January 2015 Updates

Windows 10 overview

On January 21, 2015, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) announced the finer details of Windows 10, its latest operating system (or OS). The company also announced the probable date this OS will hit the markets.

On January 21, 2015, Microsoft held a special Windows 10 event to show how Windows 10 will run across PCs (personal computers), phones, tablets, and the Xbox One gaming console.

It’s also been speculated that Microsoft will try to offer Windows 10 as an annual subscription rather than a one-time buy. However, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella refuted the change in business model.

Learn more » 

Microsoft’s Windows 10 has new web browser

In its Windows 10 release, Microsoft (MSFT) announced that Windows 10 will include a new web browser called Spartan. With Windows 10, Spartan will be the default browser. It will feature both a refreshed interface and other improvements that were not included in Internet Explorer (or IE).

The Spartan web browser is equipped with built-in Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant with its contextual searching. So if a person looks up a restaurant on Spartan, Cortana will throw in a map, a menu, and contact details.

Learn more » 

Windows 7 customers get to download Windows 10 for free, but only for a year

The Windows 10 download will be free for customers who are currently running Windows 7 or later versions, including Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. But the download will only last for the first year of its release.

The important thing to note here is that Windows 10 is not a free upgrade for the first year. It’s a free upgrade for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users within the first year of its launch.

The Windows 10 operating system is expected to be launched in late 2015. At the end of the free one-year window, users who wish to continue using Windows 10 have to pay for a subscription.

Learn more » 

Windows 10 Feature Update

Windows 10 could see Cortana spread into all versions of the new OS, including desktops, laptops and tablets. The new Notifications feature for Windows 10 is very similar to the Action Center on Windows Phone 8.1. Featured as a button on the task bar, Notifications collects alert data from plenty of sources.

“You’ll see notifications from the system and apps – from new emails and invites to IMs, Facebook posts and more – all in one place, so you don’t miss a thing,” Microsoft Director of Windows Program Management Gabe Aul wrote in a blog post.

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore teased new trackpad gestures that will soon come to Windows 10 during his TechEd Europe keynote in October 2014. Similar to the gestures that Mac users are used to, the new OS will soon respond to three-finger swipes in three directions. Swiping downward with three fingers will return you to the desktop from within any app, while an upward gesture will summon the new task view. Swiping with three fingers either to the left or right will switch between open apps. Users will also be able to resize snapped windows with a unique three-finger gesture.

Learn more »

Windows 10 Control Panel Changing, Possibly Disappearing

New screenshots from recent internal builds of Windows 10 have revealed that the Settings app has received a huge make over, along with the title bar which now has a dedicated full screen button. The screenshots also reveal that elements within the Control Panel are slowly going away, with features being stripped in place of messages which tell users to use the new Settings app. The fact that elements within the Control Panel are being removed with messages telling users to use the Settings app may mean that Microsoft is planning to remove the Control Panel completely. This is something that has been rumored for some time now, and it looks like it may be true.

Learn more » 

Windows 8.1 Update

On April 2, 2014, Microsoft announced an update to Windows 8.1. The major elements in this update are:

  • Easy-to-access Power and Search buttons added to the Start screen
  • Added desktop functionality with taskbar available any time by pointing to bottom of screen
  • Added taskbar functionality with ability to pin Windows Store apps an Internet bookmarks to the taskbar
  • Added app features with ability to display Close and Minimize buttons by pointing to top of a Windows Store app

Easier access to your favorite apps and key controls:

On the Start screen of select devices you will now find Power and Search buttons at the upper-right corner next to your account picture. You can now more quickly shut down your PC if you need to and do a search right from the Start screen.

WhatsNew_Office365_01

If you like using the desktop, you will be happy to know that select devices will now boot to desktop as the default setting. And on your taskbar, you can now pin both desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store as well as your favorite websites. You can pin any app you want to the taskbar so you can open or switch between apps right from the desktop. You can also access the taskbar from anywhere when you’re using a mouse; you can see the taskbar on any screen by moving your mouse to the bottom edge of your screen. Just click on any of the apps pinned to your taskbar to open or switch to them.

More familiar mouse and keyboard options:

Microsoft lets your mouse work more consistently anywhere in Windows. If you move your mouse to the top of the screen when using a Windows Store app, you will see the familiar Close and Minimize buttons. When you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen in a Windows Store app, the taskbar comes up.

WhatsNew_Office365_02

On the Start screen, if you right-click on an app tile, you will get a context menu next to the app tile that shows you what you can do with the tile, like unpin from Start, pin to the taskbar, change the tile size or even uninstall the app. Right-clicking on an app tile on the Start screen works just like right-clicking on something on the desktop.

WhatsNew_Office365_03

Simpler way to find new apps:

After installing the update, you’ll find the Windows Store is now pinned to the taskbar by default so you can easily discover new apps (yes, you can unpin it if you don’t want it there).

Learn more »