How to get rid of Windows 10

As we have already seen so far, Windows 10 has some incredible new elements in the form of Virtual Desktops, Continuum, and so on. However, there are always people for whom it is all a bit too much, and they’d rather stick to the version of Windows they know, love and are familiar with like a baby who love his best double stroller for newborn and toddler since it is like his familiar place.

If you one of those people who gave Windows 10 an honest try but feel like it has totally fouled up your workflow? Don’t stress! Windows 10 improves on its predecessors, but it isn’t for everyone. If you picked up the free upgrade and have altered your opinion after running it, this chapter will help you undo your action.

Before you begin

Depending on how you upgraded to Windows 10, whether by using Windows update, or doing an upgrade or clean install from a downloaded Windows 10 ISO, the procedure to move roll back to the previous Windows version can be different.

If you installed via Windows update or run the upgrade process from an ISO of Windows 10, there is an inbuilt process for rolling back to your previous version of Windows that should be the method of choice. In some cases, this rollback is not available.

If you upgraded from Windows 8 (not 8.1) to Windows 10 using the ISO. Or if you upgraded from XP / Windows Vista using the ISO. Or if you used the ISO to do a clean install. In all these cases you need to back up your important data!

While downgrading Windows these days is mostly a safe operation, as Windows tries to retain as much of your old data as it can, don’t take it for granted.

Backing up the data is a vital part of the process of downgrading from any Windows version. Versions of Windows since Windows Vista take the approach of retaining all your old data even if you do a clean reinstall (without formatting of course). It places all your old files in a folder called ‘Windows.old’.

Now, don’t be misled by the name ‘Windows.old’, it doesn’t refer to the version of Windows. If you have Windows 10 installed and then install Windows 7 on that same drive, the contents of ‘Windows.old’ will be your Windows 10 install. You can go inside this ‘Windows.old’ folder and copy back any important data you have, such as documents, photos, and videos. Even some application settings might be recoverable.

In case you are reverting back to Windows XP, the downgrade process is as good as a format and reinstall; back up everything! In fact, just back up everything; that is never the wrong advice to give. If you keep data in odd places on your Windows partition, back those up, a Windows reinstall might not be kind to them.

Backup your Windows 10 data

Remember, backups only count if they are on a separate drive or at least partition. Make sure that you create a backup of your data on the external hard drive, USB, or cloud services such as DropBox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, etc.

The most important thing to know is where your data is stored in the layout Windows uses. In the following examples we assume you installed Windows in C: drive, if not replace ‘C:’ with whatever drive letter Windows is using for your install. All user-centric files such as documents, photos, music, videos, etc. are stored under ‘C:\Users\’ which should have a separate folder for each user account on your computer. Note that it isn’t compulsory to save all your files here, if you have also saved files elsewhere you will have to back those up as well.

Let’s assume that as a cruel joke, your parents named you ‘User Name’ and that’s what your login id is on Windows. You will find your data under: ‘C:\Users\User Name\’ Inside that folder most folder names should be self-explanatory, they have names like Pictures, Downloads, Desktop, Documents etc.

Some other applications might have created their own folders here, if you want to be safe back those up as well. There is however a hidden folder here called ‘AppData’ that could also have some data of importance. This folder contains application data for installed applications, such as your Browser profiles, game save files, and other settings and configuration files.

If you want to save these files, you will have to dig into this folder. Within ‘AppData’ you will find two or three folders, ‘Local’ and ‘Roaming’ should definitely be there. Here applications are supposed to use the ‘Local’ folder to store data that can be regenerated, such as your browser cache and other less important data. Back up the ‘Roaming’ folder for your profiles at least.

If not all of it, then at least the applications that you think are important. Just to clarify this folder is at ‘C:\Users\User Name\AppData’. You can enter that path in the location bar to get to this folder since it is hidden, or just enable display of hidden files. All of the above info can also be useful if you want to get existing data out of an existing ‘Windows.old’ folder. Your files there will be in ‘C:\Windows. old\Users\User Name\’.

