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Windows 10 guide to upgrades, compatibility and more

There's a lot to sort through with Windows 10. Find out what you need to know in this guide, including how to upgrade, what app compatibility concerns to look out for, how users can customize the OS and more.

Introduction

Windows 10 is the newest addition to Microsoft's line of operating systems, and with a new upgrade strategy, it might be the last.

Microsoft's line of Windows operating systems forms a family tree that spans from the first user interface in Windows 3.0 to Windows 98's Microsoft Chat and, of course, to the missteps of Windows 8 and its reliance on touch-based technology. Now, Windows 10 is here, and with its new upgrade strategy, it may be the final Windows offspring.

With that type of pressure on the OS you probably have a lot of questions about it. Is the OS stable? Can it hit the ground running in your company? What are the most important features and how do they work? This Windows 10 guide has the answers to those questions and more. Discover how application compatibility works, changes users can make to the Action Center and the affect the presence of Cortana has in the OS.

1How to upgrade-

A look at the Windows 10 upgrade process

When it comes to upgrading to a new operating system there are usually a ton of questions you must answer. Chief among them is will the change be worth it? With Windows 10, the answer to that question has a lot of variables, including training needs, mobile enablement and more. For example, if users have experience with previous versions of Windows, then their training needs will probably be minimal. If you don't have the right mobile devices, you might not even be able to add Windows 10. Find out more about how to upgrade in this section of our Windows 10 guide, including how to make the jump from Windows XP and some factors that could stand in the way of an upgrade.

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How to upgrade to Windows 10

Individual users running Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. All they have to do is enable Windows Update, open the Get Windows 10 app and follow the instructions to reserve and download an upgrade. Continue Reading

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Don't overthink it

Many IT pros warn against upgrading to a new OS right away, but with so many preview builds on the books, you shouldn't be afraid to ignore that old-school advice and deploy Windows 10. Continue Reading

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Make the leap from Windows XP to 10

If you have to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 10, you can leapfrog OSes (XP to Vista to Windows 7 to 10) or you can perform a clean install. Continue Reading

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Four potential Windows 10 upgrade issues

An upgrade to Windows 10 shouldn't give you too many headaches, but app and hardware compatibility, as well as cost, could be some factors to consider before taking the plunge. Continue Reading

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Navigate Windows 10 upgrades on mobile devices

The upgrade process on Windows-based mobile devices works differently depending on the device. For example, RT tablets can't get the upgrade. Continue Reading

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Is Windows 10 the final Microsoft OS?

Microsoft usually delivers a new OS every few years, but with Windows 10 the company plans to shift to a perpetual upgrade approach to continuously improve the OS. Continue Reading

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Windows 10 training needs depend on user experience

Organizations that already run Windows XP, 7 or 8 can probably skimp on Windows 10 training because users are familiar with the Windows OS, but admins still need to prepare. Companies running pre-XP versions of Windows should consider more extensive training before moving to Windows 10. Continue Reading

2Compatibility and consistency-

How Windows 10 works across apps and devices

One of the big features in Windows 10 is Universal Windows apps. They let users deploy the same apps on any device and have the same experience. The Universal Windows apps tool works, but it's not perfect -- it has some resolution issues. That pro-and-con situation is common with Windows 10 features: Users can also employ Google Android and Apple iOS apps on Windows 10, but developers have to build Windows versions of the apps for them to do so, for example.

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A loophole for iOS and Android apps on Windows 10 devices

Users cannot download iOS or Android apps and run them on Windows 10. But there are two software developer kits from Microsoft that developers can use to create Windows versions of those apps to work on Windows 10 devices. Continue Reading

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Windows 10 app compatibility question lingers

Most Windows 7 and 8 apps should work on Windows 10, but companies should expect some apps will need to be tweaked to work on the new OS. Continue Reading

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Windows 10 delivers consistent user experience across devices -- sort of

Users can seamlessly run the same app on a PC, tablet, smartphone or even gaming console with Universal Windows apps. But the experiences aren't identical on each one. The universal code adjusts to the device's screen resolution capabilities, so differences in the look of the app are inherent. Continue Reading

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Windows 10 delivers multiple monitors on one screen

The Windows 10 multiple desktop feature gives users more than one view of the Windows desktop on a single monitor allowing them to open an email in one display and run a line-of-business app in another, for example. Continue Reading

3Cortana and customization-

Make Windows 10 your own

Windows 10 gives users the flexibility to customize a lot of the operating system. In the Action Center, for example, users can pick and choose what information the tool displays to fit their exact needs. Users can also make changes to the Start menu which should make them happy after the issues many of them had with Windows 8 in that area.

Cortana also enters the Window 10 fray, helping users search not only the Web, but their internal systems as well. The digital assistant could open some doors that increase efficiency in the corporate world.

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New features for Action Center in Windows 10

The Windows 10 Action Center, a feature borrowed from Windows Phone 8.1, aggregates notifications in a central location and lets users see toast notifications they might have missed. Continue Reading

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How to change the info Windows 10 Action Center displays

The Windows 10 Action Center has five system-level settings users can employ to change the information it displays, including Show me tips about Windows. Continue Reading

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Cortana offers potential business value on Windows 10

Microsoft's digital assistant, Cortana, offers a different experience on Windows 10 than on the Windows Phone, but its desktop search functionality and Web browsing could really help out in a business setting. Continue Reading

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Make the Start menu your own

After the Start menu disaster of Windows 8, many users are curious about how to customize the Windows 10 Start menu to meet their specific needs. Many of the options involve changing the live tiles by resizing or rearranging them. Continue Reading

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Windows 10 boosts Cortana's business value

Cortana has potential enterprise value in Windows 10 because Microsoft integrated it with the OS, made it more extensible and enabled natural language support. Continue Reading

4Security and more-

Is Windows 10 safe?

Microsoft introduced some new security features with Windows 10, one of which is Windows Hello, a biometric authentication tool that lets users sign in with their fingerprints. Other key features include Device Guard, containerization and Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics. To give you even more assurance the OS will work, Windows 10 is virtually bug free so far.

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Greet improved security with Windows Hello

Windows Hello brings biometric authentication to Windows 10. It allows users to log in with fingerprint, facial or iris recognition instead of a password. Continue Reading

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Dive into Windows 10 security

With Windows 10 security features, IT can improve data loss prevention, control which apps can access corporate data and more. And Microsoft Edge introduces new security for Web browsing. Continue Reading

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Windows 10 keeps the bugs away

At first glance Windows 10 does not have any truly significant bugs. So, even though Microsoft's newest OS is still in its infancy, it seems ready to enter production environments. Continue Reading

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