Your guide to Windows 10

Windows 10's new features, how they work and how you can make them work for you.

Kent German Former senior managing editor / features
Kent was a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).
Eric Franklin Former Editorial Director
Eric Franklin led the CNET Tech team as Editorial Director. A 20-plus-year industry veteran, Eric began his tech journey testing computers in the CNET Labs. When not at work he can usually be found at the gym, chauffeuring his kids around town, or absorbing every motivational book he can get his hands on.
Expertise Graphics and display technology. Credentials
  • Once wrote 50 articles in one month.
Kent German
Eric Franklin
9 min read
Rick Broida/CNET

Windows 10 is now available for download, and there's no better time to start getting acquainted. Read on for everything you need to know about where to get Windows 10, how to install it, and how to use it. And keep checking back, as we'll continue to post all our Windows 10 How To coverage right here.

Getting and installing Windows 10

How to prepare your PC for Windows 10: Follow these steps to ensure a smooth transition to the latest version of Windows.

Here's how to upgrade to Windows 10: There's a switch you'll need to enable before you can get Cortana's attention from across the room.

How to do a clean install of Windows 10: Three ways to install a clean version of Windows 10 onto any PC.

How to get Windows 10 right now: Don't want to wait for Microsoft to push the update to your PC? Here's how to download the new OS immediately.

How to install Windows 10 on your phone: Have a Windows Phone device and want to test out Windows 10 on it? Now you can.

How to install Windows 10 on a Mac: Why yes, you can install Windows 10 on your Mac. The process can be a little technical, but we'll have your back the whole way through.

Change your mind about Windows 10? Here's how you can roll back: CNET editor Dong Ngo shows you a quick way to roll back to your previous version of Windows if you just completed an in-place upgrade to Windows 10.

Settings menu

Exploring the Windows 10 Settings menu: Is Windows getting rid of the Control Panel? It's not a simple answer.

Windows 10 Settings menu: The Update & recovery tab: Where's Windows Update? It's in the Settings menu...and only in the Settings menu.

Windows 10 Settings menu: The Ease of Access tab: The Ease of Access tab is organized, but it could be a little more helpful.

Windows 10 Settings menu: The Accounts tab: Where you'll manage your accounts, your work accounts, your kids' accounts...and everything else.

Windows 10 Settings Menu: The System tab: The System tab is your main hub for PC info and general settings.

Windows 10 Settings menu: The Devices tab: In Windows 10 Build 10130, the Devices tab is still pretty underwhelming.

Windows 10 Settings menu: The Privacy tab: Windows 10 attempts to make privacy settings accessible.

Windows 10 Settings menu: The Time & language tab: How to change the time, date and language in Windows 10.

Windows 10 Settings menu: The Personalization tab: This is where you should be able to go for all your Windows 10 personalization needs...but it's not.

Windows 10 Settings menu: The Network & Internet tab: Windows 10's new Network & Internet tab is where you'll go for all your connection questions.

Watch this: Windows 10 tricks you probably didn't know about

Start menu

How to use the Windows 10 Start menu: The Start menu in Windows 10 has similarities to its counterpart in Windows 7 but also has some surprises. So how does it all work now?

How to customize the Windows 10 Start menu: Follow these steps to make the new Start menu look pretty.

How to switch between the Start menu and Start screen in Windows 10: Both are available in the preview of Microsoft's next version of Windows, but you can choose which one to work with.

How to manage both the Start menu and Start screen in Windows 10: Microsoft has been tweaking the Start menu and Start screen in Windows 10 with each new build. How do you switch between and customize both in the latest iteration of the new OS?

The Windows 10's 'secret' start menu: It's not really a secret, but it is a convenient way to access important features.


How to use multiple desktops in Windows 10: Windows 10's new virtual desktops feature is still very limited.

How to use Windows 10 without the Charms bar: The Charms bar is persona non grata in Windows 10. So how do you use and navigate the OS without it?

How to use Windows 10's new Snap Assist: Snapping windows is quicker and easier in Windows 10.

How to use Windows 10's Quick Access: Quick Access: An upgraded Favorites section for the new File Explorer.

How to hide the Windows 10 system tray icon: Tired of seeing the Windows 10 icon in your system tray? Try these quick fixes.

Open programs with keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10: Why use your mouse (or your voice) when you can use your keyboard?

New Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts for the Command Prompt: You can now use Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V in the command prompt.

How to change the login screen in Windows 10: You don't have to stare at the Windows logo every time you type in your password.

How to set different wallpapers for multiple monitors in Windows 10: You can pick separate wallpapers for each monitor without downloading third-party software.

Get rid of default cloud service icons in File Explorer: Clean up that side navigation panel!

Launch multiple programs with one shortcut: You always run Firefox and Spotify together anyway -- here's how to create one shortcut for two (or more) programs.

How to disable the lock screen in Windows 10: Get rid of the lock screen without getting rid of the log-in screen.

Always show file extensions in File Explorer: Sick of Windows hiding your file extensions? Here's how to force File Explorer to show them.

Turn off annoying User Account Control pop-ups, but be careful: If you disable the User Account Control in Windows 10, all programs will have same security clearance as the account you're logged in with. However, disabling that feature is a terrible idea.


You can now write on Web pages in Windows 10: Microsoft's new Edge browser has a new inking feature that lets you take notes directly on Web pages -- and then share them with your friends.

