14 Things You Can Do In Windows 10 That You Couldn't Do In Windows 8

14 Things You Can Do in Windows 10 That You Couldn't Do in Windows 8

Did you hear there's a new version of Windows in town? If your Windows 8-toting friends ask you exactly what you can do with the new Windows 10 that they can't do on their own machines, here's what to tell them. These are some of the best new features and functions Microsoft has added to its all-encompassing operating system.

1. Get chatty with Cortana

14 Things You Can Do in Windows 10 That You Couldn't Do in Windows 8

Cortana arrives on the desktop! As on Windows Phone, you can ask questions about the weather or famous pop stars, get directions home, set reminders, and more besides -- you can also get her to turn Windows settings such as wifi and Bluetooth on or off. Click the Cortana button on the Start menu to get started (the "hey Cortana!" voice activation feature is optional).

2. Snap windows to corners

If you're still restricting your window snapping to either side of the screen, you're living in the past -- Windows is all about quadrants since July 29. Drag open windows into the corners of the screen to pin them to a particular quarter of the display, or use the Windows key+cursor key keyboard shortcuts. You can of course still snap windows side-by-side as well.

3. Analyse the storage space on your PC

14 Things You Can Do in Windows 10 That You Couldn't Do in Windows 8

In the pre-Windows 10 days, you needed to get a third-party application involved if you wanted to take a proper look at the layout of files and drives on your system. With Windows 10, there's a tool built-in: Type "storage" in the taskbar search box, choose the Storage setting, and you can see exactly what types of files (like music or video) are taking up your hard drive space.

4. Add a new virtual desktops

At long last virtual desktops make their way to Windows, so all you power users can spread out your apps across multiple screens (the taskbar and desktop shortcuts remain consistent over all of them). Click the Task View button on the taskbar (or press Windows key+Tab) to bring up an overview of your desktops, add new ones or remove existing ones.

5. Use a fingerprint instead of a password

14 Things You Can Do in Windows 10 That You Couldn't Do in Windows 8

This is part of the Windows Hello biometric platform, and whether or not you can make use of it depends on the make and model of computer you're using Windows 10 on. As well as fingerprint sensing, it supports face recognition and even iris scanning, so if computer manufacturers are prepared to build this kind of kit into their systems then Microsoft's new OS is able to support it.

6. Manage your notifications

Windows 10 comes with a revamped Action Center that lives on the right-hand side of the desktop and provides a stream of all the notifications that come in from any application (no more wondering exactly what Dropbox said while you were looking out of the window). Click the notifications icon (a speech bubble) in the system tray to open and configure it.

7. Switch to a dedicated tablet mode

14 Things You Can Do in Windows 10 That You Couldn't Do in Windows 8

Windows 8 tried to squash a tablet mode and a desktop mode into one ungainly whole, but everything is far more civilized in the new Windows 10 interface. Open up the aforementioned Action Center to switch manually to tablet mode or get out of it again. In fact you may prefer using the stripped-down tablet mode even when you have a mouse and a keyboard attached.

8. Stream Xbox One games

Streaming games from one place to another isn't a completely original idea, but the link Microsoft has built between the Xbox One and Windows 10 machines could be the best use of the technology yet. If the kids want to use the big screen in the living room you can stream your Xbox One gaming up to your laptop or desktop upstairs (if your home network can cope).

9. Run Microsoft Edge

14 Things You Can Do in Windows 10 That You Couldn't Do in Windows 8

Microsoft's new stripped-down, streamlined browser is a Windows 10 exclusive, and you can't run it on Windows 8 or below. Only Windows 10 users can take advantage of web page annotations, the clutter-free Reading View and Cortana search integration. Whether it's enough to oust Chrome or Firefox as your browser-of-choice remains to be seen.

10. Put the Recycle Bin on the Start menu

Perhaps not the most mind-blowing new feature ushered in with Windows 10 but plenty of you are going to find it useful anyway -- you can pin a Recycle Bin shortcut to the Start menu for the very first time (Windows 8 didn't even have a Start menu of course). Search for the Recycle Bin from the taskbar, right-click on the link that appears and choose Pin to Start. You can do the same from File Explorer too.