Rolling back to earlier Windows

Remember that ‘Windows.old’ folder we mentioned earlier? This is where it gets really important. If you upgraded to Windows 10 from a previous version, this folder will be around for 30 days. And if it’s around chances are you can simply perform a rollback. Open the new Settings app by clicking on ‘Settings’ on the start menu, or searching for settings using the new search bar in Windows 10.

Click the “Update & security” icon and select the “Recovery” option. In case your operating system is eligible to move back to older versions of Windows, you ought to pick an option that says ‘Go back to Windows 8.1’ or ‘Go back to Windows 7’, depending upon the operating system you upgraded to Windows 10 from. During the rollback process, Windows 10 screen will then request your feedback and the reason to move back to the older operating system.

Give the feedback you want or don’t. Remember ‘I dislike the new start menu’ is better and more useful than ‘Windows 10 sucks’. Click on Next. If you’re using a laptop, ensure that it is plugged in to avoid any interruption in the rollback process due to power off. Click on the Go back to Windows 8.1(or Windows 7) button.

Now comes the most important part of the process. You will be required to input your password in order to sign in to an older Windows. The password must be same as earlier.

The process execution will then take a while and bring your past Windows back on your computer/laptop without leaving changes to any of your existing files or documents. Remember, you have 30 days to do this, after which the ‘Windows.old’ folder will be removed.

If rollback isn’t possible

If you ran disk cleanup after installing Windows 10 and asked it to clean up your previous Windows installation, or if you otherwise manually deleted ‘Windows.old’ – which isn’t a matter of right-click an ‘delete’ by the way. Then you won’t see the roll back option. You will also not see it in a few other cases, as we mentioned before. If this is the case, don’t worry, you can still get back to your previous version of Windows.

All you need are the setup files of the version of Windows you want to roll back to. You might have received these on a setup disk with your device, or your Windows purchase. If you no longer have them, you can also download ISO files for recent versions of Windows from:.

You will need to provide the product key if you are trying to download a Windows 7 ISO. In case of Windows 8.1 you will be able to download a tool that downloads the setup files for Windows 8.1. You might need the product key for Windows 8.1 as well if it asks for it. In some recent laptops this key is stored in your hardware, so you won’t need to enter it at all. You can burn this image file to a disc image or simply copy it to a bootable USB drive using Windows USB/DVD Download Tool.

Or, best of all you can simply mount the ISO file by double-clicking it and install it from there. If you are installing from a pendrive or optical disk, you might need to use the ‘Advanced Startup’ feature of Windows. Go to Settings > Update & security > Recovery; there click on “Advanced startup.” This option allows you to start up from a USB drive or DVD. You can also make changes to your computer’s firmware settings, Windows startup settings, or restore Windows from a system image.

Executing this option will automatically restart your computer. On reboot you will see four options to choose from. Choose the one that says “Use a device” and then select the device with your Windows setup files. After that the installation process for your older version of Windows should start.

Understanding downgrade rights for purchasers

If you already have Windows 10 installed on your brand new hardware, and are wondering how to go back to an older, more-familiar version of Windows. There is still a way out. If you buy Windows as part of your device, often you can avail of your downgrade rights. These allow you to opt for an older version of Windows in lieu of the one you get with the device. This offer is available for the previous two supported versions of Windows. So for Windows 10 devices, you can move back to Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. This is harder than it need to be.

You first need to install the previous version of Windows on your computer. For this you need the setup files of that previous version of Windows, and a product key. You can take this from a friend, or use a key you already have installed on another computer, or other less savoury sources. You can run the setup as normal using these files and the key. Once Windows is installed activation will fail because you used a key that is already in use on another computer.

At this point you will have to use manual phone activation, and tell them that you are exercising your downgrade rights, and they should help you with the activation. Since you got Windows 10 with your computer in this case, you can easily upgrade to Windows 10 again later without needing to pay for an upgrade. Think of it this way, getting Windows 10 on a new computer entitles you to run Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 on that computer as long as you only run one at a time.

How to get Windows 10

Installing a new operating system can sometimes be a daunting task. For the average user, installing or reinstalling Windows has always been a relatively hassle-free process. However, thanks to its “upgrade for free” nature, Microsoft has changed the rules around the process of installing everyone’s favorite OS.

Hopefully, chapter 3 has cleared all your doubts and misconceptions about upgrading, while chapter 4 sure should have you well prepared for the bevy of new features introduced by Windows 10.

