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Windows 10 Evolves: 7 Facts

Less than a month into its Windows 10 Technical Preview, Microsoft has implemented more than 7,000 improvements and dealt with a few bugs. What's the focus now?

protect devices not only with a password but also a PIN or a fingerprint scan. Microsoft says this approach will limit thieves' ability to pull data from stolen devices. Microsoft also promised users will be able to enter any and all their Win 10 devices under a single authentication profile, and that the profile can also be used to access mobile services.

Windows 10 will also allow IT admins to define policies that encrypt all corporate data and determine which apps are allowed to access sensitive content. Microsoft claims the tactic will help businesses manage corporate data without interfering with personal content on employees' devices.

6. Microsoft is still seeking the right release cadence.
With Windows 10, Microsoft plans to iterate more quickly, pushing improvements in constant updates rather than occasional feature packs. But how fast is too fast?

As the bugs in the second Preview build attest, when developers move quickly, features can break. That second build reached Preview users only a week and a half after passing through Microsoft's "Canary Ring" -- the first round of internal users to see the build after engineers have created it.

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To avoid overwhelming users, and to determine the optimal update rhythm for Win 10's final release, Microsoft has added update speed controls to the latest preview build. In PC Settings, users can now choose to be on "fast" or "slow" update tracks. Microsoft previously announced it will offer multiple Windows 10 update options for businesses, which are generally more sensitive than consumers to changes.

7. Microsoft is focusing on feedback.
As mentioned, user feedback inspired several changes in the second Preview build, such as the animation for switching desktops. It's a small change -- but it's also encouraging to see Microsoft react so quickly. The company says other requested features will be implemented in future builds.

Overall, Microsoft's Technical Preview quickly attracted more than a million registrants to the company's Insider Program. Preview users have submitted more than 250,000 pieces of feedback through the Windows Feedback app and written more than 25,000 posts in the community forum.

Joe Belfiore, corporate VP of Microsoft's OS Group, says users are providing thoughtful feedback rather than kneejerk reactions. In a blog post, he noted that only 36% of Windows 10 instances are running in virtual machines. Moreover, nearly 70% of users are launching more than seven apps per day. These healthy usage stats suggest users are not just "trying out" Windows 10, Belfiore said. If he's right, and if Microsoft continues an open dialogue with its customers, could Windows 10 be to Windows 8 what Windows 7 was to much-maligned Windows Vista?

We'll find out next year, but in the meantime, Microsoft might have a few more Preview experiments planned to help it collect a wide variety of customer perspectives. According to a ZDNet report that cited unnamed Microsoft insiders, the company will begin distributing different builds to different Preview users, rather than distributing a single build to the entire group.

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