Telephony Through the years, IT professionals have approached each new release of Microsoft Windows with mixed emotions. The first reaction is, of course, eager anticipation. Most IT pros are in their line of work because they love technology, and a new version of Windows holds the promise of exciting new features and capabilities. There’s also a bit of trepidation. Historically, migrating an enterprise to a new version of Windows is a slow, cautious operation, with careful planning and staged deployments that can take years. As a result of that conservatism, many enterprises provide their workers with PCs that lag far behind the devices those workers use at home.

Telephony Windows 10 brings a long list of important changes that any IT pro should look forward to, including major improvements in the user experience, significant security enhancements, and a new web browser. But the most significant change is designed to remove the anxiety that accompanies enterprise upgrades. The goal of Windows 10 is to deliver new features when they’re ready, rather than saving them for the next major release. In fact, the very concept of a major release goes away—or at least recedes into the distant background—with Windows 10

Telephony Terry Myerson, the Microsoft executive in charge of the operating systems division, calls it “Windows as a Service.” In fact, he argues, “One could reasonably think of Windows in the next couple of years as one of the largest Internet services on the planet. And just like any Internet service, the idea of asking ‘What version are you on?’ will cease to make sense  ” That process has already begun, with the launch in late 2014 of a Windows 10 Technical Preview aimed at IT pros and consumers. Those who have opted into the Windows 10 preview program are receiving major new features, bug fixes, and security updates through the tried-and-true Windows Update channel, with new updates arriving, on average, monthly

Telephony When you think of Windows, you probably think first of conventional desktop PCs and laptops. The Windows 10 release encompasses a much broader range of devices, as Figure 1-1, taken from a Microsoft presentation, makes clear.

Telephony Although all these devices share a great deal of common code, it’s not the case that the same code will run on each device. The version of Windows 10 Enterprise for a 64-bit desktop PC, for example, is very different from Windows 10 Mobile or the Xbox OS. But that common code has a big payoff when it comes to app development. Apps that are built on the Windows universal app platform can run on all Windows device families. They are also easier to manage and more secure than conventional Windows desktop applications, which run only on PCs.


Telephony As I mentioned, the most revolutionary change in Windows 10 is the concept of continuous improvement. New features are delivered through Windows Update rather than being set aside for the next major release. In a major change of longstanding best practices, Microsoft now recommends that enterprise customers enable Windows Update for the majority of users, although the option to use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) might still be available for some configurations

Telephony In the Windows 10 Technical Preview, the more-or-less monthly new builds are delivered through Windows Update. Participants in the preview program can choose between two update speeds, also known as rings. Choosing the Fast ring makes new builds available as soon as they’re released by Microsoft; opting for the Slow ring delays the availability of a new build until it’s been thoroughly vetted by the Fast ring, with any bugs addressed via interim updates

Telephony When Microsoft officially releases Windows 10 to the public, the preview program won’t end. Members of the Windows Insider program will continue to receive early access to new updates, using the same Fast and Slow rings. Windows users who are not part of the preview program will receive updates for what’s known as the “Current Branch.” In addition, Microsoft has committed to an additional approach for enterprise customers who want a more stable environment, with a “Current Branch for Business” that is several months behind the consumer releases as well as “Long Term Servicing” branches that are appropriate for mission-critical applications.

Telephony In the beginning, there was the Windows 95 Start button, which actually included the word Start. Clicking that button led to the Start menu, which was chock-full of shortcuts to programs, utilities, and settings. Both of these crucial parts of the user experience evolved significantly in appearance and functionality over the years, but a time traveler from 1995 would have no trouble recognizing the Start menu in Windows 7

Telephony In a singularly controversial decision, the designers of Windows 8 removed the Start button and Start menu completely, replacing them with a full screen filled with live tiles instead of icons. The Start button returned in Windows 8.1, although its main function was to provide access to the Start screen. Now, by popular demand, the Start menu returns in Windows 10.

Telephony This Start menu design (which will undoubtedly change before the final Windows 10 release) contains some familiar elements,

Telephony The items on the right are live tiles, which work like their equivalents from the Windows 8.1 Start screen.

Telephony including links to common locations, a list of frequently used apps and programs, and power controls.

Telephony The search box, just to the right of the Start button, offers quick access to the local file system and to the web. With a few quick configuration steps, you can enable Cortana

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