NOTE: Before we go ahead, it is important you identify what type of Windows license you own: Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or Retail? If you purchased your system/laptop with Windows preinstalled, then you have what is called an OEM license. However, if you purchased a copy of Windows from Microsoft’s online store or a retailer, you have a retail license (costs a bit more than an OEM license).

The major point of difference between these two license types is that an OEM license copy of Windows is valid only on the first system (i.e. motherboard) that it is installed. Retail licenses, on the other hand, allow you to reinstall Windows on a new computer without having to worry about activation.

It is also possible to buy an OEM copy of
Windows for installing on a new PC

As stated in Chapter 3, the free upgrade to Windows 10 is valid for both OEM and retail licenses. However, if you own an OEM copy of Windows 7/8/8.1, do not try to install Windows 10 on a NEW PC, especially if you are changing the motherboard. After the upgrade, Windows 10 will still have an OEM license which will not be valid for a new system.

So how exactly should I backup my system?

Step 1: Backup your files on another drive The first files that you prioritize for a backup are personal files like photos and work-related documents stored on your primary system drive, i.e. the drive on which your operating system is installed (generally C: drive). Since a clean reinstall of Windows wipes all files on your primary system drive, you should copy these files over to another drive on your PC (D:, E:, etc.).

Note that if something goes wrong during your installation process and you cannot boot into you OS, you will not be able to access the files on your backup drive until you successfully reinstall/restore your OS or else physically connect the hard drive to another PC. The best way to avoid this hassle is to use an external hard drive for the backup.

This way, should you botch the installation, you can at least be assured of having easy access to your backup files. Another excellent option for this type of backup is to use a cloud storage service like Dropbox, Google Photos/Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. This is especially more convenient if you have access to good internet speeds.

Cloud storage services allow you to access your backup from multiple devices

Step 2: Check if you have the installation disk for your original OS Should anything go wrong during the installation process, you also have the option of reinstalling your original OS. If you purchased a retail copy of Windows, your best option is to use the DVD for the reinstall, just make sure you also have the product key.

This can be found on a slip inside the box packaging or on the DVD itself. You can also use a tool like Belarc Advisor or Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder to extract your Windows product key on the system it is installed in.

Further, if you have misplaced your installation disk (or do not have one), you can download a Windows ISO from Microsoft’s website (yes, even Windows XP) and burn this on a DVD or USB. (Sidenote: For direct download links for Windows 7 ISOs ). The steps to reinstall your OS using the bootable DVD/USB are similar to those outlined later in the chapter for doing a clean install of Windows.

Step 3: Create a USB recovery (Optional but recommended) There’s always the possibility that you are not extremely happy with the whole overhauled experience of Window 10 and now want to go back to your old operating system.

While you can always reinstall your original OS using the installation disk or bootable DVD/USB outlined in Step 2, Windows 7 and 8.1 users have a more convenient option: creating a recovery disk for your OS on an external drive – either a USB hard drive, DVD or network drive.

To do this, first ensure your destination drive (for the backup) is larger than the space used in the primary drive. The more programs/data you have in your primary drive, the more the time required for the backup and restore.

Hence, if you insist on creating a backup image, it is recommended that you uninstall unnecessary applications and move all media and other file types to another drive before making the backup.

You will also need either a Windows installation disk (either DVD or bootable USB) or you can create a system repair disk for which you will need a DVDR and a blank DVD.

Steps for creating the system image backup: Š

1. Go to control panel -> Backup and Restore -> Click on “Create a system image” on the left Š

2. Now select the drive to which you wish to the backup image – ensure there’s enough space and click next Š

3. Click “Start Backup” to confirm and wait for the process to complete Š

4. If you do not have the Windows ISO, you have to create a bootable disk using a blank DVD. Š

5. To create the drive, go to control panel -> Backup and Restore -> Click on “Create a system repair disk” on the left.

Š6. Select the DVD drive and wait for the tool to burn the bootable repair disk.

To restore from this drive: Š

1. Ensure the recovery image drive and Windows installation DVD/ bootable USB (or system repair disk) are plugged in and reboot your PC. Š

2. While it is rebooting, keep hitting the F8 key till you come across the boot menu (this key can vary across motherboard types; check the instruction manual or Google your MoBo model number to confirm).