11. Share wifi passwords with your friends

14 Things You Can Do in Windows 10 That You Couldn't Do in Windows 8

The new Wi-Fi Sense feature (in network settings) has attracted its fair share of controversy but it's an easy way of letting people use your home wifi while they're visiting (and for you to use theirs in return). Your contacts never actually see the password but if they're linked to you and also on a Windows 10 bit of kit they can just start browsing as soon as they get through the door.

12. Find settings easily

Settings is another area where Windows 10 does a better job of presenting information to the user than Windows 8 did. More of the key system settings have been moved over to the modern interface -- search for Settings from the taskbar to see them -- so you're going to be spending less time hunting for Control Panel (though the old utilities and links are still there if you need them).

13. Set up Windows to work with iOS and Android

14 Things You Can Do in Windows 10 That You Couldn't Do in Windows 8

Microsoft has decided to embrace iOS and Android and now makes most of its apps available for the competing mobile platforms (Cortana apps are apparently imminent). Run the Phone Companion app from the Start menu and you can launch a step-by-step guide to getting your iPhone 6 or LG G4 working smoothly with all the data and apps you've got stored on Windows.

14. Run modern apps on the desktop

We've already mentioned some of the ways in which Microsoft is refining the tablet vs desktop experience in Windows 10, and another improvement in this new OS is the ability to run modern (aka Metro) apps in windowed mode as well as full-screen mode. The apps themselves have been improved too, so they're worth a second look if you didn't like the Windows 8 versions.



    No 1: Not in Australia :P

      So set your region to US and guess what... It is in Australia.

        No, it isn't. Technically you've just moved to the US, where it is available.

      Yeah has working for me since I got it. Not sure what region I'm set in, didn't think it was US.

      Looking forward to having the companion app on the phone so I can set reminders from PC and have them working in all places.

        For some reason Cortana isn't working on my machine, but when I upgraded my wife's machine today, Cortana was there.

    Fingerprint login has been around for ages. Pretty sure the OS is aware of it too as other prompts for passwords come up with an option to use my fingerprint or type it in.

    Also, why the fuck do they still have Settings and control panel?

      Correct. Someone I used to work with got a Lenovo laptop with a fingerprint reader in about 2007 or 2008. It worked instead of passwords for almost everything.

      Guess what - there's also Windows XP, Vista, and 7 icons lurking in there. Sigh MS.

    Here are 14 things you can do on Windows 8 that you cannot do on Windows 10:

    1. Split your screen three or four ways. In W10 it has been reduced to just two.

    2. Use any preinstalled browser with touch, without having to use screen scaling. Seriously, it is easier to use the Metro version of IE11 on my 8" tablet than it is to use Edge on the 15.6" touchscreen on my laptop.

    3. Use screen scaling above 200%. In W8, you can go as high as 500% (but you shouldn't).

    4. Boot straight to Start. What's the point of booting to your desktop when the first thing you'll want to do is launch an application of some kind?

    5. Scroll horizontally. Sure, it's not much use on a tablet but on a widescreen laptop or desktop monitor, horizontal scrolling makes far better use of screen real estate.

    6. Seamlessly transition from desktop use, with a mouse and keyboard, to full touch use without having to change modes or apply screen scaling. Continuum might be slightly useful if you use a Surface tablet but if, like most tablet users, you use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, you are out of luck and will have to manually change between modes. You probably won't bother, though, because Tablet Mode doesn't actually make anything easier to use with touch, so you may as well just keep using it with the normal settings for desktop.

    7. Use a mix of full screen apps and windowed desktop programs. In W8, you can split a Metro app to one side (I used to do it with email) and still use the rest of the screen like a normal desktop. It is a de facto "Always on top" feature that ensures you can always get at what you wanted easily and quickly but it's gone in W10 because you have to be in one mode or the other, there is no mixing and matching to give you the best of both worlds.

    8. Easily share anything from the Charms Bar. I couldn't even tell you how to do it in W10, even after several months of daily use, but it is just a swipe or a click away in W8.

