The essential collection of Windows 10 guides -- everything you need to get started, fix annoyances, and more
Here on BetaNews we’ve posted a wealth of how-to guides designed to help you master Windows 10. While the new OS isn’t difficult to get to grips with, certain elements are far from intuitive.
With all the news that’s been happening, you may have missed some of these guides -- especially ones from before Windows 10 launched -- so we've put together this one-stop shop for all the helpful information posted so far. Below you'll find out how to download Windows 10, get the ISO, create installation media, install Windows 10 on Mac or in a virtual environment, change the default browser or the default search engine, block automatic updates, and much, much more. As new guides are added, so this article will be expanded to include the latest content.
Windows 10 is now officially available, and many of you want to run the new operating system on your PCs and tablets right away. And why not? There are lots of cool features to get excited about, like the new Start menu, Cortana, Action Center, multiple desktops, and Edge. And it is offered as a free upgrade, if you have a valid Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license, which makes it even more attractive.
Obviously, those who are using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can upgrade straight to Windows 10. But, the same cannot be said about Windows XP or Windows Vista users, who have to perform a clean install. That being said, a clean install is always recommended when moving to a new version of Windows, as it allows you to have an untainted experience, devoid of any issues that can crop up as a result of an upgrade. Here is how you can make a clean install of Windows 10.
A lot of things have changed in Windows 10, not least the way in which updates are delivered. Now that Windows 10 has been officially released and is gradually spreading around the globe, more and more people are starting to discover that the latest version of Microsoft's operating system is using more bandwidth than expected.
Windows 10 uses a P2P-style system called Windows Update Delivery Optimization (WUDO) which means that once your computer has downloaded an update it can be shared to not only other computers on your network, but also other people online. While it makes sense to share updates to your own computers, you might well resent giving up your bandwidth to others. Thankfully, it's easy to disable internet-wide WUDO.
When you go into File Explorer in Windows 10 you’ll see a selection of your most frequently accessed folders, and 20 of the most recently opened files.
This is useful if you want quick access to content you’ve been using recently, but if you don’t want all of these links cluttering up File Explorer you can hide the view, or disable it entirely.
The new Action Center keeps you informed about what’s going on in Windows 10, providing a single place for all of the notifications from Windows and installed apps, and also informing you about new emails, instant messages, Facebook updates, and much more.
Notifications flash up on screen and come from all sorts of places, and if you’re not careful, you can easily find yourself bombarded with alerts. Fortunately it’s easy to trim down which notifications you see.
Hooray, Windows 10 has a Start menu. It may not be the Start menu you were hoping for (Windows 7 users I’m looking at you), but it’s there, and easily customized.
You can change the colors, transparency effect, and size and position of the tiles. If you don’t want the tiled interface you can turn this off, and just have a straightforward Windows 7-style menu. Here’s what you can do.
Obviously Microsoft’s Edge browser is the new default choice in Windows 10, and it’s definitely worth giving it a try. I’ve found it to be speedy and surprisingly good. Persevere long enough and you might grow to like it as I have.
That said, if you prefer to use Chrome or Firefox, with all the add-ons and customizations in place, I really couldn’t blame you. Edge isn’t (yet) as flexible, and if you already use Google or Mozilla’s browser for syncing content between devices, then it makes sense to use the same browser in Windows 10. Here’s how to setup a rival browser as the default option.
Windows 10's new modern web browser comes with Bing as its default search engine. This will, of course, surprise absolutely no one. Some people will be more than happy with that choice, but others will prefer to switch to using something different. Like Google.
The process isn’t especially intuitive but it is very straightforward and won’t take more than a few seconds of your time. Here’s how to do it.
Like Windows 8.x, Windows 10 has been designed with security in mind and requires you to log in before you can start using it. That’s fine, and sensible, but if you’re the only person using your PC, and you’re confident that no one will be able to use it without your permission, or break in to your home and steal it, you might want to skip this stage.
The process of doing so is the same as in Windows 8, and is very simple without the need for registry hacks or complicated trickery.
As someone who grew up in the 80's and 90's, I was a huge fan of the sitcom "Home Improvement". If you aren't familiar, the premise was that the father / TV host, played by Tim Allen, would often hurt himself and cause damage in an attempt to get "more power". Yes, he was always trying to squeeze additional power from machines, much like computer enthusiasts and gamers do nowadays.
Unlike the sitcom, however, more power with computers does not have to result in injury, but it does often cause damage to one's wallet. Today, Kingston HyperX announces the world's fastest 128GB DDR4 Memory Kit. Not yet available to consumers, the RAM is insanely fast and will likely be very expensive when it hits the market.
If you want to install Windows from scratch, you have two choices -- you can install the OS from a CD/DVD or from a USB flash drive. The latter is the better option, especially as optical drives are becoming something of a rarity these days.
The process of creating a bootable USB flash drive for Windows 7, 8.1 or 10, is quick and easy. Here’s how to do it.
When building a computer, there are areas where you should try to save money, and others where you shouldn't. A budget power supply? Probably a bad idea. Generic no-name RAM? Just say no. A case? Bingo. When looking to save money, the case, for the most part, will not affect performance or stability. You can find an inexpensive ugly or cheaply-made case with decent cooling.
Today, X2 announces a full-tower PC case that is not only affordable, but sexy as hell too. Seriously, the design is very futuristic, giving a premium look at a fairly budget price.
The latest Windows 10 release, Build 10049, comes with Microsoft’s new browser, Project Spartan. The software giant describes the new app as being built for the modern web, with a design that’s "streamlined and puts the focus on the page, not the browser". My colleague Mark Wilson, has a different view, describing it as "fat, chunky, and devoid of style and features".
While you can launch Project Spartan directly from the Start menu, Internet Explorer remains the default web browser in the new build. You can easily change this behavior though.
Can’t find your Windows 7 disc but need it to do a fresh install or run a copy of Windows in a virtualized environment? The obvious solution is to download a copy of the operating system in ISO format.
Oddly though, Microsoft has avoided offering Windows 7 ISOs for download -- the only solution previously was to grab a copy from Digital River, Microsoft’s official content delivery partner for Windows 7. That’s all changed now though, as a new Microsoft Software Recovery center lets you download Windows 7 directly from the software giant itself.
With today’s rapid pace of technological change and consumer-centric culture it’s easy to throw out your laptop or PC as soon as a shinier, flashier model comes along. The problem is: there’s always a faster, more up-to-date version waiting just around the corner.
However, you can save the environment, and your bank balance, from taking any extra strain by following these tips to get some extra life out of an older computer.