Windows 10 Essentials Tutorial
Windows 10 Essentials Tutorial
This tutorial covers the main steps to get started with learning how to use Windows 10 (now an essential upgrade from Windows 7 & 8). Also covered, are ways of personalising Windows 10, productivity tips to boost work performance, and ways to keep a computer secure.
Updated: 1st July 2018
Computer users can be divided into five categories:
- Home user
- Small office/Home office users
- Mobile users
- Large business users
- Power users.
This guide is aimed at the Home User – Families, school and college Students and Seniors.
A Home user spends time on the computer for personal and social/business communications, budgeting and personal financial management, entertainment, and general web browsing.
When starting Windows 10 for the first time you now have to make a choice between using a Local Account or a Microsoft Account. With a Local Account, you only have access to the computer you are currently using. While with a Microsoft Account, you can set it up to give access to all your Windows 10 devices like Desktop, Laptops and Microsoft Tablets and Smartphones.
While a Local Account works much the same as in previous versions of Windows, a Microsoft Account also gives streamlined access to the Windows Store, Onedrive and also allows you sync your settings across all devices. When logging in just with a local Account, you will still need a Microsoft Account to access Windows Store and Onedrive.
If you have ever used Microsoft services like Xbox Live, Hotmail, Outlook.com, OneDrive or Windows Messenger, then you already have a Microsoft Account. Microsoft has simply combined all of their services together and allows you access them all with a single account.
- Access to the Windows Store - Signing in to Windows 8/8.1 or 10 gives you access to the new Windows Store where you can download modern apps to your Windows 8 computer. These modern apps are similar to the apps you see in the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store. The difference is Windows Store apps can be used on your PC like regular desktop apps
- Free Cloud Storage – you automatically get access to Onedrive where you will have 5GB of free storage available. Once signed-up, you will be able to access your stored files from all devices running Windows 10 including tablets and mobile phones.
- Sync your Windows Settings – First of all, set-up your main computer with your preferred wallpaper, themes, update settings, Start screen tile layout and language preferences. So when you login to another Windows device with the same Microsoft Account, your settings will automatically be configured for you. Obviously, this could be a privacy concern for some users as the data could include browser history, favourites and passwords.
- Encouraging users to reveal usage information – Microsoft has come under criticism for opting users into some privacy options by default when the express setup is used during installation of Windows 10. In section below Setting windows 10 privacy when using Microsoft Account, these default settings can be set quickly for optimum privacy so you can use a Microsoft Account with more confidence.
When you first start Windows 10, it is usually better to create a local account to get up and running as a Microsoft Account requires an active internet connection on first use. You then have to decide if it is worth switching to a Microsoft Account.
If you only have one computer, you have no interest in Windows Store Apps and you don’t need access to your files outside your home, then a local account will be fine. While if you are interested in new features of Windows 10 then you will need a Microsoft Account to take full advantage of them.
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The Windows 10 Start menu is a hybrid of the old Windows 7 Start menu and the Windows 8 Start screen. Anything you could do from the either of those menus can now be done in the Windows 10 Start menu.
The new Start menu is made up of several areas which have been numbered in the screenshot below.
Area 1 – Most used programs – This is where your most frequently run programs will be placed. If there is an arrow next to them, you can click on it and a ‘Jump List’ will open. This is usually a list of files that this program has recently opened.
Area 2 – Recently added Programs or Apps – which have been installed from the Windows Store or through the Desktop.
Area 3 – Common Tasks – these are shortcuts to commonly used tasks.
Area 4 – All Apps – This section allows you to browse all the Programs and Apps on your PC in alphabetical order.
Area 5 – Tiles – Each of the tiles on the right of the Start menu represents an App from the Windows store. The pictures/text on the tiles may constantly change depending on the App unlike traditional icons which are usually static. You can pin shortcuts to desktop programs and add more Apps to this area. If you have more tiles than will fit on the Start menu, a scroll bar will appear on the right so you can scroll down to see more tiles.
Area 6 – User Account – In this section you can logout or switch user.
Understanding how to work with files and folders is an important part of using your computer. Once you understand how files and folder work, you'll use them all the time.
Check out link below to learn the absolute basics of working with files, including how to open files, move your files into folders, and delete files.
Alternatively, if you prefer to watch a short training video, click on this link…
Note: The best all-round video player is VLC, which can be downloaded from this link…
Set-up User accounts for All Computer users
To learn how to Create a New User Account in Windows 10, check out this tutorial…
Check speed of internet connection and compare with advertised speed
Check the speed of your internet connection and compare result with the advertised speed of the broadband deal that you have signed up for.
To find out the download and upload speed of your internet connection, check out this website…
Create copy of your Music collection on portable drive
Create a synchronised copy of your MP3 music collection on a backup drive using Allway sync, which can be downloaded from this website…
Windows 10 is designed to facilitate both leisure and work pursuits. In this section of lesson, I demonstrate some of the more useful productivity features to facilitate getting their work done, be it for study, home admin or for a business.
