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How to Set Up Windows 10

Setting up Windows 10 so you can start using it.

Connect to the Internet

Connecting to the Internet is the critical first step.

Nowadays, having access to the Internet is essential, which is why connecting is the first step on the agenda. Now, if you have a wired network, i.e. you plug a cable into the back of your computer to connect to the Internet, then Windows 10 will set up the network automatically and you can connect immediately.

However, if you have a wireless network at home, you might have to take a few extra steps, though not many. Windows 10 will automatically search for wireless networks, and it might show your home network but also every other network it can detect in the area, such as your neighbors, so you have to be careful when you choose a network. If you can't connect, it might be because you selected the wrong network or entered your password incorrectly.

  1. Check the networks:
    Go to the right side of the taskbar and click on the wireless networks icon to bring up a list of networks your computer can detect. Wait until they all load.
  2. Choose the network:
    There might be more than one network in the list, so make sure you select the one you want to connect to. An option will appear below the network that asks if you want to Connect automatically. Tick this box if it's your home or work network that you use constantly. The click on the Connect button.
  3. Enter your password:
    If your network is encrypted, you'll be prompted to enter your password so you can access it. The system will ask for a network security key, which is your password. So, enter the password and click Next.
  4. Browse the Internet:
    You should now be able to fire up your browser and surf online.

An In-depth Look at the New User Interface

A look at how to work with and customize the Start Menu, the Taskbar and the new Shortcut Menu.

While we have already had a look at the new user interface, it's time to delve a little deeper.

The Start Menu

So, the Start Menu is back. It has a slightly new look, but it does pretty much the same thing as it did in Windows 7 and previous versions.

Clicking on the Start button in the bottom left corner will bring up a panel that has a number of features. At the top, you have the name of the user account that's currently logged in. To change accounts settings, lock the screen while you're away from your computer or sign out of your account, click on the icon next to the username.

Below the username, you have the Most Used list, which can consist of files and apps. Some might have chevrons next to them and if you click those chevrons, you'll get the same sub-menu as if you right clicked on the app in the taskbar.

Under the Most Used list is a series of shortcuts to the various features you're likely to use every day, such as File Explorer, Settings, and Power. At the very bottom is a link called All Apps, which will show you a full list of all your installed apps.

On the right side of the menu, you'll find Live Tiles, which have been migrated over from Windows 8. These offer live update or information specific to various application. When you click on a tile, it will launch the full app. They are arranged in categories, but you can rearrange them by clicking and dragging the tiles. You can also add or remove Live Tiles from the Start menu, and they can also be resized.

If you wish to resize the Start Menu and turn it into a Start Screen like in Windows 8/8.1 do the following:

  1. Click on Settings in the Start Menu
  2. Choose Personalization (you can also access this menu by right clicking on the desktop)
  3. Click on the Start tab
  4. Check or Uncheck Use Start Full Screen

To add an application to the Start Menu, click the Start button, followed by All Apps. Find the app you want to add, right click on it and choose Pin to Start.

To position the Live Tile of the app you added, click and drag it to move it where you want it. Don't worry about space because the Start menu will automatically adjust its size depending on the number of apps you add or remove.

To keep things organized, you can create app groups. When new Live Tiles are added, the first one is automatically added into a new group, with subsequent ones added to the same group. You can drag and drop tiles to different groups and you can rename a group by clicking the icon with two lines that appears above the tile and to the right when you hover over the new Live Tile.

If you want to remove an app from the Start menu, simply right click on the Live Tile, and select Unpin from Start.

The Taskbar

Windows 10's taskbar is the same as other versions of Windows. You can add icons to the taskbar by clicking on icons in the Start Menu, Windows Explorer or the desktop and dragging them to the Taskbar. Or you can right click on an icon and select Pin to Taskbar.

If you wish to move the taskbar, hover your mouse over an empty portion of the taskbar, press and hold the left mouse button and drag it around the screen. You can lock the taskbar in place by right clicking on a blank area and clicking Properties in the menu that appears. Go to the Taskbar tab and check the Lock the Taskbar option.

