Microsoft previews Windows 10 – and it will be free for many current users

In January Microsoft unveiled the Windows 10 Consumer Preview. The developer preview of Windows 10 has been available since September and we are already trialling it in the support office with the current Abtrac Version 5.

Microsoft reported that 1.7 million people had downloaded the Windows 10 developer preview, giving Microsoft more than 800,000 pieces of feedback. And they’ve certainly listened to the feedback from Windows 8 too. The start menu is back and one theme from the promo last month was “The Windows you know, only better”. For those of you who struggled to log off Windows 8 this version is more ‘old school’ and certainly seems more intuitive for existing Windows users. (Yes Ed, we’re talking about you!)

The big news is they’ve also announced that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year of it’s release.*

The consumer preview last month showcased many new, thoughtful and impressive features in the latest version of the operating system that powers the vast majority of the world’s desktop PCs. Here are some that we think are of note for those of you looking to upgrade your operating systems in the next 12 months:

  • The Start Menu is back 🙂 Windows 10 will have two versions of the resurrected Start Menu, a familiar one with some “Modern” tiles and a full-screen version similar to the Windows 8 dashboard.
  • A new web browser codenamed Project Spartan. It’ll be the primary browser in Windows 10 and will be available on PCs, tablets and phones. It allows users to “draw” directly on a web page for quick sharing of notes, and includes a fully integrated reading list that follows a user across devices, as well as a built-in PDF viewer. We will be looking at how Abtrac OnLine works with this new browser once a more stable version of Project Spartan is released.
  • Virtual Desktops will allow users to create different desktops for different purposes and switch between them quickly and easily. While you will only need to install Windows 10 once, you can have a different desktop setup for say home, personal, and business use all under one user.
  • In Windows 10, File Explorer will be upgraded to search for not only your files and folders, but also to scan the Internet as well. You will also be able to quickly see recent and most popular files and folders, meaning you’ll be more likely to be able to find what you are looking for in less time.
  • The big feature of the Windows 10 operating system is that it’s designed to let users transfer seamlessly from device to device. The Office apps will work together across all systems; mobile, tablet and desktop – when you want to project a PowerPoint presentation from a phone to a PC, for example.

And if you are wonder whether you missed Windows 9…Microsoft seem to have used the same naming trick with Windows 10 that they tried with Windows 7. Some geeks are theorising that by skipping a number they seem to be putting a bit of distance between it and Windows 8, much in the same way they did with Vista…

Abtrac is part of the Microsoft Developer Network so we’ll keep you up to date with how Windows 10 and Project Spartan will work with your version of Abtrac closer to when the new operating system is launched. If you’re planning on moving to Windows 10 please discuss it with us first. You’ll understand that until we have the final version from Microsoft we obviously cannot sign off on Abtrac running perfectly on it, even though initial trials have raised no issues.

*There is no current release date for Windows 10 as yet, although speculation is that it will be in the later half of 2015. You can find out more about Windows 10 and whether it will be free for your office here on the official Windows10 page.