Windows 10 Guide Updated: 06/25/18

Introduction

About Windows 10:

  • Windows 10 has been around for almost three years at this point. According to Microsoft, Windows 10 is operating on nearly a half billion devices.
  • Windows has completed the transition from being shrink-wrapped software to "software as a service", in which you, as a Windows 10 user, will automatically receive an upgraded version at no cost about two times a year, instead of buying a new version every 5 years or so. Windows 10 has already gone through several such major upgrades, which Microsoft calls "feature updates". The current feature update is the so-called "Windows 10 April 2018 Update" (Windows 1803).
  • Windows 10 introduced a number of new (or new to Windows) features and capabilities. Among them are: a new browser, called Microsoft Edge (Internet Explorer 11 is also there, relegated to Windows Accessories); Cortana, a "personal assistant", to help you keep track of things and find information; Windows Hello, a built-in capability to allow your device to recognize you biometrically without needing to supply a password (yes, your laptop will recognize your face); changes to Windows Update which will enforce installation of updates - you'll have less control over the process, which can be both a blessing and a curse.
  • If you choose to make full use of Windows 10 in all its features, you will be entering into a closer relationship with Microsoft than in any previous version of Windows. In essence, parts of Windows 10's feature set reside on Microsoft's servers, or at least require ongoing interaction with them - in particular: Cortana, inking, Defender, and a range of features involved in what Microsoft calls "telemetry". You'll find more details on exactly what this means throughout this website.
  • Windows 10 was designed to be a single operating system for a variety of devices: desktops, laptops, tablets (including "3-in-1" devices), smart phones, XBox, and "mixed reality" devices. Windows 10 also supports touchscreen monitors. This collapsing of operating system software into a unified version has resulted in some design compromises, such as the stripped-down, "Modern" appearance of Windows. Screens that are well-designed for a mobile device may seem overly expansive on a desktop with a large monitor, resulting in more scrolling.