Continuum: Switch Between Windows 10 Desktop & Tablet Mode

Gavin Phillips 27-08-2015

Windows 10 is popping up How to Upgrade to Windows 10 Now & Why You Should Wait Have you been waiting patiently since July 29 for your Windows 10 upgrade? You should probably wait until you receive an official notification, but if you are determined, you can force the Windows 10 upgrade. Read More on more and more devices, much to the delight of Microsoft. If the latest figures of 50 million devices running the new operating system are correct, Microsoft will certainly be smiling, though they’re still someway off the magic 1bn Can Bing Surpass Google Search Through Windows 10 Integration? Google eats Bing for breakfast. But Bing and Microsoft are a Phoenix in full-rebirth mode. As Google faces antitrust allegations and Cortana meets the Windows 10 Taskbar, Microsoft may soon turn the tables. Read More . Still plenty of time to hit that milestone.


Continuum is a new Windows 10 feature 10 Compelling Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 Windows 10 is coming on July 29. Is it worth upgrading for free? If you are looking forward to Cortana, state of the art gaming, or better support for hybrid devices - yes, definitely! And... Read More  that enables your device to switch between desktop and tablet mode, depending on the connected hardware. It is versatile, relatively robust, and when you consider the shifting computing landscape — more portables, more hybrids Pros & Cons Of A Windows 8 Tablet Vs. A Touchscreen Laptop Windows 8 is a gift for touchscreen users. But some people prefer non-touch devices. Which option is right for you? It depends on what exactly you're looking for. Read More — it is an essential tool for Windows 10 users.

Just What Is Continuum?

The below video, while created using one of the early 9xxx Insider Preview builds, illustrates Continuum pretty darn well. Microsoft realize the need for a well-designed device transition service for an operating system set to feature on a massive range of hardware Best Windows 10 Ready Hardware & What It Means Some of Windows 10's new features require special hardware. We show you what to look out for and which devices best support Cortana, Windows Hello, and Continuum. Do you really need it? Up to you! Read More . You can use a mouse and keyboard, or switch to tablet mode, and it is as easy as connecting or disconnecting your peripherals.

When you unplug the hybrid device keyboard, or disconnect a USB or Bluetooth keyboard from a tablet, you’ll immediately be offered the option to choose either Tablet or Desktop Mode. Tablet Mode alters your setup: scaling, onscreen features, button sizes, gestures, the Taskbar and Start Menu all alter appearance in a seamless transition. Reconnect your keyboard, select Desktop, and it all changes back again.

Tablet Mode

Desktop mode is pretty self-explanatory. Your device will function as a Windows 10 desktop until you switch back. Tablet Mode is slightly different, if only because you’re transitioning between the two.

Tablet Mode Start Screen


For instance, in Tablet Mode the actual desktop becomes unavailable, and you’ll navigate much more using the Start menu A Guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu Windows 10 fixes the Start Menu dilemma! Getting to grips with the new Start Menu will supercharge your Windows 10 experience. With this handy guide, you'll be an expert in no time. Read More , or switching directly between applications. The difference is the Start menu becoming the Start screen, the focal point of navigation. You’ll also note all of your Taskbar app icons have magically evaporated, and your new best friend, Cortana, is nowhere to be seen.

Tablet Mode Quick Apps

Clicking the upper-left icon opens a list of your most frequented apps, while a similar icon in the bottom-left, near the power icon, delivers your entire installed applications list for you to peruse.

Tablet Mode All Apps


You’ve entered the streamlined Tablet Mode, and Microsoft wants to deliver a discerningly different experience, while remaining incredibly familiar. I think it works quite nicely. Entering Tablet Mode on a tablet obviously positively shapes your user experience. Buttons resize, apps understand their environment, and your fingers become wands. It’s genesis may have been Windows 8, but it is a revelation in Windows 10.