Š3. From the boot menu, select the Windows installation DVD/bootable USB (or system repair disk). If you selected the system repair disk, the system will boot into System Recovery. Select System Image Recovery and follow the steps till your system is restored.

In such situations, you’ll be glad you made a backup

If you used the Windows DVD/USB, it will take you to the Windows setup screen. From here: [Steps outlined are for Windows 8.1. Windows 7 and below will have slightly different screens] Š

1. Select “Repair your Computer” Š

2. Click on Troubleshoot Š

3. Click Advanced Options Š

4. click on System Image Recovery icon Š

5. Choose the target operating system (Windows 8.1) Š

6. After you reach the re-image screen, select a system image (you can select the auto-detected latest image. Š

7. Unless you changed the partition, there is no need to check the “Format and repartition disks”. Click next. Š

8. Confirm the re-imaging process by clicking on finish and click “Yes” to the warning that pops up. Š

9. After the re-imaging is done, you can restart your system and it should be in the exact state it was when you created the image.

So I am done backing up all my data. How do I go about upgrading to/installing Windows 10?

Upgrading from Windows 7/8/8.1

First, it depends on your operating system. The easiest path is if you are running a non-Enterprise edition of Windows 7/8/8.1. In this case, chances are that you have already upgraded to Windows 10 via the reservation system.

If you haven’t already, Microsoft is providing an excellent upgrade tool on their website. Go to the above link and – depending on your processor type – download either the 32- or 64-bit version of the tool (if you are unsure, check “Control Panel” > “System and Security” > “System” and check System type). Run the tool after it has completed downloading. The tool will now present you with two options.

Make sure you select “Upgrade this PC now” if you are upgrading Windows 7/8/8.1

Option 1 – “Upgrade this PC now” – provides an extremely hassle-free method to upgrade and requires very little intervention from the user. After clicking on this option, Setup will give you three options regarding what data you want kept on your system after the upgrade:

a) Keep your personal files and apps

b) Keep your personal files only

c) Nothing After selecting your preferred method, all you have to do is click “Next” is to wait for Windows to download the required files.

The download is approximately 4 GB, so ensure you have enough space and bandwidth for the download. After the download is complete, simply follow all the onscreen prompts and your computer should restart, following which Windows will begin installation. Make sure you click “Next” when required, and setup Windows as per your requirements once it boots into the now upgraded OS.

So which of these options is best for me?

Option (a) is ideal if you do not want to be bothered with making any sort of backup. You can also roll back to your original operating system if you’re not happy with the Windows 10 experience. Unfortunately, the convenience of this method does entail a few drawbacks.

There’s always the possibility of some compatibility issue rearing its ugly head. Maybe the drivers need to be reinstalled or maybe some corrupt registry entries have broken other programs.

If you want to backup your personal files including photos and videos and do not mind having to reconfigure Windows while also reinstalling programs, then option (b) is the way to go. For those who want to install Windows with a clean slate and with factory settings, Option (c) will help you with just that.

It will wipe your system partition clean so you will lose all files and programs stored on it. Just ensure you have all your important files backed up.

Nice. I now have Windows installed. What was the point of that second option?

Performing a clean install of Windows 10 Well, “Create installation media for another PC” in essence allows you to make a bootable disk (DVD or USB stick) which you can use to perform a clean installation of Windows.

Most experienced Windows users will tell you that a clean install of Windows (or any operating system) is the best way to purge your system of any and all software-related issues—from broken applications to malware injections.

Upgrading the operating system provides a perfect opportunity for a clean install, and it is obvious many users will want to take advantage of installing their new OS on a blank system. **IMPORTANT: Note that Microsoft has stated in its support forums that you must use the “Upgrade this PC now” option if you are upgrading from Windows 7/8/8.1.

This is the only way to get your copy of Windows 10 activated. The only way you can use a product key to activate Windows 10 is if you obtained one purchasing a brand new retail copy. You cannot use your Windows 7/8/8.1 product key during the installation. Microsoft is handling activation slightly differently for PCs upgraded to Windows 10. Your upgraded copy will be associated with a hardware hash that is unique to your system.

