Windows 10 marks the return of the operating system’s famous start menu.
The feature, which was a key component in Windows 7, Vista and XP, was dropped in Windows 8. Its removal was among one of the biggest criticisms of the platform.
In Windows 10, Microsoft has brought the start menu back, and updated it to reflect the operating system's evolution. Now, it combines aspects of the classic Windows 7 start menu with the modern Live Tiles user interface that was introduced in Windows 8. On the left hand side, the menu is very similar to how it was in Windows 7, Vista and XP, but on the right hand side a new space has been added for users to customise with their favourite apps, programmes and websites that are displayed in the form of Live Tiles.
A second major change in the operating system is the integration between desktop programmes and Windows apps on the main desktop. Now, apps from the Windows Store can be opened, resized and moved around in the same format as desktop apps, and have title bars at the top allowing for maximise, minimise and close with a click.
A new quadrant screen layout also enables users to have four apps open on the same screen.
“Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft’s OS group, in a blog post. “Windows 10 unlocks new experiences for customers to work, play and connect. It embodies what our customers – both consumers and enterprises – demand and what we will deliver.”
Microsoft has also introduced the Windows Insider Program, its largest ever open collaborative development initiative, which aims to improve the way Windows is built and delivered to best meet the needs of customers.
Programme participants will receive the technical preview of Windows 10 and will be able to provide feedback on early builds of the product throughout the development cycle.
“This week’s announcements are just the first chapter of our conversation with customers about Windows 10, with a focus on enterprise features and the desktop/laptop experiences,” said Myerson. “Early in 2015 we’ll introduce the consumer chapter and talk much more about other device types and more consumer features. We’ll then continue the conversation with the developer chapter at our Build conference, and later in the year we’ll release Windows 10 and look forward to some amazing new devices.”
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