The new year brings new tidings, new resolutions and new Windows 10 facts that every IT professional must know.
Windows 10 has gone through many ups and downs since it first debuted. Now, on the fourth major update of the OS, Microsoft has dealt with fast- and slow-paced enterprise adoption periods, as well as rave reviews and loud objections to some of its features.
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Microsoft has introduced new features such as Windows Defender Device Guard and Windows Hello with Windows 10. It has also dropped older features, such as Windows Passport, and revamped some, such as Windows Action Center, to fit the modern OS. Technology changes rapidly in a year, so it is vital that IT pros know exactly what they are getting with Windows 10.
Most people know that Microsoft first released Windows 10 in July 2015, and that it comes in six editions -- Home, Education, Mobile, Pro, Enterprise and Mobile Enterprise -- but there are other facts to learn. Use these 18 Windows 10 facts to see the big picture of what the OS offers organizations in terms of security, user experience and device integration. IT pros may just learn something new.
Windows 10 facts to know
1. Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, and it will receive incremental updates rather than Microsoft building a completely new OS.
2. Windows 10 introduced Microsoft Edge to replace Internet Explorer as the default browser. Edge includes some additional security features, touchscreen gesture reading, a save-for-later feature for open tabs, page annotation and built-in Cortana assistance.
3. Windows 10 includes full integration of the Cortana digital assistant. Cortana has advanced features, such as recurring reminders and pick up where I left off, which enables users to carry over tasks seamlessly from one device to another.
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4. Windows 10 provides a unique type of licensing specifically for virtual desktops called per user or per device licensing and per user add-on.
5. Windows 10 transformed the Action Center into a desktop sidebar that provides system and application notifications.
6. Windows 10 offers Continuum, a feature to ease the transition between mobile and desktop orientations on 2-in-1 devices. It delivers the best display for whatever the device is, such as applying a touchscreen interface to a Microsoft Surface Pro without a connected keyboard.
7. Windows 10 gives IT the Security Compliance Manager, which it can use to create and export security settings for the OS.
8. Windows 10 greets biometric authentication with Windows Hello, an authentication option that uses fingerprint, iris or facial recognition to grant user access to a device. Windows Hello also adds two-factor authentication, which is a key enterprise security feature.
9. Windows 10 provides full desktop encryption with the built-in tool BitLocker. IT can customize the encryption method and use PowerShell scripts for deployment and configuration.
10. Windows 10 automatically enables a unique identifier that tags a user's data to her version of Windows 10, which creates personalized advertisements in applications and helps app developers understand how the user interacts with applications.
11. Windows 10 allows advertisements to pop up on the OS lock screen, as well as the Start menu and the Action Center. If users find the ads intrusive, IT can disable them. Each advertisement location has its own disable switch that IT must turn off.
12. Windows 10 has already had four major updates -- Windows 10 November Update, Anniversary Update, Creators Update and Fall Creators Update. The Fall Creators Update brought new features, such as My People, which allows users to pin contacts to the taskbar for direct drag-and-drop file sharing and one-click app sharing.
13. Windows 10 uses Windows Ink, a tool Microsoft specifically designed for the Windows 10 pen to enhance apps, including Sticky Notes, Sketchpad and Screen Sketch, with capabilities such as touchscreen gestures that register as keyboard shortcuts.
14. Windows 10 Fall Creators Update introduced virtual reality (VR) to the OS with a platform called Windows Mixed Reality. As VR apps -- such as Outlyer Technologies' 360-degree mobile ad formats -- break into the enterprise, this may give Windows 10 an edge for business use.
15. Windows 10 pushes automatic updates to the OS. IT determines the frequency by selecting one of the four update branches -- Insider Preview, Current, Current Branch for Business, or Long-Term Servicing Branch.
16. Windows 10 provides virtualization-based security with Isolated User Mode (IUM). IUM isolates a kernel to create a secure mode for the OS with heightened security features, such as automatic encryption and separated memory.
17. Windows 10 Enterprise has Credential Guard, which protects users from pass the hash and pass the ticket attacks by using credentials for logon authentication only.
18. Windows 10 Enterprise promotes Device Guard as a way for IT to whitelist applications with code integrity policies to certify which applications are welcome on the OS.
IT pros can quiz their staff, test themselves or educate users with these Windows 10 facts. The more that people know about how to use the OS, the smoother the process will be for everyone.