Windows 10 was released today as a free upgrade if you have Windows 7 or 8 and pre-registered. The free upgrade will be available until the end of the year so there is no big rush to upgrade just yet. I am currently upgrading my laptop as I write this blog post...but I have always been an early adopter of new technology. So far Windows 10 is the smoothest upgrade to date from Microsoft, but there are still a number of things to consider before taking the plunge.
What's New in Windows 10?
Think of Windows 10 as a sort of a hybrid between Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. First off they brought back a Start Menu, it is just a new style from the one you were familiar with. Also, there is a new virtual assistant named Cortana built in to the operating system, a new web browser called Edge and some new features if you have an Xbox One.
Should You Upgrade?
I think you should definitely upgrade and I know you want your Start button back, but I wouldn't necessarily be in a huge rush to do so today. Windows 10 has the functionality and usability of Windows 7 with some pieces of Windows 8 integrated so it will work well with most of the programs and websites you use today. However if you are still using that 10 year old version of Photoshop or Microsoft Office 2003 you may need to upgrade those programs as well. Also, if you are using any old programs from the XP days, they will most likely not work with Windows 10. So if you just can't let your beloved ancient computer programs go yet you better not upgrade until you feel comfortable putting those programs to rest.
How do you get the Upgrade?
You have to be running a legitimate copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to get the upgrade. You also have to have your Windows Updates current. Once you have your Windows totally up to date you should see the "Get Windows 10" app down by your clock in the lower right corner of your screen. Click the Windows flag icon and reserve your free copy. Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 in waves so you will be notified when your upgrade is available. When it is just follow the prompts begin the process (oh, and allow up to 2 hours when you begin the upgrade!).
Are you using Windows 8? Does the Charm Bar on the right side of the screen drive you crazy?
Did you know you can turn that annoying thing off?
Check out this post to shut it down!
One of the most annoying features of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are the touch gestures for touchpads. These gestures open menus such as the Charms Bar, App Switcher, and App Bar. In the Desktop view these gestures aren't very useful and are triggered accidentally when you use your touchpad. Even if you disabled on-screen mouse pointer gestures, which are triggered from hot corners, these annoying gestures remain enabled and popup at the most inopportune times. Let me show you how to disable them.
Microsoft has worked with various touchpad manufacturers to enable these "features" in the drivers for these touchpads, and there are multiple edge swipe gestures:
These third party touchpad drivers often integrate with your Mouse Control Panel, so that is where you must go to disable them. Open the Mouse Properties by clicking the Windows icon in the task bar in the lower left corner of your screen. Then type "Mouse Properties" and click on "Change Mouse Settings". There are multiple touchpad manufacturers and each has its own settings interface to control these and for Asus and Dell you get to these settings in a different way which is outlined in their specific sections. Scroll down to see the steps for each manufacturer.
Lenovo UltraNav touchpad
ASUS Smart Gesture Touchpad
Often various hardware OEMs (Lenovo, Samsung, HP) rebrand these touchpad driver settings in the Mouse Control Panel so the exact name of the tab may be different. For example, if you have OEM drivers for the touchpad installed, then the tab may be named differently. But the settings UI should be very similar and it should be easy enough for you to figure where to disable these swipe gestures. The touchpad settings will generally be in either the Mouse Control Panel or in the taskbar notification (tray) area.
Finally, if you have a relatively new PC with a modern Precision Touchpad designed to work with Windows 8.1, then you can disable these gestures right from PC Settings.
You did it! Now those touch gestures won't pop up everytime you swipe your fingers (either intentionally or accidentally) across the touchpad.
Your touchpad will work like a charm...without the charm!