Windows 10 has given us another work-in-progress peek at itself, albeit through an unofficial and leaked build.
Popping up online on Sunday, the sneak peek dubbed 9901 gives us an early look at some of the things we'll likely see in the flavor of Windows 10 that Microsoft is. So far, Microsoft has offered users a Windows 10 Technical Preview. But the leaked build and the official build due in January are reportedly more consumer-oriented.
Windows 10 is still very much in the early stages, butof the Technical Preview has shown minor tweaks and new features. Part of the goal behind Windows 10 is to make people forget Windows 8, which upset users who were accustomed to the look, feel and features of Windows 7. As such, Windows 10 is restoring the Start menu, tweaking Windows Store apps so you can run them in resizable windows from the desktop and offering other surprises to win back disgruntled PC users. The builds released so far also show a tighter integration among the various features in Windows.
Cortana is one of the features taking the stage in the new build, according to The Verge. Microsoft's voice assistant resides at the top of the Windows 10 search interface and offers access to your notebook, reminder and other features. In short, the Windows 10 edition of Cortana takes many of its cues from the Windows Phone version.
The new build also adds a new Xbox app, The Verge said, which brings you an entire Xbox experience. You'll be able to see your friends list, achievements, activity feed and the Xbox store.
The Windows Store has opened its doors to more content as well. Beyond offering apps, the store in the new build sells music, movies and TV shows. That could mean Microsoft may do away with the separate Xbox Music and Xbox Video stores and add all that content to the Windows Store.
One of the frustrating aspects of Windows 8/8.1 has been the split between the familiar Control Panel and the new Settings screen. In some cases, you have to return to the Control Panel to tweak a certain setting. In other cases, you head toward the Settings screen. Several settings can be adjusted in either place. That confused users who didn't know where to go to change a setting.
In the new build, the Settings screen looks more like the traditional Control Panel, according to The Verge. Also, the Settings icon no longer appears on the Charms Bar. Microsoft clearly is aware of the confusion among its users and seems headed toward integrating access to key settings in one place.
Microsoft is expected to release the completed consumer version of Windows 10 to the public sometime in late 2015.