This is a look at some of the features in the next Windows 10 update. It is publicly available on the beta channel and I’ve had about five minutes playing around with it so far, but some of the changes are quite major and are easily spotted. No doubt there are many more and they will come to light soon as I spend more time with the updated OS.
Down in the bottom right corner of the screen is the notifications icon. Previously this just turned white to let you know that there were notifications waiting to be read. Now it has a badge that tells you how many there are.
It is an idea borrowed from phones and tablets, and it makes perfect sense. It is obvious and it works great.
New Action Center
Click the notifications icon and Action Center is a bit different. See the large notification at the top. That is a new style of notification. It may only apply to important system notifications like this overdue security and maintenance issue. It is certainly bigger than before and hard to miss.
New Start menu
There have been major changes to the Start menu. The tiles on the right remain the same, but everything on the left has changed. The All apps menu has gone and the all apps list is permanently on display.
The most used apps are at the top, recently used underneath and then comes what used to be the All apps menu. The 0-9 and A-Z listing of every app and program installed. This section of the Start menus scrolls up and down so you can view and run any app.
It cuts out that extra menu and click to get to your apps. Click Start, scroll down to the app you want and click it.
Notice the hamburger menu button in the top left corner of the Start menu. This is another feature borrowed from mobile devices. Click the button and a panel slides out containing menu options.
These work as before. After you have opened the panel a couple of times and memorised the icon functions, you can just click the icons instead of sliding the panel out with the menu button.
New taskbar settings
Ever since Windows 8, Microsoft has been moving settings that used to be in old fashioned dialog boxes and the Control Panel to the new style Windows Settings. Now there are more of them in Settings
You used to be able to right click the taskbar and select Properties, but that menu has been replaced by Settings with a gear icon. Click it and now Taskbar is in the new Settings app.
Go to Settings, Personalisation, Colours and there is now a light and dark theme.
The Settings app has been given a makeover and there are small tweaks here and there. Notice the new central search box at the top of the app.
The Settings categories on the left now have icons. You can see these in the screen shots above.
These changes are among the most obvious ones from five minutes with the new Windows 10. No doubt there are many more changes waiting to be found. I haven’t found one I didn’t like, so this update is looking good.
When will everyone get these? I'd guess in a few weeks and you won't have to wait long.