    9. Easily find any installed software by showing as many program/app icons as possible on a full screen.

    10. Change open apps easily, without changing your grip on your tablet. In W8, a quick flick from the left edge switches apps in an incredibly fluid and natural way, or you could flick in and out again - a little wiggle of you thumb - and get a thumb-friendly list of open programs down the left edge, easily in range of your thumb. Now you get big previews all over the screen, forcing you to take your hand off the tablet to select one.

    11. Navigate your file system with touch. W8 has very attractive file dialogs that work brilliantly with touch. W10 reverts to ugly, white Explorer windows that are unusable with touch.

    12. Change the way your OS looks. In W8 you can still access the W95 style options to change your colours and fonts. Better still, it actually offers more customisation than earlier versions of Windows, allowing you to have a truly unique look if you want. That's gone now in W10.

    13. Provide a consistent experience. In W8, I know which apps I can close by dragging them off the bottom of the screen. It is a completely consistent operation that always does what you expect. In W10, it is completely inconsistent - when I am in Tablet Mode, it works on everything but when I am not, it doesn't work at all and I end up dragging my app windows off the screen instead, which means closing them from the Taskbar or Task Manager. Even after several months, I do this very regularly on W10, yet I cannot recall ever getting it wrong in W8, even once.

    14. Outperform the version it replaces. W8 offers measurable performance advantages over Windows 7, using one-third fewer system resources, whereas Windows 10's performance is pretty much identical to W8 in early benchmark testing. And if the new version isn't going to outperform the old, what is the point of it?

      Not sure if trolling...or if we just found the only person in the world who enjoyed Windows 8 on a tablet.

      #1 Yes you can, I'm doing it right now. See above with Snap To Corners.
      #4 Desktop, or search from start menu
      #5 Yes you can.
      #9 The desktop?
      #13 I consistently close programs by hitting the little X in the corner or pressing Alt-F4...just like the last 20 years.

      Everything else you've said just seems to follow the lines of 'they've made the OS much better for Desktop/Laptop use". Ok?...Awesome! I really don't think many people will lose much sleep over some detriment to Windows tablet users, and even so, go back to W8?

        #1 Snap to corners is not nearly the same as split screen. Firstly, with split screen, dragging a border resizes the windows on either side, whereas snapping only gives you a single layout option. If you need one window to be bigger than another, you have to manually resize each. It is a very different experience, one that is far less useful.

        #4 So you go to the Desktop, just to press the Start Button so you can launch an app. How is that as efficient as going straight to Start? Remember, too, that it is simply an option in W8, if you are too scared to adapt you can keep the clunky, old workflow.

        #5. No, you cannot. Horizontal scrolling has been replaced with the more familiar, but far less efficient, vertical scrolling. As I pointed out in another discussion yesterday, it means that where I can fit 84 medium tiles on my 1920x1200 Start in W8, that is reduced to just 72 with W10's vertical scrolling Start. Horizontal scrolling in IE11's Reading Mode also allows you to see more than twice as much on screen at one time, compared to Edge's vertical scrolling Reading Mode.

        #9. The Desktop doesn't show installed software, just shortcuts you have manually placed upon it. It's how I used to work 20 years ago, although W7 sort of forced me back into but that's why I was so keen to get onto W8.

        #13. When you say "little" in regard to the close button, you could not be more correct. It is very, very difficult to hit such a tiny target with your fingers and often takes me half-a-dozen tries on my 10" tablet, which is why I prefer to use the drag gesture to do it wherever possible. It is also much easier with your mouse as you just click+drag without having to pay any attention to being precise.

        'Everything else you've said just seems to follow the lines of 'they've made the OS much better for Desktop/Laptop use".' No they haven't. All they have done is make things worse for touch, which isn't the same at all. I cannot see a single thing in W10 that makes the desktop experience better. e.g. I don't care about any of the task switching options when I have a keyboard, because I will just use ALT+Tab, like I do on OS X and Linux and every version of Windows. Those things are really only useful when I am using touch and in W10 they are less useful with touch than they were in W8. Even 4-way slipt screen is more useful for desktop work than corner snapping because of the de facto "always on top" workflow I described. OK, the transition from Control Panel to Settings has gone from one-third done to half-done, which is definitely progress, but until it is complete it is still clunky in both OSes.

