Tying up the loose ends ahead of Microsoft's Windows 10 launch

With Microsoft's Windows 10 launch approaching fast, here's what you can expect in terms of new features and old features that won't make it to the new OS.

Typing up loose ends ahead of Microsoft's Windows 10 launch

By now the hoopla is over and we all know Windows 10 will ship on July 29. Most of you (and me) got the offer on your Windows 7/8 PC for the free upgrade, and the $119 price is all over the place.

With Microsoft setting July 29 as its ship date, that leaves about seven weeks for development. At this point you would think they are down to final bug squashing, but in fact new features are still being added.

For example, Neowin picked up on how in build 10130 of Windows 10, Microsoft added the ability to run multiple instances of a Modern UI app. With Windows 8, you couldn't do that. This is only for Modern apps, and right now it only works with the Calculator, but it will apparently be extended to Microsoft and third-party Modern apps as well.

This is likely the last new feature to be added. Gabe Aul, a GM in the OS Group who is very active on social media, said the development team is done with feature development and is focused on bug fixing.

He also said that the Feedback app used so extensively throughout the beta process will remain in Windows 10 even after the final code ships. In a recent list of users' top five most requested features for Windows 10, keeping the feedback app was number one. So they got that wish. After the complete tone-deafness of the Windows 8 development process, Microsoft is definitely listening.

Now, Microsoft giveth, Microsoft taketh away. Some things are missing from prior versions. Windows Media Center, the media player for movies and music, has been axed, as has one free game, the card game Hearts, and Windows 7's desktop gadgets. DVD viewing will also require third-party playback software, and Gabriel Aul has said on Twitter that a DVD viewer for Windows 10 is coming later this year.

Cortana, the voice-driven assistant, will only be available in the U.S., UK, China, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain at launch. You're also going to need some special hardware for some new features. Microsoft recommends a headset when using Cortana (and my experience bears that out) and you will need an infrared camera for facial recognition or a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello, the new biometric recognition feature.

Home users may be annoyed with the change in updates. Windows Update is now kaput, as is Patch Tuesday. Updates will now be downloaded and installed as soon as they are ready, not on the second Tuesday of every month, and you can't put them off. The Pro and Enterprise editions will allow you to defer updates, but it's mandatory for home users.

Finally, the system tray icon reminding you to upgrade is tiny and non-obtrusive, but if you want to be rid of it you can. Just open up the add/remove software app from the Control Panel, then select Installed Updates from the left side of the window. Uninstall Windows Update KB3035583, which was installed on your PC on 5/19, and the icon will go away.

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