Tag Archives: Windows 8

Arrange your Windows in a Snap

Windows 7 introduced Aero Snap as a way to effortlessly position windows on the desktop just the way you want them. You no longer had to frustratingly fiddle with the sizes and positions of windows just to get them into common layouts. Windows 8 increased productivity further, being the first OS to support true side-by-side multitasking on tablets as well. Anyone could effortlessly snap with a simple touch gesture, resize side-by-side apps simultaneously, and watch apps automatically adjust to take up available space on the screen.

When we started designing Windows 10, we stuck with our original goal of helping you be more productive by reducing the amount of effort it takes to manage your window layouts. By allowing Store apps to run in a window, we gave ourselves more flexibility to blend the best of both Windows 7 and 8 for this new release. We also considered how PC technology has changed over the past few years. The proliferation of new large high resolution monitors, multi-monitor setups, touch screens, and 2-in-1s have all had a significant impact on how people interact with their PCs.

Snap Assist

One of the most popular Aero Snap features in Windows 7 is the ability to drag windows to the left or right edges of the screen to resize them to half the screen. This allows you to choose any two windows and easily snap them side-by-side—a very handy feature when drafting an email or comparison shopping, for example.

When arranging two windows side-by-side, we noticed in practice that this scenario frequently involved snapping the first window and then spending time wading through other windows on screen to find the second one to drag and snap. This insight lead us to ask: instead of making you hunt for the second window to snap, why not present a list of recently used windows up front? This is the fundamental idea behind Snap Assist in Windows 10.

Snap Assist significantly speeds up the process of snapping two windows side-by-side by offering you a choice of windows to snap. Through our Windows Insider Program, we’ve seen that 90% of the time, users have chosen to take advantage of this improvement and pick the second app directly from Snap Assist rather than hunting for it manually. Snap Assist also has a number of related benefits. For example, just like Task View, it makes it easier to use the desktop with touch and comes in handy as part of Continuum.

FINAL_1 Snap Assist
Snap Assist lets you effortlessly put two windows side-by-side

Corner Snap

When Windows 7 was released in 2009, 4K technology was in its infancy and splitting the screen in half satisfied most use cases, even with external monitors. Nowadays, 27” and larger monitors with 2560×1440 and 4K resolutions have become more popular and we want Windows to take full advantage of the increased screen real estate.

For Windows 10, we explored a number of interaction models for creating more advanced window layouts. Ultimately, we built upon the success of snapping to edges by extending the gesture to work with corners. To snap a window to a quarter size of the monitor, just drag the window to a corner and let go. This design allows for some very powerful configurations. For example, you can have four windows on screen at once, or two windows taking up a quarter of the screen and a third window taking up the remaining half.

FINAL_2 Corner Snap
Snapping to corners quickly creates powerful layouts of three or four windows

Since we know that lots of enthusiasts use the Windows + Arrow Keys to snap their windows, we updated those to work with corner snap. Simply hold down the Windows key, then hit Left, then Up to snap to the top left quadrant, for example. With these combo moves, snapping is a breeze!

Snap Fill

Snapping into perfect quarters or halves of the screen is useful, but sometimes optimal layouts aren’t necessarily symmetrical. You might want to make your browser window large and windows showing your social feed or playing a video small. These kinds of tweaks typically take a number of mouse moves to accomplish to get everything just right. In Windows 8, side-by-side Store apps automatically filled up the available space on screen without leaving any gaps, making the most of available screen real estate.

In Windows 10, we wanted to bring this improvement to the desktop, making snapping more intelligent with any app. When you snap a window and resize it, the system takes note of your action. When you then snap a second window, the system will optimize its size to automatically fill up the available space. It’s a subtle feature, but comes in handy when you snap a lot of windows or have complex layouts involving a mix of half and quarter snapped windows.

