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4 new things we learned about Windows 10 from Microsoft Build 2015

Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's corporate VP of the operating systems group, took to the Build 2015 stage to go over new Windows 10 features.

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As expected, Windows 10 got some face time at Microsoft's Build 2015 event in San Francisco, and Joe Belfiore took the stage to go over several of its newest features.

Belfiore brought attention early to how Windows 10 is bringing back the Aero Glass theme from Windows 7, showing that good ideas from the past have not been forgotten.

But what received a greater crowd reaction was the updated Windows 10 version of the Start menu. Removed in Windows 8, the new OS will bring back the Start Menu in the lower left corner, but will also show live tiles to the right of the regular functions as a way to keep both interfaces intact.

A new function dubbed Windows Spotlight gives your lock screen a dynamic, regularly updated background with personalized information and fancy wallpaper images. You can interact with elements in the background and it works as a reminder for Windows services you may not have tried. For example, Spotlight will identify apps and features you haven't used yet, such as the Surface stylus, and offer up a lock screen advertisement of sorts for an app such as Fresh Paint in an effort to get you to try it.

Next, Belfiore used Cortana to launch the third-party communication app Viber. But Cortana can execute in-app commands as well, Belfiore says. "Tell Terry Myerson I'm running really late using Viber." On stage, the Cortana command worked without a hiccup, but he did need to repeat his confirmation a few times before it worked.

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Project Spartan gets a new name

Microsoft has been talking about its Internet Explorer replacement for months, but current builds of Project Spartan on Windows 10 have been in a bit of a rough state, with much of its promised functionality missing. The same is true for builds on Windows phones.

The new browser is now officially dubbed Microsoft Edge. Edge is built as a universal Windows app, meaning it can work across devices. It also has Cortana built-in, which opens up the possibility of Cortana on iOS or Android if an Edge app becomes available on those platforms.

Belfiore also briefly showed off Continuum, a feature that will help apps identify which type of device you're using and then modify the universal Windows app appropriately. He didn't have hardware to show how it would look on a phone, but did show an on-screen simulation of how it works.

Windows 10 will likely launch by the end of the summer, but Microsoft remains mum on the exact release date (though some reports hint at a July debut). The Technical Preview for Windows 10 ended on April 15.