Microsoft has returned to its roots with Windows 10, which is now available for anyone looking to upgrade from Windows 8. With its user-friendly design, Windows 10 aims to unite several mediums of Microsoft products — everything from laptops to the Xbox One console. And lucky for current Windows 7 and 8 users, the update is free. Here, we’ve highlighted seven great features from the new system, which just might be enough for you to switch.
1. The (New) Start Button
For those that remember the helpful start menus of Windows Vista and other Windows in the early 2000s, the return of the start button will be a welcome relief. The familiar feature offers a list of apps and documents, and now, shortcuts in the form of tiles, which can be grouped together for convenience.
A virtual assistant located right next to the start button, Microsoft’s version of Siri will respond to written or spoken questions and commands, remind you about appointments, and even fill in your calendar. Though we’ll have to wait to test out its usefulness on the road more when Windows 10 goes mobile some time this year, it offers a quick, useful way to find things like movie showtimes or if it’s going to rain tomorrow.
3. Edge Browser
As the popularity and usefulness of browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have increased over the last decade, many have grown increasingly frustrated with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. But now, Windows has a new browser to offer with Edge. Though pretty bare-bones at this point, it seems to be quicker and simple, and might eventually work in tandem with Cortana. The browser will also allow users to doodle on a webpage the way a football broadcaster might draw lines across the TV screen.
4. Xbox Streaming
The Xbox faithful might not need to wait for their turn on the TV anymore. Microsoft has included a beta feature in Windows 10 that allows for streaming from a console on to a tablet or laptop. The option should work well over WiFi, and even includes an opportunity to record your gaming session to your laptop’s drive, especially important for figuring how you could’ve thrown that interception in the fourth quarter.
Here’s a chance to feel like James Bond just about every time you sit down in your chair. Thanks to camera systems and infrared hardware, the lock screen on certain Windows 10 computers will unlock the second it recognizes your face and body in front of the device. Microsoft maintains that its software is safer than other image recognition options on the market.
In short, this feature makes life a little bit easier and saves you some time. If you’re on the go and need to say, plug in your portable keyboard to type up a lengthy email, this makes it more of a streamlined experience when connecting to your device, switching from more of a tablet experience, and vice versa.
7. New Apps
As with most new operating systems, Windows 10 introduces an overhaul on some of the apps we find ourselves using most. The Mail app features easy-to-follow threads, and the calendar app is linked with Cortana and has a new interface. Photos connects easily to all the pictures backed up on your phone from your most recent vacation, linking up with Microsoft OneDrive. And even Maps is easier and more enjoyable for consumer use.