Multi-Monitor Improvements

A lot of the improvements to snap are even more useful when dealing with multiple monitors. Imagine having a sophisticated snap layout of four windows on a single display and then another display with an entirely different set of snapped windows. We’ve even made it easier to snap across multiple displays. Previous versions of Windows didn’t allow you to snap along an edge shared by two monitors and you had to use keyboard shortcuts instead. With Windows 10, you can now drag a window to the shared edge or corner and snap just like you would expect. Finally, Snap Assist lets you see all windows across all displays so that you can easily snap a second window by just selecting it. This means that if you want two windows on completely different screens snapped together, you no longer have to drag them all the way across displays.

Continuum and Snap on Tablets and 2-in-1s

Windows 8 was the first OS to offer true multitasking on tablets, making them much more productive devices. By simply swiping from the top of the screen and then snapping an app to one side, users could split their screen with another app. We improved this experience in Windows 8.1 by enabling smooth resizing of apps using the on-screen divider–you could create a 50/50 split between apps, a 70/30 split, a 62/38 split, or nearly any other split you wanted. While we felt good about the added flexibility, we also wanted to make split layouts even easier to create. That’s why in Windows 8.1, we introduced an elegant way for windows to be automatically arranged side-by-side. For example, when you get an email and click on a link or an attachment, the screen automatically splits in half so that you can easily keep context of the mail while also seeing the content of the newly opened window. This is the simplest and most efficient way to arrange your windows with nothing to learn and no new behaviors to adopt. If you know how to click a link or open an attachment, you know how to arrange two windows side-by-side!

FINAL_3 AppToApp
Automatically snap two windows by just tapping on a link!

Our data from Windows 8.1 showed that 50% of snapping was automatic (apps launching other apps) and 50% was manual (user explicitly dragged a window to an edge). This means that we enabled more users to take advantage of the benefits of snap without any effort on their part. As such, it was important to us that Windows 10 enable the same diversity of usage and preserve multiple ways to multitask on tablets. That’s why when you’re in tablet mode, you can still snap with a simple touch gesture, resize side-by-side apps simultaneously using the on-screen divider, and have apps automatically open side-by-side. Of course, we wanted to improve this experience even further.

First, just like Store apps are regular windows on the desktop in Windows 10, desktop apps are now free to be individually snapped in tablet mode. Second, when you enter and exit tablet mode, we preserve any snap layouts you may have created so that you keep your workflow. Finally, we think Snap Assist is even more handy in tablet mode: snap an app, tap on a recently used app on the other side, and you’re instantly multitasking on your tablet!

We’re very excited about the improvements we’ve made to snap and we invite you to give them a try for yourself. Whether you’re using touch, mouse, pen, or keyboard, we hope you’ll be more productive on all your devices thanks to our new snap features on Windows 10.

— Miron

Have questions and comments? Head over to the Windows Insider Program forums.

Windows 10 Launching This Summer in 190 Countries and 111 Languages

Today at the renewed Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) summit in Shenzhen, China, I had the honor of speaking about Windows 10 and the innovation and opportunity it offers our valued partners. China is a global epicenter for innovation and we’re excited to be working with the area’s leading hardware and software companies to develop ground-breaking devices and consumer experiences that will help shape the future of Windows 10.

We continue to make great development progress and shared today that Windows 10 will be available this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages. Windows has always been global with more than 1.5 billion users around the world and here in China hundreds of millions of PCs operate Windows today. That’s why it was particularly fun to show our latest global innovation, Windows Hello, on stage for the first time, and to feature a number of Windows 10 customizations for the China market, such as Cortana in Mandarin.

Upgrading Millions of Customers with Lenovo, Tencent and Qihu 360

On January 21, I shared our commitment to offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 for hundreds of millions of customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 for the first year after it is released.

A key way we will make the upgrade experience to Windows 10 easy is through strong partnerships with technology leaders. Today, we shared new partnerships with several world-leading companies to deliver a seamless Windows 10 upgrade experience to our customers in China. Strategic partnerships with Lenovo, Tencent and Qihu 360 will help Windows 10 reach hundreds of millions of customers in China and spur adoption of Windows 10 worldwide.