The new Windows 10 notifications will follow you everywhere: Windows 10 has a new notifications center for your apps -- even the ones from your Windows Phone.

How to create a system image in Windows 10: System image is still alive...for now, anyway.

How to enable Spartan's Edge Rendering Engine in Windows 10: Use this trick to speed up Internet Explorer in the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

How to quickly share files in Windows 10: There's no more Share charm, but there is a Share button in File Explorer.

Capture pop-up menus with Windows 10's new delayed Snipping tool: In Windows 10, the Snipping tool lets you delay your shutter speed when you capture screenshots.

How to boot into safe mode in Windows 10: Booting into safe mode is easy and command prompt-free.

How to set the default programs in Windows 10: Need to get your BMP files to automatically open in MS Paint? Here's how.

New keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10: Most of Windows 10's keyboard shortcuts are the same, but here are a few new ones you'll need to learn.

How to enable "Hey, Cortana" on Windows 10: There's a switch you'll need to enable before you can get Cortana's attention from across the room.

Don't miss these useful Cortana features: Get to know Cortana's most useful settings, features and commands.

Exploring the new Photos app: Learn how to organize, edit and share your photos inWindows 10.

How to stream Xbox games to a Windows 10 PC: There's no need to stop gaming when someone else needs the TV. Here's how you can set up Xbox One game streaming.

How to disable Wi-Fi password sharing in Windows 10: Turn off Wi-Fi Sense and make your network password unshareable.

Print to PDF in Windows 10: Windows 10 has native support for PDF files -- finally.

How to sideload apps in Windows 10: You're not locked into the Windows Store.

Activate GodMode in Windows 10: If the Settings menu and Control Panel are too complicated, use GodMode to find all your settings.

Get the old Windows volume mixer back in Windows 10: It's a minor detail, but if you want your vertical volume mixer back in Windows 10, here's how to do it.

Stop Windows 10 from always searching the web: How to keep your Windows 10 searches from running through the Bing search engine.

How to delete the Windows.old folder from Windows 10: If you upgraded your PC from a previous version of Windows, consider getting rid of this space-hogging folder.

Your guide to Wi-Fi Sense: How to share networks and connect to shared networks with Windows 10's Wi-Fi Sense feature.


Windows 10 lets you schedule Windows Update restarts: Gone are the days of losing hours of work to a poorly timed Windows Update!

Change to the "Fast Ring" for more frequent Windows 10 updates: Want to live life on the bleeding edge? Then get out of the Slow Ring by changing this setting.

The Edge browser

Navigate Microsoft Edge with your keyboard: Here's how to turn on text cursor navigation, or "caret browsing" in Microsoft's new Edge browser.

How to get the home button back in Edge: Missing Internet Explorer's home button? Here's how to get it back in the Edge browser.

Three ways to customize Microsoft Edge: Make the new Edge browser work for you.

How to import bookmarks from other browsers into Edge: Edge makes it easy to import bookmarks from other browsers -- but not from HTML files.

Get to know the security features in Edge: How Microsoft's new browser will keep you safe.

How Edge's reading view compares to other full-screen readers: Edge's reading view is very basic -- perhaps too basic.

How to get an Edge experience on Chrome: Microsoft Edge isn't the only browser you can talk to.

How to get an Edge experience on Firefox: You don't need to switch browsers to draw on Web pages.

Use OneDrive to "fetch" a file not saved in your OneDrive folder: You're no longer tied to the OneDrive folder -- you can grab files from any folder on your PC.

General advice

Windows 10: Nine things you need to know: Have burning questions about Microsoft's upcoming operating system? Here are some answers.

Eight settings you have to change right now: Before you do anything else, change these Windows 10 settings!

Unwrap Cortana's Easter eggs: With the release of Windows 10 comes a new update to Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant. Here are some of the fun things you can ask her.

How to watch DVDs for free in Windows 10: Microsoft wants to charge you $15 to spin your old movies. Fortunately, there are freebie alternatives.

Automatically log in to your Windows 10 PC: How to skip the log-in screen when you first boot up your computer.

How to quickly shut down Windows 10: Another version of Windows, another silly three-click process just to shut down your PC. Here are some faster alternatives.

How to uninstall default apps in Windows 10: Get rid of unwanted default apps in your Start menu.

How to reinstall default apps in Windows 10: Here's how to get all those default apps back.

3 quick and easy ways to speed up Windows 10: Who wouldn't like a faster computer? These handy tricks will give you faster startup, shutdown and Start menu access.

7 super quick Windows 10 tricks: How to make your Windows 10 experience even more convenient in less than 10 seconds.

How to always run programs as an admin: If you're sick of seeing those UAC pop-ups, you can get rid of them by setting programs to run in administrator mode by default.

Windows 10's built-in battery-saving mode: How to access and adjust Windows 10's battery-saving mode.

Monitor your data usage in Windows 10: How to track and limit the amount of data you use on your Windows 10 device.

Login with a local account in Windows 10: Sign in with a user name instead of an email address and password.

How to record your screen with the Xbox app: Windows 10's Xbox app records video games and just about everything else.

Having touchpad issues after installing Windows 10? Here's how to fix them: Try these tips to fix touchpad woes before reverting back to an earlier version of Windows.

How to uninstall an app or program in Windows 10: You can now uninstall both apps and desktop programs from the Start menu.