Microsoft Teases Windows 10

Microsoft skipped one when it previewed the latest version of Windows.

The software developer skipped releasing a Windows 9 personal computer operating system in favour of showing off Windows 10 which it released as an early technical preview for the personal computer on October 1.

The preview is available to download for free to anyone who joins the Windows Insider Program, but the current preview will be replaced by different previews as more features are added and the fully commercial version is released.

Microsoft Windows vice president Joe Belfiore said, in an online video accompanying the release, "We've designed the tech preview so you can see what we're building as we're building it and tell us what you think . . . your feedback becomes part of the next version of Windows. "

It's the first time Microsoft has gotten the personal computing community involved in helping to build the new version of Windows.

First, it looks like Microsoft has taken a step backwards in its Windows development in the Windows 10 preview while also taking a step forwards at the same time. The touch based Modern User Interface introduced in Windows 8 and developed in the Windows 8.1 update seems to have been replaced by the old Start Menu which has been in all previous versions of Windows except for Windows 8 and 8.1.

But Windows 10's Start Menu is not the same Start Menu as previous versions of Windows, rather a hybrid of the old style Start Menus from Windows 7 and its predecessors and the Modern User Interface from Windows 8 and 8.1.

The new Start Menu puts old style programs and new Modern User Interface applications into two sections. The first, on the left, displays the old style programs like the Microsoft Office suite and Adobe Photoshop. The second, on the right, displays the live tiles of the Modern User Interface apps like Mail, Maps and Weather.

Bringing the Start Menu back has enabled the return of the empty Search box at the bottom of the Start Menu while leaving the Search magnifying glass in the Modern User Interface.

In Windows 10 Modern User Interface apps downloaded from the Windows Store can appear in full screen windows, or be resized like old style programs can. You can maximise, minimise and close with a click.

Windows 10 includes a new Task View button to make it easier to switch between the different windows in which old style programs and new style apps are running in. You can also add a Desktop in Windows 10 which means you can have one desktop layout for the tasks you do at home, like listening to music and watching videos, and another for what you do at work, like word processing and checking business appointments in your calendar.

"Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows, unlocking new experiences to give customers new ways to work, play and connect," said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems group at Microsoft. "This will be our most comprehensive operating system and the best release Microsoft has ever done for our business customers, and we look forward to working together with our broader Windows community to bring Windows 10 to life in the months ahead."

The unfinished preview is meant for experts and Microsoft recommends it is only installed on secondary computers.

To register for the Windows Insider Program go to preview.windows.com

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