Windows 10 Preview Shows What Windows 8 Should Have Looked Like

 
 
By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-10-15
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Windows 10 Preview Shows What Windows 8 Should Have Looked Like
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    Windows 10 Preview Shows What Windows 8 Should Have Looked Like

    By Wayne Rash
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    Shades of the Past Loom in Windows 10 Preview
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    Shades of the Past Loom in Windows 10 Preview

    Windows 10, labeled here as the Windows Technical Preview, boots into the Windows Desktop when it's installed on a machine without a touch screen. If this looks a lot like the Windows 8 desktop to you, then you'd be right. But there are minor differences, including the Microsoft Store on the taskbar and a new icon for Windows Explorer. The Windows icon in the lower left corner looks just like the one that invoked the Start screen but actually invokes the new Start Menu.
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    The Start Menu Returns
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    The Start Menu Returns

    Yes, the Start Menu is back. Attached to the menu items is a box containing tiles harkening back to the Windows 8 Start Screen. The tiles work the same way, and you can change their size and position and change what's displayed on the tiles. The whole thing is actually very configurable, so users can modify it to meet their needs.
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    There's Now a Search App
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    There's Now a Search App

    Click on the magnifying glass on the Taskbar, and you get a search app that, among other things, shows you trending headlines. It's also supposed to list your most recent searches, but that appears not to be fully functional. What's important is that the search function will now search your computer and the Internet all at once. It's kind of nifty, unless you're just trying to find last week's invoice.
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    Making System Settings Outside of the Control Panel
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    Making System Settings Outside of the Control Panel

    There's life beyond the control panel. While the familiar Windows Control Panel still exists, there is also a separate list of functions for some settings if you search for them. They do the same thing as the control panel, but this is another way to find them.
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    Windows 10 Borrows Something From Linux, Unix
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    Windows 10 Borrows Something From Linux, Unix

    What appears to be a selection of multiple desktops at the bottom of the screen is actually (wait for it) a display of multiple desktops. Windows has borrowed the idea of multiple desktops from the Unix and Linux world and brought them to Windows. Each looks like a duplicate of the first desktop, but you can open different apps in them, and then switch as needed. It's a great way to keep work apps separate from the fun stuff.
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    It's OK to Mix App Types
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    It's OK to Mix App Types

    Here's something you could never have done with Windows 8. Open on this screen are a traditional desktop app (Firefox in this case) and a couple of those Modern apps that used to work only on the tiled interface. In this case, we're seeing the Maps and the Weather apps. Those apps are indeed from the Microsoft Store, and they now run in their own Windows. They can be resized as needed.
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    There Are More Echoes of Windows 8
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    There Are More Echoes of Windows 8

    There's yet another way to change settings on Windows 10, this time in the same Settings app that existed in Windows 8. There are some differences in this version, but they're minor. Perhaps the most significant difference is that you can't shut down the computer from here. That's back on the Start Menu where it belongs.
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    Multitasking Made Easy
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    Multitasking Made Easy

    One of the annoying things about earlier versions of Windows was that it was easy to open enough windows to lose track of what was where, making it hard to find things. Now, you can switch between apps and desktops easily and quickly. Here is an example of how it looks with a few windows open. Note that you can also add desktops, which will appear below these windows. This feature adds significantly to the ease of use with Windows 10.
 

Microsoft has fired the opening salvo in its battle to regain dominance on the desktop with a preview edition of Windows 10 (or Wind-X if you prefer). The preview edition is intended to give Windows users, especially those in the enterprise, as much time as possible to get ready for the operating system and likely as much time as necessary to satisfy themselves that it's not Windows 8. While this version of Windows is in fact a big step beyond the failed version that was Windows 8, it's not really as separate as Microsoft perhaps would like you to think it is. Instead, what we have with Windows 10 is probably what Windows 8 should have been, especially when it comes to the needs of desktop users. The differences in Windows 10 are especially clear when it's used in a typical mouse-and-keyboard environment that brings back the Windows 7 features that users liked along with the improvements built into Windows 8 that still make sense. What that means to most users is that the Start Menu is back, although it's partly morphed into a shrunken version of the Windows 8 start screen.

 
 
 
 
 
Wayne Rash Wayne has been a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He's a frequent contributor to eWEEK and Techweb. Rash is a frequent guest on a variety of network news and talk shows, and has appeared recently on NPR, Fox Business News and NBC as a technology expert. He is the author of five books, including his most recent, "Politics on the Nets," which was featured on National Public Radio in October. You can mail Wayne here.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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