Windows 10: the best Windows yet?

Microsoft announced Windows 10 today. The technical preview will come out tomorrow, October 1, 2014, and the final release will be sometime in the summer of 2015. EDIT 2014-10-01: the preview is now available.

Yes, that’s Windows 10, not Windows 9. Microsoft probably wants to distance itself from Windows 8; calling it “Windows 9” would make it too close to Windows 8. In a media briefing, Terry Myerson said:

But we know that based on the product that’s coming, and just how different our approach will be overall, it wouldn’t be right to call it Windows 9. So, we’re considering our “One” Microsoft strategy, the names of our products like Xbox One, OneNote, and OneDrive, and it’s obvious what the name should be: Windows One. But unfortunately, Windows 1 has been done by the giants that came before us. […] Because we’re not building an incremental product, that new Windows is Windows 10.

This jump reminds me of Firefox jumping from 3.0 to 3.5 because of all the new features they implemented, but this jump in the Windows version is on a grander scale.

Windows 10 logo

Here’s the introduction video that Microsoft released today:

Introducing Windows 10 – the best Windows yet by Windows

My most intense reaction to this video is “Finally, Microsoft implements multiple desktops. It’s about time!”. Also, Task View: it reminds me a lot of the Mac’s Mission Control feature:

Mission Control

Mission Control on Mac OS X Lion

Task View in Windows 10

Task View in Windows 10

Alt+Tab is now very similar to the Task View screen, although with all windows on all desktops. I wonder if the Alt+Alt+Tab thing is still there (I don’t want to call it a bug in case it isn’t there), since it’s still there in Windows 8.1.

Now, Metro apps in windows. In a sense, it’s a good idea, but what makes them different from proper desktop programs? Alright, fine, they’re more “touch-friendly”, but if I’m using a computer, I’m sticking to my keyboard, and I’m definitely not going to smudge my screen with fingerprints. But perhaps that’s just me.

Modern UI app in a window

Modern UI app in a window

It looks like Windows is also starting to go back to its tiling window roots (sort of). Aero Snap now supports up to four tiles:

Tiled windows using Aero Snap

Tiled windows using Aero Snap, showing the “Snap Assist” feature

It’s still nowhere near the functionality of a tiling window manager, but at least it’s there.

Windows Classic in Windows 10 is going to be really interesting, although I don’t expect it to be signficantly different from Windows 8 and 8.1 (i.e. broken).

Overall, Windows 10 reminds me somewhat of OS X Yosemite. Not surprising, since it seems Apple and Microsoft feed off each other from even the early days. That aside, it looks to be really promising as a great improvement over Windows 8.x (whether this was a marketing ploy is debatable). Whether I’ll call it the best Windows version yet, I’ll save for when it gets released as a final version.

I can’t wait to try out the preview. If you’re feeling adventurous, try it today!

A First Look at Windows 10 by Windows

I’m disappointed. Windows 10 didn’t BSOD during the demo.



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