It's getting better all the time
Windows 8 (and 8.1) is one of the most disliked versions of Windows since Vista, or perhaps even Millennium Edition. Microsoft struggled to create an operating system that would work for both emerging touch screen devices and the traditional mouse and keyboard.
What they ended up with was an operating system that was less than optimal for either cases.Still, Windows 8 was a pretty solid operating system overall, despite so many users deciding to stick with Windows 7 instead. With Windows 10 however, we finally got an operating system that seems to do everything well.
If you’re still on Windows 8, here are ten of the things that Microsoft got right with Windows 10 in comparison.
1. Goodbye Metro, Hello Start Menu
The Windows 8 Metro interface isn’t all bad. It’s got its own strong design sensibility and really does look more modern and hip than Windows 7. Metro was following the strong trend at the time towards “flat” design. Which also saw interface designers move away from skeuomorphism as well. That is, mimicking real world objects, textures and functionality in a digital interface.
The big problem with Metro wasn’t the way that it looked. It was the poor integration. Windows 8 was like the Jekyll and Hyde of operating systems. It had the touch-centric Metro side and the more traditional Windows interface underneath. Even worse, Windows Store applications would take up the full screen and look nothing like normal Windows apps.
The most egregious crime is most certainly doing away with the Start Menu introduced with Windows 95. Windows 10 fixes all of these problems, with a Start Menu and properly integrated interface across all app types. It feels and looks like one cohesive system.
2. A Usable Web Browser
It might seem harsh, but Internet Explorer is best used to download Chrome, Firefox or really any browser alternative. IE is slow, often insecure and had far too large a market share thanks to users who simply didn’t know they could do better.
Windows 10 has brought us Microsoft Edge. Based on Chromium, this is a fast, modern and secure browser. While it still doesn’t offer everything you can get with Chrome or FireFox, there’s also nothing wrong with simply sticking with it. Over time we’re sure Edge will improve even more, but simply having a competent, modern browser built into Windows is a major victory for Windows 10.
3. Incredible Video Game Integration
Microsoft is taking video gaming in Windows seriously. Windows 10 includes a focus mode to prevent interruptions while you game, a game bar for advanced gaming features and much improved performance. You can now also get access to the Game Pass service and many other aspects taken from the Xbox platform.
Windows 10 is now undoubtedly the operating system all PC gamers should use. Sticking to Windows 7 or 8 is finally a path with too many sacrifices. Gaming on Windows 10 is good, though it wasn’t so in the early days after release.
4. The Perfection Of Snap
Apple’s macOS is often praised for the ease and elegance of its interface and compared to Windows 8, it’s like the Mona Lisa next to a crayon drawing of your kindergarten teacher. While Windows 10 is still not quite at the same level as macOS on many fronts, one place where it’s clearly on top is Windows management.
We already had a taste of snap with Windows 7 and 8, but Windows 10 is the definitive experience. Arranging windows in various configurations is both literally and figuratively a snap. Windows 8 offered basic snapping, but Windows 10 refines it and brings more variety to how you can get your workspace exactly how you like it.
5. Virtual Desktop, Late But Welcome
Ubuntu Linux and macOS have offered native virtual desktops for years. Letting you quickly switch between distinct workspaces with their own applications and purposes. For example, you might be doing video editing on one desktop, but have your server management tools open on another. Windows 8, on the other hand, could barely get a handle on just one desktop.
Windows 10 knocks this out of the park, offering a task view where you can easily create multiple desktops and switch between them with the click of a button. Once you’ve experienced a good virtual desktop system, going back to something like Windows 8 feels like a barbaric attack on productivity.
6. A Worthy Task Manager
The Task Manager in Windows 10 is truly a step above even many of the dedicated third-party system monitoring tools we’ve been using for years on older versions of the OS. The amount of useful information the Task Manager in Windows 10 offers is mind-boggling.
You can see which applications are having the largest impact at startup, see the performance and usage of just about every component, and quickly find any app or process to see what’s up under the hood of your PC.
For most people, older versions of Task Manager was a tool you needed to kill an app that was misbehaving, but now it’s the first place to go if you want to know anything about your system
7. Excellent Cloud Integration
Windows 10 was built for a connected world and that integration is practically seamless. From easy system resets and reinstallations to the ability to log into your Microsoft account and have all of your data and preferences ready for you, Windows 10 is an actual realization of the internet-centric OS Microsoft promised us with Windows XP.
8. DirectX 12!
DirectX 12 is another reason PC gamers should be on Windows 10. It offers truly next-generation features and going ahead, thanks to the new Xbox console, games will support these features as a matter of course.
Better performance, mind-blowing visuals and a long list of transformative new technologies that you can only find with Windows 10 and DX12 makes a mockery of Windows 8 and it’s now archaic DirectX 11 feature set.
9. Supercharged Windows Search
Windows 8 started to encroach a little on the macOS Spotlight Search feature with a quick system-wide search function, but Windows 10 dials it up to, er, 10. Thanks to Cortana, fast storage support and smart search indexing you can select the Start Button and type just about anything. You’ll instantly find it either on your computer or out on the web. It’s as easy as breathing now.
10. Serious Security
WIndows 10 has really pushed the quality of security compared to Windows 8. Encryption is stronger and easier to implement. Windows Hello brings together all sorts of login methods, such as fingerprints and facial recognition as well. Not to mention that many apps can now piggy-back on Windows Hello for their own authentication on your system.
Windows 10 benefits here from being run like a service, with continuous updates. Though that’s a double-edged sword thanks to a history of wonky Windows 10 updates that have bricked a few Windows 10 machines.
Ten Of The Best!
Windows 10 is far from perfect, but we can confidently say that when you compare Windows 8 vs Windows 10, it is now the definitive version of Windows to have. It’s fast, secure and generally pleasant to use. It’s also likely to get better with each major update.