Instead of releasing new Windows versions, Microsoft has been taking a different path since Windows 10 – and operating around the existing system. Now the group has announced its latest repainting. Many of the innovations immediately catch the eye, others only become apparent later.
Windows 10 will be the last of its kind, Microsoft announced at the launch. Instead of developing a new operating system every few years, the group has since been converting its existing system, screwing under the hood and polishing the optics. Now Microsoft has released the latest modifications for testing, this was announced in a blog post. While some are noticed immediately, others are likely to change the work processes only permanently.
The start menu becomes clearer
The most noticeable innovation is certainly the new start menu. The striking tile look, which was introduced for the first time with Windows 8, has been limited to the start menu since Windows 10, but is now even more subtle. The tiles are no longer colored, but have been adapted to the color of the start menu. They are now transparent in light or dark gray, depending on the chosen color scheme. It is still possible to bring color into the menu, but then the entire menu is discreetly colored. That works like in the picture above.
Order in tab chaos
One change should clearly drive users to Microsoft’s unpopular browser Edge. With the keyboard combination Alt and Tab, you can quickly switch back and forth between the active programs for a long time. You then have to search for the appropriate tab in the browser again by hand. Open Edge tabs can now be called up directly using the key combination, so websites become one program among others. A very useful feature – for just under two percent of desktop users who rely on Edge. If you don’t like the browser or are put off by too many tabs, you can turn the function off again.
The function builds on Microsoft’s original plans to equip almost every program with tabs. In fact, they have long been discarded. As expected, Microsoft did not reveal whether the function should be opened in the long term for more popular browsers such as Google Chrome or Firefox. At the moment this seems rather unlikely.
Not every feature comes for everyone
For some inexplicable reason, there is not an exciting innovation for everyone. Microsoft wants to allow the taskbar to be expanded to include cloud elements and so on to make it customizable. Android users should be able to display their synchronized smartphone directly in the taskbar, and gamers should have faster access to their Xbox Live account. But Microsoft warns: The function has so far been limited to newly created accounts or first-time registrations. The group does not give an explanation for this.
Another feature is aimed at a sharp target group: Microsoft is optimizing its system for hybrid devices that can switch between tablet and desktop mode, such as Microsoft’s Surface tablets. The change should now take place completely automatically when the keyboard is removed. In order not to confuse desktop users without a touchscreen, the icon for switching to tablet mode has been removed from these devices.
Notifications, which have long been known from tablets and smartphones, also got a prominent place in Windows 10 with their own notification center. Now they are being significantly optimized once again: Finally, the notifications in the upper left corner show which app they belong to. And they are also quicker to get rid of: if you click on the “X” in the top right corner as in other windows, the notification is marked as done.
Microsoft also fixes a bizarre habit of the system: If Windows goes into sleep mode, in which notifications should not be disturbed, the system reports this happily – with a notification. This has now been deleted in the standard setting. If you want to see the message, you can turn it on again.
Further innovations are a curve progression tool in Microsoft’s pocket calculator, which should be very useful for schoolchildren and students. Numerous bugs are also fixed.
It should take a few more weeks for the new features to reach users. Microsoft is initially only building the features into the current test version of its Insider program. The group emphasizes that the individual changes are not yet tied to specific program versions and a release schedule. Should individual functions prove to be impractical or defective, they can definitely be changed again or even deleted.