This summer, a mysterious little white Windows icon appeared in the right-hand corner of PC screens everywhere. Microsoft had announced their brand new OS. Unprecedented by a software company, Microsoft followed this announcement by giving Windows 10 out for free — and it became the OS downloaded around the world. 14 million people have already jumped on the Windows 10 bandwagon. However, there are some that are still skeptical and aren’t sure if it’s time to upgrade. Is the hype over the new system worth it? Microsoft is certainly talking big, but many of these features should have been added long ago. However, all the cool kids are doing it and you don’t want to be left behind. Good thing we’re here to keep you hip so when you do finally join the Windows 10 crowd, you’ll fit right in.
1. Your Computer, Your Start Menu
Let’s admit it — the biggest bummer of Windows 8 was the lack of a start menu. If you wanted to open a program you had to open the start screen and search for the program you wanted. Microsoft finally realized that was a hassle and decided to reintroduce the beloved start menu with the new version of Windows — and it came back better. The menu is larger and borrows the interactive live tiles from Windows 8. It’s the very definition of “the best of both worlds”.
As you can see, I dragged my start menu pretty wide. However, you can adjust it to whatever dimensions you choose.
When you first install Windows 10, the start menu will have default settings — but you’re not a “default” kind of guy. You can customize the menu to your needs. Is it too big? Too small? Drag the corners of the menu and make it whatever size you want. Did the Windows 8 start screen, with the live tiles, scar you for life? Get rid of it. If you don’t mind them, you can resize them. Do you like some programs more than others? Turn those into tiles in your start menu — just click on them in the menu and choose that option. Now, there’s no reason to have any programs crowding your desktop. Finally, for the “type-A personalities” out there, you can label the live-tiles sections of the start menu and group them to your liking.
2. Let’s Meet Cortana
Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri. She may not be as sassy as Siri (We all remember the day we asked Siri to divide zero by zero.) but Cortana is just as useful. If you don’t have a full-time personal assistant, Cortana can be your virtual substitute.
Cortana is connected to the start menu and you can type in whatever you like, or click the handy microphone button and ask her.
When you first introduce yourself to Cortana, you have the option to have her run in the background while you continue to work. To wake her up, all you have to say is, “Hey Cortana…” and she’ll answer to your voice. From that moment on, ask and you shall receive. We can’t promise you will won’t fall in love with her, but we’re certainly not saying you won’t either.
3. Apps, Switchers and Desktops, Oh my!
Prior to Windows 10, most users didn’t know that pressing Alt-Tab- made their lives easier — it was a sad, dark world. With your hands never leaving the keyboard, you can switch between different applications windows, speeding up productivity. This was an indispensable feature for users who worked with a multitude of programs. Windows 10 has taken the task-switcher and amped it up.
As you can see, you have “Desktop 1” with three programs running, and two other desktops ready to be worked in.
Someone must have told Microsoft that one of their best features lived solely in cult-notoriety, because Windows10 took this awesome feature and introduced it into the mainstream. Task Switcher can now take up a whole screen instead of a small bar with tiny icons — undoubtedly helping users differentiate between the applications, versus squinting at tiny boxes with tiny text. Secondly, they added a task-view icon to the taskbar, ensuring that this feature will always be accessible. For those of us who work with a multitude of apps and tabs, don’t we burn with jealousy when we see people working with two desktop screens? We longed to have two screens. Microsoft took pity on us and created virtual desktops. This allows for multiple versions of our desktop with different applications running in each one without breaking the bank. How is this useful? Imagine, you’re immersed in a task that requires five different Internet tabs, two Word documents and an Excel spreadsheet. You’ve found your workflow and your workspace is organized to your liking — surprise, you now have to work on something completely unrelated and different. Prior to Windows 10, you would have closed down all your applications or tried to rearrange them to make room for your new task — either way your workflow was interrupted or your workspace became jumbled. Windows 10 wants you to avoid the workflow traffic jam by simply clicking Windows +ctrl+ D. This will group the programs you were using for your previous task on one virtual desktop and open a new desktop that is fresh and free of previous applications.
4. Drag and Snap
We look back fondly on the day that Microsoft introduced the Snap View into our lives. The ability to drag an app window to the side of a screen, where it would take up half the screen and let you work on two programs at the same time, made our lives easier. Finally, someone realized that clicking back and forth between two windows isn’t that fun.
I’m currently and comfortably working with the three different applications using the snap view option.
Microsoft knows we’re suckers for having too many programs open at the same time. Instead of moving the app windows to the side of the screen, you can drag these windows to the corners and have four applications take up your screen. They’ve also introduced the task-switcher feature to the snap-assistant. This means that in one of the halves or quarters that you’re working in, you can switch out the app with a new one by using Alt-Tab. We can now have different projects happening in different areas of the screen — forever multi-tasking!
5. Smile and you’re in!
Previous versions of Windows, allowed users to use passwords, photo passwords, and fingerprints to access their information — boring. With this new update, you can simply use your smile.
Cortana is connected to the start menu and you can type in whatever you like, or click the handy microphone button and ask her. Windows Hello may not work for all computers, as it needs a certain type of camera, but with the right equipment it will be able to read your features and create a unique password. This program will scan the contours of your face and recreate a 3D model in its memory. Then, all you have to do is show your pretty face and flash that winning smile to gain access to your computer. You’re finally up to date on some of the cool things that Windows 10 introduced. Go join the other 14 million users and show off what you know — you can thank us later. Do you have questions regarding this article? Let us know in the comments below or e-mail us at: LinkMail@LinkTek.com
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