Windows 10 review: the most complete operating system in Microsoft history
Next November will mark three decades since the release of Windows 1.0. Much has happened since then and there have been several versions that have consolidated the role of the Redmond company in the history of technology. And yet none of them may be as relevant as Windows 10: without a doubt the most ambitious and important operating system in the history of Microsoft.
That makes it particularly delicate to do an analysis of a platform of which at the moment we only have one of its components. Windows 10 is no longer an operating system only for PCs and laptops: it covers tablets, convertibles, smartphones or consoles, among others. This analysis addresses only part of that ambitious idea of a Windows for all, and what we have seen, with its lights and shadows, we liked. Much.
We already advanced it in that preliminary analysis of Windows 10 based on experience with Technical Preview editions, and we confirmed it in this final analysis based on the version unofficially classified as RTM. We have been working with Build 10240 since it appeared, and it contains all the concepts that Microsoft has wanted to convey with this project. Some of them are more polished and others still have room for improvement, but the company's focus is clear: Windows 10 will be a constantly evolving operating system. Let's get to know it closely.
A little history
Microsoft has not fared too well with Windows 8. At least, not from an economic and market share point of view. The number of licenses sold as of today is unknown, but in February 2014 it was indicated that the figure had exceeded 200 million licenses, to which should be added the 60 million licenses sold since last October, according to reported on Bloomberg. It does not seem, therefore, that the figure has exceeded a total of 300 million licenses: not insignificant, but not what they probably expected at Microsoft in the face of such a brave development.
The problems in convincing users of the benefits of Windows 8 were apparent from the start, and many manufacturers had to resort to programs where Windows 7 could be installed to sell their desktops and laptops. Microsoft would end up making the decision to "give" manufacturers the license for Windows 8 on computers under 9 inches, but that measure does not seem to have had a real impact on the market share of this operating system.
The latest data from both NetApplications and Statcounter demonstrate this: the first indicates that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 add a 14.35% global share, to 58.2% Windows 7 and -which is ironic and worrying - 16.46% of Windows XP. In Statcounter they point out that Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 add 15.92%, while Windows 7 reaches 48.49% and Windows XP has 11.6%.
That reality was the one that probably made Microsoft end up making some key decisions to recover the traditional user. The company had misled those users with a clearly oriented approach to using a touch interface: mobile devices and especially convertible tablets - or convertible laptops - wanted to become the new center of user experience. But customers were not convinced, and that was noted in discreet acceptance and popularity.In Windows 8.1 animated tiles made an appearance and combined the original concept with the new interface that Microsoft proposed in Windows 8
Thus, at the 2011 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference one of the Microsoft executives, Andrew Lees, announced that the company should have a single ecosystem for all platforms. That seemed to be a long-term project, but in December 2013 we started hearing about Treshold, a unique revision of Windows in which the concept of a unified platform for all types of devices was beginning to take shape. Around this time some started calling that future operating system "Windows 9".
Microsoft's reconciliation with the mouse and keyboard was shown at the BUILD conference in April 2014. There Terry Myerson showed an edition of Windows 8.1 that for the first time aimed at the recovery of the classic start menu, but in a supervitamin version: the Animated tiles made an appearance and combined the original concept with the new interface that Microsoft proposed in Windows 8.
Things kept going and it seemed clear that Microsoft's intention was to recover the traditional user from the Windows desktop. The one that used a mouse and keyboard and was delighted with these two peripherals. The first leaked screenshots of the new Windows 9 start menu appeared, and all would be confirmed in September 2014.
Microsoft would announce that September 30, 2014 its new Windows 10, an operating system with a much rounder version number that already predicted the relevance of this edition. There Microsoft demonstrated to want to renew that commitment to the classic desktop, but above all made it clear that this would become the universal system for all types of platforms. With the motto "A line of products. A plataform. A store"Microsoft showed that it wanted to move in a single and ambitious direction: that of convergence.With Windows 10, Microsoft was ready to renew its commitment to the classic desktop, but above all, it was clear that it would become the universal system for all types of platforms.
That announcement would coincide with the start of the Windows Insider program, which allowed access to preliminary versions of the operating system. The calls Windows 10 Technical Preview have been happening throughout the different months, and as we saw in our review of that experience with previous editions of Windows 10, there have been many areas in which this operating system has been improving. . In January 2015 we were presented with the most important novelties that were already available in those previous editions, and above all the details about the free updates, the arrival of a new browser and the relevance of Cortana and the symbiosis with the Xbox were clarified One. It seemed that the system would arrive in time to offer all its perfectly polished options, but it would not.
Windows 10 is not complete on the day of its release. Probably it never will be, because the concept of this edition is very different from the previous ones: the system will be constantly updated, not like until now in the form of large service packs or large sets of updates that appeared from time to time. Change the rhythm, change the philosophy, and change the licensing model: Microsoft may continue to sell Windows 10 boxes, but there is already talk of the WaaS (Windows as a Service) model as the one adopted by Microsoft to sell and distribute this development.
And now let's talk about Windows 10 in depth. How about starting with a full video review of the new operating system?
An ode to the start menu
The installation of Windows 10 is practically identical to that of Windows 8, and as in many other sections, Microsoft has had the wisdom of not touching what works. Once we make sure that we meet the minimum requirements specified above, we can proceed to that installation, which does not take too long to complete, but as always will depend on our hardware configuration: for example, on computers with SSD drives and with somewhat more powerful processors during these times. will be reduced.