  • Lenovo, one of the world’s leading PC manufacturers, announced they will offer Windows 10 upgrade services at 2,500 service centers and select retail stores in China when the Windows 10 upgrade is available. This will help customers quickly and easily upgrade their new or existing Windows devices to Windows 10. Lenovo also announced their commitment to build Windows phones, to be available in mid-year 2015 via China Mobile.
  • Tencent, the leading social networking and gaming services company in China, announced it will offer Windows 10 as a free upgrade to its customers on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in China, and include QQ, Tencent Video and Tencent PC Manager in the Windows 10 free upgrade pack. Tencent will create a Windows 10 universal app for their flagship QQ app, which has over 800 million customers in China, and bring their most popular PC games, such as “League of Legends,” “Cross Fire” and “Dungeon & Fighter” to Windows 10 and the new Windows store.

  • Qihu 360, a leading internet security company in China, announced it will bring Windows 10 for free to their customers in China through seamless upgrades. Qihu 360, with over 500 million customers on Windows PCs, will enable the Windows 10 upgrade with just a few clicks with accelerated download speeds.
  • Through a new program with Xiaomi, one of the top smartphone distributors in the world, a select group of Xiaomi Mi 4 power users will be invited to help test Windows 10 and contribute to its future release later this year. These power users will have the opportunity to download the Windows 10 Technical Preview – installing it and providing their feedback to Microsoft.

Hardware Innovations Enabled by Windows 10

One of the predominant goals of WinHEC is to showcase opportunities Windows 10 presents to hardware and device manufacturers. Windows Hello is one of the new innovations that I was excited to show onstage for the first time.

Windows Hello* will make Windows 10 more personal by providing instant access to your devices through biometric authentication – using your face, iris or fingerprint to unlock your devices – with technology that is significantly safer than traditional passwords. We’re working closely with our hardware partners to deliver Windows Hello-capable devices that will ship with Windows 10. We are thrilled that all OEM systems incorporating the Intel RealSense F200 sensor will fully support Windows Hello, including automatic sign-in to Windows. You can read more about Windows Hello here.

Today, we also shared how Windows 10 will support today’s maker boards, enabling makers to do amazing things with Windows in the fast-growing Internet of Things space.

For the first time, a new version of Windows for small footprint IoT devices will be available – for free – when Windows 10 launches. Windows 10 will offer versions of Windows for a diverse set of IoT devices, ranging from powerful devices like ATMs and ultrasound machines, to resource constrained devices like gateways. Through key partnerships with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Intel, Qualcomm and others, we will provide great options for commercial devices builders, hobbyists and students.

We also introduced the Qualcomm DragonBoard 410C to the Windows 10 device family. The Qualcomm DragonBoard 410C is the first Windows 10 developer board with integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, and a smartphone-class Snapdragon 410 chipset.

Windows 10 is the only platform that supports innovation across such a broad family of hardware and we are committed to investing in the success of our partners and supporting their development activities.

I can’t wait to see how amazing companies around the world will continue to innovate with devices running Windows 10. Working together I know we can create some incredible experiences with Windows 10 that will truly delight our customers.


* Windows Hello requires specialized hardware, including fingerprint reader, illuminated IR sensor or other biometric sensors.   

Business Ready Holiday Devices

Lately we’ve been focused on providing you with key information on Windows 10 and you’ve had the opportunity to hear from Jim Alkove about several areas of investment for Windows 10 for business – including security and identity, deployment, manageability and enterprise Store capabilities. While we look forward to sharing more on Windows 10 early next year, we wanted to take this opportunity to talk about some of the exciting business ready Windows devices in stores this holiday season. We realize that PC shopping is a year-round exercise for businesses, but among the many devices highlighted for the holiday season this year, there are some great stand-outs for business – here are just a few


Announced at IFA Berlin in September, as a refresh to its ever popular ThinkPad Helix, the Lenovo Helix 2nd Gen. – a detachable 2-in-1, that is even thinner, lighter and has a better battery life than the previous model. Powered by Windows 8.1 Pro, it offers business-grade security, the ability to join a domain, and more. The Helix also has a detachable keyboard, providing options for an on-the-go tablet or use as a traditional laptop, and an active stylus for quick notes using the handwriting recognition feature, adding to your productivity, wherever you are.


