Where Windows 10 stands right now

Windows 10 betas are coming fast and furious. Discover what Microsoft has released so far

Where Windows 10 stands right now

A Microsoft Surface Phone, running Windows 10, is unlikely to be seen at Mobile World Congress in late February, but the phone may be out later this year. 

Credit: Thinkstock

With beta builds arriving at an ever-increasing pace, Windows 10 testing proceeds full speed ahead, with new features unveiled at every turn. If you don't have the time -- or the interest -- to keep up with the details, this report will keep you posted on how things stand. Like, right now. And we'll update it as Microsoft fleshes out more of Windows 10.

The Start menu

Unless you've been living on an alternate Windows desktop, you know that Win10 sports a new Start menu, with Windows 7-like menu entries on the left and Windows 8-style tiles on the right.

Start Menu: Windows 10 Build 10056

Start Menu: Windows 10 Build 10056

Where the Start menu stands

There are a few customizing options -- for example, you can drag entries onto the pinned list in the top left, or drag items from the list on the left and turn them into tiles on the right. Tiles on the right can be resized to Small (see the three on the bottom right), Medium, Wide (two single-size slots, as with the Search and Weather tiles in the screen shot), and Large (Money). You can click and drag, group, and ungroup tiles on the right, and give groups custom names.

In build 10056, you can finally resize the Start menu. You can adjust it vertically in small increments, but trying to drag things the other way is limited to big swaths of tiles: Groups of tiles remain three wide, and you can only add or remove entire columns. You can drag tiles from the right side of the Start screen onto the desktop for easy access.

While it's possible to manually remove all the tiles on the right (right-click each, then choose Unpin from Start), the big area for tiles doesn't shrink beyond one column.

What's likely to appear

There's some transparency available on the Start menu, but we're waiting to see how much.

What we'd like to see

Power users would benefit greatly by seeing at least some of the extensive customization available in the Windows 7 Start menu make it through to the final version of Windows 10. Win10's Start menu doesn't have the moxie of Win7's because it has been rewritten in XAML, and the bells and whistles fell off in the process.

At a minimum, Win10's Start menu should have a hierarchy on the left, with customizable menus. The All Apps list should also be customizable with easily defined folders and entries. (If all else fails, bet on Stardock to come up with a Start menu replacement that's modifiable.)

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