In our case, the process to arrive at compilation (Build) 10240 has been the one followed by many other members of the Windows Insider program: we installed the initial version of the system and kept updating it until we reached this latest compilation. That process has been somewhat cumbersome and heavier than the traditional update application: the new builds, even though fully automated, imposed a series of reboots and system readiness that often took more or less time than the original installation. Once this point is unlikely, that is the normal trend, especially when Microsoft's philosophy with Windows 10 will be to offer updates much more frequently.Windows 10 is from the first moment an operating system with which Windows user of all life will feel very comfortable
The installation process is completed with the preparation of the desktop and some of our programs, after which we will find ourselves at last before the long-awaited Windows 10 desktop. Of course: before we will have the lock screen -with an image that we can customize- and behind it the login screen (why not join the two in one? Mystery) that we can also customize with third-party applications.
And finally, the desk. And not just any desktop, no: the classic desktop dressed with a number of major improvements. The Metro (Modern UI) interface that dominated the Windows 8 experience (and slightly less that of Windows 8.1) disappears almost entirely in this edition of Windows. Microsoft rescues it for some sections, but it is clear that it has learned the lesson: Windows 10 is from the first moment an operating system with which Windows user of all life will feel very comfortable.
The traditional start menu contributes to this in the first place, which we have talked about long and hard and that returns with a very interesting format. The Windows logo that again serves to access recent and favorite documents and programs abandons the full-screen mode provided by Windows 8 and adjusts to a much smaller size - it does not reach a quarter of the screen, although here It is possible to grow - which makes it more "manageable" with the mouse and keyboard.
In this new start menu, animated tiles take on a special role, a clear legacy of Windows 8 and witnesses that the Metro interface is far from abandoned. The concept of tiles will continue to be critical on smartphones and tablets, as it is also on the Xbox One console. Here Microsoft has known how to adapt each experience for each device, but without forcing users to settle for one or the other, something that speaks volumes. Well of the evolution of the ambitious and courageous proposal that the company offered with Windows 8.
We can change the behavior of this menu in Windows 10 Settings, and we can make that menu occupy the entire screen instead of a portion of it, something that may interest certain types of users. For example, those who work a lot with convertible tablets and use the touch environment more than the mouse / keyboard environment, although for this type of user it is for which the Continuum technology - which we will talk about later - is especially promising.
In that menu we also see traces of Windows 10 on mobile (and its predecessor, Windows Phone 8 / 8.1). When displaying the start menu and clicking on the list with all the applications, we will access that list in alphabetical order; pressing a letter will make the entire alphabet appear, as in Windows 10 for mobile, from which we can choose the first letter of the application to go to the part of the list corresponding to it.
The concept is interesting and perfectly usable with the mouse, although as in the case of the tiles it is more oriented towards tactile uses. In any case, launching applications is much faster if we use the mouse and keyboard as usual: press the Windows key, start typing the name of the application, wait a moment for Windows 10 to detect what it is, and launch it by pressing the Enter key.The Windows 10 Start Menu is not something stationary and everyone can configure it to their liking in multiple ways
This way of executing programs was already classic in previous versions of the operating system, and the only thing that changes is the way in which Microsoft presents us with the actions available with the Windows key. In Windows 8 we saw that Metro desktop in its entirety, and now we see a start menu with a more familiar appearance and that will surely please those users who criticized the appearance and interface of Windows 8 and 8.1.
The options to turn off or restart the computer are located in the usual lower part of the start menu, while the options to close the session or block it are activated by clicking on the icon of our Windows user. For the rest we find a simple organization in which the fixed position of the Configuration application also stands out, which we prefer to have in the form of a medium-sized tile.
In this sense, it should be noted that the game with tiles is the one we already knew from previous versions and platforms such as Windows Phone 8. We can anchor and unpin them from the start menu and change their size (small, medium, wide and large), in addition to activate or not the animation if these tiles have it (the typical example is the news tile).
Look mom, no tiles!
We will be able to create groups and insert new tiles that will help to personalize our experience with this essential component of Windows 10, but of course we can also remove all those tiles to have a "Metro-free" experience. The result is spartan and reminds of the classic start menu in Windows 7, but it is even simpler and does not offer access to frequent serial folders (Documents, Images ...) or to that control panel that, as we will see, loses prominence in this system. operational ... although strangely it continues to coexist with Configuration.
This start menu is therefore a fundamental component of the Windows 10 experience and we believe that its resolution is exemplary: the customization of the menu is absolute, so that even those who miss the Windows 8 experience will be able to recover it if they want to. maximizing the size of that menu from Settings. The best of both worlds comes to the latest version of Windows 10, and it is without a doubt one of the best resolved elements of the entire operating system.
The user interface gives us more surprises (good and not so good)
Although we have highlighted the role of the start menu, this is not the only novelty of the new Windows 10 desktop. To begin with, there is the Action Center, which is one of the most contradictory elements for users of a Windows " traditional "desk. It is an idea that in my case does not fit with the conception of a desktop operating system, perhaps due to the fact that its presentation is clearly influenced by mobile devices.
That makes especially on wide monitors -in my case, a 27-inch with 1440p resolution- that Activity Center has a desolate aspect. Even in the case of having many notifications, the appearance would probably be disappointing due to the height of this component, which would make viewing and managing all notifications somewhat uncomfortable. But of course, there is also the other perspective: as in the case of Windows Phone 8 / 8.1, the notification area allows access to those alerts from the last hours to review them when we want, and not only when a pop-up window appears for a few seconds showing some alert. This component can be interesting therefore for certain types of users, but if you are not convinced you can always deactivate it, as indicated here.In tablet mode the applications are always open in full screen and the Activity Center is when it makes the most sense
This inheritance of the mobile can also be seen in the quick access icons located at the bottom of this notification area. There we find access to "Tablet mode", which is curiously useful in certain scenarios even when used on a PC desktop like the one I used during my tests. In this mode, the interface is greatly simplified and the start menu, this time, does take complete control of our screen, occupying the entire diagonal.
Only accesses to the start menu, a button to return Back, the circular icon of Cortana and the Task View appear in the taskbar, which we will talk about later. All applications are maximized, which helps us not be so distracted by application windows that can be located on the desktop, while curiously, the icons in the system tray (connectivity, volume, Activity Center icon and the clock).
