Wondering about Windows 10?

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Wondering about Windows 10?

Microsoft’s latest version of Windows was released on Wednesday, 29th July, as a free upgrade for all users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.  Since it’s release, there have been a lot of questions about Windows 10 and whether it’s worthwhile upgrading.  I thought I would try and answer some of these questions and provide you with some information about the new version. As always, if you have any further questions, you can simply e-mail me directly or phone 0800 998 9186.

What is Windows 10?

Windows 10 is the latest incarnation of Microsoft’s operating system and it provides a blend of both Windows 7 and Windows 8 together.  In practice, this makes Windows 10 familiar to everyone, whilst providing a modern upgrade to the new Live Tiles and Universal Apps.  Whilst Windows 8 was focused on touchscreens and the interface appearing jarring switching between two very different styles, Windows 10 addresses this problem and puts all the focus back on the desktop, as with all previous versions. The result is a modern system that is designed to be used by mouse and keyboard but is also ready for touchscreen devices.  Live Tiles provide instant and quick information right on your Start menu, such as upcoming calendar appointments, e-mail notifications, weather forecast and news headlines.  The Universal Apps are Microsoft’s efforts to extend Windows 10 into devices other than desktop computers and PCs.  Developers can simply write an app once, and you’ll then find that same app on your laptop, your tablet and your phone.  As it stands, Windows 10 is designed to work on all sorts of devices, including future versions of Xbox.

How can Windows 10 be free?

Windows 10 is only free for users that are upgrading from an existing copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8 for a year, until 29th July 2016.  After this date, or if you are using an older version, such as Windows XP or Windows Vista, you will have to buy a licence.  By offering the upgrade for free, Microsoft is encouraging users to upgrade their systems and take advantage of new technologies.  It also helps to eliminate legacy code and compatibility problems with older systems if people are moving towards the newer version, which continuously updates itself.

Why do I need Windows 10?

Windows 10 is designed to be a system that continually updates itself automatically, receiving security patches, fixes and new features as they become available.  With this in mind, your system is automatically kept updated from the latest security flaws and less likely to have missed an important update which leaves it exposed to an attack.  It’s also been fine-tuned for low-power devices, such as tablets.  This means Windows 10 is extremely efficient at running background tasks to keep your system optimised and gets less in your way.  It’s quicker to open apps to get things done and it makes more efficient use of memory and battery life.

What new features are relevant for me?

There are several new features but the big headliners are the new Edge web browser, Cortana, built-in Apps, Virtual Desktops, Action Centre and Continuum.  So, what actually are these?

Edge

Microsoft EdgeEdge is the new browser that comes with Windows 10 and replaces Internet Explorer.  It gets rid of legacy code and compatibility issues with previous versions of Internet Explorer and starts fresh.  This means it’s not only quick and light but takes full advantage of web standards, ensuring pages display exactly as the web developer intended and makes full use of the latest Internet technologies.  It also allows you to annotate and share web pages with your notes and it has Cortana built in.  In the not too far future, it will support Extensions, similar to Google Chrome, so that you can customise it with added functionality like password managers.

Cortana

The built-in personal assistant for your desktop.  If you have a Windows Phone, you’ll already be familiar with Cortana.  It allows you to speak to your computer to open apps, set reminders, dictate email messages, search the web and, find files on your computer.  Of course, you don’t have to speak if you don’t want to.  You can still take full advantage of Cortana’s powerful search capabilities and reminders.

Built-in Apps

Calendar AppThese include Mail, Calendar, Groove Music, Maps and of course, Edge.  The new apps are feature-rich, quick and integrate well with existing Microsoft services, such as Outlook and OneDrive.

Virtual Desktops

This allows you to open several apps and folders and organise them on to seperate desktops to keep your work organised.  So for instance, if you are working from home, you can have everything open relating to work appear on one desktop, and keep those distractions on a separate desktop.  It’s also much easier to switch between applications and to make use of snapping windows side by side.

Action Centre

This centre is similar to what you might find on your smartphone.  It provides a central place for notifications, allowing you to review them when it’s convenient to yourself.  Here is where you will find notifications about new mail, updates, Skype messages and any other integrations from your apps.

Continuum

Continuum is a feature for hybrid devices, so if you have a laptop that detaches fully from its keyboard, or folds back to resemble a tablet, Windows 10 will automatically switch to tablet mode.  In this mode, apps run in full-screen mode and a lot of features designed for the mouse and keyboard are automatically hidden so you can take full advantage of touch capabilities.

Is my computer ready for Windows 10?

If you are currently running Windows 7 or Windows 8, then you should have no issues upgrading to Windows 10.  It has been designed to work on the same specifications as Windows 7.  The upgrade tool will check your system for you and alert you to anything that is likely to cause an issue before making any changes to your computer.

How do I get Windows 10?

Windows 10 Notification IconYou may have had a notification on your current system to reserve a copy of your free upgrade.  If this is the case, simply click on the icon and then choose Reserve my free upgrade.  Windows Update will download the required setup files in the background and will prompt you when its ready to install.  It won’t happen straight away so don’t worry if it takes a few days or even a few weeks.

What if I don’t want it?

Windows 10 is an optional upgrade, so if you don’t want it, simply ignore the upgrade icon.  If you’d like to remove the icon from your taskbar, it takes a bit of work but it can be done and I can provide you with step-by-step instructions to do so.

And that’s a rundown of Windows 10!

Hopefully you found this e-mail helpful.  If you did, consider forwarding it someone else that might benefit from it too.  Remember if you run in to any problems or would like some further help, get in touch or arrange an appointment online.