Windows 10 has been around a few months now, and it's apparent that Microsoft worked hard to take the best features from Windows 7 and 8, while weeding out some of the not-so popular ones to create the latest software build.
Unfortunately, as it is with every operating system upgrade, there's a bit of learning curve involved when it comes to mastering Windows 10. In order to help you get up to speed, we've detailed some tips and tricks worth knowing.
We plan to update this piece over time as more bits are discovered, so keep tuning in.
Start button and Metro integration
One of the first things you'll notice about Windows 10 is that the "Metro" interface is gone. Although, not completely.
Opening the start menu brings back the interactive Live Tiles from Metro in the traditional Windows (7 and prior) start menu. It adds alot more cohesion now so that you don't need to switch back and forth between the desktop and the Metro. You can still right click any app here to resize, unpin, turn Live Tiles on or off, or uninstall outright.
Fortunately, if you happened to be a big fan of the Metro interface, you can still access it via the action center icon in the lower right > activate tablet mode > Windows button in the lower left.
The action center (accessible under the icon in the bottom right of the task bar) serves as a hub for quite a few settings and features. Most notably - the list of actions that require your attention. You'll see updates for various apps here.
OneNote is quickly accessable here, and it reminds you that all notes are saved automatically. Settings and VPN settings can be accessed from here, as well as the Quiet Hours tile (presumably to use while you're reading or watching a video, as it will prevent any notification popups while active).
Including a digital assistant directly into Windows is new territory for Microsoft, but Cortana may become central to your daily use. Cortana is present right in the task bar, and can be used to search by saying "Hey, Cortana" when you enable the setting (also, it only works if you have a microphone).
To enable "Hey, Cortana", swipe from the right (or tap the Notifications icon in the Windows 10 System Tray) to reveal the new Action Center (Notifications), then tap the All Settings option. On the Settings screen, open System, then go to Cortana & Search, open the customise Cortana. From there, switch on the toggle for "Hey, Cortana".
Cortana also shows you the news, weather, local restaurants, etc. You can use Cortana to set up reminders for upcoming events as well, and sort by person, place, or time. If you set a time for the reminder, a window will pop up in the lower right corner and prompt you to snooze the event or mark it as complete.
Enable Cortana in Microsoft Edge
Cortana is integrated into the new browser, Microsoft Edge, as well.
You can search right from the taskbar, and a variety of results will appear for either a web search or the app store. She handles all kinds of searches very well, and is able to bring up appropriate results for searches like "Netflix" (shows the app store first) or "Photos of Pluto" (opens up Edge and displays top recent images of Pluto).
Just click the Cortana search bar on the Windows taskbar, and then provide your name to set Cortana up. You can also ensure the feature is enabled by clicking/tapping the menu button in Edge, then selecting “View advanced settings” near the bottom of the pane, and toggling the "Have Cortana assist me in Microsoft Edge" option.
Task view and multiple desktops
Multiple desktops are finally a part of windows, which is extremely helpful in managing many open windows.
Click the icon right next to the Cortana search bar to open it up. You'll see the task view with all your currently open windows and each desktop you have open below. Click the "+" sign to the lower right to add a new desktop, and then drag windows to them to organise your work spaces.
There are a slew of new shortcuts that come with Windows 10. The most notable one are useful for having multiple windows open at once: use the windows key+directional keys (up, down, left, right) to snap each window to a different side of the screen, or even four quadrants.
Use Windows+Tab to open the task view/multiple desktops. Some of the shortcuts get a little intense, but you can use Windows+Control+ Left or Right to cycle through your current multiple desktops. Use Windows+Control+D to create a new desktop, and Windows+Control+F4 to close your currently open desktop.
Command Prompt options
Command prompt got some much needed love this time around. Just right-click the title bar to see properties, and you'll notice you can now use copy/paste short cuts in command prompt instead of retyping everything.
In the file explorer, you'll see quick access. This will list the most commonly-visited folders, along with the standard set documents, downloads, pictures, etc.
Peer-to-Peer Windows Updates
Another subtle feature that allows you to download updates much faster - as long as you enable it.
If you've gotten tired of delaying updates by specific intervals in the past, that issue has been solved. You can now select a specific time to perform your updates all at once.
Tame your notifications
Under Settings > System, you can manage all your notification options in one place. Every single app can be disabled if you're just not a notification person, including the built-in things, such as Calendar and Cortana.