Key Tips to Make Windows 10 More Fun and Useful
Computer users everywhere were thrilled when Microsoft announced a replacement and upgrade for its much-hated Windows 8 operating system. The Windows 10 announcement was greeted with much fanfare, and Microsoft has been aggressively rolling out the new operating system.
Now that millions of brand new users have access to Windows 10, it is time to look at the operating system and how it can be made even more useful. Here are some key tips every new Windows 10 user needs to know.
Customize the Start Menu
Windows 8 was roundly criticized, and rightly so, for its lack of a Start menu. Gone was the familiar Start button and its accompanying menu of choices. In its place were a series of tiles, a change that many long-time Windows fans found quite confusing.
The Start menu is back in Windows 10, but there are still some leftover touches from its Windows 8 predecessor. Fortunately, Microsoft has kept the best parts of the previous start screen, including the live tiles feature that lets users get information from their favorite apps without actually opening them.
The initial layout of the Windows 10 start menu has the programs on the left and the application icons on the right-hand side. Among those application icons are the live tiles — the ones that automatically update with things like the current weather forecast and incoming messages.
You can make the Windows 10 start menu more useful by rearranging these live tiles and adding your own. Just click and drag an icon from the left side of the screen to the right and choose the “Pin to Start” option. Once the icon is in place you can drag it anywhere you want. This customization can make the Windows 10 Start menu far more useful and fun.
For the most part Windows 10 has been very well received, but some privacy advocates have expressed concerns about the level of data collection built into the new operating system. Fortunately, users can make their Windows 10 platforms more privacy friendly with just a few tweaks.
You can start by going to the “Privacy” section and then “General”. Look for the “Let apps use my advertising ID” option and switch it off. If you do not want Microsoft to track your location, you can also turn off location tracking. Keep in mind that location tracking can be useful, especially if you are looking for a local business or trying to find a great restaurant.
Bring Back the Old Control Panel
Some long-time Windows users will find the newly revamped Windows 10 control panel confusing and hard to use. If you fit into this category, you can revert to the old familiar version.
To get to the old version of the control panel, just right-click on the Start button and choose the “Control Panel” option. You can use this same trick to access other hidden parts of the Windows 10 operating system, including the old device manager and the ever-popular command prompt.
When creating Windows 10, Microsoft tried to strike a balance between the familiar desktop operating system and the one used on mobile phones, tablets and other portable devices. In doing so, Microsoft built notifications into Windows 10, something that many people will find quite useful.
Even so, some users may find themselves a bit overwhelmed by all the notifications. If you want to control the notifications you see, just go to the lower right-hand corner and click the notification icon to see a list of updating apps.
Once you know which applications are set to send out notifications, you can control their actions by clicking the Start button, choosing Settings and then System. Navigate to the “Notifications and Actions” section to control the notifications and updates you see.
Windows 10 is already one of the most successful operating systems in Microsoft history, and it is certainly a vast improvement over the much-maligned Windows 8. The tips listed above can make this robust operating system even more useful, allowing you to customize the Windows 10 experience to your liking.
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