Have you heard that a new version of Windows is on the way? Here’s what you should tell your Windows 8-owning pals when they ask what you can do with the new Windows 10 that they can’t accomplish on their own computers. These are some of the most useful new features and functionalities introduced to Microsoft’s all-encompassing operating system.
1. Get chatty with Cortana
Cortana is now available on the desktop! You can ask her questions about the weather or renowned pop singers, get directions home, make reminders, and more—you can even get her to switch Windows settings like wifi and Bluetooth on or off, just like on the Windows Phone. To get started, go to the Start menu and choose Cortana (the “Hello Cortana!” voice activation function is optional).
2. Snap windows to corners
You’re living in the past if you still limit your window snaps to either side of the screen—since July 29, the window has been all about quadrants. To pin open windows to a certain quarter of the screen, drag them into the corners of the screen or use the Windows key+cursor key keyboard shortcuts. Of course, you may still snap windows side by side.
3. Analyze the storage space on your PC
If you wanted to take a close look at the structure of files and discs on your system before Windows 10, you had to use a third-party program. There’s a built-in utility in Windows 10: By typing “storage” in the taskbar search box and selecting the Storage option, you can see exactly what types of files (such as music or videos) are taking up hard drive space.
4. Add a new virtual desktop
Virtual desktops have finally arrived on Windows, allowing advanced users to distribute their applications over several displays (the taskbar and desktop shortcuts remain consistent over all of them). To bring up an overview of your desktops, click the Task View icon on the taskbar (or press Windows key+Tab). You may add new ones or delete current ones.
5. Use a fingerprint instead of a password
This is a feature of the Windows Hello biometric platform, and whether you can use it depends on the brand and model of the machine you’re using with Windows 10. It enables facial recognition and even iris scanning, so if computer makers are willing to integrate this sort of hardware into their computers, Microsoft’s new operating system will be able to handle it.
6. Manage your notifications
Windows 10 has a redesigned Action Center, which is located on the right-hand side of the screen and displays a stream of all alerts received from any program (no more wondering exactly what Dropbox said while you were looking out of the window). To open and customize the notifications icon (a speech bubble) on the system tray, click it.
7. Switch to a dedicated tablet mode
Windows 8 attempted to cram a tablet mode and a desktop mode into one unwieldy package, but the new Windows 10 interface is much more civilized. To manually switch to tablet mode or exit it, open the aforementioned Action Center. Even if you have a mouse and keyboard connected, you may choose to utilize the stripped-down tablet mode.
8. Stream Xbox One games
Although streaming games from one location to another isn’t a new concept, Microsoft’s connection between the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs may be the greatest use of the technology yet. You can stream your Xbox One gameplay to your laptop or desktop upstairs if the kids wish to utilize the large screen in the living room (if your home network can cope).
9. Run Microsoft Edge
Microsoft’s new stripped-down, streamlined browser is only available on Windows 10, and it won’t work on Windows 8 or earlier. Web page annotations, the clutter-free Reading View, and Cortana search integration are only available to Windows 10 users. It remains to be seen if this is enough to make Chrome or Firefox your default browser.
10. Put the Recycle Bin on the Start menu
For the first time (Windows 8 didn’t even have a Start menu), you can pin a Recycle Bin shortcut to the Start menu. From the taskbar, look for the Recycle Bin, right-click on the link that displays, and choose Pin to Start. You can do the same thing using File Explorer.
11. Share wifi passwords with your friends
The new Wi-Fi Sense option (under network settings) has sparked some debate, but it’s a simple method to allow visitors to use your house’s wifi while they’re there (and for you to use theirs in return). Your contacts will never see the password, but if they’re connected to you and have a Windows 10 device, they may begin surfing as soon as they walk through the door.
12. Find settings easily
Another area where Windows 10 outperforms Windows 8 in terms of displaying information to the user in settings. More important system settings have been relocated to the contemporary interface (search for Settings from the taskbar to get them), so you’ll spend less time looking for the Control Panel (through the old utilities and links are still there if you need them).
13. Set up Windows to work with iOS and Android
Microsoft has chosen to embrace iOS and Android, and the majority of its applications are now accessible on both platforms (Cortana apps are apparently imminent). Run the Phone Companion program from the Start menu to receive a step-by-step tutorial to make your iPhone 6 or LG G4 operate seamlessly with all of your Windows data and applications.
14. Run modern apps on the desktop
We’ve previously discussed how Microsoft is improving the tablet vs. desktop experience in Windows 10, but another enhancement in this new OS is the ability to run contemporary (aka Metro) applications in both windowed and full-screen mode. The applications themselves have also been updated, so if you didn’t like the Windows 8 versions, they’re worth a second look.