Windows 10 – Getting Started

Overview

Whether you are coming to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1, there are quite a few changes.  Those who were outraged by the departure of the start menu in Windows 8.1 will be happy to see it return.  If you were baffled by the hidden menus, secret gestures, and switching unexpectedly from desktop to tablet mode, this upgrade will be a welcome one.  As a die-hard fan of Windows 7, those were the things that made me refuse to upgrade.  While it isn’t perfect, Windows 10 feels like a nice blend of the familiarity of Windows 7 with some of the better features they were trying to introduce in Windows 8.1.

The Basics

The purpose of this module is to familiarize you with the differences between Windows 7/8 and 10.  Tasks for this module include:

  • Review the resources at the end of this module.
  • Create a Microsoft account (if you don’t have one)
  • Create multiple desktops and toggle between them. Delete additional desktops when you are done.
  • Open the start menu and look around.  There will be another module that teaches the new start menu in depth.
  • Open a website in Microsoft Edge and mark it up using the tools in the browser and save it.  Add a link to any site to the favorites list.

What’s New

Microsoft Account

Since the advent of Windows 8.1, Microsoft has been insistent that users get a Microsoft account to access some features.  With new Windows 10 machines, they make it nearly impossible to find the option to create a local (non-Microsoft account).  If you are upgrading a computer and choose the option to keep your files, any accounts you have on the machine will be preserved.  Here are some advantages to creating a Microsoft account:

  • Ability to login on any Windows 10 machine and see the desktop layout you have chosen.  Exceptions occur when software is not installed on all of the computers used.
  • Back up your files to your OneDrive account and access them anywhere.
  • Free email account
  • Download apps from the Windows Store.  There is a separate module dedicated to using the store.
  • If you have a Microsoft Surface, you will need a Microsoft account to register it.

Cortana

Cortana is the new Microsoft virtual assistant, similar to Siri on Apple devices or Alexa on Amazon devices.  Not only can she perform a hands-free search of your computer or the web, she can also set reminders, add calendar events, get the weather, and more!  There is another module that will explore Cortana and searching in detail.

Multiple Desktops (Task View)

In an effort to help you organize desktop clutter, Microsoft has introduced “Task View.”  This feature allows the user to configure multiple desktops and switch between them.  Unfortunately, there is currently no way to name the desktops.  To view your desktops, click this icon in the taskbar: Task View Icon

If you only have one desktop configured, you will see thumbnails of the open windows on that desktop and an icon to add a new desktop.  If you have multiple desktops open, you will see them lined up on the bottom of the screen.  Highlight one using the tab key to see thumbnails of the open windows on that desktop.  Click/tap on it or hit enter to use that desktop.

Task view screen shot

Microsoft Edge Browser

Microsoft is planning to retire Internet Explorer in favor of their new browser, Microsoft Edge.  Internet Explorer is still available on Windows 10 machines, but it has been buried in the hope that you will choose to use their new browser, instead.  In many ways, Edge is styled to copy rival browsers Firefox and Chrome.  In addition to future support for plugins and extensions that can add functionality to the browser, Edge is also designed to better support HTML5, the latest web design standard.  The icons on the Edge menu are minimal.  In addition to the expected back, forward, and refresh icons on the left side of the menu bar, there is added functionality to the right side.

Screen shot of Edge browser icons

  • The star is used to mark a page for either a bookmark or reading list.  How you use these are up to you.
  • The icon with three horizontal lines give you access to your favorites, reading list, history, and downloads.
  • The pencil in a box icon allows you to mark up the page with pen, highlighter, or text boxes and save it.  You can even snip an image of part of the page.  Once a page is marked up and saved, it is saved as an image and links are no longer active.
  • The circle icon is for sharing content.
  • The three dots indicate a drop down menu with the rest of the menu items you would expect.

If you choose the pencil icon, icons will appear on the upper left of the window:

markupThe icons, from left to right, are for the pen, highlighter, eraser, text box, and cropping.  Click on the arrow in the lower right of the pen or highlighter icon to get the color selection window you see here.  In that window, you can also choose the thickness of a line.

To draw a line, click and hold the mouse button while dragging the mouse.  Use the eraser to erase part of all of a line.

Using the text box tool, click the mouse button to insert a text box.  After the box is created, click inside it to type.  You cannot format the text inside the box or change the size of the box.  To minimize/maximize the box, click the number next to it.  To delete a box, maximize it and then click the trash can icon.

There are still some bugs that need to be worked out in Edge.  Microsoft has been promising to make plugins available, but has so far not been able to do so.  Also, some users complain that Edge has issues with printing documents.

 

Edit 8/4: Several people have asked how to set the default address bar search to Google instead of Bing.  To do this, open Edge and go to Google.com (necessary step).  Click on the three dot menu in the upper right.  Scroll to the bottom and click “view advanced settings.” About halfway down, you will see “search in the address bar with Bing.” Click “change.” Because you are on the Google home page, it should “discover” them as a search provider and show them in the list. Click on it and then “set as default.”

OneDrive Integration

While this feature was available in Windows 8.1, it is worth mentioning for those users coming from Windows 7.  OneDrive is free cloud storage (5GB) that is attached to your Microsoft account.  It can be used to store images, videos, and documents.  These items can be viewed from the internet browser any device, provided a compatible software to open them has been installed.  Windows 10 can be configured to automatically sync items you save on your computer with OneDrive, safely backing them up in the cloud.  There is more detailed information about OneDrive in a separate module.

Resources

For more information, please check out the following resources:

  • In the Start menu, go to “All apps” and scroll down to “Get started.”  This will open Microsoft’s orientation, which contains both videos and text information. Note: If your start menu lists all apps in alphabetical order, scroll down to Get Started under G.
  • Windows 10 Quick Reference (patron handout)
  • Windows 10 Resources for New Users (patron handout)

Assignments

To complete this module, complete the following tasks and create a blog entry about it:

  • Review the resources section of this module.
  • Create a Microsoft account (if you don’t have one)
  • Create multiple desktops and toggle between them. Delete additional desktops when you are done.
  • Open the start menu and look around.  There will be another module that teaches the new start menu in depth.
  • Open a website in Microsoft Edge and mark it up using the tools in the browser and save it.  Add a link to any site to the favorites list.

 

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