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Q & A: User Questions, Tech Answers! Windows 10 Edition

In our ongoing mission to help make your technology easier, we like to provide you with tools and knowledge to make your computer interaction more “user friendly”. This special edition of our Q & A Series focuses on Windows 10 and what’s new and/or different from Windows 7 in basic operation. We’ll delve into more advanced topics in a later post.

The Details

What is Windows 10?

WIndows 10 is the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system; the successor to the popular Windows 7 and the interim Windows 8\8.1. Windows 10 was initially offered as a FREE upgrade to owners of Windows 7 or higher. Unfortunately that offer ended July 29, 2016. The only way to upgrade to Windows 10 available now is to purchase, either on a device or as a full version of the software. A discounted “upgrade” version of Windows 10 will not be for sale.


Do I need a product key to install Windows 10?

According to Microsoft, if you previously upgraded a system that was running a properly activated copy of Windows 7 (Home or Professional) or Windows 8.1 (Core or Pro), you have a “digital license,” which means that the Microsoft servers recognize the specific hardware and will activate the corresponding edition automatically.


What’s New?

The majority of users moving to version 10 are upgrading from Windows 7, so that’s the perspective of this post. When you set up Windows 10 for the first time, it wants you to log in with (or create) a Microsoft account, similar to what OSX or Chrome users have to do. You don’t have to do so if you choose not too; you can create a normal, local, Windows user account. Keep in mind though that some Windows 10 features require a Microsoft account to use.


The biggest and most obvious change in Windows 10 is the once familiar Start Menu. In a word, tiles. The Start Menu now has customizable “live tiles” that display when you access the menu. But, don’t worry. You can remove all the live tiles if you don’t like them by right-clicking them and removing them. The Start Menu looks kind of different, but it has all the usual features you’d come to expect from Windows. Including a list of all your apps and power options for shutting down or restarting your PC. The Menu can be resized by clicking and dragging any edge.


Settings (Control Panel)

Choosing “Settings” from the Start Menu will take you to the Settings App (instead of the Control Panel), which gives you access to the most commonly modified or utilized settings. It does not contain all of the settings, but the familiar Control Panel is still there, just not as obvious as it once was. Older settings may only be available in the Control Panel, while some newer settings may only be available in the Settings app. To access the Control Panel and other advanced options, you can right click the Start button or press Windows Key + X.


Edge (Internet Explorer)

Windows 10 marks the end of Internet Explorer (IE – it’s still available, for backward compatibility). With this version of Windows, IE has been replaced with a new browser called Edge as the default Windows browser. Microsoft says it should be more compliant and perform better (i.e less of a resource hog). It no longer supports ActiveX controls, so old Internet Explorer toolbars and browser plug-ins will no longer function.



Windows 10 has a voice operated assistant called “Cortana”. With Cortana you can operate many of Windows functions by voice commands. You can also use it for Internet searches and ask Cortana questions that she answers back to you. Microsoft calls “her” a “knowledge navigator”.



Moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10 may seem like unfamiliar territory, but the learning curve is actually shallower than it looks. All of the functions you are used to are still there, but they may be located in new areas or renamed, or even combined into a new function. Users of Windows 8 and 8.1 will notice minor differences that are almost all improvements. Most Windows 7 users who give 10 a chance will ultimately come around to like the new operating system.


Geek Easy Computers can help make your move to Windows 10 even easier. If you are thinking about upgrading, give us a call and we can assist you with the upgrade and any possible compatibility issues. We want to make your technology easier!


me_smile Adonis Pointer is a photographer, a collector of vintage razors, and a certified technology geek!
Adonis has been involved in computer technology since well, a LONG time! He has been involved in nearly every aspect of the industry from sales to repair to training to consulting. As the Social Media Manager he writes the majority of the posts on the Geek Easy Computers blog.


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