Windows 10: Features and What’s in it for the Enterprise?
Windows 10 was launched on 29, July 2015 in 190 countries as a free upgrade, to customers running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. The operating system became instantly popular and has already seen 67 million downloads, and that number continues to increase. If you are a Windows 7/8/8.1 user there is no reason not to upgrade. After all, it was developed with feedback from five million Windows users.
Windows 10 delivers new capabilities to Tablets, PCs, Smartphones, and Raspberry Pi, with new features like Cortana, Continuum, Microsoft Edge and Windows Hello. Also, new categories of devices like Surface Hub and Hololens, will be enabled with Windows 10, shortly.
Some of the best features in Windows 10 include:
1. The Start Menu – The classic start menu is back in its rightful spot, on the lower left-hand corner of the desktop. It has a good mix of the best features of Windows 7 and Windows 8 with a few tricks of its own. For starters, the Windows 10 Start Menu mixes the Windows 8 start screen, with live tiles of applications, besides shortcuts to more traditional PC software. The live tiles functionality can be turned off, if required, and all the apps can be unpinned from the Start menu, returning it to a more desktop focused interface. The edges of the menu can be dragged around and can even be made full-screen, if you liked the Windows 8 styles.
2. Cortana – Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, is now available on PC with Windows 10. It is by far the coolest feature. People are already familiar with Apple’s Siri or Google Now, but Cortana is built right into your desktop. Cortana, takes over control of your operating systems’ search function. Cortana can be used in two ways. 1) You can use voice commands. 2) Type your commands in the Start Menu. To use the voice command, you have to enable the ‘Hey Cortana’ feature, by calling out ‘Hey Cortana’, without pressing any buttons. Cortana will help you find information online, she will play music, create reminders, set alarms and even speak to you.
3. The Edge Browser – We all remember the ‘Internet Explorer’, and how numbers of users were less compared to other browsers. Well, you can now forget about it completely, because Microsoft’s brand new browser Edge is the new star of the Internet. It has been built from scratch especially for browsing the modern web with speed. The look and feel of Edge have been kept simple, there is just a single bar at the top of the screen that doubles as the address box and search field, along with the necessary icons like forward, back, refresh etc., nearby. It has features which allow you to import your favorites from other browsers, you can open an InPrivate browsing session in a separate window and change color scheme in reading view to mention a few.
4. Virtual Desktop – The concept of Virtual Desktop is not new, but it was never in-built in Windows. Power users love virtual desktops because, it allows them to swiftly go back and forth between either open applications or multiple virtual desktops of application. Microsoft has built a native virtual desktop experience directly into Windows 10 called ‘Task View’. To add a new desktop simply click the ‘task view’ button and then click the ‘new desktop’ button. There is no limit to how many virtual desktops you can create.
5. Action Center (notifications) – Every mobile OS has a notification feature. Now, Windows 10 brings it to PCs in the form of the ‘Action center’. Action Center resides in the notification tray at the bottom right hand corner and pop up as a vertical panel when you swipe over the notification tray. The notifications are similar to any mobile OS and are about app events or system events. The Action Center also provides quick-action buttons for functions like activating Bluetooth or connecting to a VPN etc.
6. Continuum – The most popular of the new features of Windows 10 is ‘Continuum’. This feature gives the OS the ability to adapt to the way the device is being used. What this means is that the OS can easily switch between a keyboard-mouse based interface to a touch based interface, depending on how you are using the device. Continuum also lets Windows phones to mimic a full PC, when connected to an external monitor.
7. Windows Hello – Well, Windows Hello was added to Windows 10 to make your personal computer even more personal and secure. Windows Hello lets your device recognize you using biometric authentication such as face, iris or fingerprint. The device unlocks when it recognizes its owner. But, Windows Hello is a hardware based feature and only works on devices that support Windows Hello.
8. The Xbox App – Windows 10 is presumed to be the best Windows ever for gaming. Existing games works great and it allows to connect and play with other gamers across Xbox one and Windows 10 devices. You can even easily record and share your gaming moments with built-in Game DVR. This application is a very handy tool for console gamers.
9. PDF Printer – Microsoft has finally included the native ‘Print to PDF’ option in Windows 10, thus eliminating the need for third party software like doPDF or use Google Chrome to browse something you need to print as PDF. Now, applications will offer ‘Print to PDF’ as part of their standard printing options. It is labeled as “Microsoft Print to PDF” in the dialog box for ‘Print’.
10. Universal App Platform – While, this is not a feature of Windows 10 per se, but, it is one of the most interesting plans for Windows 10. The Universal App Platform enables one application to run on every Windows device from Mobile phones, Tablets and PCs, Xbox console, Surface Hub, HoloLens to even IoT devices like Raspberry Pi 2. All these Windows devices will now access one Store for app distribution, acquisition and update. This is mainly useful for enterprises.
What’s in it for Enterprises?
Reviews of Windows 10 have been promising across the world. While, Microsoft is currently, targeting home users with their upgrade, it won’t be long before enterprises too, find Windows 10 attractive. Windows 10 already comes with enterprise-grade security, identity and information protection features.
Traditionally, large enterprises have always been reluctant to upgrade their environment without a solid business case. But, there are 2 factors that should keep businesses interested this time around. First, unlike previous version upgrades, businesses need not worry about compatibility issues with Windows 10. You do not have to upgrade your software to make it compatible with Windows 10. Instead, you can continue using the same software you had for Windows 7. The second factor is the Universal App Platform, because, employees now use various devices to access enterprise content. The Universal App Platform would simplify management and deployment of enterprise software across the organization.
Windows 10 Enterprise users will also get a number of exclusive enterprise features like Mobile Device Management, Device guard, and a new anti-spyware/ malware/threat protection feature. Apps like DirectAccess, AppLocker, Windows To Go, and BrancheCache that were previously exclusive for Windows 8.1 will also be available to the Windows 10 Enterprise user.
Another feature that will interest organizations is that they will be able to lock down mission-critical environments to receive only security and critical updates to their systems. This way enterprises will be able to keep pace with the latest innovations without disrupting the flow of business.
Windows 10 seems have come with a solid foundation for enterprises, adding premium features to address the needs of businesses. Nevertheless, this is only the beginning. We will have to wait and see, if the new operating system can live up to what it promises.
By Shuvro .S. Sarkar
Marketing Consultant, RapidValue Solutions