        I'd also suggest that none of my points are any more minor than most of those in the article and some of them are actually much bigger deals than anything in the original list. e.g. The lack of any performance gains and the measurably worse touch experience.

      Additional to what That Guy said:

      3. Screen scaling goes to 500% in Windows 10, just checked.
      9. You can use the full screen Start screen in Windows 10, it's a setting.
      12. Not gone, just hidden in the theme settings. There are plenty of articles online showing you how to change the window frame colours.
      13. As That Guy pointed out, there's an X in the corner of every window in Windows 10. This wasn't the case in Windows 8, which had different methods to close Metro vs desktop applications. If anything, Win10 is more consistent.
      14. Most benchmarks I've seen show a performance improvement in Windows 10 over Windows 8, both in gaming and computational tasks.

      In any case, it sounds like you'd be happier reverting to Windows 8. Nothing wrong with that, the feature is built in to Windows 10 to be able to do exactly that if you want to.

        #3. Really? It's not there any more on my tablet. Have they moved it away from the other scaling options?

        #9. I'm not talking about full screen Start, I am talking about All Apps, which requires a lot more interaction and effort in W10 than it does in W8.

        #12. It WAS hidden in the theme settings in W8 but it is not there on my W10 install. It is something a lot of people complained about on the Insider forum. Somebody had to post a hack just to allow you to change the title bar colour. I just did a search and the only guides I could find were for early preview versions.

        #13. Actually, there is not an "X" in the corner of every window. Put your machine into Tablet Mode and open Settings. The title bar only appears when you mouse to the top of the screen, like it does in W8.1. It's annoying when you want to get to the hamburger menu in some UWP apps. It's OK for touch but very annoying for keyboard/mouse operation, making it another example of how much worse off we are having to choose one mode or another, rather than picking and choosing what works best for each individual task.

        #14. I cannot revert my tablet to Windows 8, the early Insider previews broke the path. It was in the fine print on the Insider Program and I should have read it more carefully. That's why the tablet, now fully up to date with the release OS, is going up on eBay today. Hopefully some poor, unsuspecting sap will think he's getting something cool for a good price. It is certainly no longer of any use to me at all. I just thank Dog I didn't put it on my good tablet.

          3. Control Panel > Appearance and Personalisation. Under Display click 'Make text and other items larger or smaller', then click 'set a custom scaling level'. The options in the dropdown range from 100-500%.

          9. I see what you mean now. Sure, that could be improved.

          13. I can't switch to tablet mode on my current machine, the option is greyed out. I assume it knows I don't have any touch capable devices. The title bar in Windows 8 had an X on it in the corner though, is that not there in Windows 10?

          14. Does your tablet have a USB port or the ability to connect USB storage? If so, you should be able to do a clean install of Windows 8 from USB media.

            Yeah, but I'll have to buy it if I can't get it off the recovery partition, because it is 32 bit, then I'll need to download all the drivers and krap. Easier to make it someone else's problem as I only really bought it so I could try out the Windows 10 previews and the tablet itself has not impressed me greatly.

            BTW, I found the scaling options. It's weird they would move everything else across to Settings and leave just that one thing hidden in a paragraph of text, almost by itself.

          I hated the apps list in Win 8 with a passion and find the simple single column of win 10 much easier to browse.

          Besides, you should only really need it occasionally when you can't remember the name of an app; because if you know its name you should be using the search feature instead - or pinning the app.

          Last edited 04/08/15 2:21 pm

            II pretty much never use search, it is a failure of the UI and my own knowledge of the system if that is the best option. Anyway, I don't find typing a good way of doing anything, it breaks my concentration, assuming I even have a keyboard attached.

            With All Apps, I used to find it daunting in W8 but once you get a feel for where things are, it is super-quick. With just a scrollable list, you never build that map in your head and it never gets any quicker. Ditto for search - if you use it all the time, you never learn where anything is and you are not encouraged to think about where you are putting things. It's a recipe for disaster.

      What's the point of booting to your desktop when the first thing you'll want to do is launch an application of some kind?

      The applications I use most are pinned to the task bar. By booting straight to the desktop I can either quickly open a document I have saved there or launch one of my most used apps.

