Windows 10 is a personal computer operating system released by Microsoft as part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. It was officially released in Juli 2015.
Windows 10 introduces what Microsoft described as a "Universal" application architecture. Expanding on Metro/Modern UI-style apps, these apps can be designed to run across multiple Microsoft product families with nearly identical code: including PC's, tablets, smartphones, embedded systems, Xbox One, Surface Hub and HoloLens. The Windows user interface was revised to handle transitions between a mouse-oriented interface and a touchscreen-optimized interface based on available input devices: particularly on 2-in-1 PC's. Both interfaces include an updated Start menu that blends elements of Windows 7's traditional Start menu with the tiles of Windows 8. The first release of Windows 10 also introduces a virtual desktop system, a window and desktop management feature called Task View, Cortana personal assistent, the Microsoft Edge web browser, support for fingerprint and face recognition login, new security features for enterprise environments, and DirectX 12 and WDDM 2.0 to improve the operating system's graphics capabilities for games.
Microsoft described Windows 10 as an 'operating system as a service' that would receive ongoing updates to its features and functionality, augmented with the ability for enterprise environments to receive non-critical updates at a slower pace, or use long-term support milestones that will only receive critical updates, such as security patches, over their five-year lifespan of mainstream support. The goal of this model was to reduce fragmentation across the Windows platform, as Microsoft aimed to have Windows 10 installed on at least one billion devices in the two to three years following its release.
Windows 10 Features
Windows 10 harmonizes the user experience and functionality between different classes of device, and addresses shortcomings in the user interface that were introduced in Windows 8. Windows 10 Mobile, the successor to Windows Phone 8.1, shares user interface elements and apps with its PC counterpart.
The Windows Runtime app ecosystem was revised into the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). These universal apps are made to run across multiple platforms and device classes, including smartphones, tablets, Xbox One consoles, and other compatible Windows 10 devices. Windows apps share code across platforms, have responsive designs that adapt to the needs of the device and available inputs, can synchronize data between Windows 10 devices (including notifications, credentials, and allowing cross-platform multiplayer for games), and are distributed through a unified Windows Store. Developers can allow "cross-buys", where purchased licenses for an app apply to all of the user's compatible devices, rather than only the one they purchased on (i.e. a user purchasing an app on PC is also entitled to use the smartphone version at no extra cost).
On Windows 10, Windows Store serves as a unified storefront for apps, Groove Music (formerly Xbox Music), and Movies & TV (formerly Xbox Video). Windows 10 also allows web apps and desktop software (using either Win32 or .NET Framework) to be packaged for distribution on the Windows Store. Desktop software distributed through Windows Store is packaged using the App-V system to allow sand-boxing.
Windows 10 is designed to adapt its user interface based on the type of device being used and available input methods. It offers two separate user interface modes: a user interface optimized for mouse and keyboard, and a "Tablet mode" designed for touchscreens. Users can toggle between these two modes at any time, and Windows can prompt or automatically switch when certain events occur, such as disabling Tablet mode on a tablet if a keyboard or mouse is plugged in, or when a 2-in-1 PC is switched to its laptop state. In Tablet mode, programs default to a maximized view, and the task-bar contains a back button and hides buttons for opened or pinned programs. Task View is used instead to switch between programs. The full screen Start menu is used in this mode, similarly to Windows 8, but scrolls vertically instead of horizontally.
Windows 10 incorporates multi-factor authentication technology based upon standards developed by the FIDO Alliance. The operating system includes improved support for bio-metric authentication through the Windows Hello and Passport platforms; devices with supported cameras (requiring infrared illumination, such as Intel RealSense) allow users to login with face- or iris-recognition, similarly to Kinect. Devices with supported readers support fingerprint-recognition login. Credentials are stored locally and protected using asymmetric encryption. The Passport platform allows networks, software and websites to authenticate users using either a PIN or bio-metric login to verify their identity, without sending a password.
Windows 10 also introduces a new default web browser, Microsoft Edge. It features a new standards-compliant rendering engine forked from Trident, annotation tools, and offers integration with other Microsoft platforms present within Windows 10. Internet Explorer 11 is maintained on Windows 10 for compatibility purposes, but is deprecated in favor of Edge and will no longer be actively developed.
Cortana personal assistent
Windows 10 incorporates Microsoft's intelligent personal assistant, Cortana, which was first introduced with Windows Phone 8.1 in 2014. Cortana replaced Windows' embedded search feature, supporting both text and voice input. Many of its features are a direct carryover from Windows Phone, including integration with Bing, setting reminders, a Notebook feature for managing personal information, as well as searching for files, playing music, launching applications and setting reminders or sending emails. Cortana is implemented as a universal search box located alongside the Start and Task View buttons, which can be hidden or condensed to a single button.
Windows 10 provides heavier integration with the Xbox ecosystem: an updated Xbox app allows users to browse their game library (including both PC and Xbox console games). The Xbox Live SDK allows application developers to incorporate Xbox Live functionality into their apps, and future wireless Xbox One accessories, such as controllers, are supported on Windows with an adapter.
Universal Windows Platform (UWP)
Apps that are capable of implementing this platform are natively developed using Microsoft Visual Studio 2015+. Older Metro-style apps for Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 or for both (universal 8.1) need modifications to migrate to the UWP.
Multi-Platform & Devices
The UWP is an extension of the Windows Runtime. Universal Windows apps that are created using the UWP no longer indicate having been written for a specific OS in their manifest build; instead, they target one or more device families, such as a PC, smartphone, tablet, or Xbox One, using Universal Windows Platform Bridges. These extensions allow the app to automatically utilize the capabilities that are available to the particular device it is currently running on. A universal app may run on either a mobile phone or a tablet and provide suitable experiences between the two. A universal app running on a mobile phone may start behaving the way it would if it were running on a tablet when the mobile phone is connected to a desktop computer or a suitable docking station.