PC Magazine summarizes features and benefits found in latest build of Windows 10 as it is being prepared for the July 29th release.


Windows 10 is nearly here, and a major thrust of its design is to be more familiar to users of pre-8 versions of Windows. It’s a chance for everyone who missed out on all the performance and feature advances in Windows 8 and 8.1—and believe it or not there are plenty, many of which are included in this list—to get caught up. Not only that: It’s free!

By clicking on the new-style Windows logo in your system tray that Microsoft has added to all machines eligible for the free upgrade. Doing so enrolls you in the upgrade program, which starts on July 29.  If you have a valid license for a Windows 7 SP1 or 8.1 Update installed, then you’re golden. The offer lasts for a year.

Note that the new operating system sheds some features that weren’t used by a large enough audience for Microsoft to continue offering them. Things like Windows Media Center, Windows 7 desktop gadgets, and a few more trifles. You can read more about what’s going away and how to replace it in 6 Features Disappearing in Windows 10 (and How to Replace Them)

Without further ado, here is why you should upgrade that old Windows box:

1. Speed – Startup and more. If you never made the move to Windows 8 or 8.1, you’ve missed out on one of the best things to hit Windows operating systems in forever: Fast startup.  Compared with Windows 7, the newer Microsoft OSes leave the older one at the gates. Another speed boost mostly aimed at gamers will come from DirectX 12, the new 3D engine for game developers.

2. The Start Menu – The loud voices in the tech community have long clamored for the return of the Start menu after its replacement by the Start screen in Windows 8. Microsoft has heeded the cries for its return, but given it a tile-based appendage, so as not to lose live tile info, and to make the OS still touch-enabled.

3. Cortana – It’s nice to be able to talk to your technology in hands-free mode. “Hey Cortana, play music,” or “take a note” are just for starters.

4. Universal Apps – Windows 10 lets you find software you need for large and small tasks, and you can run apps either windowed or full-screen. Windows 10 also comes with slicker and more powerful productivity and media apps, including new Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People, Mail, and Calendar.

5. Touch – Just about every screen in your life these days is a touch screen—your smartphone, your tablet, even your car navigation system. So why not your desktop or laptop PC?

6. Action Center – Your smartphone pops up notifications for messages, updates, and even breaking news, so why shouldn’t your PC? With Windows 10 it does. Similar to the Mac OS X Notification Center, the Action Center shows messages from email, the system itself (you’ve installed an update), and from apps (weather warning, or a birthday reminder).

7. A Better Browser Microsoft Edge brings the OS’s default browser into the modern world of browsers. That means improved compatibility and speed, and add a few helpful new capabilities like webpage markup and reading mode.

8. Security – Windows 10 inherits the Secure Boot feature from Windows 8 and makes it even more secure. This requires any code that runs right when the OS starts be signed by Microsoft or the hardware maker. Three new security feature for Windows 10 are Device Guard, Microsoft Passport and Windows Hello, which you can read about on the Windows for Your Business blog.

9. Virtual Desktops – Windows 10 finally brings the capability to Microsoft’s desktop operating system. In Windows 10, the feature is incredibly easy to use: You simple click or tap the task-switching icon next to the Cortana search box in the taskbar.

10. Xbox App – If you’re a gamer, you’ll love the integration with Xbox that comes in Windows 10.