Microsoft always aims to be an innovator, but its attempts to revamp the Windows OS have been hit or miss.

Microsoft took a step forward after the introduction of Windows 7; which  followed up the much-maligned Vista. Then they tried building a completely different interface, which would be touch-friendly in order to provide a better user experience. They built the giant known as “Windows 8” with its emphasis on touch and a fluid user interface. But, it was not a hit with customers even after the the changes in Windows 8.1.

With their latest OS, Windows 10, hopes to make its customers happy again. Current users of Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 can download it for free until July 29, 2016. (Don’t worry, it stays free after you install it.)

So is it an improvement? Here are what I think are the  top  features and improvements of Windows 10.

1. A Compact Start Menu:

There was a huge demand for the return of the start menu,  because previous versions of windows (Windows 8, Windows 8.1) had a full-screen start menu which many users hated. They demanded the return of the traditional  left-side start menu from previous versions of Windows.

So, Microsoft took a step forward and introduced a hybrid start menu having a Windows 7- like design on the left,  but Windows 8-like design on the right.

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It contains a lot of improvements including a list of the most used applications. It still features the famous Windows 8  live“Tile” structure on the right side. (You Can remove the tiles.) I think it looks amazing.

2. Cortana:

Cortana is a voice-activated digital assistant and one of the newest features in Windows.  Android and iOS users are familiar with the idea of a digital assistant. In Android, it is available as “Google Voice” while in iPhone, as “Siri”. But ,Microsoft says that Cortana is the best of all because of its quick response as well as intelligent data collection like in Google. Based on this data, it provides some useful information to users.

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It also has a unique voice recognition feature which tries its best to provide relevant information by opening relevant windows applications like your browser if you’re searching or your e-mail if you want to send a message.

3. Microsoft Edge:

Microsoft has taken a lot of flack over the years for Internet Explorer. Though it’s the most popular browser, it’s been called clunky and insecure. Microsoft went to work of creating a modern, secure browser for Windows 10. It was originally called Project Spartan, but the name was changed to Edge for the final release.

Microsoft Edge definitely has an Edge over IE as it has a plenty of new features including a built-in sharing ability, the ability to make annotations on a screenshot with finger, mouse or pen, and the new Reading List.

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With A cleaner, leaner browser – Google Chrome may finally have some competition.

In part 2 of this article, I’ll look at two more features that make Windows 10 stand out.

~ Adrian