Taming Windows 10

Updated 16th September 2016

Windows 10 screenshot
Windows 10

People say they don’t like Windows 10, but I find a few simple changes make it much better. Here are the changes I usually make for my customers. These are just my preferences, I’m not claiming everyone will agree, but they suit me and they seem to suit most of my customers.

As Windows 10 is the last ever version of Windows (there will be lots of small changes, but no more “big bang” new versions), we might as well get it how we want it, and just start calling it “Windows”.

This is what I do:

1. Turn off Cortana. I don’t want my PC to speak to me. If you have Windows 10 Anniversary Edition, see here. How to tell which edition (version) you have is here.

2. Configure the search bar to search the PC only (not online).

3. Configure “Edge”:

4. Download and install Google Chrome.

5. Add Internet Explorer to the taskbar.

6. Add Control Panel to the taskbar.

7. Download and install Adobe Reader (Windows 10 by default uses Edge to read PDFS). Don’t forget to untick the boxes for the “Optional offers” that Adobe insist on trying to foist on you.

8. Consider setting the default program for photos to “Windows Photo Viewer” (only available if you’ve upgraded from Windows7).

9. Consider changing the default player away from the default (“Groove Music”) – different people have their own favourite music player such as iTunes.

10. Remove any unwanted tiles (typically most of them!) from the Start menu.

11. Finally, if the customer is using a Microsoft Account to sign in, I find out if they’d rather use a local account (and maybe even sign in with a PIN instead of a password). There are pros and cons to this, but many people don’t know they don’t have to use a Microsoft Account – local accounts are still there (if well hidden) – and indeed, people who upgraded from Windows 7 will automatically have been configured to use a local account (Windows 7 didn’t use Microsoft Accounts).

Once you’ve done all this, Windows 10 is pretty good. It does have a nasty habit of changing the defaults back again every now and then, so you may have to reset them again in the future.

Google for more Windows 10 tips and tweaks.