To resize the taskbar, hover your mouse over the top edge of the taskbar until the pointer changes to a double-headed arrow. Press the left mouse button and drag it up or down to resize it.

The Shortcut Menu

Windows 10 has a Shortcut Menu, which you can access by right clicking on the Start Menu or by pressing the Windows key and X.

This menu includes a number of essential tools such as Explorer, Search, Control Panel and Run. You can also perform a Shut Down, reset, log off or put the computer in sleep mode.

To log out faster, simply press the Windows key and L.

To change the Shortcut Menu's options with custom ones, follow these steps:

  1. Right click on the taskbar and select Properties
  2. Choose the Navigation tab in the dialog box that appears
  3. Choose Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell
  4. Click OK.

Getting to Know the Desktop Screen

Setting up your desktop to suit your tastes.

The desktop in Windows 10 permits you to add, remove or hide icons and arrange open windows on your screen. You can add icons by:

  • Dragging them from File Explorer and dropping the on to the desktop;
  • Right clicking an icon in File Explorer, then Send to, and then Desktop (Create Shortcut)
  • Right clicking on the desktop, selecting New → Shortcut in the menu that appears. Navigate to the location of the icon you want to add, select it, then click Next. Add the name of the shortcut and click OK.

You can also add, remove and change the icons of folders such as My Computer, Recycle Bin, User Documents, Control Panel and Network.

To do this, right click on the desktop and select Personalization. Select Themes, followed by Desktop Icon Settings under Related Settings. You can now change the look of these basic icons.

Arranging open windows on the desktop is also quite simple. Right click on a blank area of the taskbar and select Cascade windows, Show windows stacked, or show windows side by side.

To restore your open windows, right click on a blank are of the taskbar and click Undo.


Getting to know and training your personal assistant.

It's time to set up Cortana, your digital personal assistant. Some of the things Cortana will help you do include:

  • Setting reminders and alerts
  • Scheduling events and appointments
  • Searching for files and folders
  • Finding and playing songs
  • Opening apps and programs
  • Showing you trending topics
  • Taking notes
  • Writing emails
  • Telling jokes
  • Other administrative tasks.

It's quite easy to use Cortana once you've trained the program and set it up. Follow the steps below to train and configure Cortana.

Step 1: Initial Setup

Click on the search area of the taskbar. This will bring Cortana up, which will ask for more information. The more information you provide, the more effective Cortana will be.

Step 2: Fine Tuning the Options

You'll have to use Cortana's Notebook to fine tune the information the program has on you. To open the notebook, click on the hamburger menu (three stacked horizontal lines) on the left and select Notebook. The About Me section will allow you to set favorite locations and what Cortana will call you. To create a favorite location, search for its address and give it a name, like Home or Work. Cortana will associate your name with that location.

You can also connect third party apps with Cortana in the Connected Accounts section. So far, Cortana supports integration only with Office 365, but more apps will join this list in the future.

The Settings menu allows you to disable Cortana. Here you can also set it so that Cortana will appear on the screen when you say "Hey Cortana. You can also enable or disable the Bing Safe Search option, manage what information is stored in the cloud and permit Cortana to monitor your information.

Step 3: Start Using Cortana

After you've set Cortana up to your liking, you can use the program for a wide range of tasks and activities. Note that Cortana is cloud-based, which means your settings will migrate to your Windows Phone and Tablet.

What Can I Do With Cortana?

For a comprehensive list of what you can do with Cortana, simply ask it "What can you do?"

Here's a quick look at some of the things you can do with Cortana:

  • Search - this is the basic function of the program, namely to search for files and folders on your computer, on the Web, in the Windows Store or in your OneDrive.
  • Set reminders
  • View Notifications
  • Locate and Play Music
  • Open files
  • Show information such as weather, news, sport scores, etc.
  • Have fun - you can ask Cortana all sorts of things by selecting the Lets Chat option. Some of the things you can request of Cortana include:
    • Surprise me
    • Sing me a song
    • Tell me a joke
    • What does Cortana mean?
    • What do you think of Siri?
    • Who is your creator?

Cortana will provide you with answers to more than 60 entertaining questions.

A Look at the New Log-In Screen

The new sign-in process in Windows 10 works with keyboard & mouse but also touchscreen.

