Business card Introduction to Windows 10

workshop at Brock House - 2017.04.20

by Alan Zisman

Windows 10 was released in July 2015 and made available as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8 users until the end of July 2016. It was Microsoft's follow-up to the unpopular Windows 8 (2012), and is an attempt to combine features of both Windows 8 and Windows 7.

Windows 8 was Microsoft's response to the enormous popularity of Apple's iPad tablet in 2010 - Microsoft had been promoting tablets for years, without much success; these earlier tablets required use of a stylus to tap on tiny Windows interface features - Apple's iPad was designed to be 'finger-friendly'. Microsoft had also been left behind on smartphones; it had a finger-friendly Windows Phone operating system that was well-reviewed but not generating many sales.

With Windows 8, Microsoft designed an operating system to be usable on tablets and 2-in-1s - laptops with detachable screens that could be used as tablets. The company planned that apps designed for Windows 8 could be also used on Windows Phones and that a successful Windows 8 would boost sales for Windows Phones.

While Windows 8 could also run traditional Windows applications, that required switching to 'desktop mode', looking like Windows 7 minus a Start Menu or taskbar; some settings could be found in a new-style Windows 8 settings app, others in a traditional (desktop mode) Control Panel. Switching back and forth between new and old-style user interfaces was disconcerting and confusing for users, and using the new interface on traditional laptops and desktops was awkward at best. Users were not happy and avoided Windows 8 in droves.

With Windows 10, Microsoft retreated. The new version gives users back a Start Button, Start Menu, Taskbar and traditional desktop while allowing them to run new-style 'universal apps' in windows alongside traditional Windows applications. The new Start Menu offers a legacy of Windows 8 - 'live tiles' to the right of a more traditional list of applications. It has proven much more popular than Windows 8; in August 2016, a revised version 'Windows 10 Anniversary Edition' (aka Windows ver 1607) was released, and Microsoft started charging for the previously free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8. On April 11, 2017, Microsoft started rolling out Windows 10 Creators Update - it will take several months to reach all users: see - The Coolest Features in Windows 10 Creators Update but also - Why You Should NOT Get the Windows 10 Creators Update Yet - if you've gotten the spring 2017 Creator's Update, that a look at: 7 New Windows 10 Features You May Have Missed

If you're not sure which Win 10 version you're running, click here. In April 2017, Microsoft announced that it will release two major updates a year - one in September and the other in March. Be prepared!

(And even if you haven't gotten the spring 2017 version yet, here's a peek at what to expect in the Fall update....)

In May 2017, Microsoft announced Windows 10S - a scaled down version, promising great performance and battery life for lower-priced, low-end systems. The downside - it can only run apps from the Windows Store - but can be upgraded to a full version of Windows 10 (for free until Dec 31 2017 on systems retailing for US$799 or more; US$49 on lower-cost systems). It will be aimed primarily at the education market. See: Windows 10 S: Can Microsoft avoid another Windows RT blunder?

Important - the free upgrade from Windows 7/8/8.1 ended July 29th. That means that the nag screens promoting the upgrade have stopped, but if you decide to upgrade the cost will be US$99 (CDN$149) for Windows 10 Home, US$199 (CDN$249) for Windows 10 Professional. However, apparently (May 2017), you can still legally upgrade a Windows 7 or Windows 8 system to Windows 10 for free(!)

In May 2017, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 was on 500 million devices - though only a relative handful are using its Cortana feature!

