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Windows 10 Positives

The Start Button

Windows 10 Left Click

Windows 7

Doing the usual Left Click on the start button in Windows 7 brings up a list of your most recently used programs and a link to All Programs.  You can also access the Control Panel or other Windows files from here.

Windows 8.1

Left Click in windows 8.1 takes you to the “Start” screen with the “Modern” interface.

updated start button screen

Windows 10

Left Clicking the start button in Windows 10 brings up a screen that is a bit of a hybrid.  You have a list of programs most often used, but you also have a portion of the Start screen that you can customize with programs you want to preview when you click.

The top image is the Start Menu from build 9926.

The bottom image is the most recent version, build 10074. It is resizable to full screen, and you can scroll down to reach other items.  It has become a reflection of the Start Screen (the one with the square box icons).  This newest iteration of the Beta seems to run more smoothly, and certainly the start screen is changed.  Improved?  Not sure yet.

Start button Windows 7 right click

Windows 7

Right click in Windows 7 brings up only 2 tasks that can be completed:  Properties and Open Windows Explorer.

Start button right click Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1

The right click in Windows 8.1 is really important because it is the only way to reach many of the tasks that used to be on the Left Click menu in Windows 7.

Start button right click Win 10

Windows 10

In Windows 10 (at this point), the right click menu is pretty much like it was in 8.1.  It isn’t nearly so important, though because now you can reach many of those places with the left click.  (see above)

Wallpaper and Appearance (and privacy)

The primary difference between wallpaper choices in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 (or 10) is that in Windows 8.1 (10) the Wallpaper is attached to the account you use to login to Windows.  The Wallpaper you choose to use for one Windows 8.1 or 10 machine will also be the same on any machines using the same account.

For instance, when I installed Windows 8 originally, I went to Microsoft and “bought” a theme.  I put bought in “” because it didn’t cost anything and I didn’t have to put in a credit card number to get it.  It was a free theme featuring ice and snow called “Frozen Formations” from http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/themes.  I enabled it in Windows 8 and I am still using it.  It has several really pretty ice pictures (and it is, after all, winter).  When I installed Windows 10 on my BACKUP computer (still emphasizing that BACKUP part) and signed in using the same user account with Microsoft, Windows 10 automatically downloaded the theme to my computer and set it as the wallpaper.

OK, so is this an invasion of my privacy?  I’m not sure.  I don’t think so because I’m only seeing it on MY own computers.  I still need to find someone with Windows 8 who will allow me to login to his or her computer to see if it loads it there.  I suspect it will.  At that point I will have to decide whether I want my account on someone else’s computer.

At first this was unsettling, but I actually like it.  There are two ways to look at it.  Microsoft has the potential to know what my wallpaper is and for that matter what other apps I have downloaded and maybe even monitor what I’m using.  On the other hand, it is very convenient to find all my apps on my new install without having to manually download them again.

Birdwalk Alert:

I’m using my 3rd Android phone.  The first one was purchased when Al-Tel was still our provider.  When Verizon took over, the connections changed a bit, so I got a new phone (a Samsung Siii).  I bought (again, all free apps, but they call it bought) numerous apps for it both from the Google Play Android store and from Amazon Apps.  Many of them were duds and I uninstalled them almost as fast as I had put them on, but some of them were really good programs with useful features.  At some point I’ll start a page on apps for Android, but that is for another day.

When I bought my newest phone, a Samsung S5, on Mothers’ day weekend, I was surprised to find that it was busily downloading and installing the programs that I had currently installed on the siii.  It didn’t install the ones I had removed, only the ones I was actually using on the previous phone.  It even downloaded my data from the Verizon backup site and put it on the media card without my having to restore it.  It found the data for my grocery shopping program and put it back just like it had been on the other phone.  Very handy and idiot proof.

How is this different that what MS is doing with Windows 8.1 and 10?  I don’t think there is much difference.  Is it intrusive?  Maybe.  Is it convenient??  Absolutely.  The question becomes, how much of my personal privacy am I willing to give up for the sake of convenience?

OK, back on subject:

Following my own good advice, I created a “Regular User” with my second e-mail account on the Windows 10 computer.  After a restart, I logged in as that user.  Sure enough, my wallpaper and programs were all there, just like they are on the computer I’m using to create this page (Windows 8.1).  I run as a user most of the time.  When I change the wallpaper on one of the computers, though, the other one doesn’t change right away.  It takes a few minutes for it to sync with the first computer.  Hmm, food for thought.

It also brings in my account image (the little picture I use to represent me in the Welcome screen and at the top of the start screen) and the icons for the programs that are installed on both computers (that I have desktop icons for on the Win 8.1 machine).

Changing Wallpaper

Changing wallpaper works pretty much like it did in Windows 7 and 8.1.  You just right click on the desktop and choose Personalize from the menu.  In Windows XP it was Properties, but in 7 Microsoft chose a more accurate term.  That may change.  According to the Microsoft site, there are lots more changes coming in Windows 10.

Getting to Your Documents

So the next question is, “How do I get to my documents and pictures?  They aren’t on the Start menu anymore.  The short answer is that some of those shortcuts are on the Start Menu again in Windows 10.

Windows 7 Start Menu

Windows 7

The Start Menu in windows 7 has listings for all your files (your name at the top) and then your documents, pictures, music, and games at the top of the right side.  It also has recent programs in the list of programs directly over the Start button.

You have probably discovered that by clicking on your name, you open your list of library locations.

Windows 8 Documents button

Windows 8 files

Finding your files in Windows 8 requires clicking on the above icon in the task bar.  It is to the right of the Start Button.

That opens the “This PC” window.  It is about the same as the old “My Computer” window in Windows XP.  The image below is what it looks like on my computer.

file manager 8
Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows 10 File Manager

With Windows 10 we have a means to personalize what is shown on the start menu.  I’ll do a whole page on that in a day or two.  If you click on the Start Button, the programs below the divider are recently used applications.  The items above the line are recently opened files (I think — I’m still pondering it).