We found other quick access icons that again remind us of the mobile experience. So we find "Connect" (for example, to a second screen wirelessly via Miracast), Notes (with OneNote), "All settings" (one more access to the system preferences via the Settings application), VPN, Period no notifications (to control when we can "bother" and when not) or Location, which if activated will make Cortana take that location into account to offer search results. Those shortcuts change on other devices - on tablets and smartphones we will probably see others such as WiFi, mobile data or brightness - and the truth is that these types of options do not seem especially remarkable on the desktop. In general this is one of those components that seem to be more because of the need to adapt them to now have a "universal" operating system.
The result is as we say surprisingly usable even on computers that are not tablets and on which we can focus more on the only task that appears in front of us. This Activity Center may be more interesting on mobile devices -and especially on smartphones-, and its inclusion in this crude format is strange.
But that does not worry again, because Microsoft has had the good criteria to offer the total deactivation of that section from the Configuration: In System -> Notifications and actions -> Activate or deactivate system icons we can easily disable this option. Another minipoint and point for Microsoft.With new task view and virtual desktops, Microsoft quickly moves between applications under user control
Much more interesting for traditional desktop users is the new Task View, a component that allows you to show all open applications at a quick glance. Not only that: this is where we can manage the new virtual desktops, a concept that is already well-known in GNU / Linux distributions and that made its debut in OS X Mavericks almost two years ago. In Windows there were third-party tools that offered this option, but Windows 10 that interesting option is natively integrated, and its implementation is really remarkable.
The Task View allows you to enjoy that Exposé effect that Apple successfully introduced in OS X years ago, and it is a comfortable way to manage those tasks in progress to check which one to handle at any time. It is an alternative or a help to the traditional Alt + Tab, and in fact that shortcut for the conventional area exchanger -without any changes, don't touch what works- is very similar to the new Task View, which is activated with Windows + Tab.
The management of virtual desktops is really simple: we can create new desktops with the "New desktop" button that appears in that Task Viewer at the bottom right, and from there jump from one to another with the keyboard or mouse. Each desktop has its own independent task management: applications open in one will not appear in the other's taskbar, and pressing Alt + Tab on each desktop again will only show the applications from that specific desktop, not the rest. At the moment we will not be able to have a different desktop background for each virtual desktop (pity) but it is something that could come in future updates.
We can easily move applications between one desktop and another by dragging those windows in the Task Viewer between those virtual desktops, as well as closing or completely closing the virtual desktops thanks to the small blades that appear in the upper right of those minimized applications or open desks in each case. Microsoft's resolution does not provide news regarding the alternatives that we already knew on other platforms, but that does not matter: it is a feature that surely many users will appreciate.With Snap and the ability to dock up to four windows to the edges of the screen, those with large monitors or displays can work comfortably and controlled with up to four applications at the same time
Also important in this improvement in desktop productivity is the inclusion of the new revision of Snap technology that allows you to dock windows to the edges of the screen. In Windows 7 this option allowed to fit a window to one half of the screen and another to the other half, being able to have two perfectly aligned windows. In Windows 8, that option was exploited especially in the Metro interface (Modern UI) since both on PCs and laptops and tablets, it was possible to use that option to take advantage of that productivity option in tactile environments. Even the Xbox One adopted it to be able to have a game on part of the screen and applications such as Skype or Twitter on a side portion of it.
In Windows 10 things are going more, and now we can dock not only to the edges -which will make the window occupy half of the screen, but also the corners, which will cause the window to occupy a quarter of the screen starting at that corner. That allows having four different windows of the same or different perfectly aligned applications. When docking one after another, in addition, Windows 10 shows us thumbnails of the other available windows to be able to choose the one that will occupy the free screen portion. Very ingenious.
It is not possible to dock more than four windows, true, but we can make the vertical division of the screen change: two of the windows may be larger than the other two, which makes working with this environment even easier. This option is highly geared towards those who want to maximize their productivity and have multiple windows visible at the same time without the need for multi-monitor environments. And considering that 4K monitors and 1440p monitors with 24- or 27-inch diagonals are becoming increasingly popular, we think this new option of the Dock feature is very interesting to make better use of those workspaces.
These are the main changes regarding the operation of the desktop and the features that improve (or try to do so) productivity and user experience, but there are other sections that are also renewed. There is, for example, new iconography and, as expected, the flat design that is trending in many other scenarios in software developments on the internet and on mobile platforms -Android and iOS have also followed this trend-. Many icons of new or improved native applications change, but there are others that continue to maintain their traditional appearance, such as that of the Control Panel (we will talk about this later).
What we do not have is a renewal of the serial typeface, and in fact the management of typefaces (misnamed "fonts") is curiously complex in Windows 10. In the options of appearance in Spanish there is no option to change the typeface, and this It is one of the sections in which Microsoft must work when it comes to providing a higher level of desktop customization.In the configuration and system bar the simplification of the interface borders on the stingy and we find it too basic when we work in traditional desktop mode
The taskbar is an evolution of what we already knew in previous iterations, but here the presence of the search bar clearly stands out, in which Cortana will be attentive to our needs. As in previous editions we will be able to anchor application icons to that menu -that maintains that option of being able to click with the right mouse button to obtain their "Jump Lists"-, in which those of the applications that we are opening will also appear. To differentiate which" fixed "applications are open and which are not, Windows 10 adds a small colored bar -the hue changes according to the theme- that allows identifying open applications , something that in our opinion is a success and that Microsoft has also resolved with elegance.
There are other notable elements of this new user interface, and for example the influence of high contrast themes is evident in everything related to preferences and system settings. In the system bar, at the bottom right, we find flat and very simple but descriptive icons, and the same happens with the Settings application, which allows access to various system parameters.