Another device announced at IFA Berlin this year, the Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny-in-One 23, a modular all-in-one desktop offering easy setup for public and private enterprises. The Tiny-in-One monitor allows IT managers to refresh the CPU and monitor separately without having to replace the entire system. The Kensington lock secures both the monitor and the device itself, and is also compatible with other data security features such as Smart USB Protection and Bluetooth lock.

Dell Latitude 13 7000 Series 2 in 1

The Dell Latitude 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 is designed to keep you productive – on the road or at the office – with powerful business-class features and security built right in to keep your data protected. Use the device as a detachable 13-inch tablet with six hours of all day battery life, plus four additional hours in the keyboard. The device also touts a full-size business-class single point ISO keyboard with standard backlight and the convenience of two USB 3.0 ports on the keyboard base.

HP Pro X2

Last but certainly not least, the HP Pro x2 612 is HP’s thin, light and powerful computing alternative for business. Like the Dell Latitude, the HP Pro x2 612 has a battery in the tablet and one in the Power Keyboard, allowing business customers to benefit from the dual batteries with up to 14 hours of battery life. And the HP Pro x2 612 also comes with an optional battery-free Wacom pen with built-in holder. It also offers HP BIOSphere, HP Client Security, and option fingerprint reader to help keep devices safe and secure.

As mentioned, we are working hard to ensure that compatibility between Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 is excellent. This also applies to hardware: we are designing Windows 10 to have the same overall hardware requirements as Windows 7 and Windows 8, making it possible to run Windows 10 on a vast majority of existing devices. For that reason, we see device purchases today as a great investment toward the future. We look forward to sharing more details about the upgrade path soon. And, in the meantime, we welcome your participation in the Windows Insider Program where you can experience new builds as soon as they’re available and have an opportunity to influence product development decisions through the Windows Feedback app directly within the product.

Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0 Now Available

Yesterday we released the Microsoft Virtual Machine Converter 3.0.  You can download it here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42497

It has a staggering amount of features.  Including the ability to convert physical computers to virtual machines and to convert VMware virtual machines to Hyper-V virtual machines online and offline.


Microsoft and NFL give more to fans and teams

The New England Patriots use the Surface tablet during a Sept. 7 game against the Miami Dolphins

The New England Patriots use the Surface tablet during a Sept. 7 game against the Miami Dolphins

For a lot of people in the U.S., autumn is synonymous with football. Now that the NFL season is in full swing, fans and teams can find new and better ways to experience this fall favorite thanks to the ongoing collaborative sponsorship between Microsoft and the NFL.

“We have a passion for innovating and improving the quality of our devices and services, and are especially excited about this opportunity to improve the productivity for coaches and players on the sidelines not to mention the ability to bring a whole new experience to the NFL fans from the comfort of their living rooms,” says James Bernstrom, Microsoft product marketing director for devices and studios.

Through the Microsoft NFL app for Xbox One – “The Official Game Console of the NFL” – fantasy football aficionados and amateurs can fully engage in the fierce competitiveness that defines the fun and the drama of this pastime within a pastime. They can turn to the app for the ultimate in personalized information on their carefully chosen NFL.com Fantasy players, including in-game highlights, real-time updates, news, scores and stats. It’s the ultimate companion on the journey to the Super Bowl.

And on the field, players and coaches will use the specially designed Microsoft Surface Sideline Viewing System.

The solution is made up from Surface tablets – “The Official Tablet of the NFL” – and a Microsoft application that allows coaches to quickly analyze images from previous offensive or defensive series to plan their next plays – a process that previously relied solely on printers and paper. Microsoft technology is helping make analysis of the game more efficient, productive and competitive, starting with streamlining the photo viewing process.

Read about how the NFL and Microsoft are working together to provide more for fans and teams at the Microsoft News Center.

Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff

Battle alongside your favorite Star Wars characters in Star Wars: Commander

Charge into battle on distant planets in a galaxy far, far away and lead your troops to victory in this new action-packed, combat strategy Star Wars game! Star Wars: Commander is now available free for download from the Windows Store and from the Windows Phone Store!

In the Galactic Civil War, competing forces need allies for their cause and you can choose to fight for the Rebellion who seek justice and freedom or the Empire who wants complete control of the galaxy. You can fight alongside Star Wars heroes like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo!

  • Choose your side: Will you command AT-ATs and TIE Fighters as the Empire? Or call on iconic heroes like Han Solo and Princess Leia as the Rebellion?
  • Build and defend your base: Train unique troops specific to each faction, and fortify your base with deflector shields, turrets, heavy artillery, and other defenses!
  • Lead epic battles: Strategically deploy powerful armies, units, and vehicles against enemies and players around the galaxy!
  • Form the ultimate Squad: Build strong alliances with friends and other players!
  • Travel to multiple planets and complete special missions: Play an all-new story as a valiant leader on the front lines of the Galactic Civil War.
  • Upgrade your strike team and its defenses: Strengthen your forces with multiple levels of upgrades for each unit!

You can download and play Star Wars: Commander in your choice of English, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish.

May the Force be with you!

Join the Siege – Age of Empires: Castle Siege now available for Windows and Windows Phone!

A few weeks ago, Microsoft Studios and Smoking Gun Interactive announced a new Age of Empires game for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 – Age of Empires: Castle Siege. Join the Siege today by downloading the game from the Windows Store and from the Windows Phone Store.


Age of Empires: Castle Siege brings all the strategy and combat Age of Empires is renowned for along with a fast-paced experience that’s great with both touch as well as mouse and keyboard. Choose from one of several civilizations, expand your castle into a massive city, defend your walls against marauding empires, and when your newly trained army is ready, lay siege to other castles built by online opponents. You can connect with your friends on Xbox Live and battle friends across devices running Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8. Your game program will also roam across your own Windows devices and is always saved to your Gamertag. For more on Age of Empires: Castle Siege – see their blog post here.

Great apps and games with impressive, new updates

One of the best things about apps for Windows and Windows Phone is that they’re always getting better with updates. Updates give you more features, faster action, more efficiency and more fun. Here are some favorite apps and the lowdown on their most recent updates – so you can download them today.

miCoach train & run (Free, Windows Phone)


This handy app turns your Windows Phone into your own personal trainer, with real-time voice coaching that puts you through your paces whether you’re exercising indoors or out. Now miCoach is updated for Adidas miCoach, has a new voice package with Andrea Petkovic, SensorCore SDK integration to track your stride rate as you run, and other fixes and improvements.

Fhotoroom (Free, Windows, Windows Phone)


Image editing and sharing come together in this clever, powerful photo app with a range of incredible tools and sharing capabilities. With this update, enjoy nine new frames, refreshed frames previews, an improved user interface and user experience, and other fixes and improvements.

Asphalt 8: Airborne (Free, Windows, Windows Phone)


Here’s the arcade racing game that’s become a favorite of a nation of gamers, with high-speed thrills and dynamic, aerial stunts. Now, you can discover the treasures of the Middle East on exotic test tracks in the amazing new Dubai location, get behind the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz Biome concept car or Nissan GT-R NISMO (five new cars in all), and test your driving skills with 74 high-octane events!

World at Arms (Free, Windows, Windows Phone)


The free world is at war against an evil attacker, and in this all-out, modern-combat strategy game you battle from countryside to the skies to the ocean’s depths on a deep solo campaign. This update lets you mechanize your army with the new Prometheus super robot, adds more power for the Atlas and Hyperion fleets, and includes multiple user interface and gameplay improvements.

Find all these great apps and games in their newly updated versions in the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store today!

The Secure Mobility Faceoff: Laptop and VDI Versus Windows To Go

The last time I blogged about Windows To Go was to share new features and functionality added with Windows 8.1. Prior to that I covered, frequently asked questions from customer discussions and detailed the importance of using certified drives. My conversations with customers continue to center on two key use cases: Bring your own device (BYOD) and contractors / vendor scenarios.  

