About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

August 25, 2015

Windows 10, Part 1

As I mentioned for the last few weeks – today we will start the journey into Windows 10.

Visit Microsoft

It has had plenty of time to be tested.  Microsoft officially announced “Windows 10” (W10) on September 2014.  Then they started public beta testing or “Technical Preview” in October 2014.  If you have been paying any attention you realize that it was released to the public through a free roll out about three weeks ago on July 29, 2015.  It now comes on all new retail Windows computers.  This is supposedly the last version of Windows to come out, no more XP, Vista, 8.1, 7, etc.  W10 will be updated when needed.

Well, have you taken the plunge yet?  I have asked readers who have installed it to send me questions over the past weeks.  I have received many, so thanks!  Keep them cards and letters rollin’ in!

From my own experience, I have applied W10 to all of my computers, except company owned work systems.  That would be four computers I have updated.  There were no real problems.  However, one of my very old “experimental” systems ran very slowly with 10. I need to note that it also ran very slowly with anything past XP.  I ended up removing 10 from that and putting back Ubuntu which I had previously.


July 7, 2015

Windows 10, Part 3

Here are a few more features for Windows 10 that we did not talk about last week. 

First today is "Cortana." You may already be familiar with some of its ancestors, Siri, on the Apple platform and "OK, Google" on Android devices.  It was named after Cortana, for all of you non-gamers out there, an artificial intelligence character in Microsoft’s Halo video game series.

Cortana is your personal digital assistant and is available across all Windows platforms.  This means it will work on your Windows computer, tablet and phones.

Cortana is located in the Taskbar and will take your voice instructions and give you voice notifications.  It can add appointments to your calendar, dictate emails, send those messages, play music when you tell it too, etc. After it alerts you to an appointment it will remain quiet until something else happens it needs to remind you about. Cortana can also be turned off if you do not like using it.

Another interesting new feature is called "Universal Apps."  This will allow you to install an application on your computer, tablet, phone and even Xbox and it will run on all of your platforms exactly the same.  Along with another feature, "Continuum" it will automatically be the correct size including menu buttons, etc. so that the apps will even appear identically presented on all Windows devices.

OK, some cool stuff is coming; however, several things are going away.  One is Windows Media Center.  This means that without a third party application installed you cannot watch a DVD/Blue-Ray on your computer.  It already vanished in W8 but if you were like most people you did not use Windows 8.

Of course, I never liked WMC so I would suggest you install VLC Player ( – free).  VLC works better, quicker, and can play any type of video file that I have ever thrown at it.  There are many other good video players out there and possibly Microsoft will have one to recommend, but for me it is VLC and has been for many years. 

If you have used Desktop Gadgets in the past they are now gone.  I used them and liked them.  I guess you could substitute the new Live Tiles in W10 for some of them.  If you still want gadgets I suggest you install 8GadgetPack ( – free).  I have enjoyed using it on my Windows 8 computer since they were also missing in that version.   

The next piece of semi-bad news for you is that the games are gone from Windows 10 including Solitaire, Hearts and Minesweeper along with the rest.  It really bothers me since Solitaire was put in to the first Windows version only to teach people how to use a mouse.  And era has ended. 

Do not be excessively distraught, you can download the new and improved versions from the new Windows Store if you really miss them.  Then you can get back to goofing off instead of working just as you did in the past.

Let me know when Windows 10 comes out if you have any other questions.  Ones that are helpful to everyone will appear here.

Windows 10 Start Menu

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