Learn how to use Windows 10 better with our guide to the new Windows 10 update. We’ll show you the most important Windows 10 tips and tricks that you need to get more out of the new version of Windows.
The Windows 10 update arrives as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. We’ll show you how to use the new Windows 10 features and how you can get some of your favorite options back, if you need to use the Start Screen.
You don’t need to spend any extra money or buy accessories to use these Windows 10 tips and tricks on your computer. These will work on older computers you upgrade and on new Windows 10 computers.
How to Get the Start Screen Back in Windows 10
When Microsoft shipped Windows 8 people complained because Microsoft changed the traditional Start Menu that opens from the Start button in the lower left corner of the screen in Windows 7 to a full-screen Start Screen that covers the entire display.
In Windows 10 Microsoft changes this to a new hybrid Start Menu that looks like the Start Screen but doesn’t take over the whole screen.
For a more comprehensive guide on how to get the old Start Screen back, head over to GottaBeMobile, but we’ve got the quick steps here.
Down in the lower right corner find the Action Center. It sits third from the right just right of the date and keyboard icon. It looks like a quote bubble and will either look transparent when there are no notifications or white when there are notifications awaiting the user’s response. Tap or click it to open the Action Center. On a touch screen, slide in from the ride edge of the screen towords the left to show it. Tap on Tablet Mode to change the Windows 10 user-interface to a tablet friendly experience. This works on laptops and desktops too.
How to Use Cortana in Windows 10
People who use Siri on an iPhone or iPad and people who use OK Google on an Android device or in the Chrome Browser will understand the purpose of Cortana quickly. This tool behaves similarly, letting the user ask or tell their computer to do things like search for content, add appointments to the calendar and more.
The Cortana feature pops up when a user taps or clicks on the little search box just left of the Start button. The user can type in it or choose the mic button and talk to it.
For instructions on setting up Cortana, see this helpful How To. Here’s a list of some of the commands Cortana understands when the user types or speaks.
- “Hey Cortana, add Meet John at Starbucks for 2PM tomorrow” – adds an appointment to the calendar with this title and at the given time.
- “Hey Cortana, remind me to pick up milk at Food Lion” – adds the reminder to your list and sets the location so that Cortana can remind you when you get to the store. This means the user needs to use Cortana on a mobile device like a Windows Phone or either an Android phone or iPhone with the Cortana app installed. Microsoft plans to release it for those platforms soon.
- “Hey Cortana, what does my day look like” – this tells Cortana to check your calendar and show the day’s appointments.
- “Hey Cortana, when is my next appointment” – just shows the next thing on the calendar.
- “Hey Cortana, what’s the weather like” – shows weather at your current location.
- “Hey Cortana, show some good restaurants nearby” – searches the web using Bing for nearby restaurants.
Cortana also handles flight information, music commands, trivial questions, math equations, and more.
How to Install Apps and Games from the Windows Store
Windows 10 handles software installation the same way all earlier versions did. Run an installation program from a downloaded file or a disk connected to the system via USB or a DVD drive. However, Windows 10 includes its own app store called the Windows Store, just like Windows 8 does.
By default the Windows Store icon shows up on the task bar at the bottom of the screen. It looks like a shopping bag with a Windows logo on it. However, if you removed it, you’ll need to find it by selecting the Start button. Find the same icon on the Start Menu/Start Screen depending on whether Windows runs in tablet or regular mode (see below for how to switch to Tablet Mode).
Tap or click on the store icon to open it. Find some apps and games to install on Windows 10. In Windows 10 the Windows Store includes tabs across the top of the screen including the Home screen, Apps, Games, Music and finally Movies & TV.
Find apps to install, like the apps in our list of 45 Essential Microsoft Surface 3 Windows apps all of which will run on any Windows 10 device. Find an app and click or tap on the app’s icon in the app store. Choose the Install button in the app description area usually about a third of the way down the screen towards the left third of the screen. The app will install. The Install button turns to an Open button. Tap or click on it to open the app.
In tablet mode Windows Store apps fill the entire screen. While not in tablet mode, they run in a window like traditional programs installed form outside the Windows Store.
How to Uninstall Apps, Games or Programs in Windows 10
First, we’ll cover uninstalling apps and games installed through the Windows Store as described above. These will show up in the Windows Start Screen in tablet mode or Start Menu in regular mode. They also show up in the list on the left edge of the Start Screen or Menu called All Apps.
