Microsoft explains what you’ll lose by upgrading to Windows 10

Microsoft announced today that it will be launching Windows 10 on July 29th, encouraging Windows 7 and 8.1 users to reserve their free upgrade with a notification in their task bar. However, while the company has been busy highlighting all the shiny new features in the upcoming OS, it's been a bit quieter when it comes to spelling out the limitations — including making updates automatic for Windows 10 Home users.

Firstly there are the software losses. Most of these will only affect a small number of users, but upgrading will mean saying goodbye to Windows Media Center, the card game Hearts, and Windows 7's desktop gadgets. Anyone in the habit of using floppy disks on Windows will also have to install new drivers, and Microsoft warns that watching DVDs will also require "separate playback software." Microsoft manager Gabriel Aul has said on Twitter that a DVD option for Windows 10 is coming later this year," but early upgraders can always download VLC instead.

In addition to the software losses, there are also a number of limitations for some of Windows 10's most exciting features. Cortana will only be available in the US, UK, China, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain at launch, while Windows Hello (which offers support for various biometric passwords) will need an infrared camera for facial recognition, or a supported fingerprint reader. The Xbox Music and Xbox Video streaming apps will also be constrained by the usual, complex web of region-based licenses.

More annoyingly, perhaps, Microsoft has also changed how updates will work with Windows 10. Although the Pro and Enterprise editions will both be able to defer updates, Windows 10 Home users will not have the option. Updates will instead be downloaded and installed automatically as soon as they're available. System requirements for the new OS have also been detailed, with PCs and tablets needing to pass a fairly low bar: a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and a display resolution of at least 1,024 x 600 are required. These specs are a bit higher for the 64-bit version of Windows 10 but for these details and more, you can check out Microsoft's full specs page.

Hello World: Windows 10 Available on July 29

Today, I’m excited to share the availability date for Windows 10. In fact, I thought I’d let Cortana, the world’s most personal digital assistant, share the news. You can ask Cortana for the answer, or if you don’t have a Windows phone or a PC running the Windows 10 Insider Preview handy – you can hear it for yourself here:

Through the feedback and testing of over four million Windows Insiders, we’ve made great progress on Windows 10 and we’re nearly ready to deliver this free upgrade to all of our Windows customers*.

Do Great Things with Windows 10

We designed Windows 10 to create a new generation of Windows for the 1.5 billion people using Windows today in 190 countries around the world. With Windows 10, we start delivering on our vision of more personal computing, defined by trust in how we protect and respect your personal information, mobility of the experience across your devices, and natural interactions with your Windows devices, including speech, touch, ink, and holograms. We designed Windows 10 to run our broadest device family ever, including Windows PCs, Windows tablets, Windows phones, Windows for the Internet of Things, Microsoft Surface Hub, Xbox One and Microsoft HoloLens—all working together to empower you to do great things.

Familiar, yet better than ever, Windows 10 brings back the Start menu you know and love. Windows 10 is faster than ever before, with quick startup and resume. And Windows 10 provides the most secure platform ever, including Windows Defender for free anti-malware protection, and being the only platform with a commitment to deliver free ongoing security updates for the supported lifetime of the device.

We’ve designed Windows 10 to help you be more productive and have more fun, with a range of innovations**:

  • Cortana, the world’s first truly personal digital assistant helps you get things done. Cortana learns your preferences to provide relevant recommendations, fast access to information, and important reminders. Interaction is natural and easy via talking or typing. And the Cortana experience works not just on your PC, but can notify and help you on your smartphone too.

Cortana in Windows 10

  • Microsoft Edge, is an all-new browser designed to get things done online in new ways, with built-in commenting on the web – via typing or inking — sharing comments, and a reading view that makes reading web sites much faster and easier. With Cortana integrated, Microsoft Edge offers quick results and content based on your interests and preferences. Fast, streamlined and personal, you can focus on just the content that matters to you and actively engage with the web.

