Windows 10 has been available for three months now, and users are, by in large, satisfied with the results they are seeing from Microsoft’s newest operating system. In fact, most users who were running the eschewed Windows 8 and 8.1, updated to the new OS’ before the first service pack release, a practice that is not all that normal. Since it is a free upgrade, and with Windows 8 and 8.1’s shortcomings, it isn’t too surprising that users are flocking to the new OS like fans to an Eagles game on Sunday.
Out of the box (or the digital equivalent), the OS works pretty well, but here are 3 tips that can make your Windows 10 experience that much better:
Set Up (and Use) Cortana
Microsoft’s personal assistant application, Cortana, comes pre-installed with Windows 10 and incorporates some of the best functions that Google Now, and Apple’s “Siri”, have to offer. If used to it’s full potential, Cortana can be a highly effective tool to help you tackle everyday task, such as reminding you to take out the trash when you pull in the driveway, or asking a friend how their vacation was the next time they contact you. It has many other functions as well, such as composing an email to any of your contacts through voice activation and narration, or creating reminders and calendar events on the fly, without disruption while you’re checking emails or surfing the web.
Cortana also learns your interest, dislikes, and habits, like routes you take to work, so it can suggest when to leave your location based on traffic information, or suggest restaurants nearby based on the kind of food you like and what prices your comfortable paying. With it’s multi-platform integration and synchronization across devices, it’s literally like having a virtual personal assistant wherever you are on any device you’re using.
Customize the Start Menu
Windows 10’s start menu combines the live tile technology of Windows 8 with the traditional start menu of previous versions of Windows, giving users, especially touchscreen users, a comprehensive interface in which to launch programs and find settings.
To set up the start menu, you have to ascertain what applications you want to show up as live tiles. Once you do this you can simply go to the list and right click an application to pin it to your start menu, you then can alter the size of the tile to meet your aesthetic requirements. This provides users with touchscreens a easy-to-navigate interface. There are more options available from the Settings > Personalization > Start page interface, including an option to re-enable the full screen Start page. You can also toggle apps on or off in your start menu, customizing the interface to your liking.
Set Up (and Use) OneDrive Integration
OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage platform, and it integrates fluidly with Windows 10. While this was also the case on Windows 8.1, setting it up for your new Windows 10 will go a long way toward optimizing your computer for use because of it’s sync feature. If you have a Windows 10 tablet (like the popular Microsoft Surface Pro 3), setting up your OneDrive will sync your system settings with your mobile devices to give you a static computing interface on every platform.
OneDrive also integrates with Microsoft Office 365; one of the world’s most popular productivity suites. In fact, by using the service, Microsoft offers 1TB of cloud storage. Users are also able to set up OneDrive to access files stored there from other mobile devices and set your home or work PC to fetch files that aren’t saved to OneDrive. You can do this by right-clicking the cloud icon on the Windows 10 taskbar and choose “Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on the PC.”
Windows 10 has all the makings of a useful OS, and has many options users can play around with to get the most secure, efficient, and pleasing computing experience for their specific needs. A free upgrade from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1, combined with new features like the all new Edge browser, Xbox integration, Android integration and new keyboard shortcuts make Windows 10 a definite upgrade option for every PC user.