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Another app which made it's debut in Windows 8 was the Mail app and it was one of the most useful one among the apps released with the OS. With Windows 10, it's been rewritten from the scratch to be an universal app with much better experience and features.
The mail app has mainly three sections, the left most one will show the folders in a mail account, the middle one will show the list of mails and the right most one will show contents of the selected mail.
The left portion can be expanded or collapssed by clicking on the hamburger icon as shown below. When you collapse the left menu, all the texts will be replaced with the icons and can clicking on the icons will help you to create new email, select an account and to show folders of the current account.
Cortana is the voice-controlled digital assistant from Microsoft and was introduced in Windows Phone 8. It’s available in select markets only and now makes it’s way into Windows 10. It’s very much integrated into Windows 10, replacing the search bar in Windows 7 and now sit’s in the taskbar. It can search things in the web as well as the local machine, can search for settings and your calendar, create appointments and deliver news that are relevant to you.
When you open Cortana for the first time, it will tell you to set some options like set the name which Cortana will be using to address you, your interests etc. You can skip this and can configure at a later point from the Settings. In markets where Cortana is not supported the experience will revert to what we have in Windows 7. Cortana accepts input by typing in the search bar as well as speech recognition either by clicking on the microphone icon inside the search bar or by saying Hey Cortana first and then preceded by your command. When you click inside the bar, Cortana will show the relevant details if configured, like news, your calendar info, weather info etc.
Windows store was first introduced with Windows Phone and then subsequently with Windows 8. But until now there are two separate store for both phone and the desktop and this is going to change with the launch of Windows 10.
With Windows 10, Microsoft is aiming for a consistent experience across all the devices powered by the new OS and the unified store plays an integral part in the plans. The store app is now a universal app which helps to deliver the uniform experience across phones, tablets and desktops.
The store icon is pinned to the task bar by default and can be accessed from there as well as from the start menu
Another long running application is getting replaced in Windows 10 is the Control Panel which was an integral part of the OS since Windows 2.0. The major change to it came in Windows 8 with a touch optimized app that contained minimal set of features and for majority of the advanced settings the control panel was used. With Windows 10 they are trying to replace the legacy app with the all new universal app and being an universal app helps Microsoft to maintain the settings experience consistent across multiple form factors.
The new app has got a visual refresh in line with the modern design guidelines that’s been followed by Microsoft. We can open the Settings app from the Start menu, Taskbar as well as from the System tray and also using the keyboard shortcut Windows + I.
These days being an app/web developer is the one of the hardest jobs. One will have to deal to with a lot of user experiences ranging from small phones to smartphones to tablets to desktops to smart tv and even IoT devices running on diverse operating systems. So the developer needs to make a version of the app for all these devices and needs to maintain it seperately. So the tools like Xamarin, Cordova, Kony which helps you to create a hybrid application which can run on multiple devices with a single code base, but it lacks the perfomance of the native apps.
Microsoft was hard at work to bring an universal platform where you write code once and can run on a variety of devices for some time. With Windows 10 it's becoming a reality and with the Universal apps developers will be finally able to write an app once and it will take on a different appearance depending on the device it's running on. This is because with Windows 10, they have converged all their OS platforms into a single, unified core and a single universal store for all the devices. This single core helps your app to run on every device running on Windows 10, be it a desktop, laptop, phone, Xbox or an IoT device.
The universal app platform has capablities like Adaptive UX, Natural Universal Input, Cloud Based Services will help you to quickly build these experiences that are consistent, flexible.
Microsoft is finally introducing virtual desktops in Windows 10 and if you have ever used a Mac OS or Linux then you people doesn't need a second invitation. For those who are not aware of it, virtual desktops helps you to create multiple desktops and it's very nice feature for organizing your tasks. It was one of the most requested feature and I am sure that this is going to be one of the most used feature in Windows 10. It can definitely increase the productivity, for example devs like me tend to open too many windows like Visual Studio for my coding, multiple browsers for testing, mail app, edtiting software and so on. This will lead to cluttering of the desktop and task bar eventhough we have the grouping of apps feature in the taskbar. With virtual desktops you can create differnent desktops for coding, browsing and editing there by decreasing the cluttering of apps in a single desktop.
In Windows 10, the virtual desktop feature is called the Task View and can be accessed from the task bar icon sitting just next to the Cortana. Clicking on the task view will open up the interface with a list containing the open apps in the active desktop as thumbnails. You can also the Windows + Tab key combination to open up the Task View.
Another feature from the smaller cousin making it’s way into Windows 10 is the Action Center. First introduced with Windows Phone 8, Action Center is the notification center which acts as a universal hub for notifications to the user and quick settings. Be it a calendar remainder or twitter notifications or new emails in your inbox, you can access those all in one single place instead of going to each and every app. Also it sync automatically with other devices connected to the same account.
The Action Center has two sections, the one at the top will display notifications from various apps and bottom section willl have all the qucik action buttons. The notification area will display all the notifications such as Twitter, Mail, Facebook and it shows notifications from you phone apps too like Alarms.
Apart from the normal login screen that’s been there Windows 7, Microsoft has include lot of other alternatives in Windows 10. It will include support for facial, iris and finger print recognition provided your desktop/laptop/tablet/phone has necessary sensors. They have built in another feature codename “Passport” which will hep the users to setup a pin for their account which can be used for logging in to the system instead of the password in the login screen.
The classic login screen will have all new icons for network, accessibility and power and the password field will have an arrow icon which acts as the submit button.
Microsoft is making a major change with the browser in Windows 10, it's been a major pain point for them since the modern web era which in turn conceded the ground to players like Firefox and Chrome. So they decided to replace IE with a modern browser in Windows 10. First announced in January with code name Spartan, it was built from the scratch and was based on Edge, the rendering engine of IE but devoid of all the old stuff that was their for compatibility with older technologies. Later they branded the browser as Edge and with a slight tweak to the existing logo, introduced it the world during the Build 2015 developer conference. I feel they should have given a new logo to get rid of the negativity surrounding IE.
The browser is lighter, faster and does have a minimalist flat design in accordance with Microsoft's modern design principles. It has got very little chrome and simple icons won't distract users from the content of the websites and it won't take long for the users to get in love with it.
The Start menu which was introduced with Windows 95 is making a comeback in Windows 10. Microsoft was in line of fire for replacing the Start menu with the Start Screen in Windows 8. It was good for a touch screen device but not for a device attached to a keyboard and mouse. Microsoft did tried to lessen the damage by introducting the option to boot to desktop in Windows 8.1, users were not all intereseted in the Start Screen. It soon became an abandoned area in the OS as time went on.
In Windows 10, Microsoft went through a lot of iterations to the Start menu in various builds and as we move closer to the launch we are seeing the one which will be released to manufacturing. The familar icon reclaims it's position in the task bar and the shortcut key also remains the same.
1. Bigger, Wider Start Menu
The menu will have mainly two sections, the left section may appear similar to the one in Windows 7 but it has got much more and second sections contains live tiles of various universal apps in the system. The context menu is retained from Windows 8.1 and can be accessed by right clicking on the Start button. The top left portion will display a picture of the logged in user with their name, followed by a list of most recetly used apps. It's followed by the links for File Explorer, Settings, Power and lastly the All Apps link. On the right side will have the default store apps likw Music, Edge, Search whose size can be resized.
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