The following Windows 10 productivity features are demonstrated:
- Windows Task View – Win + Tab Key
- Virtual Desktops
- Managing multiple running Programs/Apps inc Hiding/Restoring all Windows, Snapping, Pinning to Taskbar, Jump Lists
- Onedrive - Saving, Syncing and Sharing Files
- Taking Screenshots to include when reporting a program error, recording screen from online course or for including in a report
Onedrive is a service which stores your files in the cloud, or in other words, on a server on the internet. It can be handy for backup of your important files and also for accessing your files on other computers or mobile devices.
Onedrive is integrated into Windows 10 so that there is a seamless use of the service, once it is up and running. So, as files are added or updated in Onedrive locally on your PC, those files are then synchronised with your Onedrive account in the cloud. Also, if you have another PC or mobile device running Windows 10, then these updated files are synchronised with it shortly after being changed on your main PC.
To learn how to use the main features of Onedrive, check out this tutorial…
Sharing of files and folders can only be done from the Onedrive website, check out this tutorial for further details…
Windows' built in Task Scheduler can enable you to run regularly occurring tasks on a schedule (as the name implies). You can create both simple and complex tasks, ranging from starting a program and sending an email to running complex scripts under specific conditions, all with just a few clicks.
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Windows 10 has built-in print screen option that works great for basic tasks, but many third-party programs offer more ease of use and features.
The Print Screen button on your keyboard can take a screenshot and save it as a file, take a screenshot of only one window (instead of the whole screen) or take a screenshot and save it as an image file.
To Take a regular Screenshot
Press “PrtScn” button, a screenshot of your currently active window will be copied to the clipboard. You can now paste it into your favourite image editor or document editor.
To take a screenshot of only one window, click on the title bar of the window that you want to capture. Press “Alt + PrtScn”, and a screenshot of your currently active window will be copied to the clipboard.
To Save Your Screenshot as an Image File
Press the “Windows logo key + PrtScn.” The screen will dim for a moment, and then you will see the screenshot appear as a file in a folder entitled “Screenshots”, inside your default “Pictures” folder. The screenshot is automatically labelled with a number, e.g Screenshot (1).png.
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Set-up two work sessions using Virtual Desktops and carry out sample tasks e.g producing your home budget and checking bank balance in session 1, while browsing recent photos with Xnview desktop app in session 2.
Import a selection of photos from your digital camera into My Pictures folder. Once that’s done, you should then copy the folder into Onedrive and share the link by email with a friend or family member.
The User Account Control (UAC) is a security feature that helps prevent unauthorised changes to your Windows 10 computer or device. These unauthorised changes can be initiated by users, apps, viruses, or other types of malware. UAC ensures that these changes are made only with the administrator’s approval. If these changes are not approved by the administrator, they will never be executed, and the system will remain unchanged.
To access User Account Control, follow the steps below:
- Click in the search box on the taskbar.
- Type ‘uac’
A list of search results appears.
- Click “Change User Account Control settings”.
The User Account Control Settings window appears.
- Set the UAC switch to the position you want.
Figure: User Account Control Settings with default set, which is shown in green in the full list below.
- Always notify.
The UAC prompt is shown when apps try to install software or make changes to your computer and when you try to change Windows settings. The Desktop is dimmed when a UAC prompt is shown.
- Notify me only when apps try to make changes to my computer (default)
This is the default setting for UAC. UAC prompts aren’t shown when you try to make changes to Windows settings. The Desktop is dimmed when a UAC prompt is shown.
- Notify me only when apps try to make changes to my computer (do not dim my desktop).
UAC prompts are not shown when you try to make changes to Windows settings, but the Desktop isn’t dimmed when a UAC prompt is shown.
- Never notify.
This is the equivalent of turning off UAC. It is not recommended that you use this setting.
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A firewall, at its most basic level, permits or denies communications between computers, between networks, or between computers and networks (for example, your home computer and the Internet) based on the firewall’s configuration rules. You can access the settings for Windows Firewall through the Network and Security section in the Control Panel.
Only connections that are explicitly allowed, using firewall rules, are permitted. Windows Firewall, by default, allows all outbound connections, and permits only established inbound connections (that is, an inbound connection that is in direct response to an outbound connection initiated from your computer or network).
To find out how to configure Windows Firewall, check out this tutorial…
Windows provides support for both antivirus and antispyware security, in a single program called Windows Defender. It offers both active and passive protection, and it’s regularly updated with new virus definitions, thanks to the Windows Update process.
Antivirus utilities such as Windows Defender feature two modes of operation:
Passive: In this mode, the program lurks in the background and monitors the computer’s activity, looking for malware.
Active: In this mode, the antivirus program probes all parts of the computer’s memory and storage system, looking for signs of infection. Active scans can be done manually, or they take place on a schedule.
Like other antivirus apps, Windows Defender automatically runs in the background, scanning files when they’re downloaded, transferred from external drives, and before you open them.
You don’t really have to think about Windows Defender at all. It will only pop up to inform you when it finds malware. It won’t even ask you what you want to do with the malicious software it finds—it just cleans things up and quarantines the files automatically.