Here Microsoft has wanted to follow the line of its mobile devices and makes use of a Spartan interface. In fact, it scratches in the stingy: square lines (often too thick), switches with a flat design that make them almost too basic and simplistic, and an aspect that in the opinion of the subscriber is very unambitious.
All of the new tool's configuration options have that flat, high-contrast look that shocks a bit. For tastes the colors, of course, but in our opinion there is room for improvement in this section.
Who likes the design line of Windows Phone 8 will like that Microsoft approach in its Configuration tools, but personally I think that especially on PCs and laptops there is room for improvement to present everything in a more visually elegant way. No frills, no special effects, but more elegant. This new heritage of mobile devices reminds us again that Microsoft does not want to forget touch in any way, and the proposal is, in my opinion, crude, almost as if we had activated an accessibility mode. It is not a bad idea for that mobile and tablet touch interface, but it is certainly not visually and functionally optimal for those who use a mouse and keyboard.
Microsoft's voice assistant is a fundamental part of the Windows 10 converged project.Cortana is the heart of this operating system and completely displaces Bing, the search and services platform that Microsoft tried to promote a few years ago with the launch of Windows 8. That search engine and services like Bing Maps are a fundamental part of Cortana operation, but it is this voice assistant that takes center stage.
We already knew its possibilities on mobile, but the integration on the desktop is remarkable for its natural appearance. I've gotten used to saying about "Hi Cortana"every time I start the computer to listen to my music collection with a simple"Play my music", and little by little I am using many other voice commands. Here it is evident that all users need a reeducation when interacting with the computer, because we can no longer only use a mouse and keyboard or touchpad: voice is our ally .With the assistant Cortana we can get an important prediction and proactivity but at the cost of sharing everything. If we are suspicious of our privacy, we have the option to decide at all times what to share and what not with Cortana
The operation of Cortana in Windows 10 is remarkable: the voice assistant follows the line of Google Now more than that of Siri - which little by little tries to win integers -: it does not limit itself to answering simple questions, but rather tries to get ahead of our needs. It shows us information related to our location and our history of use of the PC in which we use the wizard, but be careful because at all times we have access to privacy management options. We will be able to decide at all times -for that is the "Notebook" in which Cortana writes everything down, and which we can access from the configuration of this element- what we share and what not with the assistant, so that the "predictive and proactive "will depend on us.
Cortana also tries to become a way to consult suggested information based on that past activity. For example, the type of news that appears to us is being adjusted, something in which our aid to machine learning will be very relevant. If we are not interested in a displayed news we can hide it, and Cortana will assume that such news should not be shown in the future. Alerts about future events are also part of his outreach efforts, and the "Her" movie is inevitable here. There is a long way to go to reach this level of interaction, but talking to our computer, strange as it may seem now, could become much more common thanks to the integration of Cortana on the desktop.
By using the search box to enter any term Cortana will offer us local results if you find documents or applications that match the search - launching applications is one of its functions - but we can also narrow the search to "My stuff" (folders for user) or send Cortana to do that search on the web. In that case, yes, the search will be carried out by default with Bing even if our default browser jumps with another default search engine.
The integration of Cortana with Microsoft Edge is also remarkable, and we can, for example, select part of a text or a word from a web page and then right-click on it and select the "Ask Cortana" option. When doing so, a sidebar will appear in which the search assistant will show us information related to that term or terms.
The search options go further and for example it is already working with our OneDrive account to search there as if that storage space was part of our user experience, and in addition to its jump to Android and iOS, developers will be able to take advantage of that power to your own applications. Cortana's evolution has made its creators take advantage of machine learning so that this assistant improves as we use it, both in recognizing our voice and in presenting options. They have even provided the assistant with a curious sense of humor that gives Cortana a certain personality. The questions that bring out that particular humor are debatable, but they are probably only part of the journey of this ambitious development.
Obviously Cortana has a lot of room for improvement in voice recognition, supported languages -that is a titanic task- or that ambition to anticipate our wishes, but its integration into the operating system is exemplary and of course Microsoft has put all the meat in the rotisserie so that we take advantage of that option. Now it only remains for us to realize that voice assistants are here to stay and can provide a lot of joy and a lot of comfort if we are able to recycle ourselves a bit and take advantage of those options. And if we are worried about what Cortana listens or stops listening, we have it very easy: we can deactivate its options and its operation, and use the search box in text mode without further ado. Another minipoint for Microsoft, which does not force to keep that assistant working for its own sake.
Microsoft Edge and the bet for the new times
For years Microsoft dominated the browser segment. That infamous Internet Explorer 6 I remember that was included with Windows XP became an absolute benchmark until Mozilla and Firefox shook the pillars of that absolute domain. Later would come Chrome, a browser that managed to beat them both and that today is according to data from NetApplications and StatCounter GlobalStats the most widespread among users of desktop and laptop PCs.
Microsoft does not want to give up on losing that battle, but it seemed clear that with Internet Explorer it would not succeed. Despite the improvements that edition after edition were implemented in that browser, a breath of fresh air was needed, which is precisely what Microsoft Edge is trying to achieve. This browser, which was born as Project Spartan, is a radically different concept from the traditional Windows browser.
To begin with, we have a much more spartan design - and never better said - and with options that are equally intended to simplify the user experience (or try it). The interface returns to that commitment to high-contrast icons and simplicity. There is no title bar as such, and the tabs fill the entire height of that top bar. In Chrome or Firefox, for example, tabs are more similar in design to classifier tabs.Microsoft Edge is a good start for Windows 10, but making a complete browser almost from scratch is not an easy task
On the right we find the options for direct access to the browser: Reading Mode, Favorites, Hub (downloads, favorites, reading list and history), taking web notes, sharing and the drop-down menu from which, for example, we can access the options for developers, which Redmond have recently talked about and that compare to those of its competitors - we'll see what the experts think in the coming weeks. Microsoft decides to use quite a few shortcuts here -Chrome and Opera dispense with them, for example-, while in the drop-down menu we also return to that "Windows Phone" aspect with high-contrast fonts and design. Little elegant, but functional especially in the tactile field.