        You save documents to your desktop? In 2015? Most of my applications open with the last document still loaded anyway and they all have recent documents lists. I never save things where they are easy to get at, but where it makes the most sense for them to be (which is NEVER the desktop).

    I'm interested to see a review on Cortana from a Mobile to Windows 10 perspective or even a VS against Google Now.

    I use a Windows phone for work and Cortana is abysmal compared to my use of Google's Now on my Android. So my willingness to use it on the PC isn't that great. My Aussie accent isn't so strong that every 2nd word is Strewth, but I find Cortana compared to Google Now struggles with some of the most basic of words.

      How so? I find Cortana works as advertised for me. My mate dictates all his SMS through it and he finds it works really well, too. Where does Google Now do better?

        Mostly with commands and writing messages. I find Cortana lacks responding effectively to basic commands, or gets dictation for sms and emails wrong. Yet I rarely have issues for the same thing in Google Now.
        At first I thought it was a setting issue on my phone (Nokia Lumia), but others I work with have similar issues.

          Considering it is in no way tailored for our accent, I find it remarkable how good Cortana is at understanding me. Could it simply be down to you using your Android phone more, thereby giving Google Now more opportunity to work you out?

    I have to disagree with #12. Two days in and I can't remember which things are in the Control Panel and which things are in the Settings. :/

    #6 And if I don't care about notifications... do I get rid of that button how? Also the stupid keyboard button on the taskbar... W8 these gone easy... W10... no clue... yet

      1. Start, Settings, System, Notifications and actions.
      2. Turn system icons on or off.
      3. Turn off what you don't want to see.

        Good thanks

    #3 I actually like this... buuut... why the heck are my downloads counted as 'temporary' files... doesn't make sense to me... And really it just looks at your directories and calculates that... so if you have a video file in the pictures directory... its counted as a picture... what the?
    Fail... will keep my 3rd party programs tyvm. Sorry a typical half hearted W8ish attempt

      Downloads should be considered temporary files, basic file management means that you should move them to a sensible directory once downloaded, or delete them once they are installed etc. and if you keep video or other files in your 'pictures' directory, then you are allocating them as pictures, it makes sense to show that in the usage.

      Last edited 04/08/15 7:31 am

        No, an operating system in the year 2015 should know how to categorise files by file extension, if not a binary file header (and do away with extensions).

          That would require the operating system to have built-in knowledge of every file type ever created, and assumes that file extensions are only ever used by one company and not another. Both are absurd notions.

          Metadata is useless unless the system knows what to do with it. File extension metadata is used to know what program to open the file in, not what arbitrary classification the file falls under. Folders are metadata too, and the OS knows what some of them mean. Are GIF files pictures or videos? They can be either or both, but they have the same file extension. It's up to you to tell the system which it is, by putting it in the appropriate folder.

            Zombie's points are true, sadly.

            I'm all for metadata! and I'm rather disappointed that it's not already a bigger deal and that it isn't already embedded in all files.

            If metadata is not embedded in the files, then it is bad mmkay.

            That would require the operating system to have built-in knowledge of every file type ever created, and assumes that file extensions are only ever used by one company and not another. Both are absurd notions.

            Imagine a modern, evolving OS that is now internet connected to keep each system updated that is able to keep a database of all known file types!
            That's so preposterous that I'm jumping on my 386 to post that to my local BBS!

              Your sarcasm doesn't change things, what you're imagining isn't possible. There are file extension databases online already, if you visit them you'll see some extensions are used by 20-30 different programs. You didn't address the example I gave - is a GIF file a video or a picture? For that matter, is a RAW file image data, audio data, a memory dump or a disk image? Is a MOD file a PHP module, a 3D model or a spreadsheet?

              File extension is nowhere near sufficient metadata to be able to accomplish what you want. It never will be. File header information is even worse, because now not only do you need to know every extension, you need to know every version of every format, including for files that don't have header data, for millions upon millions of file types, all somehow in a central repository that is both up to date and errorless.

              It's not a scathing commentary on the poor state of operating systems in 2015, it's a pipedream with no foundational basis in reality.

        "basic file management"

        Agreed, I have so many files it would be a nightmare to go through if I didn't have them organized.

