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Windows 10 tips: Your first 30 minutes with the Tech Preview

Mark Hachman | Oct. 3, 2014
So you've downloaded Microsoft's Windows 10 Technical Preview. Let us show you around your new OS with our newbie's guide to Windows 10, complete with tips and tricks.

Finally, you can resize the Start menu, transforming it from a skinny skyscraper to a massive window that evokes the Start page. Adding Live Tiles at the edge can increase its size. You can also click and drag the top edge down. Use a mouse, though--this early build isn't overly touch-friendly.

Making the most of search in Windows 10
Search worked fairly well on Windows 8. On Windows 10, entering a search term in the field suggests either a file on the local machine, a webpage, an app on the Windows Store, or a portal to the Bing underworld, where an HTML page opens up displaying results for, say, Fleetwood Mac. Clicking any search result then launches Internet Explorer.

Windows 10 Bing search
MARK HACHMAN. What's this, then? Microsoft's Bing quickly jumps at any opportunity to help you with searches.

There's not much to tweak here, but some of the more innovative features--such as launching Xbox Music when a song is searched for, or rendering "hero pages" when searching for celebrities--aren't connected yet. (Xbox Music does work, however.) With Windows 8, Microsoft attempted to remove search from the browser. With Windows 10, it's just doing a better job of it.

How to snap apps to the four corners of Windows 10
As noted previously, you can run Windows 10 on multiple monitors; I hooked an external monitor up to my Surface. But one of the features that Windows 10 offers--four-corner snap--works best on a single screen.

It's really quite simple: Drag a window to a corner of the screen, and it will snap to one-quarter of the display. Snap it to the right or left, and it will cover half the screen. Just like the Charms bar is somewhat problematic on multiple monitors, however, so too is four-corner snap on an extended display. (You can also use the Windows+arrow keys to snap windows, as well.) But there's a problem: Some apps simply won't play nice. The Weather app, for example, wanted too much space to snap neatly to a corner of my Windows 10 Surface tablet.

Microsoft windows 10 snap
MARK HACHMAN/ Some apps will dutifully snap to the four corners of a Windows 10 desktop, as they're supposed to. Others, like this Weather app, won't.

The Snap Assist feature isn't bad; expect it to suggest other applications in windows you already have open. But in general, there's a reason that Microsoft employees demoed Windows 10 on large, single-monitor setups: These seem to work best at the moment.

Managing Windows 10's virtual desktops
Finally, we come back to the "task view" icon on the taskbar, and the virtual desktops they help create. 

 

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