In Microsoft Edge, as in other sections, there is still a way to go. Developing a browser almost from scratch, as was the intention of Microsoft, was not an easy task, and that is noted in some sections that some will miss - I do - such as the bookmarks bar that allows some quick access to sites most visited website. There is no support for extensions at the moment, but Microsoft has already promised that this will be one of the differential elements of the future of this browser, which will thus earn many integers compared to the more limited conception of Internet Explorer.
Once launched, it is clear that Microsoft's proposal is very interesting. We have already talked about the five great innovations of Microsoft Edge with respect to Internet Explorer, of which at first glance two stand out: the possibility to annotate and draw on web pages to later share them, and the reading list, which allows us to forget about banners advertising and other "intrusive" elements and that focuses the entire experience on reading. Not all web pages are compatible, note, and it will be the browser that tells us if we can access that Reading Mode by showing the book icon in a bluish color.
The results show how Edge is much more aligned with other browsers in the different benchmarks, gaining some of them and being very close to the first in others. The jump compared to Internet Explorer 11 is differential even in WebGL performance, where for example it is surprising how well Opera behaves. Another of the differential aspects of Microsoft Edge is that it is a perfect example of a universal application: it will work equally on PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones or the Xbox One -and what is to come, theoretically- and that also shows a clear ambition in this sense.
Things are somewhat different in standards support, in which Chrome or Firefox have been prominent references for a long time. Internet Explorer does not have a good track record in this regard especially when it comes to supporting HTML5 features, and that is another of the battles that Microsoft Edge had to fight. The new browser clearly improves the results of its predecessor in the HTML5 options support test, but there are still great absences.
One of them - do you have a complete list in CanIUse ...? - is for example the HTML5 Picture element support, although there is partial support for the srcset attribute in the img tag that was traditionally used. We also do not have support for the attribute that allows saving bandwidth, something crucial in mobile devices that connect with quotas that we want to squeeze optimally. However, it is evident that the effort of the Redmond developers is in this sense remarkable, and it only remains to wait for that support of standards to improve by leaps and bounds now that the foundations are quite solid.
Internet Explorer 11 is still present in Windows 10 as an auxiliary browser, something that end users and professionals will surely appreciate if for various reasons they have to use features such as ActiveX controls on some websites, but Edge is the default browser in the entire experience. It is interesting that they preferred to include the old browser - we will see how long they support it - and did not add any kind of compatibility mode, but dividing the work into two different developments seems complex, especially when all the firewood is clearly destined to Microsoft Edge.
Edge's behavior is certainly remarkable even when working with a large number of tabs, but there are clear disadvantages compared to other already established proposals such as Chrome or Firefox - by the way, Microsoft does not offer tools to import bookmarks or passwords from those alternatives, something that would make him win integers. We will see if the future support of extensions makes it compete with more guarantees, but things like reading mode or web annotation are, although interesting, rather anecdotal. In fact, both features seem very oriented to use on mobile devices where those two tasks seem more natural. Perhaps that is precisely why Microsoft has decided to give that "so mobile" aspect to the browser, and that it recognizes a little that the battle on the desktop is much more difficult. Edge points ways, but for now we are left with Chrome, Firefox and Opera from afar.
Applications and universal store: a promising concept
One of the basic pillars of this concept of convergence by Microsoft is that of universal applications, which Microsoft has long preferred to simply call "Windows apps" plain and simple. At the moment we like the name of universal applications more, because that name transfers the concept "One Windows" with which Microsoft wants to conquer us in Windows 10 much better.
The problem is that at the moment the catalog of these applications is small. These types of solutions, which were first introduced with the arrival of Windows 8.1, have a clear objective: that the developer program once and that this tool or game can be run on different platforms.
According to Microsoft, developers can reuse up to 80% of the code and then adjust 20% to adapt the solution to different platforms - Microsoft's help in this regard is patent - so there are certain differences and that original idea is not entirely true But still the concept of reusing the job done is remarkable.The universal apps and store base in Windows 10 is great. But without a catalog or movement of developers it goes up in smoke
However, this preparatory work has to be translated into an offer of real universal applications. There are relevant absences today such as the OneDrive application itself that is different in Windows Phone 8 / 8.1 and Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10, but there are also outstanding ones that come from both Microsoft and third parties such as Adobe Photoshop Express, Dropbox, FourSquare, Fresh Paint, Twitter or Wolfram Alpha.
In all of them - and those to come - the advantages of this universal concept are evident, and among them stands out an adaptable user experience (UX) that allows the interface to be adjusted to each type of device. Photoshop Express will be shown in all its glory on a desktop PC desktop, but it will adapt to show fewer options or hide them in menus when we use it on a tablet or mobile. Other elements that Microsoft wants to promote also come into play, such as natural inputs (voice, gestures, even glances), or integration with cloud services, but it is this flexibility in the use of the resources of each device that is most remarkable of This concept.
Native apps want us to touch them
In that experience Windows 10 of course highlights the native applications of the operating system and pre-installed in this edition. Microsoft has worked hard on several of them to offer a perfect interface and features to sell that concept of multi-device or multi-platform tools, and the truth is that the result is remarkable. To the old acquaintances of News, Weather, Gourmet, Money or Sports -which as happened with Windows 8.1, they no longer have to be opened in full screen- there are many others that follow the tradition of this "pack" of tools productivity and personal information management.
