Windows Basics Series: First Time Users in Windows 10

Navigating Windows 10 for the first time can be a scary experience, even for those who have used Windows products in the past. The user-interface has changed drastically from 8 / 8.1 to the current scheme, and re-orienting yourself to this new look can be overwhelming.

To make the transition easier, this article will review the Setup Process and key elements of Windows 10 that you will need on a daily basis and how to find them.

The Setup Process:

If you bought a new laptop and are turning it on for the first time, there will be a directed setup process to help you get started. Each step is fairly straight forward, but you can refer to the following if you are unsure of what to do:

  1. Get Going Fast screen: As the first screen that pops up, we are asked if we want to Customize how Windows 10 learns and reacts to us (the user), or to simply Use Express Settings. For now, I would recommend selecting Use Express Settings. We can customize the settings later on.
  2. Make it yours screen: Here we are asked to enter a Microsoft account if you have one. Using a Microsoft Account will link your login to your account and pull information from your account to personalize your user experience. You will always be required to login with your Microsoft Account if you use it now, unless you manually chance this preference later. If you don’t have a Microsoft Account, click “Skip this step”.
    1. If you chose “Skip this Step,” you will be asked to enter a User Name and a password (optional). You can create more users later or change your username if you like. For now, enter whatever name you identify by and a password if you want.
  3. Meet Cortana: Windows 10 introduces a new feature, Cortana, as an assistance program. Much like Siri on an Iphone, Cortana can be used to find information and learn how you use your computer to make your life easier. Personally I don’t like any manufacturer systems that collect and analyze my habits, so I will click “Not Now”, but this is your preference. You can always enable or disable Cortana at any point.


The Desktop:

With Windows 10 Microsoft brought back semblance of the original Desktop with a revised Start Menu. Like the older versions of Windows, you can store files / folders on your desktop, create shortcuts, and use the Start Menu to navigate around Windows.

Key Elements:

For the standard user, there are a few key elements that will allow you to use your computer to the fullest. These are:


Microsoft Edge (Web Browser):

Microsoft Edge (identified by the E to the left) is your gateway to the internet. Like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc., Edge is used to browse web-pages or surf the net. The icon will appear on your Taskbar on the bottom of the Desktop or in your Start Menu.


Task Bar:

The task bar holds the Start Menu, Search / Run box, Quick Start Icons, System Utilities, and Clock. The most useful part is the Search / Run box, which will search through your computer, and additionally the internet (if selected to) for whatever you type in to the box. For instance, if you want to use the Calculator, you can type Calculator and it will bring up the Calculator app as a result. This can be used for any software / files / folders / criteria you want to search for, including websites.


The Mail App:

As shown in the desktop picture, Windows 10 provides a “Mail” app that you can use to link your existing mail services into, including Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, iCloud, Hotmail, MSN, etc. Rather than opening up a browser to view your mail, the app can be accessed directly from the desktop to present your mail to you without any additional steps.





For most users, this list of key elements should allow access to critical features necessary for day-to-day activities. If there are any questions or recommendations regarding this post, feel free to leave a comment or send us an email.


Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more in this series. Have a great day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *