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Windows XP was my favorite operating system for many years. Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8, not so much. My frustration with Windows grew to the point where I eventually switched to OS X almost exclusively.

When Windows 10 launched in 2015, I decided to give Microsoft another shot. For the most part, the homecoming has been an enjoyable experience, as there are a lot of new features to enjoy. Still, there are a few things I hope Microsoft can improve upon in future Windows versions.

The Good

Hello Again, Start Menu

In Windows 8, Microsoft eliminated the Start menu Start Menu, How I Miss Thee: 4 Ways To Make A Start Menu On Windows 8 Start Menu, How I Miss Thee: 4 Ways To Make A Start Menu On Windows 8 Windows 8 brought down the axe on the Start Menu. This is a feature that no one paid special attention to for years but its untimely demise has caused all sorts of despair. Not only... Read More . With Windows 10, it’s back. The Start menu we’ve loved since Windows 95 is back and more useful thanks to live tiles Manage Start Screen Tiles & Modern Apps Like A Pro Manage Start Screen Tiles & Modern Apps Like A Pro Some things take time to grow on you. The Windows 8 Start Screen is one of them. I bet you'll appreciate it more after learning about these tips and tricks. Read More , which serve as shortcuts to your most important applications. I’m not crazy about the live tiles Microsoft has chosen to highlight out of the box. Regardless, they are easy to change or remove.

tiles

To customize tiles, simply click and drag them to rearrange; right-click to remove them altogether. Dragging a tile to the bottom of the menu creates a new category, which you can rename. You can also right-click on a tile to change its size. To create a new tile, find it in the All Apps section or on the left sidebar and right-click on it. Then choose Pin to Start.

By definition, live tiles change on a regular basis. For example, icons for news and weather applications change throughout the day. Don’t want a tile to show live information, but still wish to keep the shortcut? Right-click it and choose Turn live tile off.

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We have much more on this topic in our guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu A Guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu A Guide to the Windows 10 Start Menu Windows 10 fixes the Start Menu dilemma! Getting to grips with the new Start Menu will supercharge your Windows 10 experience. With this handy guide, you'll be an expert in no time. Read More .

Cortana Makes the World Easier to Maneuver

Intelligent personal assistants are all the rage right now. Microsoft’s entry is Cortana How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 Cortana is Microsoft's greatest productivity tool since Office. We'll show you how to get started with Windows 10's digital assistant or how to turn Cortana off for improved privacy. Read More , which was first demonstrated at the BUILD Developer Conference in 2014 for Windows Phone 8.1. Named after the synthetic intelligence character in Microsoft’s iconic Halo video game franchise, Cortana calls multiple platforms home, including Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft Band, Xbox One, iOS, and Android.

Cortana

You don’t have to use Cortana on Windows 10, but you really should be. With Cortana, life is just easier. The assistant can help you find things on your PC, manage your calendar, find files, and even tell jokes. With its Notebook feature, personal information such as interests, location data, reminders, and contacts are just a click away. Because Cortana is popping up on other platforms, this personal information is available almost everywhere.

Need some more reasons to enjoy Cortana? Take a look at our 6 Coolest Things You Can Control with Cortana in Windows 10 6 Coolest Things You Can Control with Cortana in Windows 10 6 Coolest Things You Can Control with Cortana in Windows 10 Cortana can help you go hands-free on Windows 10. You can let her search your files and the web, make calculations, or pull up the weather forecast. Here we cover some of her cooler skills. Read More .

Finally, a Central Notification Screen

Like intelligent personal assistants, central notification screens have become commonplace in operating systems. In Windows 10, the notification screen comes alive when you click the notification icon at the bottom right of your screen. You can also press Windows key + A to open your Action Center.

windows-registry-tweaks-action-center

From this location, you can access information from apps and also set up quick toggles to find items such as power, network, and location. OneNote and tablet mode links are also available.

Tablet Mode Is Much Improved

In Windows 10, Microsoft has finally acknowledged that tablets and desktops are meant to work differently. Continuum Continuum: Switch Between Windows 10 Desktop & Tablet Mode Continuum: Switch Between Windows 10 Desktop & Tablet Mode Windows 10 recognizes your hardware and instantly chooses the best display mode. When you connect your Windows 10 Mobile to a larger screen, you'll get a PC-like experience. That's the smoothness of Continuum. Read More allows you to enable tablet mode via the notification system. Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP) enhances this process. With this, developers can tweak apps to adjust to touchscreens when necessary. Applications that already do this, including Netflix, Pandora, Uber, and The Wall Street Journal.