Inking on websites in Microsoft Edge

  • Office on Windows: In addition to the Office 2016 full featured desktop suite, Windows 10 users will be able to experience new universal Windows applications for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, all available separately. These offer a consistent, touch-first experience across a range of devices to increase you productivity. Designed from the ground up to run on Windows 10, you can easily create and edit Word documents, and deliver PowerPoint presentations while annotating on the fly. With new touch-first controls in Excel you can create or update spreadsheets without a keyboard or mouse. You will also be able to enjoy new versions of OneNote and Outlook, which are included with Windows 10 at no additional cost.
  • Xbox Live and the integrated Xbox App bring new game experiences to Windows 10. Xbox on Windows 10 brings the expansive Xbox Live gaming network to both Windows 10 PCs and tablets. Communicate with your friends on Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One – while playing any PC game. You can capture, edit and share your greatest gaming moments with Game DVR, and play new games with friends across devices. You can play games on your PC, streamed directly from your Xbox One console to your Windows 10 tablets or PCs, within your home. Games developed for DirectX 12 in Windows 10 will see improvements in speed, efficiency and graphics capability.
  • New Photos, Videos, Music, Maps, People, Mail & Calendar apps have updated designs that look and feel familiar from app to app and device to device.  You can start something on one device and continue it on another since your content is stored on and synched through OneDrive.

Photo app on Windows 10

  • Windows Continuum enables today’s best laptops and 2-in-1 devices to elegantly transform from one form factor to the other, enabling smooth transitions of your tablet into a PC, and back. And new Windows phones with Continuum can be connected to a monitor, mouse and physical keyboard to make your phone work like a PC.
  • Windows Hello, greets you by name and with a smile, letting you log in without a password and providing instant, more secure access to your Windows 10 devices. With Windows Hello, biometric authentication is easy with your face, iris, or finger, providing instant recognition.
  • Windows Store, with easy install and uninstall of trusted applications, supported by the broadest range of global payment methods.

In addition to these innovations, we will continue to update Windows 10 over time with new innovations to help you be more productive and have more fun. Like Windows 10 itself, these updates will be free for the supported lifetime of your device.

You can see these features in action in this video.

Get Ready for Windows 10

On July 29, you can get Windows 10 for PCs and tablets by taking advantage of the free upgrade offer, or on a new Windows 10 PC from your favorite retailer. If you purchase a new Windows 8.1 device between now and then, the Windows 10 upgrade will be available to you and many retail stores will upgrade your new device for you.

The Windows 10 upgrade is designed to be compatible with your current Windows device and applications*. We are hard at work to make this upgrade process a great experience. You can reserve your free Windows 10 upgrade now through a simple reservation process. Look for this icon in your system tray at the bottom of your screen, simply click on the icon, and then complete the reservation process. You can find more details on how this works at Windows.com.

Reserve your Windows 10 upgrade

Thank you for choosing Windows. We are designing it for you, so you can be more secure, more productive, have more fun.

Terry

* Initial release will be for PC and tablets. See Windows.com/windows10upgrade for availability and other details.

** Specific features may not be available in certain markets, some features require specified hardware, and Continuum for phone available on select premium models at launch.  More details at Windows.com/windows10specs and xbox.com/windows-10.

Microsoft spells out upgrade paths to Windows 10

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Last week Microsoft announced the Windows 10 editions that will power personal computing and Enterprise systems across the growing wide range of devices available. With this announcement Microsoft also reconfirmed they will offer free upgrades to Windows 10 for qualifying Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices for the first year after the launch of Windows 10.

This week, a blog post on Microsoft's Australia Partner Network offered more detailed information about the specific paths for upgrading to Windows 10. As previously mentioned, but now further spelled out, devices that take advantage of the free upgrade will receive ongoing Windows 10 updates for the life of that device and the free upgrade to Windows 10 will be delivered through Windows Update.