More information... The Evolution of Windows from 1.0 to 10.0

Why you should upgrade to Windows 10:

-- If you're using Windows 7 right now:
-- If you're using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1:
-- For any Windows user:
More information.... 10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10

Why you should avoid Windows 10:
More information... 10 Reasons You Shouldn't Upgrade to Windows 10

Two stories that both appeared on Jan 20 2017:
and: The biggest barrier to Windows 10 success is still Windows 7

Become familiar with the Windows 10 Desktop and Start MenuWindows 10 desktop
More information... Introducing the New Desktop, Start Menu, and Cortana

Make Windows 10 work for youSettings main screen

Explore the Settings
(look for a Gear icon in the Start Menu)

Security deserves a workshop all on its own! Windows 10 includes the best version ever of Microsoft's built-in free security program - Windows Defender. It may be all you need to use. See: 4 Reasons to Use Windows Defender in Windows 10 Many new PCs come with a security program already installed - but typically it's the trial version of a commercial package and expires after as little as 30 days. There are a number of good free security programs (most free versions will nag you to buy their paid package). PC Magazine conducts yearly reviews of free and paid security packages. For 2016, the free programs they recommend are: Avast Free Antivirus 2016, AVG Antivirus Free and Panda Free Antivirus. Any of these are worth downloading and installing.

No security package provides complete protection, however. Users should allow Windows, Flash, other programs and apps, and your security software to upgrade itself - don't put this off! As well, it is important to remain vigilant - don't click on links in email from strangers or open unexpected file attachments. If a deal looks too good to be true, it's probably malware. Remember that your bank will never email you asking you to log in and that Microsoft/Windows will not phone you to tell your computer is infected. If a message pops up in a web page or on your screen warning that you have been infected - unless it is from the security software that you installed - it is bogus!

For your own protection, it is very important to regularly back up your computer. Windows 10 includes backup software (See the Update & security settings) - but it's up to you to purchase an external drive for backup and to use it regularly. More information... If we show you how to back up your PC for free, will you finally do it?

About Apps

'Apps' is short for applications (also called programs) - every computer (including smartphones and tablets) runs applications designed for that computer's operating system - the nickname 'apps' became common when Apple opened its 'App Store' for its iPhone in 2008. Most computers, smartphones, and tablets come with a set of applications - some bundled with the operating system, some added by the manufacturer. 29 apps are included with Windows 10 - some of them are surprising useful - among them:
You can add applications - and you can remove (most of) the ones that you aren't using that are just taking up space or getting in the way. A few things to note:

File ManagementFile Explorer
Like earlier Windows versions, Win 10 includes the Windows File Explorer utility for basic file management - listing files and folders on your computer's internal hard drive, deleting, copying, moving, renaming, opening them and more. Its icon can be found on the Taskbar - where it looks like a yellow file folder - and in the Windows System folder of the All Programs list (where there are two copies, one named File Explorer, the other This PC).

Basically similar to Windows Explorer/File Explorer versions in past Windows versions it adds several useful usability features. The new version offers 'ribbons' along the top, grouping large icons for frequently-used functions. On the left, there's a new Quick Access list - basically bookmarks for File Explorer. You can add your own frequently accessed folders to the list if you want - right-click any folder on any screen, then click “Pin to Quick access.”

Note that (as was true in older Windows versions) you can change the view, letting you look at files and folders as large icons, medium or small icons, lists with details, and more. If you use the Detail view, clicking on the category names (Name/Date modified/Type/Size) lets you sort by that detail - it can be useful to arrange the list with all the photos together in a group followed by all the Word documents, for instance. Click on the category name again and the list is sorted in reverse order.

Again, like in older versions, there are some handy tricks for selecting multiple items - click on one, then hold the Control key down while clicking on additional items. Everything selected can then be copied or deleted or whatever all at once. Click on a first item, then shift-click further down - and everything from the first to the last item is selected. Control+'A' selects 'all' items.

There are multiple ways to copy or move files - you can drag selected items to a folder shown on the left. Or open multiple File Explorer windows and move items from one to the other. Or right-click on a selected item (or items) and choose Copy or Cut (to move) from the pop-up menu then open the desired destination, right-click and choose Paste. This is especially handy as it overcomes what is otherwise a potential source of confusion - in Windows, if you try to copy from one location to another, if the source and destination are on the same drive, by default the items are moved - not copied. If the destination is on a different drive from the source (for instance, your computer's hard drive and a flash drive), the items are copied - not moved.

More information... Manage Files and Folders with File Explorer

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