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by Ray Carlson

Q. I have not been able to figure out Windows 8, but I understand Windows 10 is replacing that version. Is 10 better and should I get it?

A. On September 30, Microsoft announced a trial version of Windows 10, but they indicated it will not be available to the general public until sometime in 2015. They said they will announce a release date in April. Currently, it is possible to get a "Technical Preview" of the new operating system by going to the Windows Insider Program website. This version is intended for experts who can handle software that is still in the developmental stage. To get a copy, it is necessary to register, agree to provide feedback, and give up some privacy by allowing them to include software that monitors how the program is used. The final version of Windows 10 is likely to be different as Microsoft takes into account users' experiences.

A number of new features have been added, but the appearance will be more like Windows 7 requiring less of a learning curve. Like 8.1, 10 should recognize whether the computer has a keyboard or a touch screen. If the latter, it will open with tiles that can be tapped to start programs. If the former, the screen will look more like Windows 7's desktop and include an enlarged Start menu and a Task Bar along the bottom. That Start menu will include some tiles that give a pictorial view of available programs, but by imbedding the tiles in the start menu it preserves the appearance of earlier versions of Windows. It includes a comprehensive search capacity and allows the user to zoom to a wider view to see everything that has been opened rather than having to search in corners.

Microsoft needs to attract users like you who did not adopt Windows 8, and finding attractive features while keeping it easy to learn appears to be the current priority.

Published: Courier 11/9/14 - Page 3D