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Windows 10 Build 9926 is a big leap forward. It comes with new apps and features, most notably Cortana, Continuum, and an overhauled Start menu, Action Center, and Settings app. As Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore said, it’s an early build, which means we have a number of known bugs in this build, but fixes are imminent.

The consumer preview was rolled out on Friday, both to the fast and slow ring of Windows Insiders How To Install New Windows 10 Preview Builds Without Issues How To Install New Windows 10 Preview Builds Without Issues A new Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9879 was released a few days ago. We'll show you how to get new builds automatically, upgrade manually, prevent errors, and where to download new ISO images. Read More . Before you upgrade, make sure all updates were installed and you have around 4 GB of free space. If you’re installing from scratch, you can get the Windows 10 ISO here. Note that you’re opting in to a new Privacy Statement for the Windows Insider Program when you upgrade to or install the new build.

Cortana is Here

Everybody is talking about Cortana Discover Cortana On Windows 10 - Her Hiding Places Revealed! Discover Cortana On Windows 10 - Her Hiding Places Revealed! Cortana, Microsoft's voice controlled personal assistant, has been starting to show up on Windows 10. This article reveals her hiding places. It looks like she will come out to play very soon. Read More these days; or should I say talking with her? Having made her debut on Windows Phone 8.1 last year, Cortana is now being introduced to a wider audience via the Windows 10 desktop. You can tell it’s not her home turf. For most questions she refers to Bing and to some tasks, like creating a calendar entry, she responds that she can’t do this right now and that you should check back again after future updates. It’s an early build after all.

Cortana Windows 10

Stay tuned for an in-depth article on Cortana from someone who knows her well from Windows Phone.

New Start Menu

The massive changes here were somewhat unexpected; some are welcome, others not so much.

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The Start menu can no longer be resized, but you can now maximize it via a button in the top right. In other words, the Start menu can be turned into a Start screen by the touch of a button. The change is remembered when you next click the Start or Windows button. The new Start menu / Start screen hybrid is very clever and will please those who wanted to have both.

Windows 10 Start Menu

What’s nice is how the tiles are handled. You can sort tiles into different groups via drag-and-drop, rename their header, and move an entire group by clicking the dotted area of its header and dragging it up, down, or sideways.

The left-hand portion of the Start menu used to work much like in Windows 7; a customizable list where some items expanded when you hovered with the mouse over them, like folders exposing files or the browser listing recently visited websites. This was useful.

Now, the Start menu displays up to three categories in the left pane: Places, Most used, and Recently added. Unfortunately, these lists are rigid and the most you can do is to remove apps from the latter two lists. No additional information is available on mouse-over. The only way you can add new tiles to the Start menu, is to right-click and select Pin to Start; drag and drop doesn’t work. Fortunately, these changes are just an intermediate snapshot, as Gabe Aul explained :

[W]e actually rebuilt Start in XAML, which is one type of code developers can use to build apps for Windows 10. The work on Start isn’t done yet, and we’ll have more changes that will show up in future builds including more personalization (and transparency!), drag and drop, Jump Lists, and the ability to resize the Start menu. – Gabe Aul

Notifications Replace Charms Bar

We knew it was only a matter of time until the Charms bar would disappear. In the previous Build 9860 Windows 10 Is Evolving - This Is What's New In Build 9860 Windows 10 Is Evolving - This Is What's New In Build 9860 The new Windows 10 version comes with several new features and provides sneak peeks into future builds. Microsoft is morphing Windows 10 right in front of our eyes. Find out where Windows is headed. Read More , while the main keyboard and mouse shortcuts no longer worked, you could still swipe in the Charms bar from the right or open parts of it with respective shortcuts, such as Windows + S or Windows + I.

In the January build, swiping in from the right brings up the Notifications window or Action Center. It can also be launched via the note button in the notifications area in the bottom right or via the keyboard shortcut Windows + A.

At its very bottom, the Action Center hosts several shortcuts to quick actions, most of them linking to the new, overhauled Settings app. You can customize the for quick actions that are always shown in the Settings app (press Windows + I) via > System > Notificatons & actions.

Overhauled Settings App & New Features

The last build contained two Settings apps, one was called zPC Settings and contained some options that weren’t functional, yet. The new app unites both, sports a new interface, and many new options. Basically, the Settings app is turning into a modern Control Panel, i.e optimized for touch devices.

Windows 10 Settings

Most new features can be found under System, including Cortana & search, Storage Sense, Battery saver, and Maps. Briefly, Storage Sense shows you how your drive space is being used and you’ll eventually be able to change default storage locations for different file types.

Windows 10 Storage Sense

Battery saver does exactly that by limiting background activity once you hit a pre-set battery level. Under Maps you can manage your offline maps to search for places or get directions when you’re not online. We’ll dive deeper into some of these in future articles.

Under Update & recovery, you can schedule restarts after new updates became available. Under Advanced options, choose Notify to schedule restart for this option to become available.

