A First Look at Windows 10 Technical Preview

Microsoft are set to launch their new version of Windows in 2015. I take a quick look at the recently released Windows 10 Technical Preview.

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Windows 8 might just be the most hated and controversial version released by Microsoft, so the world has been waiting to see how they would follow it up. However, no one expected the next version to be Windows 10. The question on the Net is What happened to Windows 9?

Within days of announcing Windows 10, Microsoft pushed out a Technical Preview (build number 9841) for people to download for free. You need a Microsoft Live account and must sign up to the Windows Insider Program too. I downloaded the 32-bit preview – a 64-bit is also available – and am checking it out using VirtualBox on my Early 2009 MacBook.

Installation

It installed fine and the installer looked exactly like Windows 8. This is no surprise as firstly it is an early build – heavily based on Windows 8, secondly even the final version will look similar to Windows 8 and Windows installers don’t tend to change very either much.

Even on VirtualBox, the installation didn’t take very long and was very straightforward.

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First Look

Once installed, it was a welcome change from Windows 8. You are instantly faced with desktop mode (not tile mode), similar to Windows 8. Okay, this can be sorted in Windows 8 via third party tools – but this time Microsoft have listened.

When you click the Start button, it becomes clear what the big new feature of Windows 10 is. Yes, the Start Menu is back. It doesn’t bring up the full screen ‘interface formally known as Metro’ that was present on Windows 8, but a hybrid Start Menu brings back the familiar Windows Vista/7 look coupled with mini live tiles, looking like Windows Phone.

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I have to say visually I was very impressed. It looks good and is nice to see Microsoft seeing sense and toning down the tile interface to something that suits a standard computer. Windows 10 is shaping up to be a great ‘next’ version of Windows.

It is still Windows, so I will sticking with Mac OS X for my own computer.

Performance

Keep in mind that I am running this as a virtual machine on my 2009 MacBook, so performance won’t be as smooth as a regular install. However, I was very impressed with it. It certainly was useable. I am actually considering swapping a hard drive in my daughter’s Core 2 Duo tower and putting the Technical Preview on a real PC.

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I have only used this preview for a short time, but I am impressed. I had a play with Internet Explorer, checked out some of the search and menu features, and also went ahead and installed Firefox. It’s an early preview, and I noticed a few graphical glitches, but this could be down to running it in VM and not fully detecting hardware correctly.

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Conclusion

Microsoft might have just tweaked Windows 8 into Windows 10 enough to pull back its reputation. If they do, it could see a lot of switchers from not only Windows 8 but those on Windows Vista or 7 who have not been impressed enough with Windows 8 to upgrade.

If the reports that Windows 10 will be offered free to Windows 8 users are true, this could swing a lot of user to move away from Window 8. Is this a cue from Apple’s approach of offering a free OS to ensure as much of your user base as possible is up-to-date?

Or is this another Vista-sweeping action to bury Windows 8?

I shall be keeping up with the progress of Windows 10, which is due for release in early 2015.


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