Getting Comfortable With The Basics

Getting to Know Windows 10

Upgrading to Windows 10

  • Microsoft is making Windows 10 available as a free upgrade for genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 devices.
    • You have until July 29, 2016 to take advantage of this free upgrade offer. Once you upgrade, you’ll have Windows 10 for free on that device.
  • Before you update to Windows 10, take the time to make sure all your data is backed up on an external hard drive (see my program "Backing up data – why you need to do it!") , or with a cloud-based back-up service like Carbonite
  • To start the update process click on the Windows 10 icon located in the lower right side of the system tray.
    • A Compatibility Report opens to tell you if Windows 10 will work on this PC. You'll also probably see a list of any hardware and software that may not be fully compatible or may not work with Windows 10. I've updated dozens of systems with very few issues.
    • Windows 10 will be free for one year for anyone running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. And it will be a direct upgrade, meaning you can run the Windows 10 installation in Windows 7 or 8.1, and you should end up with Windows 10 in the end.
    • Upgrade time depends on the age of your device and how it’s configured. Most devices will take about an hour to upgrade once the download is complete. While older devices could take longer, some newer, high performance devices may upgrade faster.
      • Don't see the Windows 10 icon? First, try running Windows Update and install any available required and recommended updates for your existing Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC. Still don’t see the icon? Click here
      • If you'd like to create a USB drive or DVD to download once and upgrade multiple PCs – Click here

Windows 10 What's New

  • The Start Menu is back and it’s more personal, more organized, and more fun than before.
    Select Start on the taskbar. You'll find your most used apps on the left, the All Apps list, and shortcuts to other locations on your PC, like File Explorer and Settings.
  • All the former Charms functions are contained in a new Notifications panel, called Action Center. This is launched from the notifications area of the system tray (you might know it as the taskbar!). When you launch Action Center, a full-height bar appears on the right of the screen.
  • The Store is a one-stop shop for music, videos, games, and apps.
    Try out an app before you buy it, or pick a free one. Your Windows 10 apps will work on all your Windows 10 devices.
  • Windows 10 includes Microsoft Edge, which replaces Internet Explorer as the default browser. Edge’s interface has been rewritten from scratch, and it sheds Internet Explorer’s old interface and all that clutter.
  • Cortana, your digital personal assistant, is right on your desktop. Ask Cortana to set up a meeting or send an email to a friend – even find your files for you and tell you jokes. Select the search box and type what you want Cortana to do, or just select the microphone to say it instead.
  • File Explorer has been given a little bit of a makeover. You now have a Quick Access area to which you can pin and unpin any folders you want to regularly access. In the 'home' screen of File Explorer you can also see Frequent Folders and Recent Files. It's much more helpful now. There are a lot more file operations that you can access on the ribbon at the top of the window without the need to use the right-click menu. 
    • Tip: I right click Quick Access and change Open File To Explore to "This PC". Also in the Privacy area I uncheck both boxes.
    • You can pin things permanently to Quick access by right-clicking them and selecting Add to Quick access.
  •  In Windows 10 we have Alt+Tab (cycle through your apps) and a new thing called Task View – there's a permanent icon on the taskbar for it, next to the Cortana search bar. There's something else Task View can do – multiple desktops. Go into Task View and there's an icon in the bottom right that enables you to add another desktop, so you can have one screen for your email, perhaps, and another for your Photoshop work.
  • In Windows 10, you’ll find a Microsoft Print to PDF printer installed. Print to it to print a document to PDF from anywhere in Windows, all without installing third-party software.

Windows 10 Tips

  • Quick Access in File Explorer – If you don’t like this change, you can disable the Quick Access view and make File Explorer open to This PC.
  • Windows 10 Snap Assist in Desktop Mode – With Windows 10 you have the option to place up to four windows on a single screen.
  • Customize the Start Menu – The new Start Menu is such a big improvement over what came with Windows 8.1 it combines the best elements of Windows 7 and Windows 8. And it’s also fully customizable. I admit the first thing I did is unpin many of Microsoft’s tiles, resized and rearranged the remaining ones, I also added tiles for my own programs.
  • OneDrive integration – Free cloud storage is a godsend these days, and Microsoft makes it easy in Windows 10 with OneDrive. You can use it to store files for mobile device access from iOS or Android, and you can even set it to let you access any file on your PC remotely – not just the ones you drag over to your OneDrive folder. See Getting started with OneDrive tutorial.
  • Keyboard shortcuts – Here are some keyboard shortcuts you may want to be aware of — ones that will really help your daily workflow:
    • Windows Key + X (Quick Access Menu)
    • Windows Key + Tab (Task View)
    • Windows Key + Right-Up (Moves app to top right quadrant)
    • Windows Key + Ctrl-Left or Right (virtual desktop)
    • Windows Key + Ctrl-D (new virtual desktop)
    • Windows Key + Ctrl-C (Cortana listening)
    • Windows Key + S (Daily Glance for weather, news, sports)
    • Windows Key + Print Screen (takes a screenshot and saves it in a Screenshots folder nested in your Pictures folder)
  • Find the original Control Panel (and other tools) – The new Settings panel is easy to navigate and makes more sense than the old Control Panel, but you’ll still need the latter to access some deeper options in the system. It’s easy to call up, even though it’s hidden; just right click on the Start button on the bottom left of the screen and choose it from the pop-up menu. When you right-click the Start button, you’ll find many useful things there, such as Computer Management and Disk Management; those options bring you right back to the familiar Windows 7-style apps in each case.
  • GodMode – The legendary GodMode, a hidden staple for Windows power users, returns in Windows 10. Activating it unveils a power user menu that brings together all of your system’s far-flung settings and configuration options into a single location. Just create a new folder and rename it to following:  GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}   Don’t forget the period after “GodMode”, and you can rename the “GodMode” portion whatever you’d like if you want another name for the folder.

How-To's for Windows 10

Windows 10 Information Page – The best Windows ever, upgrade to Windows 10 for free

It’s easy to get your free upgrade – here’s how:


  1. To reserve your free upgrade, click on the Windows 10 icon located in the lower right side of the system tray.
    • Don't see the Windows 10 icon? First, try running Windows Update and install any available required and recommended updates for your existing Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC. Still don’t see the icon? Click here
  2. Once in the Get Windows 10 app, click “Reserve your free upgrade” in the app window.
  3. Enter your email if you want confirmation of this reservation.
  4. We’ll download Windows 10 to your device and notify you when it’s ready. You can cancel your reservation at any time. 1

If you'd like to create a USB drive or DVD to download once and upgrade multiple PCs – click here.

Note: This free Windows 10 upgrade is available for PCs and tablets.


After you have reserved, you are in the queue for your upgrade. Watch for your notification from the Get Windows 10 app to arrive in the coming days or weeks. At that point, you can upgrade immediately or pick a time that works for you.


After you’ve upgraded, you have Windows 10 for free on that device.

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