Features to Test in the Windows 10 Technical Preview

Features to Test in the Windows 10 Technical Preview

Beyond the business-related features Microsoft touted in its Windows 10 naming announcement session in San Francisco (read about those HERE), there are some distinct new ways Windows 10 functions. The new features are not necessarily new features, but instead expanded or enhanced versions of things that have been available before.

Once the Preview site goes live tomorrow, you'll be able to sign up to participate and test these enhanced features. If you're willing to install software that is, admittedly, half-baked, here's what you can expect to see…

Start Menu

Yep…it's back. But, this time it allows you to store and organize apps with Live Tiles.

Windowed Everything

Who cares what it is – Metro (Windows Store) or legacy apps – you can run it in a fully customizable, resizable window.

Snap Improvements

This always seemed very limiting to me. Based on the screen size and resolution, you were limited to how many apps you could split across the screen. I mean, c'mon, it's called "Windows" after all. In Windows 10 you can now snap four apps at the same time.

Task View Button

Ctrl-Tab gets its own app! Anyone who's used Windows for any length of time knows about the Ctrl-Tab key sequence that allows you to quickly switch between running applications. Windows 10 introduces a new Task View button to make that function available to mouse and touch. Additionally, if you use the Windows 10 Multiple Desktops feature (mentioned next), running desktops will also be included in the task list.

Multiple (or virtual) Desktops

This new feature allows you to create separate "Desktops" that run side-by-side. This feature gives you the ability to organize tasks and apps by project or function. This feature was actually available as a SysInternals utility and has now been enhanced and integrated into Windows 10.

A Better File Explorer

File Explorer has definitely seen improvements over time. Those that chose to skip Windows 8 really missed some great updates. However, Windows 10 adds a couple new features that should improve it even more. To start, in the technical preview, Windows 10 will add a recent files and frequently visited folders list to make accessing them quicker and easier. Truth told, this will be a very valuable feature and shouldn't be understated. Thinking about my computing experience, there are only a few folders that I access regularly.

Continuum!

Continuum is a new technology that auto-senses the user experience and adapts. The Windows 10 UI will change according to how you use your PC at any given time. For example, if using a Microsoft Surface as a laptop (with keyboard attached) and then switching to tablet mode (detaching the keyboard or folding it behind the tablet), the UI will change automatically. Sadly, this will not be part of the first preview. Microsoft is still working on this technology and it could come as an update during the preview period.

 

The preview site will go live tomorrow here: http://preview.windows.com/

And, for those diehard IT Pros, don't forget about the new TechNet Evaluation Center where you'll be able to get support, and personalize your technical preview experience.

 

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