What's new in Windows 10?What to expect when switching to Windows 10 for the first time.
Extended support (including security updates) for PCs running Windows 7, will officially end after January 14, 2020. So if your thinking about buying a new PC, you will probably find yourself using Windows 10 for the first time.
If you're upgrading or switching to Windows 10 for the first time, below are some of the Windows 10 features you will find. You can click the images for larger versions.
(Microsoft links have been included for more detailed information referenced by Microsoft. Please also see the menus at the foot of the page, including links to other Windows enthusiast sites.)
If you have just recently got Windows 10 and you're feeling like a beginner in at the deep end, try my Windows 10 tips for beginners article, to help with some of the basics.Here are some features you will find in Windows 10.
Straight out of the box, you can easily get to know and learn about Windows 10, with the included Tips app. You can browse the different Collections to get more information. (You can also use the search features in Windows 10.)
Tips - What's new
You can click the What's new video in the Recommended tab of the Tips app, to find out about Windows 10's latest features since your last update.
New to Windows 10, Windows Hello can recognize your face (or fingerprint) and give you access to your Windows device in an instant. If you're tired of typing in passwords to unlock your PC (and you have the required hardware), I'm sure you'll like this feature.
A new Start Menu
New to Windows 10 of course, is the Start Menu. It's resizable, fully customizable, and comes with live tiles - which update with relevant information, can be turned on or off, and are also resizable.
(This one has been customized.)
- Four ways to customize the Start menu (Microsoft blog)
- See what's on the Start menu (Microsoft Support)
- (Alternative Start menus for Windows)
If you'd like to find something on your PC, like an app for example, just hit the Windows key and start typing. Or if you're looking for something online, you can use the keyboard shortcut for Search. Also see Cortana, below.Windows + S - Search (including Cortana)
Cortana (Personal Assistant)
Another key component new to Windows 10 is Cortana. Whether you type or talk, if you need a personal assistant to help, remind, inform, educate or entertain you - try getting to know Cortana.
- Search your PC and the web with Cortana (Microsoft blog)
- What is Cortana? (Microsoft Support)
- Windows 10's Cortana (This site)
Microsoft Edge (Web Browser)
Windows 10 comes with the latest Microsoft Edge web browser. It has clean looks, fast performance, Reading View, web page doodling, Cortana assistance, extension support, and it's also leading the pack at HTML5Accessibility.com.
- Four ways to get the most out of Microsoft Edge (Microsoft blog)
- Get to know Microsoft Edge (Microsoft Support)
- (Other web browsers for Windows)
Microsoft says that Windows 10 is the most secure Windows operating system ever. And with Windows Security (formerly called Windows Defender) built straight in, you needn't worry about security. Windows Security also has a new look and UI.
Not completely new, but still improved for Windows 10, you can control your PC without needing a keyboard and mouse, with Windows Speech Recognition, and you can hear speech read aloud with Narrator.
Don't forget Cortana of course.
Windows 10 Anniversary Update also brought with it more accessibility improvements.
- Windows Speech Recognition (Microsoft Support)
- Hear text read aloud with Narrator (Microsoft Support)
- Making progress on accessibility (Microsoft Accessibility blog)
Multiple Desktops (Virtual desktops)
Other operating systems like Ubuntu have been able to do this for years, but finally, Windows 10 now allows us to have multiple virtual desktops - by using Task View.
This means you can have different apps open on different desktops, and then switch from desktop to desktop very easily.
Touch or Pen
When sitting at a desk, I prefer using a keyboard and mouse with my Windows 10 PC. However, Windows 10 was very much designed to be used with touchscreen devices, too. There are plenty of touchscreen or touchpad gestures to speed up your workflow, and you can also use a tablet pen to write and draw.
With the latest (rebranded) Microsoft Store, we can now enjoy using thousands of free or paid apps in Windows 10. And don't forget the latest versions of classic Microsoft apps and games, too.
- Windows Store
- A closer look at the Windows Store (Microsoft blog)
- Explore the Store (Microsoft Support)
Do you remember Remote Assistance from yesteryear? Quick Assist is Windows 10's new, easy and safe way to help someone with their computer over the internet. Hit the Windows key and search for Quick Assist.
Windows 10 Updates
How to check your Windows version
If you're not sure whether you have the latest Windows 10 update, you can do the following to check your Windows version:
Click the Start button, type winver, and press Enter. You should then see a Window like this one:
Check the Windows Version. At the time of updating this page, I had Version 1809.
Now you can visit the Windows 10 Update History page to check for the latest Windows 10 update history.
As you can see above, my PC was showing that I had Version 1809 and at the time of updating this page, the latest version showing on Microsoft's Windows 10 update history page was Version 1809.
With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update came the emoji panel. Now you have easy access to emoji inside of Windows 10. The panel can be accessed via keyboard shortcut or via the on-screen Touch keyboard. To find out more about accessing emoji in Windows 10, see the Windows 10 tips - Emoji page.
Windows 10 Insider Program - Use Windows 10 for free.
If you'd like to always know what's new in Windows 10, plus use Windows 10 for free, you can join the Windows Insider program. As a Windows Insider, you can be among the first to see and try new Windows 10 features, and you can help improve Windows 10 by supplying feedback.
Help and How To
For more Windows 10 information, visit the popular sites and links below.Microsoft
- Windows 10 Features
- Windows 10 Upcoming Features
- Windows Insider Program
- Windows 10 Help
- Windows Blog
- Windows 10 free upgrade for customers who use assistive technologies
- Top Support Solutions for Windows 10
- This Week on Windows (YouTube)
Windows 10 Forums
Like many 'Windows Insiders', I've been using Windows 10 since the Windows Insider Program started in October 2014.
I happily switched from Windows 8.1 back then (for which I wasn't a fan of the Start Menu), and have used both the Insider Preview and consumer versions of Windows 10 since they've been available.
We've watched Windows 10 slowly evolve and improve, as Microsoft listened to the millions of Windows 10 Insiders - who submitted feedback to help steer Windows 10 to where it is today.
(Backup your important data)
Before you upgrade or install any operating system, it's good practice to back up your important documents and files to a removable storage device - just for safe keeping. This will give you peace of mind, so you don't lose important files forever - if something goes wrong.