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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?

Don't be disappointed, however--we can still continue with your Windows 10 orientation. We'll just have an overarching goal in mind. And fittingly, the place to start is, well, Start.

Let's Start exploring

All the way down in the left-hand corner of your screen is the Windows icon--probably similar if not identical to the Windows icon on your keyboard. If you click on that icon, tap that icon on your touchscreen, or touch the Windows key on your keyboard, you'll open up the Start menu.

Boom! Pretty nice, right? Windows 7 users, you're going to see a list of apps listed in the left-hand nav bar. Windows 8 users, you'll notice the familiar Live Tiles to the right. Some of those Live Tiles may already be flipping over to show you relevant information. For now, though, let's start on the left.

What you'll see is a list of "frequently-used applications" that Microsoft has selected for you--they may have even carried over from a previous OS, if you upgraded Windows 10 in place. These will change depending on how frequently you use them. Unfortunately, you can't pick and choose what apps appear here. You can make some adjustments, however, and we'll show you how in a second. Here's a hint: it's in that "Settings" link, at the bottom.

Take a minute to click the "All Apps" button at the bottom of the list. This should be called the "Almost All Apps" button, because Windows, inexplicably, doesn't show you tried and true apps like Paint where you might expect them. But everything else that's installed on your system should be there. 

For now, let's look to the right. The first thing you should know is that the Start menu is a window--it can be resized and reshaped to your preferences, within limits. It can even go full-screen, although that will require a change in the Settings. 

You can arrange and rearrange tiles as you'd like. Try right-clicking on one, and adjusting the size; if you can't enlarge it, try dragging-and-dropping it to an open space. Maybe you'd like the Mail application to be in the top left-hand corner. Or your Calendar. You should be able to pin any app to your Start menu, including those found in the left-hand nav bar. Not all will function as Live Tiles, however--that's up to the app designers. 

There's one app I want you to look out for: Get Started. It doesn't appear that Microsoft is going to hold your hand through the opening minutes of Windows 10, so Get Started is Microsoft's overview to the new OS. You don't have to click it now, but be aware it's there. Now, scroll down to Settings, and click there.


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