The blog post went on to further detail the editions of Windows 10 announced last week and how they will be made available:

  • Windows 10 Home for consumers and BYOD scenarios, available under the free upgrade
  • Windows 10 Pro for small  and lower mid-size businesses, available under the free upgrade
  • Windows 10 Enterprise for Mid-size and large enterprises, available under Volume Licensing (VL)
  • Windows 10 Education designed to meet the needs of schools – teachers, students, staff, and administrators, available under VL
  • Windows 10 Mobile for consumer, small, mid-size and large enterprises and academic institutions, available under OEM
  • Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise for mid-size and large enterprises with IoT scenarios, available under OEM (IoT), VL

Microsoft opens up even more, now sharing public changelog for Edge browser

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Microsoft is using its new browser – Edge – to make a point: it wants to be more open. Case in point – the publicly accessible changelog.

Internet Explorer was infamously opaque. The company never provided detailed changelogs for its releases. Edge looks like it’ll be a different story.

A new area on the Microsoft Web platform site — where the company also tracks user requests for the browser — will detail the changes made to each release of the browser, such as additions of new Web standards or features.

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This is a welcome change for Web developers, because they’re now able to actually find resources on what features are supported in which version and when they were added.

Microsoft doesn’t want developers building workarounds for Internet Explorer into their code anymore and it’s going to try to win back as many users as it can, so this change is a step in the right direction.

Edge Changelog

Windows 10 can run reworked Android and iOS apps

Microsoft is revealing its plans to get mobile apps on Windows 10 today. While the company has been investigating emulating Android apps, it has settled on a different solution, or set of solutions, that will allow developers to bring their existing code to Windows 10.

iOS and Android developers will be able to port their apps and games directly to Windows universal apps, and Microsoft is enabling this with two new software development kits. On the Android side, Microsoft is enabling developers to use Java and C++ code on Windows 10, and for iOS developers they’ll be able to take advantage of their existing Objective C code. "We want to enable developers to leverage their current code and current skills to start building those Windows applications in the Store, and to be able to extend those applications," explained Microsoft’s Terry Myerson during an interview with The Verge this morning.

 

The idea is simple, get apps on Windows 10 without the need for developers to rebuild them fully for Windows. While it sounds simple, the actual process will be a little more complicated than just pushing a few buttons to recompile apps. "Initially it will be analogous to what Amazon offers," notes Myerson, referring to the Android work Microsoft is doing. "If they’re using some Google API… we have created Microsoft replacements for those APIs." Microsoft’s pitch to developers is to bring their code across without many changes, and then eventually leverage the capabilities of Windows like Cortana, Xbox Live, Holograms, Live Tiles, and more. Microsoft has been testing its new tools with some key developers like King, the maker of Candy Crush Saga, to get games ported across to Windows. Candy Crush Saga as it exists today on Windows Phone has been converted from iOS code using Microsoft’s tools without many modifications.

During Microsoft’s planning for bringing iOS and Android apps to Windows, Myerson admits it wasn’t always an obvious choice to have both. "At times we’ve thought, let's just do iOS," Myerson explains. "But when we think of Windows we really think of everyone on the planet. There’s countries where iOS devices aren’t available." Supporting both Android and iOS developers allows Microsoft to capture everyone who is developing for mobile platforms right now, even if most companies still continue to target iOS first and port their apps to Android at the same time or shortly afterward. By supporting iOS developers, Microsoft wants to be third in line for these ported apps, and that’s a better situation than it faces today.

Alongside the iOS and Android SDKs, Microsoft is also revealing ways for websites and Windows desktop apps to make their way over to Windows universal apps. Microsoft has created a way for websites to run inside a Windows universal app, and use system services like notifications and in-app purchases. This should allow website owners to easily create web apps without much effort, and list those apps in the Windows Store. It’s not the best alternative to a native app for a lot of scenarios, but for simple websites it offers up a new way to create an app without its developers having to learn new code languages. Microsoft is also looking toward existing Windows desktop app developers with Windows 10. Developers will be able to leverage their .NET and Win32 work and bring this to Windows universal apps. "Sixteen million .NET and Win32 apps are still being used every month on Windows 7 and Windows 8," explains Myerson, so it’s clear Microsoft needs to get these into Windows 10.