Just above the Start button there’s an icon that looks like a bullet list. Tap or click on it to show the list of apps and software installed on the computer or mobile device. That’s the All Apps button.
Find the app or game you want to remove. Tap and hold on the icon or click and hold on the icon to bring up the context menu. It lists three functions – Pin to Start, Pin to taskbar, and Uninstall. Choose Uninstall to remove the app or game from the computer. A new box pops up stating, “This app and its related info will be uninstalled.” Tap or click on the Uninstall button in that pop-up. This removes the app.
Our colleagues at GottaBeMobile show the alternative method of going into Settings and uninstalling from there. See the How To article there.
Removing traditional programs that the user installs outside the Windows Store forces the user to go into the Control Panel. Tap or click on the Cortana search box and type Programs. The second item that shows up reads Programs and Features. Select it. This takes us to that section of the Control Panel.
Find the program that needs to get uninstalled and select it. Choose Uninstall from the toolbar above the list of installed programs. The follow the uninstaller choices to remove it. It’s a good idea to restart the device after uninstalling programs, but not necessary unless the uninstaller requires a restart.
How to Add Email Accounts to Mail in Windows 10
The Windows 10 Mail client works pretty well and handles multiple accounts. Add accounts using the helpful guide at GottaBeMobile.
Open the Mail app from the Start Menu or Start Screen. If you removed it, then choose All Apps to find the Calendar app. Then add accounts using the Accounts tab. Choose Add Account and choose the proper email service provider for your account. Follow the onscreen instructions.
How to Add Calendars to Windows 10 Calendar
The Windows 10 Calendar lets users add calendars from things like Gmail, their Outlook or Live account and others. Open Calendars from the Start Screen or Start Menu. If you removed it, then choose All Apps to find the Calendar app.
There’s a settings icon in the lower left corner. Select it and then choose Accounts and then Add account. Enter the proper information there. Here’s a more detailed guide to using the Windows 10 calendar.
How to Add Events to the Windows 10 Calendar
Add events to the calendar using the New event button in the top left part of the app. Add your information about that event and choose Save & close to save it.
Make sure you select the right calendar before adding an event if you set up more than one account in the previous step.
How to Switch to Tablet Mode in Windows 10
Windows 10 comes with two modes, one for desktops and laptops and the other for tablets. Users may wish to switch between them even if they don’t own on or the other. For example, people with a touchscreen display on a laptop or desktop may want to use Tablet Mode. Some may prefer the desktop mode, even if they use a tablet.
- Apps open in full screen by default
- App snapping nets users run all apps by dragging apps to the sides of your screen and adjusting them with a slider in the middle.
- The on-screen keyboard opens when you tap on text fields
- The Taskbar turns black and replaces Cortana’s Search bar in the Taskbar with an icon. App icons disappear from the Taskbar
- Titlebars for apps lose their back buttons and a permanent back button surfaces on the Taskbar.
- The Taskbar picks up a multitasking button.
- The Start Menu becomes the Start Screen and hides app lists in favor of making room for more Live Tiles and app shortcuts.
- Windows 10 takes all the apps you have in multiple Desktops and combines them into a single view.
To switch to Tablet Mode manually, click or tap on the Action Center in the lower right corner and choose the Tablet Mode button. See the link above for other ways and settings that automatically turn the mode on or off depending on whether there’s a keyboard attached to the device.
Tips on Browsing the Internet in Windows 10
Windows 10 comes with two browsers; Internet Explorer and the new Microsoft Edge. Again, GottaBeMobile does a nice job of explaining the different and some of the awesome new features in Edge that make it worth a look, especially for Windows users with a stylus or active digitizer, like the new Microsoft Surface 3 or the Toshiba Encore 2 Write.
Here’s a list of things you can do in the new Microsoft Edge in Windows 10:
- Type website addresses in the search box under “Where to next?” when you first open Microsoft Edge.
- Open the Hub represented by three buttons next to the search box in the upper right
- Find bookmarks, downloads, reading lists and browser history in the Hub
- Use handwriting tools to annotate websites
- Share web content with people through social networks
- Open settings in the upper right (button with three horizontal dots) to change important browser settings
Find out more details about each in this post.