Windows 10 is here! And for current Windows 7 or 8 users,
the upgrade is available from Microsoft free for a year from July 29, 2015. Learn more
about upgrade options.
If your nonprofit or library is
considering upgrading your systems, check out some of the most important new
features for both users and IT professionals in this version of Windows.
The Start menu has returned to Windows. Windows 8 users know
that the Start menu was replaced in that version by a collection of tiled apps known as the Start screen.
The new Start menu in Windows 10 combines the features of the Start screen with
the classic Start menu from Windows. Your most-used Start menu items are listed
in one column, right next to a place where you can pin your favorite live app
The new Start menu in Windows 10
Windows 10 includes a new web browser called Microsoft Edge.
Internet Explorer is still included, but Edge is the default browser for most
What makes Edge unique is its save-for-later and
markup features. You can save a page for offline reading in your Reading List, similar to the way Instapaper and other apps allow
you to read web content offline. The markup features allow you to write, draw,
highlight, or type directly on a web page and save the annotated page to
OneNote or share it with your friends.
Microsoft Edge markup
Windows 10 supports multiple
desktops, similar to the "Spaces" feature in Mac OS X. This means
you can have one desktop filled with spreadsheets, another desktop with
information about a new fundraising project, and another covered in cat photos
and switch between the three easily.
You can also move applications from one desktop to another by dragging and
dropping. Or you can create a new desktop just by dragging an application to
the "New desktop" button.
10 has several Snap features that allow you to quickly resize application
windows so you can be more productive. In Windows 7 or 8, you could drag a
window to the left or right side of the desktop and "snap" it to that
half of the screen. If you snap an application to half of the screen in Windows
10, the Snap Assist feature brings up a carousel of thumbnails of other running
applications so you can choose one to fill the remaining portion of the screen.
In Windows 7 and 8, you could only snap application windows
to the left- or right-hand side of the screen. In Windows 10, the Corner Snap
feature allows you to snap applications to all four corners.
Another nice feature is Snap Fill. You
probably won't always want to snap your windows into two equal halves or four
equal quarters. With Snap Fill, you can resize a window and then snap a second
window adjacent to it. The second window will fill the remaining screen space
Snap Assist in action
Like Apple's Siri, Cortana is a voice-controlled personal
digital assistant built in to Windows 10. So now you can talk to your computer,
just like in the movies!
Probably not just like that.
But you can use Cortana to search for things on the web, find files on your
computer, check the weather, and perform other tasks just by talking. You can
also turn it off if you're the type who works better alone.
Image of Cortana in Windows 10
This feature from Windows Phone is now part of Windows 10.
You can turn on Battery Saver for your notebook or tablet to conserve power
when your battery is down to a certain percentage. It's
set to 20 percent by default, but you can change it to whatever you want.
Windows saves battery power by shutting down certain
background processes. Which ones? Windows allows you to specify which processes
should always be running, even when you shift to Battery Saver, so you don't
have to worry that you'll stop getting email updates, for instance.
Azure Active Directory Support
Active Directory is Microsoft's cloud-based Active Directory (AD) service.
Windows 10 support for this feature means it's possible for an organization to
deploy Office 365 (which nonprofits
can get for free) in combination with Azure AD to completely replace
on-premises servers. An entirely cloud-based solution won't work for every
organization, so you can also get the same functionality and keep your servers
One benefit of Azure AD is "single sign-on," which
means users can log in to Windows 10 and have immediate access to any AD-compatible
cloud applications that your IT department has configured, like Office 365,
Box, Citrix ShareFile or GoToMeeting, and Salesforce.com. For IT people,
deploying any of these cloud services for users is much simpler.
You get access to a free edition of Azure AD with Office 365, or you can
purchase additional features in higher editions.
Some of the apps that
can integrate with Azure Active Directory
Windows Update for Business
Update for Business is a free service from Microsoft for Windows 10 Pro and
Enterprise devices. It gives IT departments more ways to control how to deliver
security and feature updates to end users.
Windows Update for Business allows IT admins to create
distribution rings and maintenance windows so they can create policies about
which users or devices receive updates and when they will receive them. They
can also configure updates to be delivered peer-to-peer rather than over the
Internet if bandwidth is an issue.
If you're already using System Center Configuration Manager
or Windows Server Update Services to provide those services, you can continue
to use those along with Windows Update for Business. The benefit with Windows
Update for Business is that updates are coming to the clients from Microsoft's
servers instead of your on-premises servers.
Enterprise Data Protection
security features in Windows 10 Enterprise provide both data-loss
prevention and encryption at the file level.
Data-loss prevention distinguishes between your
organization's data and a user's personal data and protects the organizational
data through encryption. The software encrypts your organization's apps, data,
email, website content, and other sensitive information on the device. It also
helps users determine if new documents are personal or organizational and
should be encrypted.
IT admins can also create policies to further protect
corporate data by making sure it can't be transferred externally.
Windows Hello and Passport
Hello is a new feature that allows users to unlock their devices using
their fingerprint, face, or iris. If you use your face or iris, a recent device
with a 3D camera is required. Microsoft says it can guarantee enterprise-grade
security with any of these methods, which it says are more secure than
After unlocking the device, Passport authenticates users and allows them to
access websites and other services without entering a password. If you're
worried about Microsoft having your fingerprints, pupils, or face on their
servers, you don't need to worry. Microsoft says your biometric information is
only stored locally on your device to unlock it and authenticate you with
Authentication with Windows Passport