Windows 10 Technical Preview 2: Quick Visual Tour

Posted on January 24, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

I’ve spent much of the day installing Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 on the PCs I brought with me to Redmond—I’m in town through the weekend—and while I intend to deep-dive into individual new and improved features, I thought it might be useful to provide a quick visual overview of some key new features first.

We’re going to implement formal screenshot gallery capabilities on this site soon, so pardon the low-tech approach used here. It’s about to get better.

Setup

On this particular machine, I did an in-place upgrade from Windows 8.1 to WTP2. This worked about as well as expected except for OneDrive: It will need to resync with OneDrive and thus re-download previously synced files too. So a bit of backup will be in order.

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Start

Because Windows 8.1 uses a full-screen Start screen, WTP2 configured Start in full-screen mode by default. You can switch it back to a menu using that button in the upper-right.

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Cortana

Cortana is available, and while it’s a bit limited right now—you can’t launch apps or search for files yet—it works about as well as expected. And you can enable a “Hey, Cortana” feature so you can just speak to start searching. (This isn’t available on phone because of battery life concerns.)

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Xbox

The Xbox app is available, and while some features—Xbox One game streaming, for example—are missing, it’s a pretty decent experience. And as promised, clicking the Store link launches the Store app, not a store-within-in-the-app as in Windows 8.1.

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Photos

Like a handful of other new universal apps, Photos is missing the titlebar-based menu button, which I assume is a mistake. (If you swipe in from the top, you get the app bar if there is one—which there isn’t on the universal apps I’ve seen—and if you do so from the bottom, the taskbar comes up.) Albums and Folders are not implemented yet, so this is just a raw dump of your photos for now.

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Store (Beta)

WTP2 includes the old Store app plus this sneak peak at the much better-looking new Store app.

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Action Center

WTP2’s notification center is live and provides access to Quick Actions, which can be expanded to show more actions.

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Maps

There’s not much new to see here except that this is a universal app and it appears to provide all app commands via that slider on the left (which can be contracted with the hamburger button).

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File Explorer

The improved File Explorer has more new (and very bright) icons and of course the ability to change the startup location. Which I will do.

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More soon.

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