To find out about other features of Windows Defender, check out this tutorial…
Security experts at AV-Test Institute rate antivirus programs on three criteria, Protection, Performance, and Usability. The antivirus can earn up to six points for each of these. For certification, a product needs a total of 10 points and no zeroes. Windows Defender got 5.0 points for Protection, 4.5 points for Performance, and 4.0 points for Usability, a total of 13.5 points. That's a passing grade, but not a high one. Kaspersky rated a perfect 18 points. Among free products, Avast, AVG AntiVirus Free, and Avira earned 16.0, 16.5, and 17.0 points respectively.
Above excerpt taken from the following article dated 17th Oct 2017…
In order to keep your computer secure, Microsoft automatically provides regular updates to your computer. These include important security updates, as well as new features.
To learn more about Windows Updates, check out this tutorial,
Check if windows Firewall is in use
Check the Windows Firewall settings on your home computer and see if it is active or is there a third-party firewall active instead.
With the rise of Cloud-based services, more and more computer users are putting the trust of their private data with remote servers. This is at a time when the security of online data has come into question following many high-profile breaches.
This should especially be a concern for Windows 10 users as it might surprise you to learn that Microsoft's makes it clear in its Privacy Statement of its intention to collect your data: when you create a Microsoft account, submit a search query to Bing, speak a voice command to Cortana, upload a document to OneDrive, or contact Microsoft for support.
You may be relieved to know that Windows 10 provides settings that allow you to choose what to share and what to keep private. The problem is, those settings are scattered all over Windows 10, so finding them all is time-consuming and not always that easy.
Don't panic, as there is a free tool called O&O ShutUp 10 which runs directly from your desktop and provides convenient access to the privacy settings you may want to examine and tweak.
Check this link below to discover how to use this tool so you choose what content you want to share with Microsoft…
Check this link, if you would like to know more about Windows 10 Privacy Settings…
One of the main uses of the Task Manager is to force close a program which has stopped responding to the mouse or keyboard. The Task Manager in Windows 10 is the same as Windows 8 and it shows much more information than the version in Windows 7.
The most popular way of starting Task Manager is to type CTRL-ALT-DEL keys and selecting the Task Manager option. You can also run it by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-ESC keys.
A program/app which has stopped responding will be marked as “Not responding”. So, if you cannot use a program and it is in a “frozen” state, select it from the list of apps in Task Manager and then click “End Task” button. Windows will then attempt to force the program to close. Any information that you were working with in your program that was not saved will probably be lost, but if the Program is no longer responding then this may be the only course of action to take.
Also in the screen above, you can see more details about the CPU, Disk and Network usage of all running processes. A process might be an application (either one on you Taskbar or hidden in the Notification area) a sub-system or a service managed by Windows 10.
The other tabs available in Task Manager are less frequently used but here are links to tutorials for further information:
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A power plan is a collection of hardware and system settings that manages how your computer uses power. Power plans can help you save energy, maximize system performance, or achieve a balance between the two.
Note: Changes made to a power plan will affect all users that have chosen the same power plan as their default active power scheme.
Windows 10 provides the following default plans:
- Balanced - Offers full performance when you need it and saves power when you don't. This is the best power plan for most people.
- Power saver - Saves power by reducing PC performance and screen brightness. If you're using a laptop, this plan can help you get the most from a single battery charge.
- High performance - Maximizes screen brightness and might increase PC performance. This plan uses a lot more energy, so your laptop battery won't last as long between charges.
- Custom power plan - These are only available if either your PC manufacturer (OEM) provided additional power plans, and/or you create a custom power plan. These are available to all users.
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You can use Disk Cleanup to reduce the number of unnecessary files on your drives, which can help your PC run faster. It can delete temporary files and system files, empty the Recycle Bin, and remove a variety of other items that you might no longer need.
To find out how to use Disk Cleanup, check this link…
System Restore is a way to undo system changes by using restore points to return your system files and settings to an earlier point in time without affecting your personal files.
System Restore uses a feature called system protection that regularly creates and saves information about your PC's drivers, programs, registry, system files, and settings as restore points. By default, it automatically creates a restore point every time you install new software or drivers, so you don't even have to set it up to take advantage.
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If you wish to learn about recovery options available in Windows 10 to help you overcome problems that occur while running your PC, check out this article…
If you're having problems with your PC, the following table can help you decide which recovery option to use.
|Problem||See this section below|
|Your PC isn't working well because of a recently installed app, driver, or update.||Restore from a system restore point|
|Your PC isn’t working well and you're not sure why.||Reset your PC|
|You want to clear all your personal data off of your PC before you donate or recycle it.||Reset this PC > Remove everything > Remove files and clean this drive|
|Your PC won't start.
You tried to reset the PC, but encountered the error: There was a problem resetting your PC.
|If you’ve previously created a USB recovery drive
Use a recovery drive to restore or recover your PCIf you haven't created a USB recovery drive
Use installation media to restore your PC
Use installation media to reinstall Windows 10
|You recently updated to the latest version of Windows 10, and you want to go back to your previous version of Windows.||Go back to an earlier build
Note: You only have 10 days to use this option in the latest Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
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Check this link, to find out about Accessibility Features in Windows 10.