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October 29, 2015

Windows 10 – Be More Productive at Work

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Windows 10 - Bill Gates

Microsoft has invested billions of dollars into the software industry since it was founded in 1975 delivering upon Bill Gate’s mission: to put a computer on every desk, and in every home, running Microsoft software. To a certain extent this is true with Microsoft owning the majority of the consumer market since the beginning. Not only have they been wildly successful and invested a ton of money into software, Microsoft has hired some of the most intelligent engineers and business leaders in the world to stay competitive. What stands out the most about Microsoft is how they take care of their employees and partners recently earning themselves the Global Randstad Award for the Worlds #1 Place to Work. Our perspective is very positive because if Microsoft did not evolve the way they did and build software for small businesses, a large majority of the small businesses in our modern day economy would not exist, especially Digux. None the less, we want readers to zoom out and consider that Microsoft is doing everything in their power to try and please consumers. We think that the endless challenge Microsoft faces having to please all the different people from all the different countries in the world is a tall order to take on respectfully and our opinion is the culmination of the past 40 years of hard work put into Windows has really come together for Microsoft with Windows 10.

Some of us may have been part of Windows evolution throughout all 26 major versions since 1.01 released in 1985. Realistically we probably have only used the software since Windows 3.1 or later. I’m sure some of us can even remember the inspiring moments when using Windows for the first time, or bragged about a feature to a friend, or maybe even have a haunting memory about the blue screen of death. In the past, no one really knew why certain features or applications were developed in Windows unless you worked at Microsoft at the time which has been frustrating to the community to say the least.

Windows 10 - WindowsFeedback
Microsoft now provides a way for us to share our opinion online to help inspire future changes in Windows. To share feedback, we click on the ‘Start’ menu. Click ‘All Apps’ then scroll down and click on the ‘Windows Feedback’. A history lesson on Microsoft and the Feedback app is probably not the most exciting information so we want to change pace here and dive into the new features Windows 10 has to offer that will make you more productive at work.

Improved Training with the Get Started app:

Windows 10 - GetStarted

The best way to truly understand our tools and to become more productive at work is to learn how to use them properly. Microsoft has included the Get Started app in Windows 10 and we can essentially learn almost everything about what Windows 10 has to offer. Click the ‘Start’ menu, click ‘All Apps’, then scroll down to the G section and click ‘Get Started’. Or you can click the ‘Start’ menu and just start typing Get Started and press enter with a quick search.  We recommend spending at least 1 to 2 hours learning as much as possible about Windows 10. We believe knowledge is power and this is a great way to familiarize yourself with Windows 10 and take charge of your abilities to use your computer.

 

 

Improved File Explorer with Quick Access:

Windows 10 - QuickAccess

Finding our files and folders is now easier with the Quick Access feature. We now have the ability to see exactly what frequent folders or recent files we have accessed from all of our different storage locations. For example, we can see a history of the folders/files we worked on from the local hard-drive, OneDrive, SharePoint, network share, etc. Most small businesses access their data from an assortment of different locations and this makes it easy to find what we have been working on without having to drill down into the nested folder locations across our systems. To access the File Explorer, you can click the ‘Start’ menu and click ‘File Explorer’. We recommended pinning the File Explorer to your taskbar so you can get to ‘Quick Access’ in one click. We recommend spending a few minutes and pinning the folders commonly accessed in your frequent folders window to speed things up for you. The Quick Access feature replaced the Favorites option in Windows 7 & 8.

