"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Friday, July 31, 2015

Upgrading to Windows 10: Information Worth Checking Out

As of Wednesday, Windows 10 has started to roll out for free to anyone with an authenticated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8. The roll-out will occur in waves so when you can get your free copy might be from now to weeks from now. There are ways to get it early (link below) but really you might as well just wait for it to happen as Microsoft is still bug hunting. For many the question is "should I upgrade, even for free". The short answer is yes. The long answer is still yes but it can' wait. The key reason is those (mostly minor) bugs. If you don't have the patience for inexplicable problems, give it a few months. Also if your current computer that might get upgraded is critical for say work or other important tasks also wait just in case. If you are using an older version of Windows, say XP etc then chances are you have a really old computer. Upgrading will cost you money ($120 for Home, $200 for Pro) so you might as well just wait until you are ready to buy a new computer. Below are links to key bits of information and tips for Windows 10.

- Key improvements overview - If on the fence, hit the link to see if some of the Win10 improvements are worth it.

- Ten New Things in Win10 - A look at a few of the new features of the OS.

- Win10 Privacy Settings: A run through of the different tweaks you can make to adjust your privacy in the OS.

- Up Now Instead of Waiting on Push - A walk through to get Windows 10 now rather than waiting for whenever Microsoft decides it is your turn.

- Five settings to check: Just some basic settings to setup to your preferences.

- More Tweaks: More suggestions to tweak preferences on Win10.

- Customize Win10 Start Menu - Run though on how to tweak the look, size and contents of the Start Menu

- Cortana Overview - Run through on type of questions can ask Cortana, which is Microsoft's version of Siri and Google Voice.

- Change your default browser: Its not as easy as it used to be, partly for security and partly cause MS would prefer you used their new Edge browser (which is getting rave reviews).

- Stream XBox One to your Windows 10 PC: This assumes you have very good network at your location (may not work well with wi-fi) as it is data intensive (through your router, the info doesn't go through your service provider).

- Disable Bing Search in Start Menu: If you don't want Cortana to provide results from the web along with local computer files, it might be worth cutting this off.

- Replacement Start Menu programs do work: If you just prefer the Windows 7 Start Menu, programs like Classic Start and Win8 (now Win10) still work.

- Delete old builds to free up disk space: After the update this might be useful if you have a computer with limited disk space.

- Best Win10 keyboard shortcuts - I almost never bother with keyboard shortcuts (even though they are useful). For those that do, hit the link.

- Disable sharing wi-fi passwords - In theory this is a good idea as makes it easy for friends and family to join your home wi-fi network. In practice though its best for you to retain complete control on who does join so I recommend cutting this off.

- Cut off sharing Windows 10 Updates: This is actually a good idea for getting people updates even faster but in practice most of us can't keep this own due to ISPs doing bandwidth caps. If your service provider charges by data usage definitely cut this off. As an aside, the tiers program are a complete lie designed to generate profit while costing the ISPs virtually nothing so don't let them or the politicians fool you on its necessity.

- Clean Install Windows 10: Instructions if you want to upgrade and completely install Win10 from scratch.

- Do Not Install The Windows DVD Player: Win10 does not come with a built in DVD player. Which is good because Windows Media Player and Apple's Quicktime both suck. But so does MS charging $15 for an app when you can buy an even better player for free. Instead of that crap, get VLC for free. If you are determined to spend some money, just donate to VLC.

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