Your Guide to Navigating Windows 10

The transition from Windows 8 to the tenth version of the omnipresent operating system is a relatively painless experience. Microsoft engineers have returned the Start Button, a move that began with Windows 8.1, but what other major differences compel users to make the upgrade? Let's navigate the changes and take advantage of the best this new operating system has to offer.

Convertible Heaven

Newer laptops benefit from the various tweaks that come with Windows 10, but convertible models really enjoy added convenience. Sensor packages and flexible hinges enable these models to transform, to take on tablet and tented shapes. The operating system listens to these form-twisting maneuvers and automatically alters the desktop, transitioning the computer into a seamlessly activated Tablet Mode.

Virtualizing the Desktop

Workspace differences look minimal, but appearances can be deceiving. The Task View icon, for example, pulls all of your open windows into a tightly aligned array—accessed on Windows 8 by pressing ALT+TAB. But look down at the bottom right corner of your monitor. The new desktop icon is located down here, and it's this little button that adds organizational smarts to the system. Trigger the button to add virtual desktops, and use these new workspaces to organize a crowded monitor.

Your Friendly Digital Assistant

The biggest addition to the Windows ecosystem is Cortana, a digital assistant that's designed to listen to your voice and carry out basic tasks. She browses the internet for information, plays music from your local multimedia library, and brings powerful voice control functionality to the Microsoft platform. Of course, such personalization gimmickry doesn't come without a price. Cortana and Bing both like to learn about your online habits, which can be a potential threat to your privacy.

Security Improvements

Data security is the topic of concern here. Windows 10 is promoted as a security haven thanks to a number of powerful features. New cameras with biometric features reinforce advanced authentication protocols. This visual wizardry is part of the Windows Hello facial recognition program. It includes biometric recognition, and works in tandem with fingerprint scanners and two-factor authentication solutions (Microsoft Passport). Unfortunately, a state-of-the-art system with a Realsense camera is required to take full advantage of these features.

Navigation Savvy

Substantial resources have been spent on adding a digital assistant and improved security features, but just as much effort has been lavished on user-friendly features. Windows Apps on your Microsoft server are easier than ever before to manage. They work in a special windowed mode and they can be set to "snap" against other Apps or programs. The improved Action Center organizes your emails and notifications. Additionally, the group of square function buttons at the bottom of the Action Center panel gains in importance when Tablet Mode is accessed.

As handy as all of this automation and seamless interaction indubitably is, it can quickly become a two-edged sword. Privacy is always at risk when an always-on connection is allowed to take charge. Tame Cortana and tune privacy settings or risk identity theft.


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