 

 

 

Improved Start Menu:

The feedback we received on Windows 8 is primarily negative because Microsoft removed the traditional Start menu and added a Start screen that pulled the end user away from the desktop into this horizontal scrolling experience that was difficult to use. This design made sense to end users who owned a touch screen device in our opinion. None the less, toggling between the desktop and Start screen was counterproductive for most people. If you liked Windows 7 and the traditional Start menu, you will love what Microsoft did with Windows 10.  The new Start menu gives us the ability to access all of our apps, folders, store apps, etc. all from one place. The Start menu is customizable too giving us the ability to change the size of app icons, add some additional links, etc.  In our example, we made the Start menu larger by dragging the right edge out then clicking the All Apps option then dragging and dropping the majority of the app icons we commonly use into the main area. We also added Documents and Downloads links as we commonly need access to those folders by going into Settings, clicking ‘Personalization’, ‘Start’, then clicking ‘Choose which folders appear on Start’.  After making these changes we now only have to make two clicks to get to the app or folder we need.

Improved Readability with Edge Browser:

The new Edge browser is faster than Chrome & Firefox based on benchmark stats using Apple & Google’s testing software. Microsoft has also created a new rendering engine that replaces the old clunky system from Internet Explorer that is designed specifically to improve interoperability with web-sites online. It also has integrated flash and natively supports the .MKV file format so you can watch HD movies without having to change browsers. We also love how Edge integrates Cortana in various ways. For example, if you search for weather it will show you the current temperature at your location.  Or if you go to Dominos.com or most other online restaurants, you can click Cortana in the top right corner and find the location nearest you.  We believe the best feature in Edge that will make you more productive at work is the reading mode. The reading mode removes all the “noise” on the web-page such as banners, ads, miscellaneous, links, etc. and formats the page sort of like the Kindle so you can read and get research done faster.

How We Are Helping:
If you are currently a Digux customer we sent out our Windows 10 announcement back on June 15th 2015 explaining our best practice on operating system upgrades. Our best practice is to wait at least 90 days after the initial release. This process enables Microsoft to sort out some of those “hot” bugs and gives us the opportunity to avoid dealing with some of those initial pesky problems creating downtime. This process also gives us an opportunity to pilot test the software with our point of contact and validate all existing systems and configurations work properly. An appropriate amount of time has gone by since our announcement and we are in the process of upgrading all of our customers ‘eligible’ computers for FREE. Another aspect of Windows 10 we enjoy thinking about is hopefully this will be the last operating system we have to install. Microsoft is going to be providing most of the new features and improvements to us via Windows Update. We no longer have to wait several years to get changes now. Fixes are going to be provided to us faster which will make the change delay shorter which in return provides a ton more value to us.

Other Cool Features to Learn About

  • New improved Action Center.
  • Toggling between Tablet Mode. Action Center->Table Mode.
  • Integrated finger print login functionality if you have a built-in reader. Future devices will support retina authorization with a compatible web-camera. Settings->Account->Sign-in options. You will need to create a PIN.
  • Storage and data usage graphs can be found in Settings->System or Settings->Network & Internet.
  • Similar to Windows 8, you can associate your login account with your Microsoft account and can sync themes, browser settings, password, etc. Settings->Accounts->Add a Microsoft account.
  • Snap supports quadrant layout and lets you split your display up to four apps.
  • Right-click the start menu and get some handy admin tools.
  • Via the Get Started app, read about Virtual Desktop functionality.
  • If you right-click the Taskbar, you can highlight Cortana and choose “Show Cortana icon”.
  • If you want to turn off any alerts or sounds coming from the Action Center you can by choosing “Quiet Hours”.

 

Preparing for your Upgrade:

  • *If you are a Digux customer you will not have to worry about the below preparation steps as we are upgrading everyone’s computer for FREE over the next 1-3 months as customer’s schedule and time permits.
  • Make sure to perform a backup before upgrading.
  • If your computer is 4+ years old and or shipped with the original version of Windows 7, it is best practice to check and see if your video card and network card driver is compatible with Windows 10.
  • Make sure you have at least 20GB of free hard-drive space. Then after upgrading, you can run a disc cleanup and remove the old operating system to free up more space.

To request more information about how to be more productive at work with Windows 10 please feel free to email info@digux.com. Thanks again for being a loyal reader of our Predictably Better newsletter. We’ll be back next month!


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