The upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 is free, if you have a license for the previous OS. So, before making this major step, this is what you will need to know about Windows 10 and the new features that come with it.

Windows Start Screen

Microsoft released many builds of the Windows 10, each one bringing more performance improvements and new features.

Windows 10, Microsoft, Download

However, since Build 10074, the Start screen was available only by clicking on the Start button, as it was moved from the desktop. When clocking on this button, you’ll get a menu containing app listings and Live Tiles (with a 3D look). All six components of the Start Menu are: File Explorer, Documents, Settings, Most Used Apps, the Power button and the All Apps button – which will show all installed applications.

Charms Bar

The Desktop users no longer have the Charms bar and the Search app is now found in the taskbar, while the Settings panel was transformed into a Modern UI app. The Devices app was replaced by Devices and Printers, and this section is found in the Control Panel. Also, the Sharing option can be accessed only though individual apps.



Notifications

In Windows 8.1, Notifications reminded you about birthdays or Facebook messages. In Windows 10, this feature displays notification cards at the bottom of the screen, but if you don’t pay attention to them and want to check them later, click the Notifications icon situated next to the system clock.

In Build 10074, the Notification panel received new quick commands and a button to turn on the tablet mode. Also, there is button for turning location on or off and for locking the rotation, plus shortcuts for the Settings app, Bluetooth settings and for the VPN portion of the Settings app.

Cortana

The intelligent assistant from the Windows Phone platform made its way to the Windows 10 and it can be used as a Search tool, providing information from Bing. It sits next to the Start Menu button, where you’ll find a search box with this text: “Ask me anything”. You’ll click on the button with a microphone graphic and you’ll ask a question or give a voice command. Cortana will understand what you’re saying and will try to give you accurate answers and results.

Cortana-iOS

You will be informed about the weather, you’ll get sports scores and you’ll even check out what movies are playing at the cinema.

Virtual Desktops

If you have more than one desktop, then by clicking on the button next to the Search tool from the taskbar, you will see all applications open on the current desktop. It’s very simple to add a desktop, so you’ll click the “+” sign from the right-hand corner and that’s it.

Microsoft Edge

This web browser became the default browser in Build 10074, but Internet Explorer 11 wasn’t completely removed. Edge is quicker and has more features, such as the possibility to make notes directly on a web page.

Every techie needs a pair of sick headphones. Neurogadget recommends these Audio Technica Professional Studio Monitor Headphones for both their quality and their cool-factor.