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Windows 10: improved interface


Windows 10—Microsoft’s first OS update since Windows 8—has been a successful release. Microsoft developers designed Windows 10 with the goals of efficiency, multitasking and convenience in mind. They have succeeded: from the return of the Start menu to the Metro apps.

Picking up in areas in which Windows 8 disappointed the public, Windows 10 appeals to those who prefer “traditional” Windows. The old Windows 8 start screen has been replaced with the classic Start menu, but with a new design. It combines the app tiles of Windows 8 with the Start menu of Windows 7 in a new, appealing interface with easy access to applications and settings. Personally, one of the major reasons why I installed Windows 10 was for the Start menu, and although I didn’t have that much of a problem with Windows 8’s Start screen, the aesthetics of the Start menu seemed unbelievably smoother and more functional. For those who enjoy the Start screen of Windows 8 more, Microsoft developers have included a setting that toggles it.

One of the most important developments in the new operating system is improved multitasking. Previously, I could only display two windows side-by-side in Windows 8, but Windows 10 now displays four windows at once. Although it may not sound like that much of a difference at first, the average student can now do everything he wants and has to do—all at once, from browsing Facebook to working on the next APUSH essay.

PC users previously purchased applications that enabled “virtual desktops;” these users could have more than one desktop layout on their computer to suit their individual needs. Microsoft developers have picked up on this, incorporating this feature into Windows 10. However, from a student standpoint, this has minimal use. Not many would have to use multiple desktops, and it is much easier to use the shortcut “Alt + Tab” to switch between windows or display different windows at once. Unless you like the idea of organizing your applications to avoid clutter, virtual desktops have minimal use.

Since Apple has Siri as a mobile assistant, Microsoft developers have decided to add their own, by the name of Cortana. The application has seen use in Windows Phones, and Microsoft has brought that to Windows 10. From the moment I installed Windows 10, Cortana is constantly in my sight waiting for use, easily identifiable by the white circle next to the Start menu icon. For me, Cortana is a competent voice assistant that is practical and has several useful features, such as opening applications on the go and setting alarms. On the plus side, Cortana is also activated voice recognition so I can use it quickly to open up the application. Cortana also syncs with other Windows devices, making Windows 10 much more functional for those who have Windows devices. However, just like other voice assistants, Cortana is more of a burden, since doing things manually with the mouse is much more efficient.

Because Internet Explorer is less favored than many other browsers, Microsoft has attempted to increase the public’s use of Microsoft internet browsers by creating Microsoft Edge. When not compared to other popular browsers, Microsoft Edge is a functional, polished browser that can be used as the default browser. One of Edge’s significant differences from Internet Explorer is the ability to annotate and draw on website pages for notes or just for fun. In addition, unlike its predecessor, Internet Explorer, Edge is decently fast, and it has an appealing design. However, the precedence of other browsers, especially Google Chrome, arguably the best and most dominating current Internet browser, discourages PC users from using Edge in favor of more mainstream and functional applications.

One of the biggest downfalls of Windows 10 is Microsoft’s negligence of other search engines or applications. A strong example is that Cortana absolutely refuses to enable search using Google and only uses Bing as a search engine. Despite other prevalent companies, Microsoft developers refuse to incorporate third-party features into Windows 10.

Nevertheless, Windows 10 definitely has resolved previous problems that consumers have encountered in the past. Its improved design and accessibility make it one of the best operating systems, with changes re-earning the trust of past Windows users. And the best part of it: it’s completely free as long as you install within the next year. Since Windows 10 is a huge improvement from previous operating systems, there’s no reason to not install it.

By Brandon Win, Staff writer

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