In just a few short weeks, Microsoft will finally make Windows 10 available to consumers, finally bringing balance to the Windows universe. It’s been a tumultuous journey for Microsoft’s software arm over the past few years, but it looks like CEO Satya Nadella will steady the ship. To see what Windows 10 will be like when it launches on July 29, we checked out the latest build, Build 10240, and came away excited for what’s to come.
The most notable thing about Windows 10 is that it’s bringing back the Start Menu, which was sorely missed in Windows 8. Microsoft said it brought the feature back to create a more inviting and familiar experience, and that’s exactly how it feels. Like seeing an old friend. But it’s actually better than you remember, beefed up with new skills that make it an even more important part of the Windows experience.
In Windows 10, the Start Menu will feel like a smart combination of both Windows 7 and Windows 8; not only will it show a list of most used apps, but give you quick access to important features. You’ll find yourself using it quite a bit, and you’ll also wonder what took Microsoft so long to bring the Start Menu back.
Another key feature of Windows 10 is Cortana, which is Microsoft’s answer to Google Now. The personal assistant has been available on mobile for a while now, but it’s an all new ballgame in Windows 10. The more you work (and the more information you give her), the smarter and more helpful Cortana gets. Microsoft says she’s best at reminders, capable of delivering them right when you need them.
We’ll have much more coverage of Windows 10 when the OS launches on July 29. Based on the different builds we’ve used so far, this is easily going to be Microsoft’s most important release. Windows 10 will still emphasis a touch environment, but it’s no longer isolating its enterprise users, merging the best of old and new.
To see the latest build of Windows 10 in action, check out the video above. July 29 is going to be a big day.