You can toggle between desktop and touch mode through the central notification, or go into the Windows 10 Settings application and select Tablet Mode.

The Bad

A New Default Browser

Internet Explorer was finally retired in Windows 10 and replaced by Microsoft Edge, although it’s probably still too early to tell whether this was a good move. Besides a fancy new name, Microsoft Edge has some features 10 Reasons You Should Be Using Microsoft Edge Now 10 Reasons You Should Be Using Microsoft Edge Now Microsoft Edge marks a complete break from the Internet Explorer brand name, killing off a 20-year-old family tree in the process. Here's why you should be using it. Read More that were lacking on Internet Explorer, including a text-only reader mode, an annotation tool, and Cortana integration. Browser extensions are also coming, although Microsoft has yet to release them.

edge

Microsoft Edge shows a lot of promise. Unfortunately, the lack of extensions makes the application a work in progress. The problem is that whether you’re upgrading to Windows 10 or using the operating system for the first time, Microsoft Edge is your default browser How to Set Up Microsoft Edge, the Default Browser in Windows 10 How to Set Up Microsoft Edge, the Default Browser in Windows 10 Microsoft's new Internet browser Edge made its first appearance in Windows 10 Insider Preview. It's still rough around the edges, but sleek and fast. We show you how to migrate and set it up. Read More . Yes, even if you were using Firefox Chrome, for example, on a previous version of Windows.

Thankfully, you can change your default browser How to Change Default Apps and Settings in Windows 10 How to Change Default Apps and Settings in Windows 10 Windows 10 makes a lot of decisions for the lazy user. If you would prefer to be your own master, you can set your own preferences. We show you how. Read More by heading over to the Windows 10 Settings application. From there, scroll down to Web browser and make your choice.

Avoiding Key Logging

Last year’s launch of Windows 10 was considered a success, except when it concerned the various issues around privacy. By default, Windows 10 tracks a lot of user data. Thankfully, there are some simple steps to follow to remove much of the monitoring Everything You Need to Know About Windows 10's Privacy Issues Everything You Need to Know About Windows 10's Privacy Issues While Windows 10 has some issues that users need to be aware of, many claims have been blown out of proportion. Here's our guide to everything you need to know about Windows 10's privacy issues. Read More .

 

privacy

My biggest beef with Windows 10 regarding privacy is key logging. As Microsoft admits in an FAQ, in Windows 10, it “collects speech, inking, and typing information—including information about your Calendar and People (also known as contacts)—that helps personalize your experience.”

You can switch off key logging in Windows 10. To do so, go into the Windows 10 Settings app and select Privacy in the third row. From there, tap on General, and under Send Microsoft info about how I write to help use improve typing and writing in the future – turn the setting to Off. Finally, from under the Speech, Inking and Typing menu, click Stop getting to know me.

Wish to know more about Windows 10 and privacy? Our report, Windows 10 Is Watching: Should You Be Worried? Windows 10 Is Watching: Should You Be Worried? Windows 10 Is Watching: Should You Be Worried? Since its release, Windows 10 has been dogged by rumors concerning user privacy. Some of these are accurate, whereas others are myths. But where does Windows 10 stand on privacy, really? Read More , should help.

Confusing Update Changes

As we have noted in the past, Microsoft has changed how updates are delivered How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10 How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10 For control freaks, Windows Update is a nightmare. It's designed to operate in the background, automatically keeping your system safe and running smoothly. We show you how it works and what you can customize. Read More and installed in Windows 10. Essentially, updates are mandatory this time around. Depending on your Windows version, however, these updates can be deferred.

It’s very rare when Microsoft releases a bad update, but it does happen. When it does, it can be a frustrating experience. Couple this with Microsoft’s decision to make updates mandatory, and it could make your blood boil.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to remove the bad update How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10 How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10 For control freaks, Windows Update is a nightmare. It's designed to operate in the background, automatically keeping your system safe and running smoothly. We show you how it works and what you can customize. Read More and move on with your day.

