Microsoft is skipping a number to emphasise major changes it is planning for the system to cater for a world centred on mobile devices and Internet services.
It gave some glimpses of the new system - due in mid-2015 - at an event for business customers in San Francisco. It includes major changes from the radical look of Windows 8, which bewildered many users,
The "Metro" start screen and Microsoft's traditional Start menu have been combined; no longer is the screen one huge grid of tiles for desktop users. The Start menu will appear similar to Windows 7, but some tiles will open to the side.
|The Start Menu Is Back|
Windows 10 will work across a variety of devices, including PCs, mobile phones and Microsoft's Xbox gaming console.
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore said the company wants the millions still using Windows 7 to have a transition to Windows 10 that's much more comfortable than the unfamiliar leap to Windows 8 two years ago.
Microsoft said that they will distribute a Technical Preview of the new operating system tomorrow.
At a Microsoft event in the USA it was revealed that if you mouse into the corners to find the tricky Charms Bar they are no longer there, instead, you get the familiar Windows desktop and Start Menu from the moment you use Windows 10.
It's Windows 7 all over again.
There is also a new modernised Start Menu that's customizable enough that you can resize it, pin traditional and modern apps, or simply have it match the colour of your desktop wallpaper.
Another big new user interface feature is a new Task View button that sits on the taskbar. It looks fairly innocuous, but when you trigger it you're thrown into a multitasking view that's very similar to Apple's OS X Expose feature.
Multiple desktops are available from here, and you can switch between them with ease to manage multiple apps across different workspaces. It's the feature Windows has always needed, and Microsoft has borrowed elements from rival operating systems like OS X and Linux / UNIX to really introduce this in Windows 10.
Instead of making it identical to the competition, Microsoft has added in its productivity-focused snap views into Task View. You can snap apps in the same way you do in Windows 7 or Windows 8, and a new prompt will suggest apps that can be snapped alongside each other or windowed in complex ways.
It appears to work well, even if there's a slight learning curve you'll need to get over to make the most out of it. I did notice that if you have apps running in a separate desktop space then it can get confusing to bring them to a different active desktop space, but this is an early build of Windows 10 and there's a long way to go until it's ready late next year.
There are subtle drop shadows around apps, and a new bar on the taskbar that indicates what apps are active.
There's also new icons for File Explorer and Desktop, Another big change is the ability to run universal modern apps in windows on the desktop. Microsoft demonstrated this originally at Build, but using it in practice just feels totally natural, as if it should have always been this way. You can snap these apps alongside each other, and they also seem to resize fairly well to make them a lot more usable for mouse and keyboard users.