        You know what would really help with basic file management too? the ability to SAVE TO from Edge @)#$*@#@ whyyyyyyy :(

          Read the article
          "In the pre-Windows 10 days, you needed to get a third-party application involved if you wanted to take a proper look at the layout of files and drives on your system."
          So it can be done, this shouldn't be touted as an advantage when really its meh... Heck I have a free program that will do just that.
          If you think a GIF is a video file then you really do need #3

            What distinguishes an animated GIF from any other video format?

              Errm the file extension... When you find the movie terminator.gif LMK

                I can make a GIF of the full Terminator movie for you right now if you like. It'll be a huge file size, but it's still a video. Animated GIFs are videos, just the same as any other video.

    My God W10 is slow... freaking 3+ minutes for a restart... when is 10.1 due out?

      Most people report Windows 10 has a slightly faster start than Windows 8. Have you considered the problem might be specific to your system and not a problem with the OS itself?

        He could be running a Pentium 4 Celeron with 512MB of RAM.

        I've not seen anyone report that W10 is faster than W8, only that it is faster than W7. The only benchmark tests I could find said there was bugger-all difference between 8 and 10 - http://www.pcworld.com/article/2949894/windows/windows-10-vs-windows-8-performance-benchmarks-show-a-close-battle-for-fastest.html
        Even gaming doesn't seem much improved unless the game can utilise DX12.

          You say you haven't seen anyone report that, then link a set of benchmarks that do report exactly that.

          It depends how you define 'bugger-all'. I think a 2-5% improvement is perfectly reasonable. There's only so much the operating system can do to get out of the way of intensive tasks, it's not something that can just be constantly improved in leaps and bounds indefinitely. An improvement is an improvement.

            I never said no improvement at all, simply that any improvement was not significant. They title the graphs with "On identical laptops, it’s pretty much tie between OSes" and "It’s pretty much a tie between Windows 10 and Windows 8.1—in these tests at least." Then they conclude "Windows 10 seems to offer basically no relevant performance advantage over Windows 8 in mainstream tests".

            Would 2-5% be enough for you to buy a new laptop? Or make you trade in your car for a newer model? It certainly is enough for me to feel that all the compromises W10 introduces are worth putting up with.

              You said "I've not seen anyone report that W10 is faster than W8", there's no word 'significant' there. The data in their tables speaks for itself.

              Yes, a 2-5% increase for free is worth taking.

          Also, some anecdotal data on boot times (which is what the comment you replied to was about): https://www.reddit.com/r/Windows10/comments/2udv8y/what_are_your_windows_10_boot_times/

            Well, I didn't bother to time it with W8 but I don't notice any improvement in boot times on my tablet. It is still slower than my W8 tablet and it definitely takes a lot longer to be ready to use if you log-in straight away. It wouldn't surprise me if they are showing the log-in screen before the system is as ready as it is with W8 (if you know what I mean).

        Cmon... nothing new installed and several reboots and its slower? I think comments around show varying performance improvements and degradation. This machine is i7 2.2ghz 16gb ram, about 18 months old. It shouldn't be worse off by just the upgrade. And they W8 was a wonderful improvement over W7... look how that turned out

          Yeah, it turned out great. Windows 8 was an excellent operating system and a great performance improvement over 7.

            That's why they rushed W10 to mend the sinking hole that was W8. And you expect every subsequent release to have performance improvements. But W10 for me... I just don't see it yet.

    The best Thing about Windows7 is it can be pared down to a very clean interface, that allows you to be very quick with the apps and the workflow in the things you use most. I have about half dozen things that I do every day on my desktop, and these things can be done with very few clicks and everything else is out of the way.
    I can see that it's going to take a lot of work to be able to do the same thing with Windows10. It is still trying to be everything to everybody which makes for a very cluttered interface and therefore workflow.
    I will probably get used to it after time but with Windows7 it was obvious after the first couple of hours working with it.

      What have you done in 7 that you find harder to do in 10, out of curiosity? I'm wondering if it's just lack of familiarity or if the features have actually been removed.

    "Your PC May Have Been Uploading Windows 10 to Others without You Knowing It"??


    Last edited 05/08/15 2:48 am

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