What Are Your Thoughts on Windows 10?

We believe Windows 10 is a great step forward for Microsoft, although there are some features we don’t like.

We hope you enjoyed this list of the best and worst Windows 10 features. Which items are on your list? Share them in the comments below!

Image Credit: Maksim Kabakou via Shutterstock.com

  1. Sigh
    September 22, 2016 at 4:02 am

    Windows 10 Home reeks of immaturity: flooded with new names, graphics, positions and unnecessary features, as if there was no value to the time-tested and arduously-mastered skills of its customers, something that has always provided them with relief from constant hassle of technology learning. MS needs to learn there is a knowledge capital in users which must be respected and no new features should be introduced unless it could be highly justified from point of view of mass business users. For instance in this version there is on hands-on tutorial examples of its new features from the point of view of writers, proof readers, artists, teachers, students, accountants, etc. Yanking busy users with cockamamie ideas of programmers and crazy marketing and product development staff is not it! MS please wake up, Quantum computing is right around the corner--if you don't so it with thought and user-oriented sophistication, Chinese and Indians will do it soon for you. May god bless America!

  2. hugh
    January 25, 2016 at 4:43 am

    Someone else already said it.. "sometimes I like it sometimes I hate it". That's how I feel.
    For me though I've always loved Windows 7... it's simple, efficient, it just works & without pissing u off. I also dabble with Linux OSs -there are thousands of those and some of those are excellent. For sure Microsoft had to give Windows 10 away otherwise it would have been ignored. For now Microsoft is still in the game - for now.
    Check out http://distrowatch.com/ if you are curious about Linux.

  3. Isabel
    January 23, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Hi! Can someone please help? I have this new laptop with Windows 10 and it has Windows Mail. My old laptop has Windows 7 using Windows Live Mail (WLM) and I am now trying to transfer all my WLM emails to Windows Mail. How do I do that? Can someone give me instructions please?

    • sharukhmohammed@me.com
      January 25, 2016 at 5:17 am

      Hey Isabel, I don't think that is possible. WLM is native Windows Application and Windows 10 Mail App is Metro/Modern App. So there's no way to manually transfer mails, except you can sync them up via IMAP.

  4. John L
    January 22, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Most of the time I think I like Windows 10. Some of the time I hate it. Every update it removes the working graphics drivers for my laptop and puts on its own far inferior ones resulting in a very low resolution screen. Every method I have found on the internet to stop it happening doesn't work. The other hates are it deleting your privacy selections on some updates as well as other settings.
    The default apps are crap to be blunt. Photos is dog slow and crashes repeatedly on every computer I have tried it on. I use Photo Gallery which works perfect. Edge is also dead slow as it takes forever to load all the adverts displayed all over it so I dump that and use Firefox or Chrome. I uninstall every other app that I can or remove their tiles including Store. Has anybody ever found a really good app on there? None of my friends or work colleagues use it so I suspect not. Windows 10 comes a bit like an Android phone or tablet in that it is bundled with useless bloatware that needs removing. Skype, Get Office (I already have a legitimate fully licensed version installed so whats that about?), Phone Companion, Money, Food & Crap, need I go on with the amount of dross installed?
    Once you have removed all the crap, set your privacy options and your default programmes it is actually a pretty stable OS. Generally I get no problems with it until it updates (does Microsoft ever bother testing them these days?) then you get a day or so sorting it out and changing the settings back to where you had them before and it is good to go again.
    Having used every version of Windows since 3.11, I find Windows 10 is the most demanding of your attention when it comes to keeping things to how you want them as Microsoft ignores everything and changes it to what it wants at random updates. Would I recommend it? Compared to the initial nightmare that was Windows 8/8.1 then yes. If you already have Windows 7 I really don't see what it can offer you.

  5. KimM
    January 22, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    I definitely don't like the automatic updates and that you cannot set it alert you when there are updates and choose to do them on your own time. Some of us have data limits and not unlimited WiFi. I know there is a setting for using metered connections if you are on one, but as soon as you go off of that by moving to a regular WiFi connection, when you go back to using a metered connection you have to go through all of the steps again to turn on the metered setting.

  6. David Stevens
    January 22, 2016 at 4:53 am

    I'm using Windows 7 64 bit on a duel monitor desktop built by a friend. Have been for three years now after I up graded from XP. Microsoft is going to have to pay me to move to Windows 10.

