How to Get Started With Windows 10
Windows 10 is currently the latest version of Microsoft’s groundbreaking operating system. It’s innovative features and the accessible interface makes it the most popular system choice amongst millions of computer users.
Whether you purchased a new PC or just upgraded an older system to Windows 10, this guide will help you in getting started.
Please note that this guide focuses on using Windows 10 on a desktop or a laptop computer. If you’re currently using a tablet or a computer with a touch screen, some things may work a bit differently on your end.
Signing in to Windows 10
When setting up your device, you’re asked to create or log in with a Microsoft account, or make a local user account. This is important because every time you turn your computer on, you'll see the Windows 10 lock screen. Here is where your user account comes into play.
Windows 10 allows multiple user accounts to be set up on one computer, allowing you to use the device alongside family or team members.
When powering your computer on, you’ll need to select your own user account from the lock screen, enter the correct password, and proceed with signing in.
Having multiple accounts separates your personal files from others, and allows you to get the most out of a computer with the people you trust.
The Windows 10 interface
Once you sign in, you’ll see the Desktop and other key parts of the Windows 10 interface.
We’ve broken down everything you need to know about the interface below.
You can buy Windows 10 Home product key here.
The desktop itself is one of the main interfaces you’ll be using when operating on Windows 10.
It can be customized with a background (after you activate your license), and stores useful shortcuts to files, folders, and applications.
If you want to learn more about how to customize your desktop and interface, read our How to Personalize Windows 10 article.
The Recycling bin is a shortcut on the Desktop. This is where all your deleted files go before they’re permanently removed from the computer.
If you accidentally deleted a file you want to keep, you can always recover it using this bin. You can also permanently delete files by clearing the bin.
Folders on Windows 10 work the same as they do in other systems. You can store files, folders, and shortcuts in them in an organized manner.
When you double click on a folder, you open it and reveal all of its contents in a special program called the File Explorer, also known as Windows Explorer.
We talk more about the File Explorer in the How to navigate Windows 10 section below.
The taskbar is the long bar that runs across the bottom of your screen. It contains applications and other interface elements that you usually want to be able to access quickly, at any given moment. The taskbar is made up of the following elements from left to right.
The Start menu reveals one of the most important menus in Windows. You can get access to system settings, your list of installed applications, as well as live tiles.
Search and Cortana
If you want to quickly find a file, setting, or application, use the search function. By default, the virtual assistant Cortana is also turned on, allowing you to use your microphone and give verbal instructions. A more detailed description of the search can be found in the Search on Windows 10 section below.
Each application or folder you open appears in your taskbar when active. This is used to allow you to switch between open windows, or pin specific things to the taskbar for quick access.
System tray and Action center
The system tray contains icons such as volume, network, and other app icons running in the background. Next to it is the Action Center, where you’ll find application notifications and quick actions such as toggling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Tablet mode, and so on.
Date and time
On the far right side of the taskbar, you will see the current date and time.
How to navigate Windows 10
When navigating your system, you’ll primarily use a combination of the File Explorer, Taskbar icons, and the Desktop. In this section, we’ll be taking a more detailed look at the File Explorer itself.
The File Explorer’s Quick Access toolbar allows you to quickly get to your most often used folders. By default, the Desktop, Downloads, Documents, and Pictures folders are pinned there for you to reach with a single click. You can also pin your own folders here, and see your most frequently used folders.
Below are more useful shortcuts such as OneDrive, This PC where you find your drives, Network, and Homegroup.
Search on Windows 10
The search bar in your taskbar allows you to quickly locate applications, files, and even system settings. You can use it by clicking on it and simply typing in what you’re looking for. Then, the system will look for your query and return the best match as the result.
If you have Cortana enabled, you can use it to search as well. Simply tell Cortana to search for something, and it will automatically perform the function for you.
Change Windows 10 settings
Windows 10 has a plethora of settings for you to customize and adjust for the best experience. You can do this from the Settings app, which can be opened by clicking on the Start menu and choosing the Settings icon indicated by a gear.
Alternatively, press the Windows key + I on the keyboard to bring up the same window with a shortcut.
If you’re familiar with older versions of Windows, you might recall the Control Panel. This interface is still available in Windows 10, all you have to do is search for it using the functions we previously described.
Shut down your computer
There are various ways to give your computer a rest. Bring up the Start menu and click on the Power button to easily Shut down, Sign out, or put your computer to Sleep mode.
We hope this article helped you with how to get started with Windows 10. If you want to learn more about the system, we recommend jumping to our Personalize Windows 10 article or backtrack to our main Windows 10 tutorials page to find your next lesson.
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