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Getting Started with Windows 10

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In this chapter from My Windows 10, Katherine Murray covers the best new features in Windows 10, which enable you to choose the best of both worlds, whether you are more comfortable using touch or the mouse to navigate as you use your computers and devices.
This chapter is from the book

In this chapter, you learn how to get started with Windows 10 and use touch, mouse, and keyboard to perform tasks such as

  • Exploring Windows 10
  • Getting around with the mouse and keyboard
  • Using touch in Windows 10
  • Shutting down or putting Windows to sleep
  • Finding the help you need

Whether you’ve been using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 for a while or you dug in your heels as a Windows 7 holdout, chances are good that you feel you have a lot to learn about Windows 10, the latest operating system from Microsoft. Either way, you no doubt know the history: Windows 8 was a huge jump into a new sphere for computer users—one that many weren’t quite ready for. The familiar menus and dialog boxes seemed to go missing. Normal things such as Close boxes and option buttons disappeared. Microsoft wanted folks to learn a new touchable way to work with their computers. Some users were eager to jump in with both feet, and many weren’t.

Windows 10 is the first major release since Windows 8 (Windows 8.1 was an update, but it didn’t introduce many new features), and in this release Microsoft has slowed things down a bit and responded to customer feedback. The new changes in Windows 10 show that Microsoft has been listening, and many of the best new features in Windows 10 enable us to choose the best of both worlds, whether we are more comfortable using touch or the mouse to navigate as we use our computers and devices.

I liked Windows 8 right off the bat, even though many folks resisted it and criticized the sweeping new design. I loved the color and the flexibility of the new release, and after many years of writing about technology, I was ready for something new. But I think Windows 10 is a vast improvement that puts the prominence back on mouse and keyboard users (although tablet users still have what they need). This version gives users the recognizable and controllable features they need in order to work successfully with things such as apps and folders, and it gives us a wide range of choices for personalizing our Windows experience so it works the way we hope. See? The best of both worlds.

This chapter introduces you to Windows 10 and spotlights some of the new key features you’ll be working with most often as you use apps, save files and folders, share data, and enjoy media. You’ll also find out how to put your computer to sleep (no singing required) and power down the system completely, when you’re ready to do that.

Exploring Windows 10

If you’ve just upgraded to Windows 10, the utility will restart your computer after installation is complete. When your computer restarts, Windows 10 quickly appears on your screen and walks you through a series of Express Setup questions (which help the operating system get you connected to the Internet, set your sharing preferences, and set up some surfing security features in Microsoft Edge). One of those questions asks you how you want to use your OneDrive account, which is the app that stores your files in the cloud. You can follow along with the onscreen prompts to set things up to your liking. After you finish answering all the necessary questions, Windows 10 lets you know that you are ready to begin, and the Start screen appears.

Logging In to Windows 10

As the operating system for your computer, Windows 10 tells your hardware how to interact with the apps you use to communicate with others, work on files, and enjoy media. That means that when you press the Power button to start your computer or device, Windows 10 launches and begins doing its work. The following are the simple steps for starting your computer and logging in:

  1. Press the Power button on your PC or device. After the system boots, your Windows 10 Lock screen appears.
  2. Click the screen (or swipe up if you have a touch-capable computer) or press any key to display the login page.
  3. Enter your password and either press Enter or click the Submit arrow. Windows 10 logs you in.
  4. Now you’re ready to explore Windows 10.

Touring the Windows 10 Desktop

The screen you see when you first log in to Windows 10 will depend on the type of computer you’re using. If you’re using a desktop PC, you’ll see the Windows 10 desktop, with a large Recycle Bin in the upper-left corner of the screen and a set of tools (beginning with the Start button on the left) across the bottom of the screen.

The Start button displays the new Start menu, which houses the universal apps (complete with live tiles) and gives you access to all your programs. Just to the right of the Start button, you see a search box that reads Search the Web and Windows. This is also where you’ll find Cortana lurking, waiting to act on your voice commands. You’ll learn about the Start menu and discover how to set up Cortana in Chapter 3, “Getting Comfortable with the Windows 10 Desktop.”

In the middle of the taskbar, you see a few tools “pinned,” which means they always stay visible as icons on the taskbar so you can find and use them easily. On the far right of the taskbar, you see the Notifications tool, which lets you know when there are actions you need to take for Windows 10 or various apps on your system.

After you blink a few times and get used to the color, you’ll likely want to know what to do with Windows 10. The following screen gives you a few ideas that can help you get started:

First Tasks with Windows 10

As you begin exploring the new operating system, what are some of the first things you’re likely to want to try? Here are some of the big features in Windows 10, which you’ll find described in more detail throughout this book (I’ve provided the chapter locations so you know where to go for more information):

  • Use the Windows 10 Start menu—The Start menu serves as a central point, giving you lots of information about friends, colleagues, weather, email, and more. You can see at a glance the number of email messages you have, what your day’s appointments look like, and what the news headlines are. You can also start your favorite apps, play media, change system settings, and even customize the look of Windows, all from this one screen. You’ll find out how to tweak the look of the Start menu in Chapter 5, “Customizing Windows 10.”

  • Launch and work with apps—The colorful tiles on the Windows 10 Start menu represent apps, or programs, you can launch with a simple click or tap. Some apps display “live” information and update on the Start menu, and others don’t. You learn how to work with, organize, and get new apps in Chapter 7, “Using the Windows Store and Working with Apps.” Also be sure to check out the Apps Gallery in this book’s appendix to find out more about the apps included with Windows 10 as well as popular apps in the Windows Store.
  • Browse the Web with Microsoft Edge—Microsoft Edge (known in prelease as “Project Spartan”) is Microsoft’s new web browser, replacing Internet Explorer 11. Edge integrates easily with the Cortana digital assistant and is able to display personalized search information, as well as support handwritten notes on web pages. Edge also includes a clean reading mode that suppresses the display of formatting and advertisements to make reading web content easier. You find out more about using Microsoft Edge in Chapter 9, “Browsing with Microsoft Edge.”
  • Stay in contact with friends and family—The People app can pull together all your contacts from a variety of sources and make it easy for you to manage and update contact information on-the-fly.
  • Find new favorites in the Windows Store—The Windows Store is greatly improved in Windows 10, with a dramatic redesign from the Windows 8 version and thousands of new apps, ready for downloading. In the Windows Store you can find apps of all kinds, free and otherwise. You’ll find out more about browsing and shopping in the Windows Store in Chapter 7. You’ll also get additional information about the Windows Store in the appendix of this book.
  • Use Windows 10 your way—In Windows 10, you can see all the apps you have installed by scrolling through them in the Start menu. This is similar to the All Programs functionality in the Windows 7 Start menu. Click the Start button to open the Start menu and click All Apps at the bottom of the menu. The left column changes to show in alphabetical order all the apps you have installed on your computer. You can scroll through the list by dragging the scrollbar and then click the app you want to open.

These items don’t represent all there is to do in Windows 10, certainly, but they give you a quick bird’s-eye view of some of the major places we’ll be stopping on our way through this book.

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