Thus we have the Mail application along with others such as Calendar, Contacts, Maps, or the also renewed utilities of Alarms, Camera (for the control of a webcam, for example) and Calculator. It is interesting the wink to mobile devices with the so-called Telephone Plug-in, which allows us to work with Windows (Phone), Android and iOS devices without problems, and also applications that feed on others, such as Reading List, which allows us to enjoy of those saved articles to read later in Microsoft Edge. Almost all of them - if not all - maintain that interface that makes us think that in the redesign of all of them Microsoft thought first of the mobile and then the desktop: large fonts and visual elements, clarity and simplicity (sometimes, perhaps too much ), and lots of high contrast iconography.
In all of them it is evident that Microsoft has wanted to propose unified options in the interface, and the result is attractive. Often, yes, they abuse the high-contrast icons that remind us time and time again that this operating system has a very important "touch background", but in general the quality and performance of all of them are decent. As in the case of Microsoft Edge, we may end up using other solutions that we are used to, but Microsoft's decision to incorporate all of them to offer a minimum set of features is consistent and welcome.The evolution seen in native applications on other platforms is consolidated in Windows 10 with a series of solutions that work very well both on the classic desktop and in tablet format.
In multimedia content we have the Movies and TV tool, which will try to position itself as an option to rent and buy movies and TV series episodes, and which is actually nourished by the Store. Much more interesting is Groove, the new solution to manage our music library and be able to listen to music, in addition to also serving as a gateway to buy music in that Store where all the distribution of paid (and free) content is focused or to access to the streaming service itself with monthly subscription that will compete directly with Spotify and the like.
In this area is where we precisely find Photos, the new application to manage and view the images we store on our computer. If there is a clear protagonist in this mobile approach to Windows 10 applications, this is this tool, which seems designed to be enjoyed on the tablet. In fact, Photos coexists with Photo Gallery, the traditional Windows application to carry out this management that maintains the design of the applications of previous versions of Windows and that -this time- is betting more on the desktop, keyboard and mouse than on the touchscreen.
The experience in the first one is therefore strange on the classic desk, and it almost cries out for us to touch it. It is precisely this that causes traditional users to cause some rejection, which is what caused me in those first moments. Usability is good for a user of touch screens, but something that I already mentioned in my preliminary analysis is noticeable: we need one more mouse click to send a photo to the Trash: why this commitment to usability? Hard to justify.
There are curiosities in this series of pre-installed tools, such as the Microsoft Solitaire Collection that recovers old solitaire games, but probably the most notable - we will talk about it later - is the Xbox application that reinforces that renewed symbiosis of the Microsoft console with everything that new world of Windows 10-based devices.
To all those specially renewed tools are added others that were already highly evolved components in the latest revisions of the Microsoft operating system. If there is one featured, that is File Explorer, which inherits all the options from its predecessor even though the appearance has been modified by the new iconography, including the Ribbon (or Ribbon) that allows us to access the different options -and that we can hide if we prefer to do without it-.
The new file explorer opens by default in a section called "Quick access" that shows accesses to the last folders we have used, but I was used to starting the application with the view of My Computer. It's easy to make that change from the menu View-> Options and set that origin instead of the one proposed by Windows 10 by default. From there we find some new features, such as the "Share" tab that will allow us to effectively share any element of our storage system through the installed applications, such as Mail or Dropbox or OneDrive clients if we install them.
Great betrayals and forgetfulness of Windows 10
And then, of course, there are the great forgotten ones, those tools that Microsoft continues to ignore despite its potential. Notepad, WordPad, Photo Gallery, Paint (mon dieu!), and even the command console (called, as always, "Command Prompt", who knows why) look and perform painfully inconsistent with the rest of the operating system.
It is impossible not to pay a small tribute to all those solutions that continue to be part of the operating system but as second-rate actors. Almost as extras that one would not want to have. Microsoft lets them appear, but puts no effort into them. Perhaps because doing so requires too many resources, perhaps because their market studies do not reflect that these profits are important, or perhaps because they simply do not feel like renovating them.
That is more or less acceptable in certain alternatives, but personally I think there are several native tools that needed a face lift and benefits. Among all of them, two stand out: the notebook, and of course, the command console. If Satya Nadella and her team did not want to dedicate their own resources to these solutions, why not take out your wallet? Having a Notepad ++ or a Sublime Text could be fantastic as standard in Windows 10 - a nod to the developers - and the console is also still relevant. In this last section, yes, we must mention the inclusion of Microsoft Powershell, that super-vitamin edition of the console that will even come with SSH support soon -the current version does not offer that feature.
But of course there are many others that are also often much more useful for users than having a client for general, sports or economic news - let alone the Gourmet application. Being able to have a somewhat more powerful tool to capture screenshots - by the way, you can do screencasts thanks to the Xbox application - one for "light" editing of images that makes us forget a Paint that no longer weighs years, but everything others, or a suitable multimedia player for the desktop.
It is inevitable to mention here the absence of one of the great traditional applications of these operating systems: Windows Media Center will no longer be available in Windows 10, something that makes Microsoft's role as a provider of a potential management platform a little more diluted. home entertainment.
Because we come to the second great sin of Microsoft: that of making old programs and applications coexist with new ones. That causes confusion for users, who come across Photos and Photo Gallery, Movies and TV and Windows Media Player, or Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 - although here is a powerful argument for that coexistence. In these cases it is clear that on the one hand we have the renewed application and very oriented to the touch interface, and on the other the old desktop application that continues to work and that Microsoft prefers not to touch. And the problem is that for those of us who use the desktop, the former don't work and the latter make us grind our teeth at that interface.
But if there is an outrageous example of that duality, that is the one that affects Settings and Control Panel. Both tools already existed in Windows 8 / 8.1, but some of us hoped that all the system parameters would finally be unified in a single panel. It was not so, and we have these two solutions as protagonists of the management of all sections of Windows 10.
