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What Windows 10 will look like on compact tablets

Barry Collins
5 May 2015
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Video shows how Microsoft has adapted Start screen for those running tiny tablets

Microsoft has given a sneak preview of the changes made to the Windows 10 interface for compact tablets. The company has been constantly revising the design of the Windows 10 Start menu for PCs, laptops and full-sized tablets since the Technical Preview began last autumn, but has revealed little about its plans for compact tablets until now.

A video demonstration obtained by Neowin shows some adaptations to the Start screen made specifically for compact tablets (devices with an 8in screen or smaller). First, the company has made the live tiles on the Start screen bigger, making it easier to prod the smaller icons on high resolution, compact screens. Items such as File Explorer, Settings and recently used apps are now hidden in a menu that is activated by a button in the top left-hand corner of the Start Screen.

The foot of the tablet screen also has new buttons that aren't present in Windows 8.1. There's a task switcher button, which presents a full-screen grid of thumbnails of open applications. That appears to be a far simpler way of switching between applications than the Windows 8.1 method, which involved quickly swiping back and forth from the left-hand edge of the screen. There's also a system-wide back button, similar to that found in Android, allowing you to go back to the previous menu in applications.

Everything you need to know about Windows 10

Microsoft's Joe Belfiore also demonstrated how the tablet automatically switches mode when it's planted into a docking station and used as a traditional PC. The Maps application, which was displayed in full screen, automatically becomes a windowed application on the desktop. The layout of the app's menus also adapts for the wider screen, with options now appearing on the left-hand edge of the map instead of beneath it. 

Most compact tablet users aren't currently able to install the Windows 10 Technical Preview, because compacts run a compressed version of the operating system that is incompatible with the beta OS. Microsoft is working on a fix that will allow compact tablet owners to upgrade to Windows 10 when it is finally released this summer.