ImproMed, LLC. Logo
Issue: 75 - Mar 16, 2015
Windows 10: Microsoft's Mea Culpa to Vet PC Users
By: Joe Dysart
Joe Dysart

Vets who reacted to Windows 8 with howls of incredulity can take heart:  Microsoft is bending over backwards with its next Windows release to win back the mouse-and-keyboard crowd.

Yes, it's true:  With Windows 10 (there will be no Windows 9), due for release summer 2015, Microsoft will make it simple once again to navigate the operating system with a keyboard-and-mouse. 

Moreover, the Redmond Goliath will be bringing back other features -- like the Start Menu -- that made Windows such a hit in previous incarnations.  "It's a practical approach, which is 'customer first," says Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.

Officially unveiled with great fanfare by Microsoft earlier this year, Windows 10 is a naked apology to millions of PC users, who were relegated to after-thought status when Microsoft rolled-out Windows 8 a few years ago.

Back then, Microsoft bet big on abandoning traditional Windows computing.  It's plan:  Literally strong-arm traditional Windows users into accepting a reconfigured user interface driven by touch-screen controls.

As most of us know all too well about that bet, Microsoft lost big.  Users rejected Windows 8 in droves.

Chastened, the company has responded with a completely reconfigured operating system, which brings back many of the cherished features of earlier versions -- while incorporating some tasty new improvements.


With Windows 10:

*Hooray! The Windows start menu is back!:  Apparently arising from Microsoft's "The Department of If-It-Ain't Broke-Don't-Fix-It,' the Windows Start menu has returned to the left side of the PC screen.  Once again, you can call-up an ordered list of programs on your desktop that you can click on and open instantly.

Sure, three quarters of your desktop to the right still offers the touch-screen, tile access to your programs that Microsoft so desperately wanted everyone to embrace with Windows 8.  But you can simply ignore those -- or slowly integrate those tiles into your work-style at a leisurely pace.

*Your PC boots straight to the desktop:  Perhaps most infuriating about Windows 8 was Microsoft's insistence that your PC boot directly to a touch-screen tile interface that initially, no one understood.   Essentially, under this scenario, you turned on your PC, watched your PC glow to life in a completely unrecognizable environment, and began a bewildered journey into total confusion.

Not so with Windows 10.  Once again, your PC now starts with the familiar desktop interface made popular in pervious versions of the operating system.

*Your tablet auto-senses your preference for traditional or touch-screen controls:   With Windows 10, your tablet will be auto-programmed to sense when a keyboard is plugged into your tablet and automatically switch to desktop mode -- the mode that's optimized for use with a keyboard-and-mouse. 

If you disconnect your keyboard from your tablet, Windows 10 will politely ask you if you'd like to switch to touch-screen control.

"For someone who's a mobile task-worker, it works like a tablet while you're out and about, and then it works exactly like a PC when you bring it back and dock it," to a keyboard-and-mouse, says Joe Belfiore, vice president, operating systems group, Microsoft.

*Lots of users get to upgrade to Windows 10 for free:  In an extremely shrewd move, Microsoft is offering the new operating system as a free upgrade for the first year -- for the most part -- to users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.  (One exception:  Windows Enterprise users of 7 and 8.1 will still have to pay to upgrade to Windows 10.)

With this grand gesture, it's almost as if Microsoft is saying, 'Yes.  We know, we know.  We royally screwed-up with Windows 8.  And we'd really appreciate your forgiveness.'

Besides bringing back most of the features that made earlier incarnations of Windows so popular, Microsoft is also sprinkling in some cool new improvements that could make Windows 10 an even bigger hit.

Windows 10, for example, comes with a search-engine-powered, new voice assistant, Cortana.  Already available on Windows phone, Cortana will sit atop the Windows 10 interface and answer your queries with the help of Microsoft's Bing! search engine.