In each of these scenarios, instead of provisioning a company laptop, IT provisions a Windows To Go drive for use on the employee or contactor’s personal laptop. While I could go into a few of the merits to this approach, I would prefer to share a recent blog on the topic from Marina Donovan. Marina is the Executive Director of Global Marketing at IronKey, maker of the W300 and W500 Windows To Go certified drives. She spends almost as much of her day talking about Windows To Go as I do, and has an interesting perspective to share. – Craig

BYOD is a game changer for the mobile workforce, and IT leaders are waking up to the opportunity.

One case in point: State Tech reported that Fairfax County, VA is issuing Windows To Go drives to employees who work remotely, “improving productivity and reducing the number of employee-owned PCs that IT must support.”

“There’s nothing to install or configure. Employees simply plug the drives into their Windows 7– or Windows 8–compatible PCs or other devices, connect to the county network via a virtual private network, and work anytime, anywhere.”

Microsoft’s Windows To Go – an enterprise feature of Windows 8.1 – is a simple, cost effective way to liberate the corporate desktop from any single device by placing a full version of Windows 8.1, applications, security tools and policies onto a secure USB 3.0 stick. Employees and contractors now can work securely on most any laptop or tablet with a USB port.

Imation was an early proponent of the mobile USB workspace, so it’s gratifying for us to see the growing excitement and adoption of Windows To Go among both enterprise and government organizations. As we meet forward-thinking IT leaders at seminars, trade shows, events around the world, it’s increasingly clear that Windows To Go represents an exciting and pragmatic new way to work for teleworkers, contractors and road warriors – and even students and teachers.

IT needs to keep evaluating new ways to increase security, manageability and flexibility for a mobile workforce while managing costs. In this context, we’re hearing from customers that Windows To Go delivers advantages over laptops in five key areas, illustrated in this infographic:

  • Cost – The Windows To Go drive can be the D in the BYOD strategy, costing 1/5 to 1/10 what it would cost to deploy a laptop – a benefit for BYOD strategy and easing replacement costs for lost or stolen drives.
  • Security – The Ponemon Institute reports that only 31% of lost or stolen laptops were enabled for encryption. Standardizing on a Windows To Go certified, hardware encrypted USB 3.0 drive dramatically improves security from data breaches.
  • Manageability – Windows To Go lets you centrally manage the OS just as you do with laptops. In addition, innovations such as the IronKey Enterprise Service add the ability to track Windows To Go drives and do remote wipe or remote detonation if they are lost or stolen.
  • Deployment – WindowsTo Go drives are easy to deploy, lightweight to carry, and less costly to ship. And with provisioning tools, even hardware encrypted drives can be deployed centrally by the dozen.
  • Resilience – IDC report that 86% of organizations have had laptops lost or stolen, and more than half of those reported a security breach. A ruggedized, hardware encrypted drive like the IronKey Workspace W500 resists both physical damage and physical tampering, and is useless to a thief if lost or stolen.

Of course, you can’t use a Windows To Go drive without a laptop. But when the work environment is on the move and BYOD is changing the rules of the game, Windows To Go delivers for IT and employees across multiple fronts.

Marina Donovan
Executive Director of Global Marketing at IronKey

Get ready 2014 football season with NFL on Windows 8 and Xbox One

The 2014 football season kicks off on September 4th and starting today, you can get ready by downloading NFL on Windows 8 from the Windows Store and on your Xbox One. The NFL app on Windows 8 and the Xbox One gives you a more immersive and interactive means of experiencing North America’s most popular sport. You’ll be able to stay connected to all the latest NFL news, video highlights and stories around-the-clock, and keep tabs on live stats and scores from around the League. You can also personalize your experience to follow all the latest from your favorite team.


It also works great with the Snap feature in Windows 8 and on the Xbox One!

For more, head on over to Xbox Wire and get the rundown on the amazing experience you can have with the NFL app on Windows 8 and the Xbox One!