Windows 10: Seven things to know about Microsoft's new operating system

Microsoft announced details of its new operating system at a consumer preview on Wednesday night - replacing the deeply unpopular Windows 8 with Windows 10 (they didn't mention Windows 9).

The new system has a more slimline feel about it in what PC Pro says is an attempt from Microsoft to "distance itself from its current, safe and frankly boring image, as a white-collar business software company".

1. It's free

In a mark of how unpopular the previous operating system was, Windows 10 will be free to all Windows 7 and 8 users for its first year.

2. Goodbye, Internet Explorer

And good riddance in the eyes of many. Internet explorer is being phased out and will gradually be replaced by the fearsome-sounding Spartan.

The new browser has a more Chrome-like feel about it, described as a "vastly stripped down and improved version of Internet Explorer" by the Independent's tech reporter Andrew Griffin.

New features include the ability to annotate on web pages before sharing them with friends and also being able to save web pages offline so you can read them later - much like Chrome's "Pocket" extension.

3. Clippy is back

But much more sassy. Cortana, an AI personal assistant that works in much the same way as Siri on iOS, will move onto PC after a successful stint on Windows Phones.

She will be available on the desktop as well as in the Spartan browser and can read out information from different websites - like directions to a restaurant or the latest football results. Hopefully it won't be as annoying as that loitering paper clip that was present in Windows' earliest operating systems.

4. Space goggles!


The holographic platform will let the user see virtual 3D projections overlaid onto the real world when wearing a pair of Microsoft's AR goggles - HoloLens.

These won't be available right away but should be released some time "within the Windows 10 timeframe". The platform will also work using other hardware like Oculus Rift and Google Glass.

5. Tech for business

The new Surface Hub - an 84-inch giant tablet - is designed for the boardroom. The device can pick up movement using motion sensors and runs any Windows app - including Skype.

So even when your boss is away from the office they'll still be able to loom over you in lifesized 4k high-definition.

6. We don't actually know when it will be released

Windows 10 will be released "later this year" although there is a "Windows Build" event scheduled for April when we may hear a more concrete release date.

7. But at least Microsoft is due a good operating system.

And there you have it.

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