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First Thoughts On Windows 10

The Start Menu returns to the desktop
Windows 8.1 isn't a bad operating system, indeed it does a half decent job of merging a desktop operating system with a touch screen tablet focused interface. However Microsoft mis-judged the demand for touch screens on desktop class machines and as a result there been no end of negative publicity about the OS. In reality most users who spend the time to get to know the system - and get it configured correctly - find that it is a extremely powerful way of using hybrid and tablet systems, whilst being a small step forward over Windows 7.

Windows 10 looks to address that negativity by better addressing the balance between desktop and tablet. And to ensure that it gets as much feedback as possible on the changes it's planning, Microsoft has released a technical preview which can be installed by anyone with the technical know-how (and a spare, non-critical machine). For starters Windows 10 will be available for desktop/hybrid systems, but ARM builds will follow and the prospect of Continuim delivering a single experience and applications across phone, tablet and desktop.

For me that meant sacrificing my Ubuntu test machine - an Core i3 laptop with 4GB of RAM. And having installed Windows 10 and had a few days to see how it performs I have to say I'm pretty impressed. Even on quite aged hardware with no touchscreen performance is excellent. Installation was straightforward and relatively quick. Only problem was with the Synaptics Touchpad driver, which required a driver download from HP's website.

For a technical preview build stability has been excellent so far - but 72 hours isn't a fair test. If it's still as solid after two weeks of testing I'll be impressed. In the meantime I'll be looking at what the new system has to offer enterprise and consumer-level users and see if there are any roadblocks that need to be addressed before Windows 10 reaches production.

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