As good as Microsoft's intentions are and as much effort has been made in this area, it has not been enough. It is not acceptable that in 2015 users have to initially resort to Configuration to configure something and end up in some option of the Control Panel because the developers have not applied the new interface to that part of the configuration tools. Example:
What is that monstrosity? This problem has no excuse, and it is one of the great buts of the new operating system, which here shows very little attention to detail -which is precisely what others care for- and a huge inconsistency in that visual interface that wants to take advantage of the old but without adapt it to new times. What a disappointment, Microsoft, what a disappointment.
We can only wait for Microsoft to offer solutions to these serious problems in future OS updates, but it doesn't seem like it's going to pay attention to these details: Redstone, the first major Windows 10 update, will arrive in three months, and so we know will focus on improving performance. We will have to keep waiting and, of course, enduring those incomprehensible inconsistencies. Gentlemen of Microsoft: we are in 2015!
A unified store with a lot to prove
Where will we find those universal applications? Well, as expected, in a unified application store that Microsoft wants to promote on all its platforms. This is another of the pillars of that unified experience in Windows 10, and although the store has already been available in the operating system for a long time, what is missing now is catalog.
In fact, recently Microsoft seemed to announce the universal app store available even through a web browser, but Microsoft officials warned that Apps on Windows allows you to browse the catalog of applications (Windows) and Windows Phone (current), but not is the new unified store. This concept still has a long way to go, and it will be the developers who will really have to put all the firewood in the grill to prove that the concept works.In addition to a good catalog, the app store requires user education to know and use the centralized store in Windows, which is not customary
In theory, the idea has many advantages: instead of going to more or less reliable download sites from which to download the application or going to the websites of manufacturers and developers, we would have everything centralized in a single store from which theoretically it would be more difficult for us to download malware, for example. The concept has worked on mobile platforms - Apple did not take long to export it to OS X - and although Microsoft has been trying to take advantage of that option in its operating systems for some time, success has been very limited.
Perhaps one of the flaws is that precisely people are not used to using a centralized store in Windows. Here again, there is a need for knowledge recycling and developer support for this central repository, but they must also do their bit in Redmond. The current Windows 10 store interface is decent, but at the moment there is no way to detect if an app is universal or not.
The ways to classify the catalog and the presentation by default are similar to those offered by other established stores, but Microsoft's approach is more visual and perhaps less informative at first glance. We see great icons and screenshots for the applications, but little data about them at that first glance. When selecting any application if everything relevant is shown - captures, opinions, additional information, age ratings or recommendations from the selected application or game - but as we say, that first classification and display is perhaps more striking than anything else. We will see what the future holds for this important distribution platform.
The games, more protagonists than ever in Windows
Desktop consoles and laptops may have been protagonists in the video game market a long time ago, but the greats of the industry know that they cannot neglect the PC. The most ambitious titles are released for Xbox One and PS4, but they are also released for Windows-based PCs and laptops. And they do so because Microsoft's operating system remains a fundamental pillar of the gaming world.
And if it was until now, it is more than likely that it will remain so during a good season. And it is also very possible that this role of the PC in this area is even greater with the batch of news that Microsoft has prepared for us in this area. That universal platform will turn the PC into a console more than ever, and your console, ironically, into a PC.
Attempts to make Windows and the Xbox 360 / One work together have been going on for years, but it is now when those efforts begin to crystallize. The arrival of Windows 10 on the Xbox One will be a touchstone for this joint work, but in reality it is already possible to enjoy that aforementioned symbiosis between the two platforms.
It is especially influenced by the Windows 10 Xbox application, heir to the Smartglass application on the Microsoft mobile platform and which earns many integers in all sections: both in the management of our console user experience - messages, achievements, purchase of games, publication of content on social networks with Game DVR- as in the enjoyment of video games.
It is here where the strength of this new universal ecosystem is noted. First there is that "cross play" option ("Cross-play") that will make a PC user and an Xbox One user can play and compete together in online games thanks to the arrival of Xbox Live to Windows 10. We already saw a demonstration of this type of functionality at the GDC 2015, and the truth is that this capacity was surprising.
Secondly, the streaming of video games from the Xbox One to the PC or laptop (or tablet) with Windows 10. This option will make the TV in the living room to which we usually have the console connected to be "released" for other content, and that we Let's play a console game, but comfortably from the PC. I tried that option as soon as the support appeared in the beta versions of the Xbox One Dashboard and my conclusion was clear: cool.
It remains to be seen what more surprises the future will bring us, and some demand just the opposite - being able to play Windows games on the Xbox One via streaming - but the truth is that the arrival of Windows 10 on the Xbox One is very promising. In addition to the keyboard and mouse support in the console, there will also be support for Cortana -as long as you have the Microsoft Kinect peripheral connected to the Xbox One-, and that chameleon-like potential of the Xbox One to run universal applications (we already saw IE, Twitter or Facebook had their place on the Xbox 360, although they did not succeed too much) it is most juicy.
There will also be technical improvements in Windows 10 that theoretically will help make games even more realistic, more eye-catching, and - hopefully - more addictive. DirectX 12 is the new generation of this graphics technology that among other things will offer substantial performance improvements: we will do more with the same, and we will also consume less energy while doing so. There are no games that offer that potential yet, but all the big names in the industry are already working to take advantage of DirectX 12, and not long ago NVIDIA showed its particular efforts in this regard.
Unknowns in the future hardware support
The appearance of each new Microsoft operating system raises logical concerns about the hardware support of our equipment and its components. Will everything work well? Will I be able to continue working / enjoying as I have until now? Of course, it is impossible to say for sure: there are too many hardware combinations in the world of Windows-based PCs and laptops to give certainty.