So once your system is upgraded, you can reinstall Windows 10 on it without having to worry about the product key as Microsoft has stored you PC’s hardware hash in its database as the owner of a legitimate copy of Windows 10. This, however, raises a serious problem: **If you are upgrading Windows 7/8/8.1 to Windows 10, you CANNOT reinstall Windows 10 on a new system (i.e., new motherboard) without first installing your original, purchased copy of Windows 7/8/8.1. While this is a tedious process, you have to do it only the first time, after which that PC is registered with Windows 10 for life.

The catch is that you can only do this till July 29, 2016. So if you want to install Windows 10 on a new PC after that date, you are out of luck since you cannot upgrade your copy of Windows 7/8/8.1 anymore.

To perform a clean install of Windows 10 from an existing OS, ensure you have a blank DVD or USB stick on which the tool can burn the bootable Windows 10 ISO.

Run the media creation tool (as mentioned in the previous section) and select “Create installation media for another PC”. Select the correct language, edition, and architecture of the version of Windows you intend to download. Put in your preferred language and correct architecture and select the SAME edition as the one you are upgrading from (Home or Pro).

In the next screen, select the type of media. Note that if you select ISO, you will need to burn the downloaded ISO on a DVD using a third-party app like PowerISO or Daemon tools. If you select USB stick, just select the correct drive from the next screen and click finish after it’s done downloading.

The USB stick is ready for booting. Now, keep the installation media connected to your PC and perform a system reboot. The following are standard steps that you have to follows to perform a clean install of Windows 10 (just as you would any other operating system):Š

1. Hit F8 as the PC is rebooting to access the boot menu. Š

2. Select the installation media (DVD or USB stick). Š

3. You should come across the “enter product key” screen. If you have purchased a retail copy of Windows 10 and this is your first install, enter your product key here. However, if you have upgraded from Windows 8.1, and you do not have a Windows 10 product key, just click “Skip”. Š

4. Keep hitting “Next” until you reach the screen that asks “Which type of installation do you want?” Š

5. Select “Custom” Š

6. At the drive partition screen, partition your drive however you want and go ahead with the install. Š

7. Note: [If this is your first time installing an OS and you are not familiar with this screen, don’t fret. All you have to do is format the system partition (the drive on which Windows 10 was installed) and then select the same partition for the install.] Š

8. After the installation is complete, your system will reboot into your now clean Windows 10 install. Š

9. Now follow all the on-screen prompts to initialize your OS and you are good to go.

My mom’s PC has Windows Vista. How can I get her the Windows 10 upgrade?

Firstly, you will have to purchase a license. Microsoft is only offering the free upgrade to users of Windows 7 and above.

So users with Windows Vista and lower can either purchase a boxed copy of Windows 10 and the follow normal installation procedure, or purchase a license from the Microsoft store and use the Windows 10 installation tool with the same procedure as outlined above.

A third, more drawn-out method would be to buy a DVD of Windows 7/8, and use that license for the free upgrade to Windows 10. This is of course not recommended as you will no longer be able to upgrade Windows after the 29th July, 2016, effectively leaving you stuck with your now worthless copy of Windows 7**.

Keep in mind that if you do decide to upgrade a Windows Vista (or lower) PC to Windows 10, you will have to perform a clean install. Ensure you backup any and all important data before installing.

Doing a clean install looks extremely tedious. Is there an easier alternative?

Yes. Windows 8.1 had introduced two excellent features called Refresh and Reset, which are also available in Windows 10. “Refresh” lets you reinstalls Windows while keeping your personal files and settings intact.

It also retains any preinstalled apps installed by the manufacturer that came with your PC and apps installed from the Windows Store. “Reset” reinstalls Windows but also wipes all files, settings, and apps, except for any that may have come preinstalled with your system. While neither is a perfect substitute for a clean install, it is a good idea to try either or both of these functions as a last ditch fix.

I like Windows 10, but I would breathe easier if I knew there was a quick way to access my older OS should anything go wrong. Any solution for that?

