How to get started with Windows

Microsoft’s Windows 10 is the latest (and maybe last) in a long line of Windows systems, it is what is referred to as an OS aka Operating System, which is fancy tech speak for the program that makes your computer show all the things on the screen. It is quite a bit more complex than that, as it also carries all other programs, but we do like to keep it simple.

Most people know what Windows is and most people have an opinion on it, what is important to keep in mind, is that these are subjective opinions. Although a bunch of them are true, a lot of them don’t hold up very well today. The main reason for this is that Windows 10 is a very different beast than what previous versions used to be, mainly because Microsoft decided to dump the old ways of build it and forget it. These days Windows is a lot more like Mac, Linux, Android or iOS, in that it runs as one continuously updated blob, which also means that it improves with every version.

This means that today Windows is actually quite a stable, safe and reliable platform to work on and as such I thought it would be a great idea to highlight some strengths and weaknesses, as well as a few pointers on how to make Windows easy to work with.

Windows 10
Windows 10 a new dawn

Windows 10 is as a whole a very good Operating System and it bridges a lot of gaps to older versions of Windows, which means that it supports probably the biggest catalogue of games and business programs of any Operating System. This is probably also what might make Windows a bit on the heavy side of things, to make sure everything is compatible, there is a lot of old design decisions that have to be kept around to make everything work right. This also means that for a modern Operating System, some things can seem very out of place or unnecessarily hidden away.

Once you get used to this though, Windows becomes rather easy to use, because there is a very limited amount of places to go looking for stuff. With the latest update, Windows has moved pretty much all controls inside the settings Window, which can be accessed from the start menu, the notifications bar or even from some programs. This is the place you want to go look if you want to change anything about Windows, be it looks, developer options, feature toggles, your name or any number of things.

Being built as a business platform all the way back from it’s heyday, a lot of Windows features are productivity centric, this of course benefits you a lot if you learn to use them. The two most powerful ones of these are the shortcut first thinking and the Windows start menu search, both of these features date back to the late 90’s and both have matured into powerful features over the years.

A lot of shortcuts are centered around the Windows key on your keyboard, you might have wondered why the Windows logo is there in the first place or even what it does, but that is a whole long story for another time. I will go through a few common shortcuts to use, but it is worthwhile looking up Windows shortcuts, as there are in the thousands of them and you might find just that one you need. The most used shortcuts on Windows computers are the cut (ctrl+x), copy (ctrl+c), paste (ctrl+v) functions and the often forgotten ctrl+shift+v to paste without formatting (can save a lot of headaches with Word documents). The next few are using the ctrl key with the arrow keys to move one word at a time instead of one character, using ctrl with backspace and delete will also have the same effect on removing one word left or right. The last ones are the win+d which minimises all apps and sends you to your Windows background and win+l which locks your computer in case you need to leave it unattended.

The last powerful feature we will be talking about is the Windows start menu search, to access this you just hit the Windows key on your keyboard and start typing, this will let you select any app, program, document or other file without even moving your mouse. It also searches Windows settings and features, just in case you are having trouble finding that one special feature you need.

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