Once again, Microsoft became the talk of the tech town after Windows 10, its latest operating system, was officially launched in its Redmond, Washington headquarters on January 21.
Though a lot of its features were already leaked during the latter half of 2014, they were intriguing enough to warrant a closer look and to make us wonder whether Windows 10 has anything more to offer. And judging from what’s been shown so far, that seems to be the case — especially from a productivity point-of-view.
Here’s a look at the best productivity features of Windows 10:
Rejoice, multitaskers: Windows 10 has you covered with its new “Task View” button. Resembling Android’s multitasking icon, Task View allows you to switch between multiple desktops at once. Each desktop is displayed as a thumbnail in the middle of your screen, similar to the view you get when using Alt+Tab. You can easily switch between desktops using Ctrl+Win+left-arrow or Ctrl+Win+right-arrow and run applications on each desktop like you normally do.
If you’re a heavy user of 2-in-1 devices, Windows 10’s Continuum mode is for you. When you’re using your device as a laptop, the OS will function as such (i.e. it’ll look like the traditional “Start button + Taskbar” interface of Windows that can be manipulated with the keyboard and mouse). When you’re using your device as a tablet, the OS will automatically switch to touchscreen mode. Pretty cool, right?
You know how “Snapped” apps in Windows 7 and 8 take up half the screen? Well, in Windows 10, you can snap up to four apps in one screen, thanks to the new Snap Assist feature. Also, Snap Assist suggests other apps you can open on top of the ones you’re currently using, which saves plenty of time while you’re working under a tight deadline.
Similar to Apple’s Siri, Cortana functions as a personal assistant for the busy, on-the-go techie. It hits you up with reminders, delivers the latest news you might be interested in, and “learns” your preferences to give you the most relevant recommendations. If your computer has a microphone, you can “talk” to Cortana and ask it to perform tasks like opening a spreadsheet. However, Cortana seems to have trouble with certain queries, so don’t expect too much from it.
As the successor to the much-reviled Internet Explorer, Project Spartan promises “greater interoperability, reliability and discoverability.” With this in mind, the browser has an interface reminiscent of Chrome and Firefox, and a slew of handy features such as (1) the ability to mark a web page directly with a stylus; (2) a mode that allows you to download articles for offline reading; and (3) integration with Cortana.
With Windows 10, you no longer need to worry about losing/accidentally editing/accidentally deleting valuable files. Everything is synced through OneDrive, where you can access and edit documents no matter what device you use. Incompatibility issues won’t be a problem either, since Microsoft is working on mobile versions of all its Office applications.
Pinned Search Bar
You don’t have to hit the “Start” button to look up files, programs, and the like anymore. All you have to do is take one look at your taskbar, type your query in the search bar pinned to it, and you’re done!
Surface Hub aims to put the “business” in “meetings,” as it packs speakerphones, whiteboards and other video conferencing features into an 84-inch, Windows 10-powered touchscreen 4K display. A 55-inch, 1080p alternative exists for smaller meetings, as well as smaller budgets.
Windows 10 has other features that don’t directly contribute to productivity but are still included here for their “check ’em out” factor. There’s Hololens, Microsoft’s answer to Google Glass; the Xbox app, which allows you to play Xbox games on your PC; and of course, the good ol’ Start Menu for longtime Windows users.
At this point, it’s too early to pass down judgment on Windows 10. After all, Windows 10 hasn’t shown up in stores as of this writing, and bugs in the system might still be discovered along the way. Nonetheless, the features discussed above indicate Microsoft is taking a step in the right direction, and we can expect more from them in terms of helping Windows users boost their productivity levels.
Images by StartupStockPhotos
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