Windows 8 (2012)
With its dominance on the desktop secure, Microsoft began to push into other OS markets. It released a number of lightweight Windows-based OSes for mobile devices, and it later created Windows 8 to target both desktops and mobile devices. Windows 8 used a new UI that did away with the Start bar first introduced on Windows 95. Instead, the start screen on Windows 8 used a series of tiles.
When you launched most Windows programs in Windows 8, they opened in full-screen mode. This was somewhat surprising, as it was the first Windows OS to force programs to launch in full-screen mode since Windows 3.1. Although such a feature is desirable on a tablet, for example, it was poorly received on desktop PCs. It proved especially bothersome for multitasking. Windows 8 did manage to succeed in gaining a following among some users that found its tablet-inspired interface useful, but it was unable to surpass its predecessors in sales.
Windows 8.1 (2013)
Microsoft released Windows 8.1 just one year after Windows 8; it was offered as a free upgrade to users with Windows 8. Windows 8.1 was nearly identical to Windows 8, but with a few changes that users had demanded. Microsoft returned the Start button to the desktop, and it also had the option to boot directly to the desktop instead of the start screen. These changes pleased users accustomed to the machinations of older versions of Windows. Even so, Windows 8.1 was unable to overtake Windows 7 in the OS market.
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Windows 10 (2015)
Windows 10 is Microsoft's most recent OS, with a wide range of improvements over its predecessor. Microsoft returned to a more traditional UI centered around a desktop view with a Start bar at the bottom of the screen. You can see some aspects of Windows 8/8.1 in Windows 10, such as the live tiles in the start menu, but Microsoft added numerous new features to Windows 10, as well. Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant, is built into the OS and can perform a number of functions by voice command, and Microsoft redesigned many of its applications in Windows 10 for Cortana compatibility. The OS also launched with a new web browser called Microsoft Edge, which is designed to be faster and easier to use than the older Internet Explorer browser.
There have been a few criticisms leveraged against Windows 10 in regards to user privacy and the amount of information gathered by Microsoft from the OS, but otherwise it has thus far been well received.
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