Cortana is what Microsoft calls a digital agent. What is a “digital agent”? It’s one of the first things that a new Windows 10 user will experience. I was hoping for James Bond’s computer construct counterpart meets Hackerman from Fung Fury, but technology is not quite there yet. The Cortana software is really an interface to other features of the Windows 10 operating system. If the PC is setup with a microphone and the correct settings, you can talk to it. This has the same functionality as typing in the taskbar. Users will need to click the microphone icon in the taskbar to make her “listen”. Cortana can handle reminders and timers with ease. It can even send emails, manage lists, and calendars. My favorite feature is that it can open apps for you. This digital agent feature is exciting because it seems like budding artificial intelligence technology. I hope I’m around someday when new operating systems only function through microphones and AI.
Set These Tabs Aside – Edge Browser
I can see you rolling your eyes already. Microsoft’s web browsers are the Nickelbacks of computer technology, everyone’s punching bag. Other, more popular web browsers don’t come with a feature like this. There are extensions available, but those are not always the smoothest apps.
Tabs can add up in a hurry. They’re not always relevant but it can be a heartbreaker if we lose them. Users can keep their tabs for later browsing and clear the row of tabs for an uncluttered page with this feature. Simply click the icon when you’re ready to manage the tabs.
These are also called virtual desktops. This is available through the Task View feature. Think of the old Alt+Tab feature of selecting windows, only much more powerful. Users with many apps open can organize them into different desktops. Maybe you want to keep one desktop just for communications apps and another desktop for Microsoft Office apps. Access Task View with Windows Key+Tab. On the bottom-right you can find the “New Desktop” icon. You’ll have a menu bar with icons of the desktops that you have open. The best part is that users can drag and drop windows onto any of the desktop icons that appear there.
This is a feature reserved for users of 2-in-1 devices. Some people might be turned off by the Windows interface changing automatically. Users can try this Continuum Mode out and disable it if they’d like. Essentially, it senses the changes in usage from notebook style to tablet style and can automatically alter the user interface accordingly. The device will change from the classic desktop style to a tablet/smart phone style and vice versa. For users with Windows phones, there is a boat-load of other feature options.
Pinned Search Bar
This feature was a part of Windows 8, but it had to be manually enabled in early versions. This Pinned Search Bar is a standard feature for Windows 10. To me, it’s one of those things where you see it and think “why didn’t I think of that a long time ago?”. Apple’s Spotlight is a great feature on their operating system. Windows seemed to be behind in that game for a while. This Windows feature combined with Cortana really performs well and is a great improvement to Windows.
If your Windows 10 device is Bluetooth compatible, you can pair it to your smart phone and make use of the Dynamic Lock feature. This is a productivity and security feature. Rather than locking your screen with Windows Key+L or clicking up the Start Menu before you walk away from your device, Dynamic Lock can sense when your phone is away and can lock the screen accordingly. This is not a feature to use in a high security, sensitive data environment so not everyone should use it. However, in the right situation, it could save your bacon.