The tech industry is buzzing in anticipation of Tuesday’s midnight launch of Windows 10.
“It’s kind of a big deal!” wrote The Verge. “The biggest sea change in PC software in nearly three years.”
The rollout of the actual software will happen in stages, with Windows Insiders getting it first and then others getting a chance to preorder the product in waves, so that glitches that pop up in one wave can be fixed for the next one.
Fortunately, however, Windows 10 — unlike Windows 8 — is designed to work as a straight upgrade, so if computers meet certain specifications, the software can be installed immediately.
Fox News wrote that Windows 10 “is an exercise in rectifying the wrongs of Windows 8. That may be the only reason you need to upgrade.”
Most users (corporate and home) had no appetite for the “force-fed” touch interface of Windows 8, and so Microsoft did away with it. Perhaps the most welcome change in Windows 10 is the Start menu, which, while it still has the familiar Live Tiles of Windows 8.1, allows users to reduce the screen-consuming nterface of 8.1 to essentially a pop-up (albeit, wide) menu. And Windows’ “Modern” apps can now run as a window on the desktop like any other desktop application.
The redesigned Tablet Mode in Windows 10 is set aside for users with a tablet or, for example, a Surface product like Surface 3 or Surface Pro 3. Users just detach the keyboard and are automatically placed in Tablet Mode. Windows 10 also features a brand new speedier browser called Edge Browser, which also lets users take notes, write, doodle, and highlight directly on web pages.
The operating system includes an Action Center, which is a new way to handle notifications, jettisoning the Charms bar. It also includes Quick Actions such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth settings that are analogous to Apple’s iOS Control Center.
According to Forbes, Microsoft has backtracked on forced updates in Windows 10 because they were causing problems with drivers, and has released a tool that allows users to block or uninstall updates that are suspected to be causing issues.
“While the masses will likely benefit from a more spoon-fed update program, meaning more PCs will be up-to-date, for those of us that are a little more hands-on with our systems and prefer to update graphics card drivers, for example, manually, then having the option to abstain from certain updates makes Windows 10 a lot more attractive than it was yesterday,” Forbes wrote.
As for the hardware a user will need to run Windows 10, Microsoft recommends the following minimum configuration:
Latest OS: Make sure you are running the latest version of either Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or system on a chip
RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS, 20 GB for 64-bit OS
Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver