Hate Tiles In Windows 10 Start Menu?

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Windows 10 is here and the good news is they gave us back the Start Menu.  The bad news is they stuck us with the lame Windows 8 Metro style App Tiles.  Now I have managed to put together a pretty decent collection of useful apps, and resized them all to the smallest size, but I really miss the Windows 7 right hand column with the list of useful short-cuts.  I used them all the time, and I really miss them.  I also miss the search programs and files box at the bottom of the start menu.  Yeah, Cortana is cool, but I still really believe that Windows 7 was the pinnacle of operating system development.

For those of us that use the computer as a work tool and not a toy, some of the changes are just hard to justify.  I don’t want my computer to be like my phone any more than I want my car to be like my vacuum cleaner.  Or my hammer like my screw driver.

Good news is that Classic Shell, whose wonderful Start Menu replacement program made Windows 8 useful for the tens of millions of Windows 8 users who installed it, has release a windows 10 Start Menu application that will return the familiar and more useful Windows 7 style Start Menu to Windows 10.  I am running this on a file sharing computer in our organization, and I really like it.  So far I am sticking with my commitment to pure Windows 10 on my principal work laptop. Classic Shell is free, as before.

Another option is available from Stardock, called Start10.  Start10 is $5.00, but has some features that you may like, such as the ability to mix the classic right column with some app tiles.

More information:

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Windows 10 Upgrade Media Sites

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Windows 10 invitationOne of the issues with upgrading to Windows 10 is that you have to rely on an online upgrade process.  First you need to click on the little Windows icon in the task tray to reserve your upgrade, then the installation files are downloaded to your computer (which can take a lot of time, depending on your Internet service provider).  Then the upgrade process begins.

But what if you don’t get the invitation, or perhaps you need to install Windows 10 a second time.  What then?

Below are some links to a couple of very helpful Microsoft sites.

Download Windows 10  This site will get you the download files for either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 10.  If you are doing the free upgrade, you can only upgrade 32 bit to 32 bit or 64 bit to 64 bit.  You cannot upgrade 32 bit to 64 bit, even if your hardware supports 64 bit.  That requires a full new installation, and a 25 digit license key to activate it.  Please read an follow all the directions here, especially if you want a “free” upgrade.

Installing Windows 10 using the media creation tool  To me, this looks like the site of choice if you just want to replicate the free upgrade process, but you never got the invitation.  Again, read an follow the instructions.

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I Took The Plunge With Windows 10

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Like many in my profession, I have beenWindows 10 playing around with the Windows 10 professional preview for the last year, and yesterday I took the plunge and upgraded to Windows 10 on my new Windows 7 laptop.  The upgrade process went smooth as silk and there weren’t any unexpected issues at all.  It runs great on the systems I upgraded it on, very fast and nimble.  So if you are thinking about it – well go for it!

First you should BACK UP ALL YOUR FILES!  In my case it was an unnecessary precaution that frankly took more time than the upgrade did.  Better to be safe, though.

You will want to have a Microsoft account set up, so go to OneDrive on the Microsoft website and set up an account, unless you already have a OneDrive or Outlook.com (MSN, Hotmail, Windows Live, etc.) account, in which case you will use that one to configure your computer.

I’ve only be playing with it a couple of days, but here’s my take.  The new Start Menu is ok, I could live without the tiles in the right column, but you can right click them to resize them smaller, which I did.  This is evidently a hold over from the Windows 8.1 Start Screen that we will have to live with.  Cortana, Siri’s little sister, should be fun to use.  The new Edge browser is great, and Internet Explorer 11 is available for legacy applications that won’t run on the Edge.

If you are using Windows 8.1, I would just recommend to go ahead and upgrade.  Windows 7 users, I guess I would say move on, but I know in corporate computer environments Windows 7 will stay around for a while.

If you don’t like what happens, you can revert to your former operating system for 30 days, so don’t dwell on it too long, or the change will be permanent.  Just go to Settings on the Start Menu, the select Updates and Security, Recovery, and you will see an option to go back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, whichever one you upgraded from.

So I am pleased with the upgrade process, and I expect to get used to the changes and many improvements in Windows 10.  My recommendation – just do it!

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Microsoft’s New Browser Is Called Edge

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edgelogoThe web browser update that was scheduled to be released with the upcoming Windows 10 release, which has been code-named “Spartan” is officially being named “Edge” according to recent information from Redmond.  Internet Explorer 11 will be retained for legacy corporate web application support, but the new Edge browser is supposed to be leaner and quicker than IE, and a worthy competitor to Google’s popular Chrome browser.

Internet Explorer has known issues with some websites that have been recoded in HTML5, and these issues do not appear to be improving with the usual Windows Updates fixes.  The new browser is being well-received by those people who are participating in the Window 10 Professional Preview program.

This article was posted earlier on my cybersecurity website

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Windows 10 Security Upgrades: Hello, Passport, FIDO

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Windows10HelloWindows 10 will be featuring a built in security feature called Hello, as well as Passport, for online security, and is supporting the FIDO Alliance as well.  Hello will use fingerprint, facial recognition or iris scanning to authenticate you to your computer, and from there, authenticate you to your domain or workgroup resources.  The facial recognition camera will use infrared to get around recognition issues that may be caused by the addition or subtraction of facial hair in men, or the presence or absence of make-up in women.  IR also overcomes problems with differing lighting levels.  This camera will be used for iris scanning as well.

Windows Hello will provide the Enterprise-grade security and privacy required by government, defense, financial, health care, and other highly regulated operations. Windows Hello is using asymmetric key cryptography to authenticate users, and is similar to the technology that powers security in SmartCards. So the security level will be very robust, and offered, as it is, built into the Windows operating system, will require little effort from users.

Windows Passport continues this encrypted level of authentication outward to the Internet, specifically to Microsoft sites such as Outlook.com, OneDrive, and other web accounts that Microsoft controls.  Once Windows Hello has verified identity, it will unlock your Microsoft Passport on this system and allow access to online sites and services that use your Microsoft account. Passport also eliminates the need for online sites to store your password online where they are at risk in a cyber-attack.  Only the public keys or half of your encryption key is stored online. The main encryption key is remains secured to your computer.

Their support of the FIDO Alliance extends this commitment to non-Microsoft sites and services in a meaningful way.  The fact that Microsoft is committed to an open source standard is a refreshing change of pace for a company that has leaned on forcing proprietary solutions onto customers that lack interoperability with non-Microsoft systems and software.

We have been warning about the problem with passwords and their immanent demise as a useful security method and are encouraged with these developments in Redmond.

This article was posted earlier on my cybersecurity website

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