When Windows 10 starts up or wakes up from sleep mode, you'll see a preview screen. Press any key, click a mouse button or swipe on the screen to get to the log in screen.

Windows 10 requires you to sign in by default, and the way you sign in will depend on whether your system is independent or part of a network. Some of the log-in options include:

  • Pin - you can log in using a PIN, which can be a sequence of 4 or more numbers.
  • Password - this is the traditional way of logging into Windows. The password must be at least 8 characters long.
  • Picture password - You can also log in by using a specific gesture on top of a photo. For example, drawing a line between two objects or drawing a circle around a specific area of the photo. This, of course, is only available for touchscreens.
  • Windows Hello - this is a more advanced option where you can use a biometric scan to log in, which means authenticating via fingerprint, eye or face scan. You'll need additional equipment to do this, though.

Note that using a password is the default option to sign in. You can add more options via the Settings menu, where you can set and change the PIN, establish the picture password or do both to log into Windows.

A Closer Look at Accounts

An overview of the two types of accounts Windows 10 supports.

On Windows 10, you can have two types of accounts, namely local accounts and domain accounts. If your computer is part of a network, you'll log in with a local account, whereas if you are part of a network, you'll log in with a domain account.

A domain account is designed to join a remote network and permits you to access various resources and files, whereas a local account is designed to work just on one machine, without network access. Everything in a local account is hosted on your machine and not on a network.

There are two types of domain accounts:

  • Azure-based Active Directory - used for businesses whose networks are hosted on internet-based servers
  • Standard Active Directory Domain - used for business networks that host their own servers

Both local and domain accounts connect to the internet and can sync your settings across all your devices.

Tablet Mode

How to switch between tiled tablet view and the desktop view of Windows 7.

Windows 10 supports two types of views, namely tiled tablet view, like in Windows 8/8.1 and standard desktop view, like in Windows 7.

In tablet mode, the Start Menu becomes a Start screen with tiles, which includes the following:

  • Apps Button - shows a list of all the apps not found on the Start Screen
  • Power Button - offers access to restart, sleep and shut down
  • Options button
  • Start button - activates the Start screen or returns you to the desktop.

Go to System Settings to enable or disable Tablet Mode as follows:

  1. Click on Start → Settings
  2. Select System
  3. Click Tablet mode
  4. Toggle Tablet mode on or off by switching Make Windows More Touch Friendly on or off
  5. Toggle the When I Sign In Go to the Desktop option on or off to enter or exit Tablet mode
  6. Access pinned items and apps via the taskbar by switching Hide App Icons on or off.

Using Task View

Improve your productivity by multitasking with Task View

The Task View Virtual Desktop feature allows you to manage multiple applications by spreading them out over different windows. The Snap feature gives an overview of all open applications in different screen, while the Shake and Peek feature permits you to quickly select an application and hide others.

If you want to create a new desktop, you'll have to click on Task View, which is on the taskbar. An icon will appear on the bottom right of the desktop with a + sign named New Desktop. Click this and a band with two thumbnails (Desktop 1 and Desktop 2) will pop up. You can also access the Task View pop up panel by pressing the Windows key and Tab.

Now you can switch between the two desktops via the Task View button on the taskbar and clicking on the desktop you want to use. To delete a desktop, just right click on it and select Delete (the x in the upper right corner).

To make you even more efficient, Windows 10 allows you to set up your open documents in four quadrants. To position a window, click on it and drag it to one of the four corners of the screen. A transparent screen will show up when you hit the edge of the screen. When you release the window, it will snap into position as long as the transparent screen is active.

Another option is to select the document you want to move and press the Windows key, accompanied by an arrow key, depending where you want to position it. So, Windows key + Left will position the screen in the left quadrant, for example.

To zoom into one particular window and minimized the other screens, just click the title bar of the screen in question and flick it back and forth.

The Peek feature allows you to make any open apps transparent so you can see the desktop beneath. Hover your mouse over the transparent button in the lower right corner of the screen. Once you move your mouse from over the button, everything will return to normal. If you click on the button, all open programs and files will be minimized.