair amount of work has been done behind the scenes, making live tiles perform better and more reliably.
One of the new features that stars in Windows 10 is Cortana, which makes it the first virtual assistant to arrive on the PC. Unless, of course, you count Clippy from Microsoft Office. Which we don't.
Microsoft has pipped Apple to the post with this one, bringing system-wide voice control to the PC. You can also type to interact with Cortana if you prefer.
Cortana is tightly integrated into Windows and will now pop up in the brand new Edge web browser to offer helpful links and advice. Cortana works with Bing Instant Answers which are like Google's widgets. You can type (or say):
Time in London
68 times 104
How old is the Eiffel Tower?
What's 5ft8 in centimetres?
Microsoft Edge (formerly Project Spartan)
Microsoft has introduced a new web browser with Windows 10, previously code-named Project Spartan. It will replace Internet Explorer as the default Windows browser.
It gives over the maximum screen space to the website you're viewing, and also has built-in tools for annotating and commenting on sites, sharing screengrabs and also a reading mode which strips away clutter to let you focus on the content.
You'll be able to annotate directly on the webpage using your keyboard or a pen if you're using a touchscreen device, and share that page with friends. There's a reading view that aims to remove distractions, and of course, the integration of Cortana so you can right-click on a highlighted word or phrase to get
Windows 10 will bring some Xbox features to the desktop, and players will also be able to play Xbox One games on their PC by streaming them directly from their console to their Windows 10 tablet or PC within their home.
The Xbox app was added in build 10074. This also means Windows 10 has a built-in capability to record gaming sessions. These are then available to view in the Game DVR section of the Xbox app.
Windows Phone's Action Center will be coming to desktop in Windows 10, offering up notifications, quick actions and more, similar to the Notification Center in OS X Yosemite for Mac users.
Quick Action buttons offer toggles at the bottom (some of which can be hidden) for location, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, aeroplane mode and more. Notifications are split into apps, and a 'clear all' link at the top means you can dismiss all notifications quickly.
Task View and virtual desktops
Another new feature is virtual desktops. To see the desktops you click the new Task View button, which sits to the right of the new search box.
This is the view you get when you click on it.
It isn't dissimilar to the Alt-Tab task switching view, and is more like the Expose feature in Mac OS X. You can see enough detail to quickly choose which app you want to switch to.
TIP: If you hover your mouse over one of the thumbnails, a red cross appears allowing you to close the program - a feature that didn't exist in Windows before, but makes complete sense.
At the bottom of the screen is where your virtual desktops are displayed, but since there won't be any the first time you click the Task View button, you have to click on 'Add a desktop'.
You click on a desktop to go to it, and you can then open any apps you want as usual. These will then show on the thumbnail, and only those open on that particular desktop will be shown as larger images, as in the Task View mode. This is slightly different from pressing Alt-Tab, which will show
all running apps. If you prefer shortcut combinations instead of clicking on icons you can press Win-Tab to bring up Task View.
TIP: You can switch between desktops using the shortcut Ctrl-Win-left arrow or Ctrl-Win-right arrow.
On each desktop there's a new quadrant layout for snapping apps. To snap an app, you click on the title bar and drag it to a corner of the screen, release the mouse button and the app will snap into that quarter of the screen. (You can also snap left and right to make the app fill half of the screen as before).
Above you can see we've snapped the Bing app to the right-hand side, and Firefox to the bottom left. In the remaining space, the Snap Assist feature - also new - offers other apps which are running that you can click on to fill it. Arrows below the thumbnails let you scroll through all the open apps. It's a neat feature that saves time when you want to have several apps in view at once.
File Explorer has been given some attention as well. It incorporates frequently accessed folders and - below that - recently accessed files. This makes it even quicker to get to folders and documents that you use all the time.
The favourites section has been renamed quick access.
The Maps app has gained a new 3D mode, but in the UK only Southampton is available to view when we last checked.