Microsoft aims to simplify how the IT department deploys corporate desktops with the next major release of the Windows operating system (OS).
In a bid to reduce deployment costs, and to help the IT department support remote users and BYOD programmes more efficiently, Microsoft will offer Azure Active Directory as a login option on Windows 10 PCs.
In a demonstration at the TechEd Europe show, Joe Belfiore, corporate vice-president for PCs, tablets and phones at Microsoft, showed delegates how a user could login through the Azure Active Directory, when they boot up a machine for the first time.
After the user enters their username and password details, applications are automatically downloaded to a new PC.
Speaking on what Microsoft has learnt from its experience of Windows 8 OS, Belfiore said: “We want to emphasise our collaborative development process and get to a result that works for everyone.”
Among the biggest concerns with Windows 8 was its poor user experience when run on tractional PC devices. Along with re-introducing the Start menu, Windows 10 offers a familiar user interface (UI) but adds features from Windows 8 such as Live Tiles, allowing users to preview mail or social media feeds directly from the Start menu.
He said Microsoft had removed a limitation of the Microsoft Store in Windows 8 OS, that meant it only worked on a full screen and so was optimised for tablets. Instead, with Windows 10, he said: “You can resize store apps just like the familiar Windows 7 UI.”
Microsoft is pushing the benefits of hybrid devices that work as tablets and laptops, in a bid to differentiate itself from the iPad and cheap Android devices. To support these devices more effectively, Belfiore said Microsoft was working on a technology called Continuum, which would enable Windows 10 OS applications to detect whether a keyboard or mouse was attached while the application was running, and change its behaviour if necessary.
The application will be able to operate in two modes: In a full-screen tablet mode; or more like a traditional Windows 7 application, when a keyboard is used.
This requires API support. Belfiore said applications could detect any type of input device, such as pen input or voice commands.
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