What you are looking for is a dual-boot system with Windows 10 as one bootable OS and your original OS as the other. This way you can boot into the older OS should you face any issues while running Windows 10. The following instructions should guide you in setting up a dual boot OS system.

It goes without saying, backup all your important files before attempting this. Since we will be installing Windows 10 on a partition other than your system partition (the drive on which your original OS is installed), you need not take a backup of the data on it.

First, ensure that you have ample hard disk space to store both operating systems. Each operating system need to be installed on a different disk partition. Ensure the secondary partition is over 20GB in size (space required for Windows 10). If you have two separate physical hard drives in your computer, you can install Windows 10 on the second drive.

Keep in mind that the drive that you choose to install Windows on will have to be formatted. Alternatively, you can partition your existing system drive to create space for another partition by using Disk Management to reduce the size of an active partition. Do this by first locating your system partition, i.e., the folder your C: partition). Right-click and select “Shrink Volume.”

If you have multiple partitions on your hard drive, try resizing a different partition to free up space the required space. Now follow the exact same steps as outlined in the “reinstall Windows 10” section and create a Windows 10 bootable DVD or flash drive. Now boot into this USB drive and install Windows as you would any normal OS.

Just be sure to install Windows 10 on a partition chosen on the basis of the above steps. After the installation is done, you’ll now be able to choose between Windows 10 and your original operating system when you boot your PC. To switch between them, restart your computer and select your desired OS from the boot menu

What’s new with windows 10 (p.2)

Cortana

Cortana is another centrepiece of the Windows 10 platform. If you’ve used a Windows Phone device, then you might already be familiar with what that is. If you’ve used an iOS or Android device, then you might have had the chance to use their built-in voice-activated digital assistants.

On Apple devices that’s Siri, and on Google devices it is Google Now. These applications let you ask your phone questions in a somewhat natural way, and get back a spoken response. For instance, you could say to your iPhone, ‘Hey Siri, what is the population of Indore’ and it would look up that fact, and speak it out in a natural voice. Similarly, you could ask your Android phone ‘OK Google, what time is it in Cincinnati right now’ and your phone will you the answer.

Cortana has already been available on Windows phones for a while, and now it has come to the desktop. That is of course if you live in one of the few countries where it works. India isn’t one of them, but Microsoft promises Cortana support in India is coming soon. Once it’s released in India, you’ll be able to use Cortana to play music and videos, look up facts, set alarms, take notes, set reminders and a lot more using your voice. Cortana can be activated by clicking on the new search bar / button in the Windows 10 taskbar, or by simply saying ‘Hey Cortana’ if you enable that option.

The new Store

Microsoft’s app store for Windows has also gone through some major changes for Windows 10. It might not seem special to look at, but there is a lot new that you can expect from it. First of all, the store is no longer restricted to only Modern UI / Windows 8 / Windows 10 / Universal Windows Applications, all kinds of applications will now be available on the store.

This doesn’t mean that any developer can just drop any old exe file on the store and sell it. Old apps will still need to be repackaged for the Windows Store and optionally developers can even use new Windows 10 technologies and payment models without needing to rewrite the application using a new framework.

If you still prefer traditionally sold applications, here is something that might attract you. Applications installed from the store run in their own sandbox, and as such can’t go around creating random files all over your computer, and in your settings folders. Apps installed from the store run in isolation, with their own private Windows registry to mess up, their own private settings and data folders, and restricted access to the rest of the system.

This enables you to cleanly install and uninstall apps from the store. Want to check out a free app but are worried that the app will leave files and settings behind after you uninstall it? Well, apps installed from the store wont have this problem, even if they are traditional applications. Additionally, the Windows store now also features music, movies and TV purchases, but as you probably expect by now, they are not available in India.

At least not right now Improved Gaming Exprience Microsoft has been trying to win back gamers for a while now, and in Windows 10 they are making an effort to do exactly that. There are two major new features of Windows 10 that Microsoft is touting to gamers, and they are a new improved Direct X, and a new XBox app for Windows.

DirectX 12

Windows 10 comes with Microsoft’s a major upgrade to DirectX. Just like DirectX 10 was exclusive to Vista, and was not available for XP, DirectX 12 is exclusive to Windows 10, and wont be available for previous versions of Windows. Also like DirectX 10, DirectX 12 brings a big change to the way DirectX works, and can be a huge boon to developers and gamers alike.

