Microsoft revealed a number of details about its upcoming operating system, Windows 10, this week.

The operating system will incorporate a number of much-anticipated features, such as Cortana for desktop.

Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant, has been a part of the company's mobile operating system, Windows Phone, since Windows 8.1 was released; however, the introduction of a desktop version is a big step. Cortana can hear the user's voice through the microphone, or it can be controlled through typing commands.

Cortana will also learn the user's preferences and, over time, will be able to provide better recommendations.

Another important feature in Windows 10 is HoloLens, which is the company's attempt to enter the virtual reality and augmented reality market dominated by the likes of Facebook and Google.

HoloLens is more augmented reality than virtual reality, allowing users to see the world around them with an overlay on top of it. 3D objects appear, virtual screens on walls appear, and so on. Microsoft is essentially inserting the computer screen into the world we live in. Microsoft claims that this will change how we interact with computers and the world around us, however only time will tell if that's a reasonable assumption.

Windows 10 will also spell a big change for the future of the Xbox. Xbox One's operating system is a version of Windows 8.1, and in a future update this will change to be a version of Windows 10. While straight away this might not spell a big change, it does mean that in the future users should expect a dashboard refresh and a host of new features.

Gaming with Windows 10 goes a lot further, however. Using Windows 10 and an Xbox One, users will be able to stream games to their Windows 10-based devices, and vice-versa. What does this mean? In the future, the goal for Microsoft is that someone could be watching a TV show, and then a game on the Xbox One could be streamed to a computer through the Wi-Fi network.

Other great new features in Windows 10 include Continuum, which allows users to seamlessly switch between tablets and computers and continue working on what they're doing, and Microsoft's new Spartan Internet browser.

Members of the Microsoft insider program can download the January build of Microsoft 10 now. Those who aren't a member can head here to join.

A consumer version of Windows 10 doesn't yet have a specific release date; however most suggest that the company will release the operating system in late summer or early fall. Microsoft has another event scheduled for April, at which it should discuss the release date of the new operating system.

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