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Among geeks, Windows 10 is all the rage Windows 10 In Pictures - A Guided Tour Of The Technical Preview Windows 10 In Pictures - A Guided Tour Of The Technical Preview The Windows 10 Technical Preview is now available to everyone. Some bugs aside, it does look promising. We'll guide you through the new Windows one screenshot at a time. Read More these days. Yet most of its novel features have been around for a while, either as third party applications or within other operating systems. Instead of installing the Windows 10 Technical Preview 3 Easy Ways To Install Windows 10 Technical Preview 3 Easy Ways To Install Windows 10 Technical Preview You can try Windows 10 Technical Preview for free and help Microsoft polish its new flagship operating system. Before you install it, make sure you choose the best method for your needs. Read More , you can get some of its best features risk-free in your current Windows setup.

Tiled Start Menu

Windows 10 brought the Start Menu back. Of course they didn’t leave it at that. The new Start Menu incorporates the Start Screen. Adding a Start Menu to Windows 8.1 2015!? No Way Microsoft! How to Get Your Windows 8.1 Start Menu Now 2015!? No Way Microsoft! How to Get Your Windows 8.1 Start Menu Now Windows 8 won't get a native Start Menu after all. But why wait on Microsoft? Here's how you can help yourself with third party tools like Classic Shell or Start8 and other workarounds. Read More is a must and if you’re using Windows 8, you’ve probably done that already. And if you’re using Windows 7, maybe you’d like to try something new?

Start Menu Reviver 2 is a stylish alternative Start Menu for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 that looks a lot like the new Windows 10 Start Menu. It comes with tiles that you can customize to your liking.

Meanwhile, fans of the traditional Windows look should stick with Classic Shell for a customizable Start Menu experience Make Windows 8 Suck Less With Classic Shell Make Windows 8 Suck Less With Classic Shell Make Windows 8 usable for people who think it's not. Add a start menu to the desktop and tweak the way Explorer and Internet Explorer behave, all thanks to a piece of software called Classic... Read More .

Classic Shell Start Menu

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Better Window Snapping

Snapping windows has been a thing since the introduction of Windows Aero How To Enable & Troubleshoot Aero Effects In Windows 7 How To Enable & Troubleshoot Aero Effects In Windows 7 Read More in Windows 7. Dragging a window to the left or right of the screen would dock it to the respective side. Windows 10 takes this handy feature a little further in that it lets you select which windows you’d like to see next to the window you just snapped, a feature called Snap View.

Aqua Snap (our Aqua Snap review How To Enhance Your Windows Experience With AquaSnap (Not Only in Windows 7!) How To Enhance Your Windows Experience With AquaSnap (Not Only in Windows 7!) Aero Snap is a cool feature in Windows 7 that allows you to easily view windows side by side simply by dragging the window to the side of the screen. AquaSnap is a free utility... Read More ) for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 builds on Aero Snap. While it does not offer Snap View, it does come with handy resizing and windows docking options that you won’t otherwise find in any version of Windows.

Windowed Modern Apps

One reason why modern Windows apps fail to appeal to a larger audience — in addition to a poor selection — was how they interfere with multitasking on Windows 8 Manage Start Screen Tiles & Modern Apps Like A Pro Manage Start Screen Tiles & Modern Apps Like A Pro Some things take time to grow on you. The Windows 8 Start Screen is one of them. I bet you'll appreciate it more after learning about these tips and tricks. Read More . Although Windows 8.1 Update Windows 8.1 Update Is Here! What It Is & How To Get It Now Windows 8.1 Update Is Here! What It Is & How To Get It Now Curious about the latest Windows 8.1 Update or not sure what this is about? KB2919355 is a cumulative update that comes with useful features. It can also be removed in case it causes issues. Read More introduced some improvements, modern apps still behave oddly compared to desktop software.

In Windows 10, the modern interface moves further to the backseat, at least on a laptop or desktop PC. Consequently, modern apps launch in windowed mode on the desktop, and you can resize the windows, to some degree. You can emulate that same behavior with ModernMix, a member of the Stardock fleet of applications for improving Windows.

You can try ModernMix free for 30 days. To keep the app after the trial period expires, you’ll need to pay US$3.99 (discounted from $4.99).

