Let’s face it. Windows 8/8.1 was a failure to consumers. For most of those familiar with Microsoft’s flagship OS, the ease of use Windows Vista and 7 brought consumers floundered with the release of Windows 8. They were frustrated by the disappearance of the Start Menu. They were flustered by the Start Screen and functionality that came with it. They no longer knew how to use the Windows they’d been using for a decade.

Windows 10 Overview

Later this year, Microsoft attempts to repair the damage Windows 8 did to their consumer base by releasing Windows 10. Let’s look at the fundamental changes to Windows 10 and what you can expect when you upgrade.

One of the most welcome changes in Windows 10 is the reintroduction of the Start Menu. The new Start Menu brings together the best of the Windows 7 and 8 Start Menu and Start Screen respectively, for one immersive experience. You’ll be able to add just about anything to the Start Menu, plus minimize and maximize it.


Cortana, Windows Phone’s answer to Siri, will make an appearance in Windows 10 as well. You’ll be able to get up to the minute news, weather reports, traffic updates and more all by asking Cortana to help you.

Microsoft will be releasing what they call universal apps that work cross-platform, giving Windows 10 users a chance to be connected with how they’re used to doing things whether they’re using Windows 10, a Surface tablet, Xbox One or Windows Phone. These apps, mostly like what you see on Windows 8, will feature windowed mode and function more like programs than apps.


Virtual desktops will allow users to create different desktop configurations based on what they’re doing, such as work or play. Task View will allow consumers to easily go back and forth between software and apps.

Microsoft completely redesigned the Notification Area in Windows to give users a better idea of what needs their attention and what they can ignore.

Windows Continuum is a feature that will be introduced on tablets and netbooks, allowing users to seamlessly go from tablet mode to PC mode as they see fit.

Xbox gamers will soon be able to play games on their PCs, then on the Xbox One, and with other gamers no matter what they want to play on in the Windows family. While select titles will be released allowing gamers a dual-play experience, this is an exciting step forward

There are many back end changes coming to Windows 10 allowing it perform better even on lesser hardware, although if you’re still using Windows XP, it’s probably time for you to buy a new computer rather than attempt to upgrade it.

The big theme of Windows 10 is bringing together the entire Microsoft family of platforms into one universal family. This should make it easier for consumers to go from device-to-device. Windows 10 was released in July 2015 and will be free to upgrade for anyone using Windows 7 or 8/8.1 for the first year it’s on sale to the general public.

Overall, Windows 10 looks to be what Windows 8 should’ve been from day one for consumers. While many of us techies are used to change and adapt to it quickly, for those who rely on Windows to get them through the day, Windows 8 truly was too much at once and Windows 10 seeks to fix that error in judgment on Microsoft’s part.

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Melissa Popp is Director of Digital Engagement for Altitude SEO, a boutique agency helping small businesses win with content online. As a digital strategist with a passion for technology and travel, she coaches her partners to connect with their audience through experience optimization, with the goal of retaining more loyal visitors, creating brand ambassadors, and increasing conversion goals. She can be found online writing for About Travel, TechNorms, and The Emmys. Past clients include Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Samsung.