Microsoft starts rolling out its new operating system, Windows 10, to customers around the world today, with members of its ‘Insider programme’ being the first to receive the free upgrade.
Following a hostile reception to Windows 8, which launched in 2012 and introduced the concept of ‘live tiles’ for touch-based computing, Microsoft decided to bypass Windows 9 and jump straight to Windows 10, combining what it describes as the “best elements” of Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Live tiles still feature in Windows 10, offering shortcuts to the user’s favourite applications, but are far less obtrusive than in Windows 8. Microsoft has also brought back the start menu from Windows 7, allowing users to browse through a list of their most-used programs.
Unlike with previous versions, there will not be a separate Windows Phone 10 operating system. Instead, Windows 10 will be used across all Microsoft devices, including PCs, tablets and smartphones – as well as the Xbox games console and Microsoft’s holographic headset, HoloLens.
A feature called Continuum means that the software automatically detects whether there is a keyboard attached to the device and selects the most appropriate mode.
The company has killed off Windows Media Center – its software for recording and playing TV, music and video – and replaced it with modified versions of Xbox Music and Xbox Video, which have been renamed as ‘Groove’ and ‘Movies & TV’ respectively.