How to Get Started With Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Microsoft’s latest operating system offers a robust set of features for both work and home. Learn how to use Windows 10 Pro to optimize your experience, reduce annoyances, and improve productivity.

You’ll learn keyboard shortcuts, configuring settings, and other tips and tricks. Discover how to customize the desktop and taskbar, perform better, and be more productive with Cortana voice assistant and Edge browser.

Start menu

A click on the Windows logo or, if you’re using a touchscreen, a tap of a button in the lower-left corner of your screen opens the Start menu. (See Figure 1-3.) This is the gateway to everything on your PC, including the newest programs you’ve installed.

The left-side section of the Start menu contains a scrolling list of all the programs you have installed on your computer, plus any pinned program shortcuts. You can use this list to jump directly to the word processor, calendar, or favorite game you need.

Beneath the scrolling list are “jump lists” containing documents you recently opened in each program and any apps you’ve used lately. A record stays in the jump list until you remove it by clicking its pushpin or relaunching the program.

You can also use the Jump List to quickly start the Command Prompt window, a DOS-like shell that lets you run command line tasks. You can even hide the Command Prompt from the jump lists by selecting the option in Settings (top right). In addition, you can control which folders appear on Start by clicking the menu icon and choosing a setting.


Cortana is Microsoft’s digital assistant that works with Windows 10. She is reminiscent of smartphone apps like Siri and can respond to voice requests by providing information verbally or via online search results. It also can set reminders and be accessed from the Windows lock screen.

Unlike Apple’s Siri, which is integrated with platform-specific devices and software, Cortana is a jack-of-all-trades. It handles various organizational tasks such as making and editing to-do lists, scheduling appointments, calculating math problems, and conversions between measurements and currencies. It can also play music, use a voice dialer, and set alarms and timers.

While the basics of Windows 10 are intuitive, it takes a little digging to take advantage of features like the Cortana voice assistant, Edge browser, and multiple desktops. This guide offers a collection of tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of the operating system. For example, it’s easy to fix if your eyesight isn’t great and you find the default icons on the Windows desktop are too small to read.


The Settings app is the primary tool for tweaking your Windows 10 Pro experience and setting computer preferences. It lets you change how your UI looks, adjust desktop icons, and perform key, everyday tasks. But, the app can be confusing and frustrating to navigate, especially for new users. Learn how to open the app using several shortcuts, and discover a few tips to improve your experience with this popular operating system.

By default, Windows collects data about your hardware and how you use it. The company uses this information to help optimize the software and improve your experiences. However, if you prefer to keep your privacy intact, there are several ways to limit what Microsoft can collect from your device.

One way is to turn off the microphone aggregation feature. You can also limit access on an app-by-app basis. To do so, go to Settings > Privacy > Microphone, then move each app’s sliders to Off. Another is to turn off the delivery optimization feature, which allows your Windows 10 machine to share its updates with other computers via peer-to-peer distribution.

Control panel

The Control panel is a feature of Microsoft Windows that lets you view and modify system settings. It consists of small “control panels” applications that allow you to change hardware or software settings (such as display, keyboard and mouse, or computer software). The Control panel also provides access to other necessary settings, such as network and power options and privacy settings.

You can use the Control panel to customize your Windows experience, and it includes valuable tools for resolving problems and enhancing performance. For example, you can set a PIN to prevent unintentional device unlocking or turn off personalized ads. You can also customize the look and feel of the OS by tweaking themes, adjusting the size of icons, and more.

When you first turn on your device, you will be asked to create a Microsoft account or log in with a local user account. To make a Microsoft account, you must provide an email address and password. If you prefer to log in with a local account, skip this step and create a local user account later.


There are a slew of cool programs for Windows 10 that can make the operating system more your own. Rainmeter, for instance, lets you completely customize your desktop with widgets, backgrounds, and skins.

If you’re always on the go, you’ll appreciate Microsoft’s To-Do app, which combines tasks and reminders into a single tool that syncs across devices. Similarly, Zoom is an efficient video conferencing software that can reduce travel expenses and boost productivity.

Another helpful program is Revo, which lets you remove multiple apps and files simultaneously. You can even use it to create bootable USB drives, which help make a custom Windows install. If you’re a music fan, you’ll appreciate foobar2000, one of the best free programs for Windows 10. It lets you manage your library and adjust audio settings. It also supports batch file manipulation, allowing you to rename, copy, or move files in bulk.