  7. mike gordon
    January 22, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Another sneaky thing Microsoft did without warning on Windows 10 was to remove Word and Excel starter editions typically supplied free by a few suppliers . If they had told you explicitly instead of expecting you to read the copious notes and pick it up. Id they had even put it clearly at the top of the list of things you were agreeing to you'd have picked it up and thought twice about the benefits of upgrading the OS. Microsoft giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other . Removing your word processor programmme without an explicit warning is disgraceful. Well done Microsoft for selectively pissing off customers.

    My other rant is more of an observation that classic shell is free . Why couldn't Microsoft offer users the choice of UI . It might have attracted a lot of the old XP crowd from their warm cosy place with a familiar looking interface where they find all their apps and files easily. Changing the UI and moving icons around doesn't justify the cost of their supposedly "new"
    operating systems. If classic shell can offer users a choice of experience so could Microsoft , but apparently they don't do choice , it's only your cash they want not yuor opinion.

  8. LM
    January 22, 2016 at 1:34 am

    Personally, in Win10 the intrusion, spying and brute force, outweighs all the perceived benefits of the New Operating System. So, you cannot pay me to use it! LM

  9. Craig
    January 22, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Windows 10 is a Beta,
    my 4 month old laptop has crashed over 30 times. Microsoft has not found a solution so I do not even look at any incoming messages from them. No DVD support on a touch screen with DVD. It should have came with 8.1 Ultimate or Pro so I can use my DVD.
    I had Nero which will not work, I had Media player not much control, keep having to replace the codecs because of updates. Keep having to waste my time fixing the problems every day, from the stupid things on Windows Beta 10.
    My old Dell x32 can out perform the new one with Windows 10 x64.

    Almost as good as EA messing up Command & Conquer 4, but way worse.

    Very intrusive, updates in the middle of things, and I loose it all.

    As soon as I can move my stuff to another drive I am going back to 8.1 and won`t look back.
    Or maybe 7 or Vista, better than 10 program for DVD.
    At the deadline or beyond they will have to pay me to switch to 10.

    I am not politically correct.

  10. David K
    January 21, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Internet Explorer 11 still comes with Windows 10. Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet Explorer\iexplorer.exe. Right click on the file and select Pin to Taskbar. Now you have a quick click icon to use IE 11.

  11. roberto
    January 19, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Try Krojam Soft Files Search to showing all hidden/duplicated files and folders.

  12. Sonic Jensen
    January 17, 2016 at 10:44 am

    I dont like the new settings app. The new start menu is not good enough, cortana cant be used in my country .

  13. Al
    January 17, 2016 at 6:36 am

    First off the start menu isn't back in an usable form. Alphabetical sorting isn't practical if you're just looking for that editing app you can't name. Cortana may be excellent but if you aren't in the right country you can't even test it. Edge - too early to tell but the name change is a great start. I'd love a few more customization tweaks. Mostly cosmetic. Overall windows 10 is a win

  14. Read and Share
    January 16, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    I recently purchased a Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 Win 10 laptop with touch screen.

    I am VERY annoyed that no matter what settings I use, the #@$%! touch keyboard jumps out on the screen every time the screen shows an input area of sorts (e.g. a bank website)!! This is supposed to happen only when I flip the screen to "tablet mode". It is NOT supposed to happen when the screen is at normal laptop angles.

    I finally had to disable to "Touch keyboard and Handwriting Panel" service altogether. A real shame.

  15. fcd76218
    January 16, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    "7 Best & Worst Windows 10 Features"
    In your opinion. Others might feel differently.

    "Because Cortana is popping up on other platforms, this personal information is available almost everywhere."
    Including the mothership and who knows where else. Oh well! So much for privacy and security.

    "You can switch off key logging in Windows 10."
    Are you sure you can? How do you know for sure if it IS switched off? For that matter, how many other trackers and loggers are incorporated into Win 10 that users don't know about and cannot disable.

    • Read and Share
      January 16, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      Fair questions -- although I think questions along the lines of 'how do we know for sure and what else is out there that we don't even know about' apply just as much (if not more) to Apple and Google!

