Windows 10: Looking at the future

Latest builds of Windows 10 were initially mistaken for other, better versions of Windows 8 or 8.1 but with the most recent preview (Build 9926) released only days after Terry Myerson and Joe Belfiore’s showcase, we could be looking at a better operating system.

Despite having solved the operating system-mobile OS difficulties of Windows 8, this new OS presents a wide area of new technologies (Cortana hybrid Start menu, Continuum) which make a proper, overall evaluation of Windows 10 rather difficult.

But after having spent several days testing this OS on several devices, we were given a sneak peak into what the future desktop and maybe even mobile operating systems could look like.

Are you ready to welcome this brand new Start menu?

While trying its best to please anyone and everyone, this hybrid start menu is now a massive bundle of application list, live, tiles, suggested help topics and ‘œEveryday apps’. Basically, Microsoft tried to integrate the features of older versions of desktop OS with the newer touchscreen features. Once you understand how it all works together, this menu is quite flexible and easy to personalize.

Display-wise, you can either make it fullscreen or have it just like your regular Start menu. By default, the menu displays only Places and Most used items.

If you want to see all the applications this Start menu comes with, simply press the small ‘œAll apps’ link located at the bottom of the list. At first, it will seem like just a very long list of apps but if you have a touchscreen, you will scroll through them quite easily, and for the moment, there doesn’t seem to be any equivalent to Windows 7’s cascading-menu design.

It’s possible Cortana may have had one too many drinks prior to her debut

Microsoft were true to their promise and integrated Cortana into their Taskbar. However, this presents several issues for the moment. Microsoft tried to make Cortana as Siri, Google Now and Amazon’s Alexa all in one but for the moment, that didn’t go quite as planned. The premises is that you simply start typing in the Windows key, and your keystrokes will go directly to Cortana which (who?) will then solve your word search or questions (if that is what you have inputed). Windows Phone 8 users know that Cortana is capable of a lot of things but its implementation into desktop Windows 10 is faulty at best, and it doesn’t have the same sophistication as the mobile version.

For the moment, your typing renders no results, and other times, Cortana does not know what to do. Hopefully, that will be fixed before the OS is officially released because non-familiarized users might get frustrated with Cortana and not like this new implementation.

Another, more pressing problem is replacing the ambiguous quick system search with a complex AI-powered searchtool. There is a high possibility for confusion that way. A simple search for ‘œtime’ could give you the New York Times crossword puzzle, and the Windows Clock application if you type ‘œWhat is the time?’. Another problematic issue are Cortana’s responses when it (she?) does not know how to answer your question. One such answer is, ‘œA circle is infinite, but my answers are not.’

However, if Microsoft can solve these issues and make Cortana more similar to Amazon’s Alexa, Windows 10 could be the OS of choice for quite a lot of people, even at this early version.