2015 will see Microsoft release its latest operating system in the shape of Windows 10. This is a massive software release for Microsoft as it comes in the context of a challenging time for the corporation in an evolving computer market, and in the aftermath of a rather disastrous Windows 8 release. Indeed, the whole ethos behind giving this version of the flagship software the Windows 10 monicker is to indicate its significance as a release, and to categorically separate it from the reviled Windows 8.
Microsoft unquestionably has much to address in this software release, so here are several areas that the software giant must improve significantly when Windows 10 hits the market.
Windows 10 Interface
The most disastrous element of Windows 8 was the user interface, particularly the complete lack of a Start menu. Windows veterans of many years found the new design associated with Windows 8 to be utterly cumbersome and impractical, and it is probably this factor above all else which has forced Microsoft’s hand in releasing this effective rebooting of the Windows concept.
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It has already been announced that the Start menu will be reinstalled to this version of Windows, but it must deliver far more than that; a genuinely intuitive system which is both easy and enjoyable to operate is an absolute must.
As with any big technology company, Microsoft’s future is in the cloud, yet analysts are already suggesting that in the medium-term Microsoft may have to look beyond Windows unless it can deliver satisfactory cloud compatibility and collaboration in the very near future. Thus, the cloud capabilities of Windows 10 will be particularly strongly placed under the microscope, and in a computing industry whose model of operation is changing rapidly, Microsoft must demonstrate that it is still at the cutting edge and relevant.
Windows 10 – Security
Security is a hot potato issue anyway for a wide variety of reasons. High profile cases such as the Edward Snowden NSA revelations and the recent Lizard Squad DDoS controversy have not helped the public perception that major corporations cannot deliver safe networks, systems and software.
But it is particularly important for Microsoft, as many people have lost faith in certain elements of Windows – particularly Internet Explorer – owing to a perceived lack of security. Explorer has proved pretty easy for hackers to exploit, and its share of the market has been tumbling in recent years. Indeed, if you’re an experienced Internet user then you are almost certainly not using Internet Explorer to access this article.
Microsoft needs to place a significant emphasis on security, particularly with regard to web browsing, if it is to significantly reduce the market dominance of Google.
Windows 10 – Multi-Device capability
This is particularly important for Microsoft itself, as this was a primary focus of the effectively failed Windows 8. Many users simply want a desktop Windows product that works well, but this definitely does not suit the Microsoft modus operandi, as the company must be all things to all people in an increasingly diversifying computing landscape. Thus, Microsoft must deliver a Windows 10 that works across multiple devices, while also not alienating its core desktop audience.
This is a tricky task, as the company already emphatically proved with Windows 8; a piece of software which was intended to work equally well for users of multiple devices, but which eventually ended up pleasing no-one.
Windows 10 – Universal apps
Microsoft has already announced that this useful feature will be part of the Windows 10 make-up, with common apps available that will work on all device types. The proof all be in the pudding with this, but it certainly seems like a sensible design parameter.
Windows 10 – Virtual Desktop
This is effectively an idea which has been pilfered from Apple Inc. , but it’s difficult to be too critical of Microsoft for this, as all technology companies borrow from one another. Isn’t it always said that the key to great pop music is borrowing from other people and reinterpreting these influences? Microsoft has the opportunity to do this with virtual desktops, which will enable quick switching between multiple desktop setups. Many people will greatly welcome this; it will certainly be interesting to see how slickly it has been implemented.
Windows 10 – Improved multitasking
This has not been confirmed, but many Windows users are hoping that the multitasking in Windows 10 will be greatly improved over previous versions. It has been reported that the software is expected to improve the multitasking experience of native users, but there has been little detail regarding exactly how this will occur. There will be a certain onus on Microsoft to deliver some functionality and insight related to this by the time that it reveals Windows 10 in a preview event later this month.
Windows 10 – Better command prompt
Many people feel that the good old command prompt interface is well past its sell-by date. This is perhaps an element of Windows that the layperson doesn’t really enter into too much, but it is nevertheless very important for certain functions. Traditionally, working within the command prompt interface in pretty much every previous version of Windows has been a reviled element of the software, which represents a laborious and tedious task.
Microsoft has not given any indication of whether it will improve the command prompt feature, let alone how it intends to do so. But such features as adding shortcut keys to the keyboard and an input filter would be very welcome.
Windows 10 – Compatible with all hardware drivers
Updating drivers on the PC platform is certainly more fiddly than it should be, and although Microsoft arms Windows Update with the ability to locate new drivers, this is notoriously unreliable. All driver updates should be built into Windows 10 in order to make this process as simple as possible. Mac users may still view this issue with some derision.
Unfortunately, the level of co-ordination required between Microsoft and hardware manufacturers will probably make this a no-go for the foreseeable future, and certainly there has been no indication that it will occur in Windows 10.