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January 13, 2023updated 10 Nov 2023 6:11am

What is Windows 10?

Even though Windows 11 is now available, Windows 10 remains one of the biggest updates in Microsoft's history.

By James Nunns

Microsoft announced and unveiled Windows 10 in 2014, and with it, many updates and changes. The then-new operating system was the first one to include rolling updates to the Microsoft world.

With as big a change as Windows 10 was, Microsoft gained even more popularity, and it helped to keep successfully dominating the world of PCs.

Laptop computer displaying logo of Windows 10, a graphical operating system, developed, marketed and sold by Microsoft
Even though Microsoft has unveiled Microsoft 11 in 2021, Microsoft 10 is still one of the biggest updates in the brand’s operating systems. Image: monticello/Shutterstock

What is Windows 10?

Windows 10 was released to consumers on 29 July 2015 as the successor to Windows 9 and its predecessors Windows 8 and 7. This version of the Windows operating system introduced what the company called “universal apps”, apps that are developed to work on smartphones, personal computers, video game consoles, and HoloLens.

This universality was possible thanks to a universal app API that Microsoft first introduced in Windows 8.1. Windows 10 included the Universal Windows Platform for the development of these apps, which were able to take advantage of this and were developed with Visual Studio 2015.

As part of Microsoft’s updated OS, it introduced a system of rolling updates to features and functionality. The idea was to continuously improve the system with small updates, reducing the amount of disruption created by larger updates.

One of the big updates that came as part of Windows 10 was the introduction of Microsoft Edge, a new browser that is completely separate from the much-maligned Internet Explorer.

In October 2021, however, the latest Windows operating system was unveiled: Windows 11. 

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What is Cortana?

The browser offered a new rendering engine and a focus on social sharing, even allowing users to write on web pages.

Windows users that weren’t already familiar with Cortana, a personal digital assistant available on the Windows Phone, were introduced to it in the then-new OS. Cortana is usually plugged into Windows search so that users can ask it questions and it will search both the computer and the internet for answers.

Windows OS users had aired a lot of criticism at some of the complexities of previous systems such as version 8.1, which offered fragmented control panels and settings menus. To combat this the company introduced a unified settings menu and an Action Centre for quickly changing settings in Windows 10.

Read more: Which companies have partnered with OpenAI?

Read more: What is Microsoft?


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