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The Best New Features of Microsoft Windows 10

The Start Menu is Back

Windows 8 made the hugely controversial move to eliminate the Start Menu, opting instead for a don`t call-it-Metro style Start Screen. It went over about as well as you`d expect. In Windows 10, however, the Start Menu is back. Now, Live Tiles live here just like regular app icons, in (relatively) perfect harmony.

The folder-based organization has been left behind in favor of a favorites- and search-based organization. You can start typing as soon as you open the Start menu to find an app and launch it by name. If you`d rather not type the name of an app every time, you can pin it to the Start Menu where it will live alongside your other tiles. Your most used shortcuts will also appear in their own list. You can click All Apps to see a list of everything that`s in your Start Menu, though it will show up as an alphabetical list that may be hard to sift through if you`re used to folders.

Cortana Makes the Start Menu Even Smarter

As if bringing the Start Menu back weren`t enough, Microsoft has built its personal voice assistant Cortana right in. Even if you`re already using Google Now or Siri, having Cortana on your desktop can be handy. You can perform web searches to get many of the same quick answers by simply pressing the Win key and typing a question like How many ounces are in a cup or What`s the weather like?

Cortana`s more than just voice commands, though. If you sign in with your Microsoft account, you can use Cortana to set reminders, add calendar events, and it can even give you Google Now-style cards with relevant information like stock quotes or news stories. Of course, many of these features only work at their best if you`re using Microsoft services or at least syncing your services like Google Calendar to a Microsoft app but even if you don`t want to get into Microsoft`s ecosystem, it`s still far more powerful than the Start Menu of the past.

Microsoft Edge Finally Replaces Internet Explorer

Microsoft tried hard and often to get people to forgive Internet Explorer. It just wasn`t happening. Now, with Windows 10, Microsoft is ditching the old browser for Microsoft Edge. We`ve already taken a look at the browser and, while it`s still pretty bare bones, it has several unique features including a text-only reader mode, an annotation tool, and even Cortana integration. While extensions haven`t arrived yet, they should be coming before long, so Edge may be worth trying out.


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