      • fcd76218
        January 16, 2016 at 9:02 pm

        Quite right. But the article is about only Win 10 features so do not try to obfuscate by bringing in irrelevant facts. Besides, just because two other companies are going it, does not make it any more right.

        • Read and Share
          January 16, 2016 at 9:36 pm

          Obfuscate? "Just" because two other companies??

          Seriously, these two companies plus Microsoft is "just" 99% of the market!

          And carping about an issue common to OSes used by 99% of all desktop, tablet and phone users is like complaining about tap water containing chlorine -- if you know what I mean. It's the nature of modern municipal tap water -- and OSes!

        • fcd76218
          January 16, 2016 at 10:08 pm

          "Seriously, these two companies plus Microsoft is “just” 99% of the market!"
          So that makes it right in your eyes?!
          To quote John Stuart Mill:
          "If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."

          "It’s the nature of modern municipal tap water — and OSes!"
          Again, just because "everybody" does it, doesn't make it right. Didn't your mama ever say to you "If everybody jumped of the bridge, would you?" :-)

        • Steady Kambodji
          January 19, 2016 at 11:58 pm

          It really doesn't make it right, but the media always makes it like Microsoft is the villain.

          Just like that Joker meme:
          'Apple and Google track your every move in iOS and Android, nobody bats an eye.
          Microsoft logs your keystroke, and everybody lose their minds.'

        • Robin
          January 22, 2016 at 11:53 am

          Read the EULAs for OSX and Google: you are told *exactly* what is being tracked. MS's EULA? explains nothing. One finds out from a MS blog bragging about Win10 uptake what they've been looking at... nowhere in their licence agreements are these facts made clear.

  16. Jim Gibson
    January 16, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I have Windows 10 on my Lenovo Laptop and to be honest I don't understand all the fuss being made surrounding the OS it works well and the updates are compulsory but the upgrade was free so what is the problem?
    I also have a much older Laptop (Dell Latitude 430) that had run Windows XP but rather than dispose of the dead computer I loaded a Umbuntu operating system which breathed new life into a system that could of ended in the recycling bin. Go Microsoft (and Linux).

  17. Anonymous
    January 16, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    It's not just that updates are mandatory that is the problem. But updates now change the OS over time, reset your personalized settings and tweaks when the OS build gets upgraded, give no detail of what they change and also uninstall certain desktop apps! It's just rude behavior from Microsoft. They will do whatever they hell they want and you just have to tolerate it. They can replace any apps with shitty Metro equivalents, reinstall all the default Metro apps that you removed and won't make them easy to remove - it'll happen every time the OS build is upgraded. What it means is your OS that you tuned and set up as YOU wanted will change as THEY want it to. Your preferences are being disregarded. I am not sure I want to deal with such a rude OS.

    • Anonymous
      January 16, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Not to mention forced driver updates too! That is just preposterous!

  18. mark
    January 16, 2016 at 12:21 am

    i was working on something very important in an app that doesnt auto save. then suddenly windows decides to restart and update... work lost!! this is a stupid feature

    • Robin
      January 22, 2016 at 11:58 am

      Mint lets you know an update is available, but would never interrupt what you're doing to force the update. Linux Mint is polite and user-focused. Microsoft products in general are rude, unhelpful, inconsistent in behaviour (I'm looking at *you*, VBA!) and arrogant to the extreme, considering what it needs to do (update your PC) infinitely more important than anything you the user could ever be doing on your own PC.
      That behaviour could at least be turned off in Win7 (which I still use). Not going anywhere near Win10, sorry.

  19. nb122
    January 15, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    I tested Windows 10 in a shop however totally failed to get the keyboard to pop up automatically when you click on a text field in tablet mode. Given this should be basic functionality it surprised me how hard it was. Shop assistance was no good either.

  20. Lori
    January 15, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Thanks Chris. I downloaded again, and it unzipped just fine. Not sure what happened yesterday.

  21. Lori
    January 15, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    I have one computer on Windows 10 but the other is still at Win7, I am hesitant to change. There are some things I just cannot figure out why on Windows 10, so go to Windows 7 and I can do them. One is a few files I have downloaded that are in zip files, I cannot open them.

    • Chris Collins
      January 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm

      When you click on the file, it should give you an option to Extract at the top of the window. You should also be able to right click the files and unzip them. The functionality to zip and unzip is "stock" with Win 10.

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