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How to maximize your first 30 minutes with Windows 10

Mark Hachman | July 30, 2015
Windows 10 is here! Windows 10 is here! Now what?


Windows 10 is here! Windows 10 is here! Now what?

By now, you've seen our review of Windows 10. It's one of the best operating systems Microsoft has ever produced, and it's worth the download. But if you're new to Windows 10, it can feel a bit daunting.

Actually, it's more familiar than you think. And we can help walk you through your first 30 minutes with Windows 10.

Preloading and installation

If you purchased a new Windows 10 PC, you have the easiest road. You can skip this section. But for most of us, Windows 10 came via an upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. And if you're in the camp, read on.

Assuming you reserved Windows 10, you could see Windows 10 start showing up tonight. If you don't, that's a.) either because Microsoft has millions of PCs to upgrade, and you're further back in the queue or b.) because you're missing a critical driver. If you lack a piece of hardware with signed, approved Windows 10 drivers, Microsoft won't deliver Windows 10 until you do. Makes sense, doesn't it?

On the other hand, some of you may be surprised just by how quickly Windows 10 showed up. That's because Microsoft quietly preloaded Windows 10 onto your machines, then unlocked the code beginning at midnight Eastern. After that, Windows began its installation.

Once Windows 10 passes the magic hour, you should see the installation process begin. Microsoft will install the files, ask you for your Microsoft account, and unlock Windows 10.

Those files will be downloaded to your PC, part of what's called an "update in place". Windows 10 will be overwritten onto your PC. But you'll also have the option to create a USB key or other installation media to do a "clean install," which enthusiasts prefer. 

To do so, you can download the Windows 10 media here, which will allow you either to create an ISO file that you can burn to a DVD, or else create a bootable flash drive. You'll have the option of installing over an existing Windows installation, or starting from scratch. Our guide to installing Windows 10 can help walk you through the process. 

And congratulations! It's update time

I know the first thing you probably want to do is explore your new operating system, but let's put that on hold for a second. We've been told to expect a pretty massive "Day 0" patch from Microsoft, which you may have received as part of the upgrade/setup process. Let's just make sure that isn't anything more in the pipeline. 


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