Windows Package Manager

The OneGet package manager Windows Gets A Package Manager - Download Software Centrally Via OneGet Windows Gets A Package Manager - Download Software Centrally Via OneGet Microsoft is adding yet another Linux feature to Windows. Package management can seriously boost productivity, increase security, and ultimately save you a lot of headache. We show you how it will work. Read More is part of Windows PowerShell Boost Your Productivity With Windows PowerShell Scripts Boost Your Productivity With Windows PowerShell Scripts What if you could bring the productivity of Linux over to Windows? Most Linux distros come packaged with the powerful Bash shell. PowerShell is an equally powerful terminal for Windows. Read More , which comes with Windows 10. Briefly, a package manager is a pre-installed software repository or library from which you can pick and install and update software. It’s a little like the Windows Store, but with software available via packages of specifically curated content Don't Be Fooled! 5 Tips To Avoid Fake Apps In The Windows Store Don't Be Fooled! 5 Tips To Avoid Fake Apps In The Windows Store The Windows Store has been spoiled by useless junkware and scams. Microsoft recently purged many fake apps, but the store still features questionable apps. We show you how not to get scammed. Read More .

OneGet Package Manager

Originally, OneGet came with the Chocolatey repository. This package manager is also available as a standalone application, although — like PowerShell — it’s operated via command prompt 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know 15 CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know The command prompt is an antiquated, but powerful Windows tool. We'll show you the most useful commands every Windows user needs to know. Read More .

A more user-friendly alternative is Allmyapps, a Windows App Store for desktop applications. Software installers can be downloaded via the Allmyapps web interface. To get the proper package manager experience Before The Windows Store - Package Managers & Software Repositories [Windows] Before The Windows Store - Package Managers & Software Repositories [Windows] App stores are everywhere these days. Whether you’re using iOS or Android, you can get all your apps from a single location and have them automatically update in a consistent way. If you’re using Mac... Read More , however, you should install Allmyapps’ desktop application, available for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1.

Another option is Ninite, which Chris Hoffman recently described as the only safe place to get Windows freeware. You can select all the applications you’d like to install and download a single installer from the Ninite website. When you re-run the installer at a later point in time, it will update your already installed apps to the latest versions. For automatic updates, you can purchase the Ninite Updater, which will set you back $9.99 per year.

Ninite Installer

Virtual Desktops

Mac and Linux had it for years How To Get The Best Features Of Mac, Linux & Co On Windows How To Get The Best Features Of Mac, Linux & Co On Windows Operating system envy: You admire certain Mac and Linux features, while using Windows. What if Windows was a canvas and you could add all the neat gimmicks you like? Here's how. Read More . The ability to manage multiple virtual desktops finally appears in Windows 10. To compensate for the lack in earlier versions of Windows, countless third party apps offer this functionality, of which we have reviewed almost all (see below).

My personal favorite is Dexpot (free for private use, find out more in our Dexpot review Expand Your Desktop Workspace With Dexpot - Cool Virtual Desktop Software [Windows] Expand Your Desktop Workspace With Dexpot - Cool Virtual Desktop Software [Windows] I was talking to one of my friends, who is an avid Linux user. He told me that one of the Linux features he simply can’t do without is "virtual desktops". I can now tell... Read More ). It supports up to 20 virtual desktops, you can save individual desktop settings, including background images and startup options, and you can drag and drop open windows from one desktop to the other via the full screen preview. As a matter of fact, Dexpot is more advanced than the virtual desktop feature that was built into Windows 10.

Microsoft developed a virtual desktop app called Desktops (our Desktops review How To Use Four Desktops At Once & Boost Productivity [Windows] How To Use Four Desktops At Once & Boost Productivity [Windows] Read More ), available via Windows Sysinternals. Other options include VirtuaWin (our VirtuaWin review VirtuaWin - A Lean Mean & Free Virtual Desktop Manager [Windows] VirtuaWin - A Lean Mean & Free Virtual Desktop Manager [Windows] When I covered Dexpot some time ago, readers Colugo and Mick were quick to point me in the direction of VirtuaWin as a lightweight, fast alternative virtual desktop software. Encouraged by their feedback, I decided... Read More ) and BetterDesktopTool (our BetterDesktopTool review Bring Mac's Best Window Management Features To Windows Bring Mac's Best Window Management Features To Windows Bring Mac-style window management to Windows. If you've ever been jealous of features like Expose and Spaces, BetterDesktopTool is here to bring them to your PC. Read More ).

Why Get Windows 10 If You Can Get The Same Features Elsewhere?

Third party applications can mimic functions, but they can’t recreate the full experience. Although often, as we’ve seen above, they are actually better than native features or applications.

That said, Windows 10 will be a major improvement to Windows 8. If first impressions of the Technical Preview can be trusted, it’s promising to be a stable operating system with great performance, even on older hardware. Many are hoping that Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 based on user feedback Want New Windows Features? Share Your Ideas With Microsoft & Vote Want New Windows Features? Share Your Ideas With Microsoft & Vote Microsoft wants to know what you would like Windows to look like! Propose and review Windows features to shape the next version of Windows. Read More , meaning that new features will address what users like you and me are really looking for in this operating system.

What are you looking forward to in Windows 10? And which other features do you think are lacking in Windows and should be integrated by default or upgraded with advanced features?

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