Microsoft is using some of its HyperV work to virtualize these existing desktop apps on Windows 10. Adobe is one particular test case where Microsoft has been working closely with the firm to package its apps ready for Windows 10. Adobe Photoshop Elements is coming to the Windows Store as a universal app, using this virtualization technology. Performance is key for many desktop apps, so it will be interesting to see if Microsoft has managed to maintain a fluid app experience with this virtualization.

Collectively, Microsoft is referring to these four new SDKs as bridges or ramps to get developers interested in Windows 10. It’s a key moment for the company to really win back developers and prove that Windows is still relevant in a world that continues to be dominated by Android and iOS. The aim, as Myerson puts it, is to get Windows 10 on 1 billion devices within the next two to three years. That’s a big goal, and the company will need the support of developers and apps to help it get there.

These SDKs will generate questions among Microsoft’s core development community, especially those who invested heavily in the company’s Metro-style design and the unique features of Windows apps in the past. The end result for consumers is, hopefully, more apps, but for developers it’s a question of whether to simply port their existing iOS and Android work across and leave it at that, or extend those apps to use Windows features or even some design elements. "We want to structure the platform so it’s not an all or nothing," says Myerson. "If you use everything together it’s beautiful, but that’s not required to get started."

Microsoft still has the tricky mix of ported apps to contend with, and that could result in an app store similar to Amazon's, or even one where developers still aren't interested in porting. This is just the beginning, and Windows universal apps, while promising, still face a rocky and uncertain future.

Windows + Android?


Microsoft will most likely announce this week that it will enable customers to run Android apps on their Windows 10 phones, tablets and PCs. The timing ostensibly makes sense, as the software giant’s Build conference, held this week in San Francisco, targets developers. But I wonder what message this change will send to developers and users, especially at a time when the company is also pushing a universal app strategy centered on Windows.

Note: Yes, Microsoft has been working on getting Android apps running on at least Windows Phone for quite some time. But I do not know if the firm will announce such a thing at Build. (Indeed, I openly question the timing.) Like many of you, i’m passionate about this stuff and fear the impact of such a move. That’s all this is: me expressing my fear of such a feature for end users. –Paul

If true, this is the opposite of what I wanted and expected. Indeed, when Microsoft first started talking up the notion of universal apps that would run across its various platforms—Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox One, Internet of Things embedded devices, Surface Hub, and HoloLens—I opined that truly “universal” apps would in fact also run on competing devices as well. At the time, I figured this would mean Android primary, since that platform is open and Microsoft has already starting building support for Android into Visual Studio. (iOS is a harder nut to crack because Apple locks down the platform.)

Letting universal apps run on Android would open up the market to Windows-focused developers and let me leverage their existing skills and knowledge. It makes sense. And I still expect to see this happen, if not in the current generation of universal apps, then in the future.

But letting Android apps run on Windows is another thing entirely. Indeed, it is the literal opposite of opening up universal apps to Android. And I question the logic of this strategy.

For users, the ability to run Android apps seems like a win. After all, the single biggest knock against Windows/Windows Phone is the lack of native apps. So a Windows Phone or Windows tablet user could fill in the gaps with that crucial handful of apps that simply don’t exist on the platform. Problem solved, right?

Not exactly. And not if this is about letting end users arbitrarily run any Android app on Windows Phone. When it comes time to upgrade, why would anyone choose a Windows Phone at that point? (A problem exacerbated by Microsoft’s focus on low-end Windows Phone handsets). Instead, most will simply choose Android, since they are now comfortable with those apps, and for the many advantages that Android has over Windows Phone generally. This is, in another words, only a short-term fix, one that will evolve into an inevitable exodus of users.