My experience, however, has been remarkably high. Although during some preliminary versions there were problems, for example, when connecting a DSLR and passing the photos to the computer -for some reason, it only copied the first photo and then did nothing- later compilations of Windows 10 were solving this and other problems. The hardware support is very remarkable in Windows 10 in the tests carried out, and the connection of peripherals -wireless mouse and keyboard, printer, mobiles, USB keys, sound card- has not generated any conflict except the one discussed with the camera.
But of course, Microsoft cannot control what all the manufacturers that offer peripherals and components for PCs and laptops do: it is these manufacturers that must offer that support and those drivers, and here as always, prudence when installing a new operating system is a must. You can update from previous versions of Windows (7/8 / 8.1) if you have a legitimate license, but it is that if something does not go well you have the option of returning to your previous system with the tools that Microsoft provides as part of the operating system.
You can also consider doing a dual installation so that during the start of your PC or laptop you are presented with that menu from which to start with Windows 10 or the version of Windows with which you had worked until then. There are various guides that explain the procedure to follow -Spanish, English- and it is a good way to ensure that even if everything goes wrong with Windows 10 we can always resort to our "old" system partition with Windows 7/8 / 8.1.
In this hardware support Microsoft also offers news, however: a strong commitment to biometrics arrives, and this is where Windows Hello, the biometric authentication technology that allows us to log in with each user's unique physical characteristics as our face, comes into play. or our fingerprint. Some laptops will integrate native support for this technology from its sale, and for those who want to enable, for example, facial recognition, cameras with RealSense technology will be offered for sale, offering the precision required by Windows 10 technology.
This technology follows the guidelines of the new FIDO specification (Fast Identification Online), an initiative that, as we have already said, allows the use of all types of biometric devices and sensors that provide authentication and identity verification services. Microsoft is taking an important step in an area that has so far been little exploited on PCs and laptops but that for example makes a lot of sense in professional environments, something that Microsoft's managers talked about in their introductory article on Windows Hello.
This facial recognition technology from Microsoft is not new: they have been offering it on Xbox One with Kinect for some time, and any user of this console knows that if Kinect is working, as soon as you turn on the console, your face will be recognized and the session will start. from this user immediately.
In these developments in terms of hardware, it will also be interesting to see what performance finally offers the so-called Precision Touchpad, touch panels for Microsoft that meet very specific requirements and that make the experience with this type of input devices much more remarkable. Here the idea is to compete with the hitherto unmatched quality of Apple's trackpads, and we will see if Microsoft fulfills all that ambition and makes these elements work effectively in a comparable way.
This analysis is incomplete
If you made it this far, ole. Especially since we have to confess one thing: the analysis is incomplete. And not for our pleasure, of course, but for Microsoft's own philosophy, that although it launches Windows 10 for PCs and laptops (Ultrabooks, All-in-One and convertible tablets included), it does not yet have final versions for other platforms.
It is for this reason that we have many things to value, especially in the field of smartphones. Windows 10 for mobile will have the last word in this regard, but it will take a little longer to arrive - some point to September as a candidate month for the appearance of that edition - but it will do so with very important news.
We'll talk about all of them in detail at the time but there are some especially promising features. We have already talked about Continuum for smartphones, and this technology will be especially interesting because it will appear together with the new high ranges - we hope two - of Microsoft in this segment. We will see what Microsoft's proposal is in terms of hardware specifications and connectivity - how will they implement the possibility of connecting the smartphone to a monitor, mouse and keyboard? - but of course that is one of the great unknowns of the future. So will some options like that "one-handed operation" of phablets, for example,
So will the reception of adapted applications from iOS and Android thanks to the efforts that have been made in Redmond to greatly facilitate the task of migrating applications from these platforms. Some are not entirely clear on what Microsoft will achieve with this move, which could certainly boost its catalog but also hurts its differentiation from its rivals.
This conceptual design of the young armend07 is a good example of what Microsoft could consider in the future in the field of smart watches.
What happens to us with Windows 10 on mobile is extensible to other platforms in which the availability of the new operating system will also mark new milestones in the implementation of this operating system. The Xbox One is another of the great protagonists of this ambitious initiative, and we will see if Windows 10 reaches -and in what way- highly demanded devices today such as smart watches, quantifying bracelets or those promising devices of the Internet of the Stuff. Microsoft does not seem to be particularly interested in this segment, but the truth is that with elements such as Cortana or its smart tiles, the development of an alternative in this field seems almost inevitable.
All these new members of the ecosystem make this analysis, as we said, incomplete. And it is because everyone will influence in one way or another the general operation of the platform and our conception of it. Microsoft has before it the most ambitious project in its entire history, and it is evident that lights are much more important than shadows, even when compared to current proposals that have preferred a much more conservative path.
Windows 10 conclusions
Windows 10 does not arrive in perfect magazine condition. There are many criticisms that can be made of this operating system in various sections. Inconsistencies in the user interface, presence of applications almost doubled in benefits and functionalities, unknowns as to the future of universal applications and the unified store, that prominence of touch in native applications, or the doubts that generate components such as Microsoft Edge They are clear examples of where we could find weak points in this operating system.
And yet all of this is overshadowed by a prodigious global idea. The fact that all our devices can be based on the same operating system - at its core, rather - and that from there the user experience adapts to each scenario according to your needs. The concept of convergence used by Microsoft is spectacular, and the improvements that come to Windows 10 in other areas demonstrate that we are facing a faronic project.
The start menu, the usability and productivity improvements provided by the new interface features or the symbiosis with the Xbox One are some of those remarkable features, but in the end one stays with what these months leave with preliminary versions and These days with the final edition: Windows 10 may be the beginning of a new Microsoft era like the one we already lived two decades ago.
This company is very different from the one inherited by Satya Nadella, and this operating system is a demonstration of that refreshing new beginning. I repeat: Windows 10 is not perfect. It is far from it. And yet, the pillars on which it stands point to a whole revolution in the conception of modern operating systems. We will see if Microsoft's dream is fulfilled or not. We will be here to tell you.