Tablet Mode Settings

Tablet Mode does have a few tweakable settings, found by pressing Windows Key + I. You can magically ask Windows 10 not to hide your Taskbar app icons. Turn off the Hide app icons on the taskbar in tablet mode setting and they’ll stay right where they are during your next transition. Handy for users like me, who always pin to the Taskbar, but not so much the Start menu 6 Ways to Hack & Customize the Windows 10 Start Menu The Windows 10 Start Menu combines classic elements with modern tiles. Tiles can add a lot of creative freedom. We'll give you tips and reveal tricks for customizing the entire Start Menu to your preferences. Read More .

Hide Apps Icons Windows 10

If you’re a frequent switcher, you can set which mode you’d like Windows 10 to use on Sign-in, like so:


Tablet Mode Startup Selection

Similarly, you can set Windows 10 to always ask your switching preference, never ask, or just to get on with it, like so:

Tablet Mode Switching

Continuum on Windows Mobile

Continuum isn’t confined to Windows 10 laptops and hybrids. For instance, you can enable Tablet Mode on your desktop. I’m not sure why, but it has been somewhat interesting to see. Another big winner with the Continuum feature is Windows 10 Mobile.


Joe Belfiore illustrates how useful this feature can be for those with a Windows 10 Mobile Want a Windows 10 Smartphone? How to Upgrade & Compatible Models Windows 10 is coming to your desktop, tablet, and now to your phone. If you have a suitable Windows Phone 8.1 and a Microsoft account, the upgrade is easy to get. We show you what... Read More , while simultaneously giving us an insight into just how well the Microsoft Office Universal Apps scale from phone 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 screen to widescreen. Microsoft wants this feature to allow any screen to be a PC, and at a first glance (I don’t have a Windows 10 Mobile) Continuum/Universal Apps combination may well facilitate; are we looking at a serious rebuilding of Windows Mobiles?

It works very similarly to desktop/tablet Continuum. Attach a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, and you’ll be met with options to scale your apps up to a desktop experience. Outlook expands into desktop Outlook with extra panels, losing the awkward and often time-consuming back button. Likewise, Excel becomes akin to Excel 2016 A Microsoft Office 2016 Preview: Smart & Subtle Changes Office 2016 for Mac was just released and the Windows version will follow in the fall. We show you the new look and features of the world's most popular productivity suite. Will you upgrade? Read More , with much of the functionality of the desktop version present.


Microsoft appears to have another excellent feature here, really hammering home the ‘PC in your pocket’ How Much Windows Phone is in Windows 10? Windows 10 is not that novel. It contains a whole lot of Windows 8 and many features that were successfully pioneered on Windows Phone. Now we all get to enjoy them. Find out which ones... Read More message for new, old, casual, or enterprise users.

New Qualcomm Chip

Unfortunately, and I’m sure to make some children cry now, Continuum for the Windows 10 Mobile requires a nice, shiny, brand new Qualcomm chip Jargon Buster: The Guide to Understanding Mobile Processors In this guide, we'll cut through the jargon to explain what you need to know about smartphone processors. Read More . Especially if you want to make use of the multiscreen mode featured in the above video. It is also something Gabriel Aul has reiterated via Twitter, and this is largely due to the devices simultaneously powering two screens. The massive plus-side to this will be a setup allowing you to view a different activity on each screen i.e. you’re checking your emails on the big screen, while watching YouTube on your phone.

It’s been rumoured this feature will be powered by one Snapdragon 810 chip, and another Snapdragon 808 chip, both powerful 64-bit chipsets at the top of mobile performance, but there are no solid confirmations as yet. Of course, featuring two processors means two things: more heat, and more money, but we’ll wait and see.

Rounding Up the Continuum

Interestingly for me, Continuum feels like an old feature coming good after years of personal technological neglect. Why? Because it just works, just how it should. You unplug; it knows. You reconnect; it knows. Sometimes the best features are the small ones done well: Continuum is, as the Microsoft adverts Has Microsoft Installed Adware on Your PC to Promote Windows 10? Windows 10 is coming and Microsoft is going to great lengths to ensure each and every Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 user is fully aware. Is update KB3035583 essentially adware? Read More would have you believe, an excellent new feature for Windows 10.

What do you think of Continuum? Will you consider a new Windows 10 Phone? Let us know below!

Image Credits:Fractal Realms by agsandrew via Shutterstock

Related topics: Windows 10, Windows Mobile.

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