For developers who have invested a lifetime of learning and mastering Microsoft’s platforms, Android compatibility is a slap in the face. This sends the message that they have wasted their time and that it’s time to move on to a more successful platform since, after all, the apps you create for Android will now work on Android and Windows/Windows Phone. This completely usurps the presumed value of universal apps, which I assume Microsoft will also spend a lot of time promoting this week. It will not sit well with the developers who go to Build.

For Windows, the effect is similar. We’ve already sat through a Windows 8 generation of three years in which customers and developers ignored the latest (Metro/Modern) app platform in droves and the only popular Windows applications—besides Chrome and iTunes, which are in a way their own platforms too—were utilities that made Windows 8 look and work more like Windows 7. I was already on the fence about the efficacy of universal apps making Windows relevant again. But the ability to run Android apps simply means people will do so. On Windows. And that Windows becomes less relevant as a result. It’s just a launcher for Android apps and those few legacy desktop/Win32 applications some of us still need.

I started using, writing about, and advocating Windows 20 years ago because Windows was, at the time, personal computing. There was Windows and then there was almost nothing else. Today, of course, the personal computing market is split between popular mobile platforms like iOS and Android, web apps, and Windows. And Windows is the smallest platform of the three in many ways, or soon will be. The ability to run Android apps on Windows—this utter capitulation—is not a “win” or a positive development, assuming it’s happening as it sounds. It’s a defeat, an avoidable suicide. And it makes Windows even less important than it already was. To me. To you. To the world.

And that’s too bad. One of the things I still really like about Windows 10 is the renewed emphasis on desktop computing. This is my background, and my greatest love still when it comes to technology. I’m looking forward to reexamining PC-related topics this year that I’ve not spent time on in years. But it’s increasingly clear that the traditional PC market going forward will be much like the workstation market of 20 years ago: a niche market of users with high-end needs like content creation. I’m actually OK with that, I guess. But it’s less mainstream too. And this is going to be a difficult transition, one that, I think, will be sped up by this ability to run Android apps on Windows.

Microsoft announces Microsoft Edge

Today at Build 2015 in San Francisco, Microsoft announced its new Web browser called Microsoft Edge. This is the browser formerly known as Project Spartan.


Microsoft Edge, the new default browser will ship on all Windows 10 devices including PCs, tablets, smartphones, and Microsoft’s own tablet, Surface.

Microsoft Edge is the all-new Windows 10 browser built to give you a better web experience. Write directly on webpages and share your mark-ups with others. Read online articles free of distraction or use the offline reading feature for greater convenience. Microsoft Edge is the new browser that works the way you do.


First screenshot of Windows Phone 10

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Setting page: now a nice and clear page

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Outlook Mail: cute and easy to use

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Cortana: if Cortana understand me, it'll be better :)

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Outlook Calendar: ooohhh!

Windows 10 to launch at the end of July, according to AMD

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Microsoft surprised lots of people recently when the company announced it was aiming for a summer launch with the new Windows 10 operating system. But thanks to a slip-up from AMD CEO’s we now have an even clearer timeline for the launch.

While “summer” can be seen as a long time range with vaguely defined limits, offering Microsoft numerous chances to push the launch of the OS later in the year, we now have a much more precise launch window and its closer than many expected. According to AMD’s CEO Microsoft is looking to launch Windows 10 at the end of July.

The AMD exec was speaking on a recent financial conference call when she let slip the fact that Microsoft was looking to get the OS out in time for the “back to school” promotions. This, which fits in nicely with previous moves from the company, will ensure that Windows 10 has a high adoption rate out of the gate. Plus a massive launch of a new OS will be an exciting event for both partners and the public.

But, of course, there’s also another side to this story. Many observers were skeptical when Microsoft originally announced the summer launch window, and July launch is barely three months away. Given that many parts of the OS seem to still be in flux, there’s a big question over how well Windows 10 will run and how polished it will be at launch.

Developing for the Windows 10 Device Platform

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