Windows 10 Schedule Restart

Universal Apps: Xbox, Xbox Music & Photos

In Microsoft’s media briefing Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Windows 10: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Microsoft is boldly stepping into the future with innovative software and hardware. Windows as a service and mobility of experience were the major keywords from the recent Windows 10 briefing. Most importantly, Windows 10 will... Read More , universal apps were all the hype. The January build comes fitted with the Photos, Xbox Music, and Xbox apps and all three lack features or have bugs. Photos keeps crashing and freezing on me while compiling my collection and the Albums feature is not yet included. Xbox Music doesn’t launch, unless you leave it in the forground until you’re signed in. The Xbox app looks more stable, but also sports some bugs and not all features that were demonstrated at the media briefing are available at this point. You’ll hear more about gaming on Windows 10 Here's How Gaming Will Work With Windows 10 Here's How Gaming Will Work With Windows 10 With Windows 10, Microsoft is bringing PC gaming and the Xbox One together in a big way. Find out what to expect once Windows 10 arrives. Read More from our experts.

Welcome to Continuum

Thanks to Continuum, Windows 10 is able to tell what mode your device is in and seamlessly switch the user interface accordingly. Our tests with a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro worked for the most part, although sometimes a manual input was necessary to switch to the touch optimized Tablet Mode and back. The switch can be done via a quick action in the Action Center. Note that in Tablet Mode you can close both desktop and Store apps via a swipe from the top.

Windows 10 Continues to Look Good

Overall, Build 9926 looks very promising. It contains a few more bugs than previous builds, but it also comes with many new features and several of them are promising to be game changers for Windows.

Have you played with the new Windows 10 build Why The Windows 10 Technical Preview Should Not Be Your Main OS Why The Windows 10 Technical Preview Should Not Be Your Main OS If you think Windows 10 is a keylogger, you know nothing about the purpose of a Technical Preview. That's OK because we're here to explain. Read More , yet? What’s your impression? Did you come across any bugs? What new features impressed you the most? Let’s hear what you think in the comments!

  1. Joy
    March 13, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I think there's no point in keeping both control panel and settings.At the Windows Event they said they cleared the confusion between CP and Settings.Keeping CP and Settings both is illogical. Why don't you integrate both of'em and get a new furnished Settings?? I kind of like the new settings app but having both doesn't make sense.

  2. carson
    February 19, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    UPDATE your W8 to 8.1. It's FREE and it allows you to boot directly to the Desktop which is identical to that of W7.

    You may UPDATE W8 Pro to 8.1 Pro as long as your current W8 OS is activated with a valid Product Key.

  3. Vincent
    January 28, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Actually, for those only using a windows PC, the huge step forward of MS might not be visible at first. It's an OS, just like any OS. If only to run 3rd party programs, who gives a damn if it's called XP, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, Ubuntu, RedHat, SuSe?

    Simply saying: Linux .. is very much saying you have no idea what Linux is! Because there are many many distributions that are much more different then the different OSX or Windows versions!

    I must admit, Windows 7 was the first decent proper running windows with no BSOD!
    Then 8 came, and at first I thought: shit, where did everything go?
    After 15 minutes speeding through the registry I found everything and how it works.

    A person with lesser technical understanding might take a few hours to adept. But the inconveniences where less compared to the fact windows 8 was running faster all my programs compared to win 7.

    Windows 8.1 then came, many improvements. Most notably the fact that now you could choose between windows 7 start menu and windows 8 start menu. I sticked with the windows 8.

    Now with 10, the start menu indeed gets another tweak, more or less combining 7, 8 and 8.1 and the choice is up to you! When ppl start with the: when does win7 come back?
    Well, it did! You can tweak it that way if you want. But fact is, the huge improvement of Windows 10 is NOT the start menu!

    In fact, photoshop, solidworks and some benchmarks run between 5 and 8% faster on my i7-3770k, 32gigs GTX980 machine! And that's a lot!

    But a tider and faster core is not the huge improvement of Windows 10!

    Many other improvements, but the most notably, for me, I use a windows tablet, a windows phone of Nokia (the dual Sim 630) and running 1 OS on all 3 of them... wow!
    1 program installation, 1 setting, and the program adepts itself!

    As programmer, this is exactly what I've been looking for. I write my own personal software, and now I simply can create 1 program with 4 different GUI. 1 for Dual or multiple screens, 1 for single screen, 1 for tablet and 1 for windows phone. While the underlying core of the software (90% of the coding work) only has to be done once!

    Windows definitely beats out any Linux, OSX distribution with this improvement!

    People who want to move to Linux, OSX, of course I understand these distributions have their advances. I use Ubuntu on my private server, OSX for graphic design on the iMac. Only a dumb person would say either of these 3 OS are bad! They all have their pros and cons.

    But none of them have hardware independence like Windows! MS already was the most advanced when it came to hardware compatibility! The amount of driver support is never nearly large as with Windows. Especially noticeable when you start to use specialized Hardware for industry niches. You most often find only windows drivers, because it's the easiest to support windows, due to the hardware compatibility routines of MS!

    But now, we're not only talking PC OS anymore. No, the hardware compatibility, for which MS was always the leader in the field, now even stretches over phones and tablets!

    Reminds me when I got my first car navigator which was running, can't remember anymore, some kind of windows OS..

