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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?

If you don't want to use Cortana, you can opt out--in the initial stages, or later, via the Cortana settings menu. You'll need to enter the Notebook to do that: click the search button, then the third icon down from the left. Go to the Settings menu and you'll see a toggle switch to turn Cortana off. Once back in the Notebook, you can also dig through the various categories and let Cortana know your likes and dislikes, too.

If you do set a reminder, it will pop in from the lower right, and usually squat down in the corner of your screen until you dismiss it. Mail notifications work a bit differently; they'll fly in, hover for a moment, then disappear. Miss something? Well, there's an archive of what Windows 10 showed you, called the Action Center, waiting patiently in the system tray portion of your taskbar, in the right-hand corner of your screen. It looks like a text bubble from a comic book. Click it, and you'll see a summary of what Windows 10 thought was important.

Cortana can serve as a generic search bar for documents and other apps you've stored on your PC. Sometimes, the easiest way to launch an app is simply to start typing its name in the Cortana search bar.

There are three more things that you need to be familiar with before our tour is done: launching the Internet browser, Microsoft Edge; setting up your email; and downloading just a few of the apps that you'll probably want from the Store.

Microsoft Edge

The one question some of you are undoubtedly asking is: "How do I get to the Internet?!" That's an easy one: with Microsoft Edge.

You're probably familiar with the Internet Explorer logo. Edge, not coincidentally, looks like an, er, edgier version of Internet Explorer. The easiest place to find it is down at the bottom of the screen, in the row of icons that Microsoft calls the "toolbar" but you probably know as the taskbar. Click it.

Edge will probably launch with an array of content from across Microsoft's properties, with a search bar in the middle of it. Like most modern browsers, you can either type a Web address or a search term in the field. 

Again, however, you'll want to explore the settings. This time they're hidden inside an ellipsis (...) menu to the upper right (hurray for consistency, Microsoft). The first thing you may want to do is change the "theme" from light to dark, just to see the difference. Next, you'll want to import your favorites from another browser. This can be a bit tricky.

If you're a Chrome user, you'll probably want to simply search for Google's browser, download it, and then decide whether or not you'll want to take your bookmarks and import them to Edge. Ditto for Mozilla or Opera. If you worked in Internet Explorer, however, your bookmarks should carry over.


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