Windows 10 Technical Preview

Windows 10 Technical Preview

You've likely seen the flurry of announcements and speculations recently as a result of a sneak preview of Windows 10.  Now don’t get confused: You did not miss a Windows 9.  For some odd reason Microsoft has decided to call the next OS after Windows 8, Windows 10 and skip the name Windows 9 altogether. 

What I also find interesting is the client OS trend (you could call it a streak) of good-bad-good-bad Microsoft has going since Windows XP.  Think about it:

  • Windows 98 (good) was followed by Windows ME (not so good)
  • Windows XP (good) was followed by Vista (not so good)
  • Windows 7 (good) was followed by Windows 8 (not so good)

So, if you are superstitious or into trends, you would assume Windows 10 is going to be a good one. I have been using the tech preview version of Windows 10 that Microsoft made available recently, and all indications are good. We used to call these pre-release versions of software alphas and betas, but now we call them tech previews. And before I go any further, let me tell you that tech previews are not for the faint of heart; they are buggy and they crash.  You do not want to install this early version of Windows 10 on your production machine.

I really like the way Microsoft indemnifies and sets expectations for those who want to try this early version of Windows 10. They basically say, “You better be an expert in Windows if you are brave enough to do this, and you’ll have to sacrifice a machine.”

So, if you are ready to sacrifice a machine while Windows 10 is in a tech preview stage, go ahead and sign up

What is New and Exciting About Windows 10

Well, developers, Microsoft has not come clean just yet on how they are going to improve the developer experience with Windows 10. I could speculate about seamless integration between .NET and WinRT and Azure in your Windows 10 applications, but that is pure speculation. I’ll be headed for the Microsoft MVP summit soon, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot. Let’s wait and cover the developer stuff in this column when they do make announcements and release new Windows 10 developer bits. 

What they do have in this technical preview are a number of significant UI (User Interface), UX (User Experience), and IXD (User Interaction Design) improvements. Firstly they have integrated “Metro” and the start button.  God only knows why they didn’t just do that for Windows 8. It seems so natural when I use it now. It also seems to overcome the issue all of us have when using Windows 8 every day: Sitting in desktop mode for 100% of the time and forgetting about the Metro / Windows 8 side of the OS completely. 

Windows 10 Start Menu
Windows 10 Start Menu

Additionally Search is bigger and better. You would expect a completely integrated, fast and powerful search in Windows 10 if you have been following the R&D investment of the Bing Team. 

Microsoft posted a great video with tips and tricks of using Windows Technical Preview.

What Does the Future Hold for Windows 10?

I have to admit that the obvious consumer target of Windows 8 was a disappointment for me. We build enterprise software and that is where my love and focus are. What seemed like ignoring the enterprise in Windows 8 hurt. Well, it’s clear (to me, at least) that the enterprise is a high focus now. There are hints of it everywhere in Windows 10, and although not announced yet, the Server version of Windows 10 is bound to be impressive. Here is a good indicator of Microsoft’s push at more share in the enterprise: The Surface Pro 3 hardware is impressive. My folks and I use it as our everyday computer. And you can argue it’s a couch computer/tablet too, in addition to being a very powerful computer. Soon, it will have Intel's ultra-efficient and passively cooled 14nm processors in it. Then we’ll have a Surface Pro that is 3 times more powerful than the iPad with just as long battery life in the same price range. With Windows 10, you could see how that Surface Pro could be used on the couch while watching TV at night and also serve as your main machine that does compiles in Visual Studio during the day.

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