The next Windows update is available now, and best of all, it's free — until August 1. At the Build 2015 conference, the company described Windows 10 (Windows 9 was surpassed altogether) as an operating system that will run across all kinds of devices. From tablets to computers to phones to wearable tech, the latest Windows 10 is designed for compatibility with all screen sizes and is intended to be Microsoft's "most comprehensive platform ever." We're impressed by the multidevice functionality — but what's truly noteworthy are new features that might actually make you want to switch to Windows.
The previous release, Windows 8, was met with some mixed reviews, but we're liking what we're seeing in the Windows 10 so far (watch below for more details). Here are some of the features you need to know before installing the operating system.
- Cortana not just on your phone — Microsoft's digital personal assistant is now available not just on your phone but on PC and all Windows devices. A few of the things she can do for you: send email, play music, pull up pictures, and search apps.
- The Start Menu and the Live Tiles are now one — You used to have to switch between the new Metro view with big, bold tiles and the traditional desktop view with the Start Menu. Now, the Start Menu and Live Tiles have combined into one. In the Start Menu, you can see interactive Live Tiles that show you constantly updated information like the weather and daily news headlines.
- Search your computer and the web at the same time — The search bar now says "search everywhere," and it will show you results from the web and your computer. It's now in the Start Menu and the task bar.
- Apps don't have to be full screen — When you downloaded apps from the Windows App Store, previously the apps were forced to be full screen, as they were optimized for tablet view. Now you can resize them, as well as maximize and minimize!
- New Task View — This button allows you to quickly switch between all your running apps.
- New Snap feature — Drag a window to one part of the screen, and it will automatically snap to half of the screen or just one-quarter to make multitasking easier.
- Windows 10 can run Android and iOS apps — Thanks to an "Android subsystem," developers can easily transfer their Android apps into the Windows Store.
- Compatibility with Microsoft Edge — Microsoft's new Internet browser (the replacement for Internet Explorer) is optimized for Windows 10 devices, and we can't wait to try it out.