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Now That Windows 7 Has Gone End of Life, Find Out What You Can Expect From Windows 10

There are many differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10, some big and some small. Now that Windows 7 has gone end-of-life, meaning that it will no longer receive updates or support from Microsoft, we thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of these differences, to inform those not in the know and to encourage those that have not yet said goodbye to Windows 7 that the change will not be as painful as one might thing.

1. Cortana – Windows 10 Voice Activated Virtual Assistant

When Windows 10 first came to market, Microsoft introduced Cortana, Windows 10’s answer to the myriad of personal assistant technology available to the public. Positioned to compete with the likes of Amazon Alexa, Google Home and other voice recognition devices, Microsoft now longer envisions Cortana as a direct competitor to smart speakers and entertainment devices. Cortana has been re-positioned as a simple virtual assistant that can do a number of time-saving and convenient tasks.

Features of Cortana include:

  • Voice recognition, which can be used to input data without the use of a keyboard
  • The ability to set reminders based on voice input
  • Send emails and text messages with voice commands
  • Set alarms and timers
  • Create lists, including shopping lists
  • Add and delete items from your calendar
  • Search the web by asking Cortana questions
  • Use Cortana as a voice-activated calculator

2. Microsoft Account Login and Integration

Setting up Windows 10 with a Microsoft account allows you to share settings between all your different devices using the same login. Instead of using a local Windows account which only exists on your computer, your Microsoft account is stored in the cloud and includes features like syncing desktop backgrounds between devices, auto login for services like Office 365, One Drive and Windows Store. Using a Microsoft account to log into Windows 10 is not mandatory, and is not recommended for work computers or shared terminals, but it can be very convenient for home computer users with personal devices.

3. The Windows Store

Windows Store is your one-stop shop for apps, games, music, videos and ebooks. Microsoft launched the Windows Store and the Windows Apps Store in Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 r2, and has since unified all their divergent shopping platforms in one store to rule them all. Anyone with a Microsoft User account can log into the Windows Store and purchase content or download it for free. Windows Store offers apps on the Unified Windows Platform (UWP) that run right from the desktop, rather than installing like traditional apps. Windows 10 can run both UWP apps and traditional apps side-by-side, and often offer both versions for installation. The store offers over 700,000 different applications and unique pieces of content, all of which is curated and managed by Microsoft.

4. The New Start Menu

Windows 7 sported the old-school start menu that Windows users were accustomed to going all the way back to Windows 95. Much to the dismay of Windows users everywhere, Microsoft did away with the start menu in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, opting instead for the Start Screen which sported a bunch of tiles that no one ever got used to. Windows 10 rectified that error by reintroducing the Start Menu in a new and improved iteration. The Windows 10 Start Menu is a combination of the traditional Windows 7 start menu and the tiles of Windows 8 and 8.1. On the left side of the Windows 10 Start Menu is the familiar menu with all apps, frequently used programs and settings and power options. The right side is a panel on which frequently used apps and suggested Windows Store content is displayed. The Windows 10 Start Menu can be resized and made full-screen, and offers a large amount of customization options for Windows 10 users.

5. Microsoft Edge Browser Replaces Internet Explorer

Microsoft Edge is the new default internet browser integrated into Window 10. Microsoft claims that Edge offers better security, stability, performance and functionality than Internet Explorer. Many people have made the joke that Edge is the browser to use when downloading and installing Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, but Edge is a fine and lightweight browser that offers smooth scrolling and enterprise security features. Since Edge does not support ActiveX controls, Internet Explorer is still a part of the OS, but it is not set to default and is fairly well hidden to regular users.

6. Settings Menu Partially Replaces Control Panel

Windows 10 aims to provide users with a much more user-friendly way of configuring their computers through the Windows Settings menu. Accessed from the new and improved Start Menu, the Windows Settings menu has options for configuring system and network settings, device and peripheral settings, personalization options, application settings, user account options, security settings and more. Some older settings are still only accessible through the traditional Control Panel, but Microsoft is said to be slowly phasing those options out in favor of the settings menu.

What You Can Expect – The User View

All in all, the difference between Windows 7 and Windows 10 may seem dramatic, but in our experience users have been adapting quite well to the new(ish) OS. If you’ve held out this long and foster a particularly strong bond with Windows 7, fear not. From a user prospective, things work basically the same. Microsoft learned that Windows users will not accept wholesale change when they launch Windows 8 and everyone hated it. With Windows 10, they rolled those changes to the look and feel of the OS considerably creating a modern OS that still feels like Windows.

Check out some of our other articles in our knowledge base!

By grnpnt