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There's actually more desktop testers than laptop testers

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) made a lot of bold moves with Windows 8's UI. Some of those decisions didn't turn out to be such great ideas in the less touch-friendly world of desktop personal computers and even non-touchscreen laptops.  Microsoft has since been working to better balance its bold experiment ever since.
 
With Windows 8.1 and its updates, Microsoft restored the Desktop to a more prominent role and began to merge pieces of its Modern UI style into the desktop.  With October’s Windows 10 release -- available to consumers as a free upgrade -- that process looks to be nearly complete.  Windows 10 will target the entire spectrum of devices from the smartphone all the way up to the desktop, but this time around Microsoft learned from its mistakes and is much more cognizant that one UI size does not fit all.
 
With Windows 10, Modern UI Mode goes the way of the dinosaur (sort-of) on all devices other than tablets and smartphones.  The Desktop is back in charge.  But bits of the Modern UI mode do live on, in more sedate form in the new Desktop-friendly Modern UI makeover of the Start Menu.  While the new Start Menu is the showstopper, the upcoming release also added long overdue features that rubbed power users the right waysuch as multiple desktops (long a staple in Linux). 
 
Would these changes win critics of the much-maligned Windows 8 back?
 
It's too early to say, but Microsoft's data shows some promising signs.  After officially announcing on Sept. 30 the upcoming Windows release -- which will be available as a free upgrade to consumers -- Microsoft launched a consumer Technical Preview of Windows 10 the next day, on Oct. 1.
 
That release -- Build 9841 -- scored 1 million testers within two weeks of its availability.  As Microsoft creeps closer to 2 million testers, some interesting trends are emerging.  Early in the release Microsoft's numbers indicated nearly two-thirds of consumers downloading the test build were testing it on a desktop.  But that was still early on so it remained to be seen how the longer-term statistics sorted out.
 
With the release of the second Technical Preview build on Oct. 21 (Build 9860), Microsoft has offered a bit of an answer.  According to a tweet by Microsoft Windows Manager/Developer Gabriel Aul, desktop users are still outnumbering laptop 41 to 32 percent.  This is likely a testament to the fact that while Windows 10 is a nice upgrade for owners of touchscreen laptops, for owners of desktops, it's even more of a much-needed relief.
It appears the consumers are starting to outnumber the exclusive corporate partners who were taking Windows 10 out for a spin first.  Today virtual machines (which enterprise partners typically use to test client OS builds in their preview form) only account for 22 percent of installs.  Microsoft's struggles in tablets are apparent in these numbers too; only 3 percent of Windows 10 testers who grabbed the latest build are using a tablet or all in one.
 
For those curious Build 9860 -- between 2 and 2.74 GB depending on your hardware spec. -- carries a number of interesting feature additions, most notably a new Desktop notification pane dubbed "Action Center".

Windows 10 Action Center
The Action Center is seen in Windows 10 Build 9860.

The new build also adds a nice shortcut for multi-monitor users who can now type "WIN + CTRL +<arrow>" to push the active app to the desired screen (denoted by the arrow).  It also fixes a number of graphical, hibernation, and other miscellaneous issues.  And Microsoft has tweaked the animations for switching between desktops for greater clarity.
 
All in all, it looks like an interesting set of changes.  Clearly some Desktop users out there are eagerly soaking up these improvements.  The only question less is whether their fellow brethren -- including the vehemently anti-Windows 8 "enthusiast" crowd -- will be interested in joining them as things continue to shape up.

Source: Gabriel Aul on Twitter





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