Windows 10 LogoMicrosoft recently announced that they would be skipping number 9 in the line-up of their Windows operating system, naming the upcoming version Windows 10. (Why, you ask? Well the prevailing theory is that it’s because Seven ate Nine…)

We got our paws on the Technical Preview, and here are our first thoughts on it.

First Impressions

New Start Menu

Task View

Performance Improvements

More Features Coming

First Impressions

Our Windows 10 Technical Preview installation was done in a virtual machine. The installation went fast and smooth; there was nothing new, it was very similar to Windows 8.1’s installation process (if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, we guess).

After installation and configuration the desktop arrives… and it’s very underwhelming. There are no big changes to the desktop, at first glance, but granted, the desktop works fine the way it is, so why change it?

Windows 10 Desktop

New Start Menu

But we heard the rumours about the changes to the Start Menu, so we were very excited to see that. We clicked on the pretty little Windows logo in the corner, prepared to be amazed… And it was disappointing. It didn’t display the way we expected it to. But alas, it turns out that was just a glitch, and after a restart the new Start menu was there in all its glory:

Windows 10 Start Menu

The new start menu is very efficient in the sense that it keeps the new Metro interface, while seamlessly integrating it with the classic Windows 7 style Start menu. For fans of the classic start menu, you have the familiar search box, All Apps, and the convenient list of frequently accessed programs. But for those of us that actually got used to (maybe even like) the Windows 8.1 Start menu, it’s there next to the classic menu, with the familiar tiles.

Another awesome thing about the Start menu is the fact that it can be resized; you can make it bigger or smaller by dragging the edge.

Task View

One of the most awesome features of Windows 10 is the new Task View. This adds the awesome functionality of adding additional desktops.

Windows 10 Task View

As one member of our team was quick to say, Mac has had that for years. And yes, they have, but the Linux / UNIX world has had it for even longer. So Microsoft may be late to the party, but rather late than never!

The Task View feature works very well. It switches between desktops seamlessly, without making a serious dent in performance.

That leads us to the next topic:

Performance Improvements

We’ve done a side-by-side comparison between the Windows 10 Technical Preview and Windows 8.1 Professional, keeping Internet Explorer 11 and the Task Manager open on both; on Windows 8.1 the CPU usage constantly changes, going up and down (granted, not by much), but in Windows 10 it’s at a constant 0, except when you’re actively using it. That’s just one example, but we ran many similar comparisons, all with similar results. There’s a definite performance improvement.

More Features Coming

The Technical Preview doesn’t have all of the features that the final version of Windows 10 will reportedly have. Two of the main coming soon features are:

Cortana

Microsoft’s Digital Assistant is coming to Windows 10 final release. Though the concept of a Digital Assistant is by no means new, Cortana is still something to get excited about.

Internet Explorer 12

Yes, I know Internet Explorer has had a bad rep for a while, but honestly, have you even tried IE11? It’s faster than the other, more popular browsers! The only negative thing that we can truly still say about IE is that there’s a severe lack of useful plugins. If IE11 is any indication, we are really looking forward to IE12.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for Windows 10’s final release, because the Technical Preview was just enough to convince us that, yes, the next version of Windows is indeed something to look forward to.

PS: If you ever feel tempted to try the Windows 10 Preview (or any other preview software, for that matter!) make sure that you have a backup of all your data!