Windows 10, the next generation of Windows, has officially launched today in over 190 countries globally. Windows 10 is a free upgrade for those who are running Windows 7 or 8.1 and it brings back the Start Menu which many loathed about Windows 8.1. It also brings an all new browser experience in Microsoft Edge and has Cortana, the voice recognition personal assistant built into it.
Having used Windows 10 for several months, I can tell you that this feels like Windows yet feels completely new. I personally think it is the best Windows release yet and after you upgrade I think you will agree.
Here are some of the key features and highlights of Windows 10:
- Return of the Start Menu and traditional Desktop: While there is a Tablet Mode that makes the Start Menu full screen (think Windows 8.1), that is really aimed at tablets and Surface devices. For your PC or laptop, it’s Desktop Mode all the way.
- Cortana: The voice activated Personal Assistant lives on your Taskbar and is one command away from helping you search for anything on your PC or the web. Just say, “Hey Cortana” and off you go.
- Windows Hello: Facial recognition comes of age. Using your webcam, Windows 10 will recognize your face and unlock your PC so you can start working without having to enter in a password or PIN
- Microsoft Edge: The next generation web browser built into Windows 10. Formerly known as Project Spartan, Edge is a shockingly fast web experience with a clean, easy to use interface. I’m a big Chrome users but I’m finding myself using Edge more and more simply because of the stunning speeds.
- Xbox App: Extends your Xbox experience and gaming capabilities to Windows 10
- Touch Friendly Office apps: Available for free in the Windows Store today, you can get a more touch friendly version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint for your Windows 10 tablet.
If you own a legal copy of Windows 7 or 8.1 on your PC, laptop or tablet, Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for you. Starting last month, a reservation system was setup through an app sent to your PC via Windows Update. If you reserved a copy, the update will be available to you today.
If you are not seeing the update, there is a way to force it manually. Start Command Prompt as an administrator and type in the command
Finally, it is important to remember that the release of Windows 10 today does not include Windows 10 Mobile. That likely won’t hit your Windows Phone until November as it is still very much a work in progress (trust me on this one!)