I’ve been trying out the developer preview of Windows 10 over the Christmas break. First impressions are that it addresses the biggest problems with Windows 8 simply by restoring the familiar start menu on regular desktop computers. The “modern” apps are still available through a new panel on the side of the traditional menu and they now run in conventional windows rather than forcing you to use the full screen view.
Probably the biggest new feature so far is the ability to have multiple desktops. This is something that Linux users will be familiar with – the ability to set up and use different “workspaces” has been part of most Linux systems for years. It means you can have separate desktops running at the same time and just flick between them. Theoretically this can be more efficient although I’ve never felt the need for it myself – it’s hard enough keeping track of things on one desktop. But I’m sure some people will find it useful.
The new Windows works surprisingly well on old hardware. I’ve been testing it on a five-year-old netbook that originally came with XP and it’s been running happily on that.
Microsoft are expecting to release it in about a year’s time so there’s still a fair bit of development and testing to go – but this is a promising start.