Microsoft recently released their Windows 10 tech preview with many exciting features and over 7000+ improvements to existing features, user interface and other under-the-hood elements. These new features and/or improvements include the return of the start menu, windowed modern applications, task view, virtual desktops, etc.
In fact, most of these new features and improvements are focused towards the desktop users to increase their productivity like in Windows XP or 7. Of all the things that are improved or introduced, here are the three coolest features found in the latest Windows 10 update.
Note: Some of the features discussed here are only available in updated versions of Windows 10 Tech preview. If you haven’t updated your installation, you can do so by navigating to “PC Settings” and then to “Update and Recovery.”
1. OneGet – A Linux Style Package Manager
Linux style package manager in Windows is one of the most anticipated features, and finally Microsoft introduced a Package Management Framework called OneGet into the PowerShell.
This unified interface makes it easy to discover, install, uninstall and manage the Windows software via the common cmdlets and APIs. Moreover, OneGet itself is an open source project at Microsoft center, and MS also has plans to integrate OneGet deeply into the Windows Update system.
This integration helps all the desktop programs to trigger the updates through one common interface rather than using a separate update service for each program. Of course, the integration with the graphical interface and the Windows update is not immediate.
As of now, OneGet ships with Chocolatey as its default package source. Since OneGet is an open-source project, you can always download the latest builds for your experiments from OneGet’s official website or from its GitHub page. As a side note, if you are using Windows 8.1, OneGet is also available for your usage as a part of Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview.
2. Improvements for Command Prompt
After a long time, Microsoft finally decided to add some significant features and improvements to the Windows Command Prompt. You can easily access all these new features by navigating to the “Experimental” tab in the properties window. The current features include:
- Live or dynamic resizing of command prompt window (no more messing with the layout properties).
- Easy text selections.
- Word wrapping on resize.
- A ton of keyboard shortcuts and editing improvements.
- Support for high resolution monitors (no more 800 X 600 stuff).
- Finally the oddball, console window transparency.
The window transparency makes the whole command prompt window go transparent and is also applicable to all the consoles. Moreover, the above improvements are also ported to the PowerShell environment so that you don’t have missing features when shuffling around.
Besides all these improvements, I would personally like to see a tabbed console with profiles and some useful built-in commands like grep.
3. Trackpad Gestures and Desktop Notifications
Microsoft introduced built-in trackpad gestures in Windows 8, but unfortunately, they are buggy and unusable. Now in Windows 10, Microsoft is beefing up those features and making them more usable. As of now, the new trackpad gestures are pretty similar to what you find on a Mac.
These new gestures include three-finger swipes to minimize and maximize windows, activate task view, etc. So, if you are already using the Windows 10 tech preview, give these trackpad gestures a try and see if these are any better compared to Windows 8.
Along with the trackpad gestures, Microsoft also improved desktop notifications to be more refined and usable. Unlike in Windows 8 where the toast notifications disappear after a couple of seconds without any trace, they are subsequently listed in the Windows action center in Windows 10.
These notifications are also accessible via the regular notification area in the taskbar.
It is pretty obvious that most, if not all, of these new features are already available in Linux and OS X. Nevertheless, it is still good to see Microsoft finally incorporate such features into its OS. With all these improvements and new features, Windows is trying to provide a more unified interface between platforms while rectifying the mistakes in Windows 8.