Windows 10 Is Here: What Do You Need To Know?

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Rotimi Olumide, Director, Windows Business Division Sub Saharan Africa, demonstrates several features of Windows 10 during a media event in Nairobi

Microsoft has finally released its long awaited Windows 10 operating system to users in 190 countries. The roll out is currently staggered and while others may have already had it downloading on their machines as early as yesterday or the day before yesterday, not everyone is getting it that first. If you already reserved your spot using the ‘Get Windows 10’ app some time back then you’re in line to get it and it may already have downloaded on your machine or it is already downloading at the moment.

I reserved my spot but I’m yet to get the update…

You are not alone. We’ll help with that in a few. The update is rolling out in phases. In certain instances, it will take a while before several other requirements have been met. For instance Microsoft needs to make sure that all your current drivers will work just fine once you upgrade. Windows 10 may have already downloaded on your machine but those requirements could be holding you back. Oh, and some free storage space. You need at least 16 GB on your installation hard drive (for the 32 bit version. The 64 bit version needs at least 20 GB).

You need to have enabled automatic download and installation of updates for this to happen though. In case you already did all that and there’s no evidence of it downloading when you check the C:\$Windows.~BT folder then you could probably try forcing the same. Here’s how to do that:

1. Make sure you have turned on the ability to view hidden files and folders

2. Navigate to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution\Download (Assuming that your Windows installation is on Drive C. You’ll need to change that if it’s different)

3. Delete everything in that folder

4. Run the Command Prompt with elevated privileges/superuser rights/as an administrator

5. Type wuauclt.exe /updatenow into the Command Prompt but don’t hit enter just yet

6. Fire up Windows Update and click on Check for update

7. Go back to the Command Prompt window and hit enter

8. You should see something like this on the Windows Update window:

win10_1

What’s New in Windows 10?

The Start Menu You’ve Always Known and Loved is Back!

Start menu Windows 10

Windows 10 is a fresh take on the operating system you’ve been familiar with all along but with a modern touch. For those like yours truly that were stuck on Windows 7 for so long, it brings back the familiar start menu and does away with that ugly welcome screen you had to put up with on Windows 8 and 8.1. While that modern welcome screen and its live tiles wasn’t as evil as I make it appear, it was largely unnecessary for those of us not using touch devices. Now Microsoft has listened to all the feedback and will treat everyone accordingly. You can still turn it on permanently in the Personalization settings section. The informative live tiles live on. They can be found on the reworked start menu to make it easy to jump straight into whatever you were working on.

Cortana

As we’ve highlighted before, it’s not just the start menu that you’re getting once you upgrade from either Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1. There’s an all new personal assistant named Cortana that will be at your beck and call.

Say you’re browsing the web reading all the latest transfer news and rumours of new signings of your favourite football club and a player you’ve never heard of is being associated with a move to your club, all you do is highlight the name of that player on the page then right click and you’ll get an option to ‘Ask Cortana’. Selecting that opens up Cortana and she’ll pull up a synopsis or short description of the player complete with a bio data and any other information that may be of interest to you.

No Cortana

There’s a catch though. You can’t have Cortana if you’re in certain regions. Like Kenya for instance. You may need to go the old school way of changing your location and language to the United States if you’re to get Cortana working. But that will also mean that you can’t tap into some regional privileges like local languages.

Cortana on

Microsoft Edge

IE

With Edge, such jokes have hit a dead end. Seriously. Edge is beautiful and doesn’t have the slightest hint of the fat that has beholden our beloved Chrome of late. It makes it easier to annotate on web pages using a stylus or just your mouse. You can also share almost any web page element (the page itself, images etc) with other services like say your note taking application (Evernote) or save to Dropbox.

And There’s More

The new browser, the return of the start menu and the witty and handy personal assistant are not what Windows 10 is all about. It’s a whole new world that needs in-depth exploration particularly if you were not among the 5 million Windows Insiders who helped Microsoft fine-tune the operating system. There are new features like the Action Centre and the new Task Manager and many others. You’ll need to dig deeper to see what it is all about. There might be some learning curve but there shouldn’t be anything strange really.

You can learn a lot about the new operating system by checking everything about it we’ve been covering over the last couple of months here. My Windows 10 is installing so after getting a taste of the pie from other tables, it’s time to get my own. I may be back later to dive into details on how it tastes and what not. I’m told there are numerous bugs but that shouldn’t get in the way of what I expect to be a generally great user experience.

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