Microsoft apparently wants to distance itself from Windows 8 and is doing so in a big way. Windows 10 was just announced and it brings back the Start Menu and other familiar features.

When Microsoft released Windows Vista in 2007, the desktop operating system introduced an updated user interface and new features consumers were expected to love. This was not the case and Windows Vista quickly became a huge thorn in Microsoft's side due to a laundry list of issues that affected the OS. In an effort to erase its Windows Vista debacle, Microsoft pushed up the release of Vista's successor and the company released Windows 7 in 2009. Tech critics and consumers praised Windows 7, as it addressed the performance and usability issues Windows Vista brought with it.

When it became clear that consumers were very interested in using touch-enabled tablets like Apple's iPad and Android slates, Microsoft focused on developing a touch-optimized version of Windows. The company borrowed its smartphone OS' Metro UI to radically change the look of Windows 8. In the process, the very familiar Start Menu that had been a part of Windows since Windows 95 was removed, infuriating users.

Just as Microsoft distanced itself from Windows Vista with the release of Windows 7, the company is doing the same to Windows 8. Microsoft has officially announced Windows 10.

"Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows," writes Terry Myerson, executive vice president of operating systems, in a blog post. "Windows 10 unlocks new experiences for customers to work, play and connect. Windows 10 embodies what our customers (both consumers and enterprises) demand and what we will deliver.

"Windows 10 will be built from the ground-up for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. This new Windows must help our customers be productive in both their digital work and their digital life. This new Windows must empower people and organizations to do great things."

Windows 10 reintroduces the familiar Start Menu and it now includes resizable Live Tiles, making it easy for users to glance at what's important to them right in the Start Menu. Microsoft claims that Windows 10 will run on devices of all sizes, from 4-inch displays to 80-inch screens. Windows 10 will always "deliver the right experience on the right device at the right time."

Microsoft previewed an early beta of Windows 10 at a small press event and describes Windows 10 as bringing the familiarity of Windows 7 and combines it with the touch functionality and features found in Windows 8.

Microsoft will release Windows 10 Technical Preview on Oct. 1 in order to allow developers and tech enthusiasts to try out the new OS and provide feedback. Microsoft plans to release Windows 10 in late 2015. Check out the video below to see Windows 10 in action.

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