You can ask Cortana -- using natural language with voice or your keyboard-- what the weather will be like tomorrow, where that elusive document file you lost is stored, how many days it is to your next vacation, and similar queries.

Like many things digital these days, Cortana is also turbo-charged with advanced analytics.  So theoretically, Cortana will get to know you better over time as it ruminates over questions you've already asked, and provides you with ever-more accurate answers the more you consult with 'her.'

Another cool Cortana feature:  You'll be able to dictate emails or texts to her, and have her send those communications to the person(s) of your choice.

Windows 10 will also come equipped with a lean-and-mean browser, code-named Spartan, which is modeled after leaner Internet browsers like Firefox.  Theoretically, this browser will run faster than Internet Explorer, which will also come with Windows 10.

Another bonus with Spartan is that it comes equipped with a clipping tool that enables you to clip-and-save portions of Web sites to OneNote (, a free, third-party, content-archiving program. 

Plus, you'll also be able to use Spartan to save Web content that you can read offline at your leisure.

Another major change with the new Windows is that it's being built on the promise that all Microsoft-friendly products will share the same, common Windows 10 operating system -- desktops,  laptops, tablets, phones and even Xbox.

Again, theoretically, this will make it easier for you to make simultaneous changes that will pop-up on all devices.  Update a contact in Outlook, for example, and that contact will be updated on all your Windows 10 devices.  Upload your music to the Microsoft cloud service OneDrive, for example, and that music will play on all your Windows devices -- even though, of course, you would never dream of listening to music at work.

Equally ground-shifting with Windows 10 is Microsoft's decision to repackage the operating system as a 'service' -- as opposed to a static product.  Instead of releasing Windows updates every few years, Microsoft plans to continually update Windows with enhancements, which will continually auto-download from the Web to your PC.

"Once a device is updated to Windows 10, we will be keeping it current for the supported lifetime of the device," says Terry Myerson an executive vice president, Operating Systems Group, Microsoft.  Soon, the question, "What version are you running?" will no longer apply to Windows, Myerson says.

One exception:  Windows business enterprise users will be able to opt for a 'go slow' update approach to Windows 10, enabling them to delay quick, across-the-board, automatic updates to Windows. 

Instead, these enterprise users will be able to opt for automatic updates involving security or other critical changes, and get time to test and evaluate the impact of other updates, according to Jim Alkove, director of program management, Enterprise Group, Microsoft.

Probably the sexiest new addition to Windows will be its built-in ability to play 3D/holographic content created by a new software product Microsoft promises to roll-out later this year-- Microsoft HoloStudio.

Users who buy HoloStudio software will be able to create 3D/holographic images, which can then be viewed with a new 3D visor Microsoft is also promising to bring to market later this year called Microsoft HoloLens. 

It's an interesting take on 3D/holographic viewing, in that you'll be able to don a Microsoft visor, and take in the image of say a 3D fire-breathing dragon that's lounging on your living room couch. 

Essentially, with this approach to 3D/holographic imaging, Microsoft's has decided to add 3D/holographic images to the existing world -- rather than attempt to create an entirely new 3D/holographic environment with its software.

All told, Microsoft's move with Windows 10 could reverse the major misstep it made with Windows 8.  Indeed, the company is now so ostensibly committed to responding to user feedback, it has created a  special Windows Insider Program ( for Windows users who want a voice in how the product evolves.

People who join Windows Insider get to test beta versions of Windows 10 before the operating system's release later this year.  And their comments on those beta versions will help shape the final look, feel and functionality of the operating system, according to Myerson.  So far, the Insider Program already has 1.7 million sign-ups, he says.

Need more?  If you're intensely interested in Windows 10, you can also check out Microsoft's Windows 10 Webcast (  It's an extremely informative video of Microsoft's Windows 10 roll-out that clocks in at  2 hours, 19 minutes.  Check out this video, and you'll truly get an in-depth look at how the new operating system will shake out.


Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan.  Voice: (646) 233-4089.  Email:  Web: