Making Windows 10 better and more familiar

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 9/9/19

Windows 10 is much better than Windows 8 or 8.1.

There are some noticeable changes and differences from prior versions, but it’s acceptable for most users, especially if getting help with the process from a computer tech. Don’t let rumors hold you back from upgrading and utilizing the new security, recovery, performance, and other features that comes with Windows 10.

Here I discuss a couple ways you can make Windows 10 run better and more familiar, in hopes of making the upgrade more seamless and comfortable for you. This is useful if upgrading your current computer or getting a new one.

Install a fresh copy of Windows 10 if upgrading: If you’re thinking about upgrading a Windows 7 or 8 PC to Windows 10, I don’t suggest doing the straight upgrade install of Windows 10, which keeps your files and programs in place.

Although the upgrade might go flawless, I’ve certainly seen many times where Windows 10 doesn’t run well (or at all) due to file corruption, malware, and junk carried over from the previous Windows. I suggest having a computer professional back up your files and documents, install a blank copy of Windows 10, and then restore your files, documents, and programs.

Although this process takes more time than doing a straight upgrade, it’s well worth it.

Browse with Chrome or Internet Explorer: Microsoft introduced a new web browser with Windows 10, called Microsoft Edge, which you’ll likely find a shortcut for on the bottom taskbar after you upgrade. Although this web browser seems to work a little faster than most, I’ve seen issues with some websites.

You can, however, still use Internet Explorer if you prefer. But the browser I typically suggest is Google Chrome and must be downloaded from Google (www. google.com/chrome).

If you want to use Inter- net Explorer, you can click the start menu button in the lower-left corner and type “internet explorer” (without the quotes) to search for it.

To make it more accessible, right-click the shortcut from the search results and select Pin to Taskbar.

If you prefer to use Google Chrome or Internet Explorer, you should also set your desired one as your default browser: open the Settings app from the Start Menu, select Apps, select Default apps options, select Web browser, and then choose your preferred choice.

Bring back the old Start Menu: Although Microsoft added back a Start Menu, which was removed in Windows 8 and 8.1, it’s still different than what you might be familiar with from Windows 7 and prior. If you prefer the old look and feel, you can download and install a third-party start menu. There are a couple options, but my favorite is Open Shell (www.github. com/open-shell).

Use the old control panel: Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft added a new type of control panel, called the Settings app. More features, functionality, and settings have been added to that app in Windows 10, but the old Control Panel still exists and allows you to configure many of the system settings still. If you were comfortable using the Control Panel in Windows 7 and prior, you can access it in Windows 10 by clicking the start menu button in the lower-left corner and typing “control panel” (without the quotes) to search for it.

Get replacements for the classic Windows games: The classic Windows games, such as Solitaire and Minesweeper, which Microsoft has included for over 25 years were redesigned starting with Windows 8. Windows 10 comes with the Microsoft Solitaire Collection. Unfortunately, it does show you occasional advertisements. An updated Microsoft Minesweeper game and other third-party games are available free via the App Store.

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