First of all DirectX 12 cuts out many of the layers between a running game, and the graphics card it is using. In earlier versions there were many layers of software that came in the way with their own bugs, and inefficiencies.

This often led to situations where a game could perform a lot better, but it was restricted due to the design of the drivers and of DirectX itself. Often there would be bugs in the driver that only popped up on certain hardware and with certain games, leaving developers helpless to fix them.

With DirectX 12 there is a lot more responsibility and power given to developers, as they have closer access to the hardware than ever on a PC. This is the kind of access that allowed developers to create decent looking games on consoles even when PCs had far overpowered them in hardware capability.

The Xbox App

The Xbox app in Windows 10 is the other new feature that is of interest to gamers. This app brings some of the capabilities of the Xbox to Windows. While it is the successor to Games for Windows Live, Microsoft claims to have learnt from the mistakes of the almost universally hated software.

The Xbox app as such is merely a social gaming hub that lets you track achievements for games installed through the store, allows you to chat with and message friends, and to share screenshots and video captures of your games.

It can detect the games installed on your computer, and list them in one place. You can launch games from the Xbox app like you would from Steam or Origin, although those will still need to be installed depending on where you got your game. You can also use the Xbox app shortcuts to take screenshots and make video recordings of your games.

Like on the Xbox One, you can configure Xbox on Windows 10 to record gameplay in the background so you can quickly save the last few minutes or even hour of gameplay footage. The Xbox app can also connect to an Xbox One and can then stream games from the Xbox One to your PC. For gamers who don’t already have apps for capturing game screenshots and videos, this will likely be a great feature. For others, there’s nothing special that the Xbox app does that your existing software doesn’t.

Edge

Microsoft has taken the opportunity with such a disruptive release as Window 10 to improve another Microsoft product that has received much criticism over the years: their browser. Internet Explorer has always been quite innovative despite what its reputation might suggest.

It was Internet Explorer that first included what is knows as Ajax today, and they had a multi-process design before Chrome was introduced. However, over time its legacy has become a burden, and a clean break was the best idea. Edge is that (somewhat) clean break. Internet Explorer is still available with Windows 10, but it is tucked away safely only for those who need it.

The default browser on Windows 10, is Microsoft Edge. The new browser uses the new EdgeHTML engine, which is essentially their old Internet Explorer engine (Trident) with all the code for legacy support removed. It no longer has support for ActiveX and other proprietary Microsoft technologies and focuses only on the current generation web technologies. It’s a great browser, but by no means perfect, and it’s made worse by the fact that upgrading to Windows 10 sets it to your default browser even if you already had another default browser.

A lot more

There is still a lot more that Windows 10 has to offer. It continues in the direction set by Windows 8.1 by making more and more of the Windows experience accessible to touch. The new control panel for instance adds a lot more configuration options that were earlier only accessible via the traditional control panel.

It isn’t perfect though, and there is still a lot that is absent, but it is unlikely that an average user will ever need to visit or know about the old control panel. A great example is how the new modern settings app now lists all installed applications, whether they came from the store, or were installed the traditional way. A new ‘Save locations’ setting panel now allows you to easily select a secondary drive to store you documents, music, pictures and videos.

In the future you will be able to change the drive on which apps are installed as well. For the security conscious there is Windows Hello, a new technology that adds support for biometric authentication, such as fingerprint, iris, or face-based authentication for Windows. Of course as usual Windows 10 also updates the set of applications that it comes with including the mail and calendar apps, and of course a new version of Solitaire.

Brace yourselves though, because this will be a little hard to believe, but Solitaire, or ‘Microsoft Solitaire Collection’ as it’s called in Windows 10 now displays video ads that you can only get rid of by paying a monthly subscription. Just head over to the store and you’ll find dozens of free versions of solitaire, or those that charge a one-time fee. Finally, Windows 10 also introduces ‘Phone Companion’ an app that simplifies interfacing your computer with your phone. It supports Windows phones obviously, but also Android and iOS phones.

It’s nothing special as it mostly links to Microsoft apps you can install on your phone, but hope- fully it will become more capable over time.