Windows 10 Basics

Windows 10 Basics

  • How to tell which version of Windows you are running? Left click the manila folder icon on the task bar. Right click “This PC” or “Computer” and left click “Properties,” or hit Windows Key and Pause/Break.
  • Time frames for Windows versions: XP from 2001-2007, Vista from 2007-2010, Windows 7 from 2010 to 2012, Windows 8 from 2013 to 2015, Windows 10 from July 29, 2015.
  • Windows Editions – for home users, “Windows 10 Home” or “Windows 10 Pro” doesn’t matter. Pro has power user features like remote desktop, whole disk encryption, and virtualization.
  • The major confusion with Windows 8 was the new tiled touch screen mode which appeared by default. Windows 10 defaults to a compromise interface which is very similar to Windows 7. The tablet / touch interface is appropriately called “Tablet Mode.” Settings, System, Tablet Mode, or click the Action Center in the bottom right by the clock and toggle Tablet Mode.
  • Use Windows 10 when it comes built into a new system. Mostly minor upgrade issues have kept us very busy since release. For some reason the upgrade reveals hardware problems.
  • Microsoft has banished Internet Explorer to the Windows Accessories menu. In its place is a brand new browser called Microsoft Edge. The icons are similar. It may be useful to put an Internet Explorer icon on the desktop and to learn how to load pages in IE as needed with a menu option in the top right of Edge. I still recommend Chrome and Firefox.
  • Virtual Desktops is the weird icon next to the Search bar. It’s mostly a power user option for users of other operating systems. I don’t see much of a need for it for the average user. You can hide the icon.
  • Updates are fairly automatic now, but you can tell the system to notify you to schedule them by going to Start, Settings, Update and Security, Windows Update, Advanced Options, Change “Automatic” to “Notify to Schedule Restart.” Don’t be alarmed about failed updates.
  • Windows Defender is the Microsoft antivirus (same as Microsoft Security Essentials) and is baked into the operating system – no need to download anything or use Norton, etc. If you would like to purchase a product for proactive protection, which is far from foolproof, I would recommend Malwarebytes from for $25 per year.
  • Windows 10’s backup is called File History, same as Windows 8. Windows 7 image backup does not work well with Windows 10 due to bugs Microsoft hasn’t bothered to fix. File History is in the Control Panel.

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

Most of these use the Windows key, which is on the bottom left of the keyboard

  1. Windows-X – Admin menu – includes Programs list to remove Programs
  2. Windows-Arrow keys – resize windows to left or right half or upper or lower quadrant.
  3. Windows-Number key – launch programs pinned to task bar
  4. Windows – S – type your search
  5. Windows-Tab – show open programs
  6. Alt-Tab – switch between open programs
  7. Alt-F4 – close programs and if no programs are open, shut down computer
  8. Windows-Print Screen – automatically save a screenshot in My Pictures
  9. Windows-E – open File Explorer (formerly Windows Explorer – file manager)
  10. Control-A – Select All
  11. Control-C – Copy
  12. Control-V – Paste
  13. Control-Shift-Escape – opens Task Manager

General Windows 10 Improvements

  1. Faster and leaner than previous Windows versions.
  1. Good compromise between touch screen and mouse users.
  2. Print to PDF is built-in.
  3. Microsoft is putting the most resources into updating it and making sure it is secure and works well. They will begin to ignore Windows 7 and 8.

Windows 10 Privacy Settings

  1. All clicks are left clicks unless specified otherwise.
  2. Click Start, Settings, Privacy
  3. The first category is “General.” Turn everything off except “SmartScreen Filter.”
  4. At the bottom of those four options, click “Manage my Microsoft advertising” and turn off personalized ads using the right side buttons.
  5. In the “Location” category, I like to leave it on for convenience. This is a personal choice.
  6. For “Camera” and “Microphone,” you can control which apps have access.
  7. Under ”Account info” turn it off unless you want to grant a specific app access.
  8. Turn off access for “Contacts” and “Calendar” categories unless you want to grant a specific app access. This has no bearing on webmail.
  9. Under “Messaging,” turn off access unless you want to grant a specific app access.
  10. I would leave “Radios” on in case you want to use a Bluetooth speaker or headset.
  11. Under “Feedback and Diagnostics,” change feedback frequency to “Never” and change diagnostic and usage data to “Basic.”
  12. Under Settings à Accounts, I would recommend using a “Local Account,” not a Microsoft account, and not having a password unless you want to keep people in the house off the PC. We are called out once a month to reset a password because someone forgot it and locked themselves out of their PC!
  13. Under Settings, Network & Internet, Manage Wi-Fi Settings, turn off “Connect to suggested open hotspots” and “Connect to networks shared by my contacts.” If you are not using a Microsoft account, you will not use “Wi-Fi Sense,” which automatically shares your wireless networks with your contacts. This was meant for convenience but most people do not like it.
  14. Click Settings, Update & Security, Windows Update, Advanced Options, Choose How Updates are Delivered, Turn off “Updates from More than One Place.”