    Imagine MS includes such devices as well. or watches!

    Literally being able to always take your personal computer with you and only limited by your own hardware, not by the software anymore!

    I think this is the direction that MS once again shows the competitors: this is the future!

    Like Jobs did a few years back with iPhone showing the world: this is the future!

    It's very very good we have these 2 US companies leading the World of IT advancements!

  4. Bijoy
    January 27, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    On a quick glance, did not see control panel.. Does any one know how to uninstall programs we have installed..

    • Tina
      January 27, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Control Panel is still there. Just search for it or

  5. Maryon Jeane
    January 27, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Ah good - Windows 10 is just what I need: this is the final push to make me take the plunge and change to a decent OS. As soon as 7 finally dies, it's then going to be a question of which distribution of Linux will work the best with my many (non-Microsoft) programs.

    Windows should at least be given some sort of award for nearly always confounding the hope "Well it can't have got any worse..." and managing with each new version to add yet more knobs and whistles without actually sorting out the underlying problems. The only reason I've stayed with the wretched thing for so long is that there are so many brilliant programs written on the platform.

    • Tina
      January 27, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      Have you tried Windows 10, Maryon?
      hat is it that you do not like about it?

    • Maryon Jeane
      January 27, 2015 at 9:54 pm

      No - I haven't tried 10 and I've no intention of doing so, Tina! I've been with Windows since the very beginning and I've jumped through all the hoops of each new modularly-created-and-then-cobbled-together, creaky, knobs-and-whistles-bristling, blue-screening version, and I've had enough. I made myself a promise that unless the reviews of the next generation after 7 showed at least stability, integrity and an indication that Microsoft was finally listening to the people who actually have to use their confounded OS day in and out, I was going to give up - and look what happened. So, as soon as there's no more support for 7...

    • Tina
      January 27, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      How are the reviews of Windows 10 not showing that?

      Remember, this is a Preview, not the final release. You should wait until around this time next year before you judge it because Windows 10 won't be released officially (final version) until fall this year.

      Also, Microsoft is listening! They are basically designing Windows 10 together with its most enthusiastic users, i.e. 1.5 million Windows Insiders and over 270.000 more have signed up since the release of the January version of the Windows 10 Preview. Anyone can become a Windows Insider, test the new Windows, leave feedback, and influence what the new operating system will look like.

      Granted, it's a Windows version for the next generation. It will be very different. If you don't want change and your solution is to switch to Linux, then your logic is twisted. If you really just want functionality and stability (and possibly a somewhat familiar environment), then wait for another year and try the free upgrade.

    • Maryon Jeane
      January 27, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      I was talking about the reviews of Windows 8, Tina - that was the Last Chance Saloon for Windows as far as I'm concerned; 10 is simply the nudge I needed to remind me to prepare to change to another OS (and Linux is really the only other option).

      Believe me, I have no problems with change - in fact I'd rather have change, as long as it's an improvement and not, as is the case with Windows, either change for change's sake or tweaking to try and make up for poor cobbling together.

      As for the numbers of beta testers ('Windows Insiders') - they're hardly a) very impressive in percentage terms of users(!) nor b) typical of the real user base are they? As for joining the beta testers, are you kidding?!? Windows feels like beta all the time!

      Windows has never, not even with XP, given 'functionality' and 'stability' in any real sense - the continuing appearance of the BSOD says that, apart from anything else (or you might look at the MS site where frantic users are forever trying to find solutions and workrounds for problems inherent in the OS if you need more proof).

      I've been with Windows since 1985 so I think I've given Microsoft sufficient chance to prove itself - and it hasn't.

  6. Anonymous
    January 27, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Plz the add international Cortana in English!

  7. Alexis C
    January 27, 2015 at 1:28 am

    I couldn't use Cortana. Not available in Argentina :(

    • Tina
      January 27, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      You have to set your region settings and the primary language to US American, then you can use Cortana.

  8. Doc
    January 26, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    Is there any sign of a "Windows 7-like" theme, or are we stuck with the flat, bland, monochrome drekh that was Windows 8?

    "Hey, Cortana! Please delete yourself."
    "Security to the bridge, the Master Chief has gone rampant! Take him down, boys."

    • Tina
      January 27, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Good question. Will keep an eye out for it. :)

  9. Ed
    January 26, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Personally, I think MS had the start menu "right" with the last build. The start menu is the latest build is a "goat rope"! Try pinning something like "this pc" or "network" to the start menu.....it won't happen. For whatever reason, it seems that if the given item is on the desktop, it will not pin to the start menu. I've had not luck trying to "group" or "label" anything in this version's start menu either. I also like the icon set better in the last build. This "material design" stuff feels like a step backwards.

    • Tina
      January 27, 2015 at 8:59 pm

      The Start Menu is a work in progress. As I wrote above, they rewrote it in a new coding language, and they are planning to re-add features they had before.

      To pin an item to the tiles area of the Start menu, you have to right-click it and select "Pin to Start". Drag-n-drop should be back, though.

      Please do share your feedback with Microsoft and let them know what the Start Menu should look like! :) I'm sure we're not the only ones not liking this iteration.

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