How to use Windows 10

Everything you need to know

Windows 10 is the latest version of Microsoft's operating system, and while it builds upon what made its previous versions (especially Windows 7 and Windows 8.1) so popular, it also brings new and improved features along with a revamped interface.

These changes mean that no matter how experienced you are with Windows, you might still need help getting to grips with Windows 10 – so we've gathered together the best tips, tricks and guides to getting the most out of the new software.

With the Anniversary Update now released, there's even more great features in Windows 10, and we've got a host of new guides to help you make the most out of Windows 10.

Update: We show you how to get Windows 10 for free, how to get the Windows 10 Anniversary update and how to use the Windows 10 command prompt.

How to download and install Windows 10

Before learning how to use Windows 10, you'll first need to download and install is, if your PC doesn't already come with the software installed.

The good news is that Microsoft has made the Windows 10 upgrade free for people who own Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, so if you have one of the more recent versions of Windows you don't have to spend any money getting Windows 10.

How to use Windows 10

However don't go clicking that download button just yet – first check out our guide on how to prepare for your upgrade to Windows 10.

This takes you through the essential steps to make sure your PC is ready for the upgrade to Windows 10, including using the Windows 10 Upgrade Advisor, creating a recovery drive, backing up your important files and more.

This will ensure that your upgrade to Windows 10 goes as smoothly as possible. If you're not sure about upgrading, then let us explain why you should download Windows 10 right now.

Now that your PC is ready to install Windows 10 it should be a relatively straightforward process.

How to use Windows 10

Step one: Check the Get Windows 10 app

When your PC is ready to download and install Windows 10, the Get Windows 10 app should appear in the notification area of your taskbar (in the bottom-right corner of your screen). This app will allow you to reserve your copy of Windows 10, letting Microsoft know you're interested in upgrading.

How to use Windows 10

Step two: Download Windows 10 via Windows Update

Once reserved your Windows 10 download should be ready – if Windows doesn't automatically download it open up Windows Update (you can do this by typing "Windows Update" into the Start Men of Windows 7 or the Start Screen of Windows 8), and you should find it there ready to be downloaded and installed.

For a more in depth guide, head over to How to install Windows 10 to find out the best way to prepare your PC for an upgrade to Windows 10, and what to do if you want to roll back to a previous version of Windows.

This will download and install Windows 10 as an upgrade over your previous Windows installation, keeping your files and settings intact. However if you want to perform a clean install of Windows 10 then check out our guide on how to install Windows 10 via USB or DVD.

How to download and install the Windows 10 Anniversary Update

The Windows 10 Anniversary update is a huge overhaul of Windows 10, and it brings a number of great new features that makes Microsoft's latest operating system even better than before.

Check out our how to download and install the Windows 10 Anniversary Update guide to find out how you can get this update right now.

How to upgrade to Windows 10 for free

Windows 10 is no longer offered as a free upgrade - however, there is a way to still get Windows 10 for free.

To find out how, visit our guide on how to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

How to get Windows 10 if it won't install

If for some reason the Windows 10 update doesn't show in Windows Update, don't panic! Check out our guide on how to get Windows 10 if it won't install.

How to use Windows 10

How to dual boot Windows 10

If you're not quite sold on Windows 10 and want to run it alongside another operating system such as Windows 8.1 or Linux, then you can multiboot Windows 10, allowing you to switch between systems when you turn on your PC.

It's a good way of testing out Windows 10 before fully committing, or if you need to keep an older operating system on your PC so you can still use certain programs that won't work in Windows 10.

If you're interested in giving it a go, check out our comprehensive guide on how to multiboot Windows 10 with another operating system.

How to use Windows 10

How to reinstall Windows 10

You should find using Windows 10 pretty pain-free, however sometimes things can go wrong, in which case it is worth reinstalling Windows 10.

Reinstalling Windows 10 can also help speed up ageing PCs, and you'll be surprised at the new lease of life your device gets when you perform a fresh install of Windows 10.

There are a number of options for reinstalling Windows 10, including a full reinstall, along with the more efficient restore and refresh methods.

To find out the best method for your needs check out our guide on how to reinstall Windows 10.

How to use Windows 10

How to create a Microsoft account

Once you've installed Windows 10, to get the most out of it you should also create a Microsoft account. This not only allows you to log into Windows 10, but it also lets you buy and install apps from the Windows Store, as well as save your files and settings to the cloud.

How to delete Windows 7 or 8 after upgrading to Windows 10

When you install Windows 10, your previous version of Windows is kept in case you don't like the new version – or you encounter any problems. However if you're happy with Windows 10 then you can delete Windows7 or Windows 8 to help free up some space.

How to run Windows 10 on a Mac

How to run Windows 10 on a Mac

Are you a Mac user who's not too keen on El Capitan and is looking jealously at all the new Windows 10 features? The good news is that it's relatively simple to switch operating systems – just check out our guide to how to run Windows 10 on a Mac.

How to run Windows 10 on a virtual machine

You can also install Windows 10 on a virtual machine. This lets you run Windows 10 in a different operating system, letting you test it out without having to fully install it on your PC.

It's pretty straightforward, all you need is a program like VMware Player and our guide to how to run Windows 10 on a virtual machine.

How to use Windows 10

How to get more from Windows 10

Want to find out what else you can do with Windows 10? Our guide on getting more from Windows 10 takes you through some of the excellent hidden - and not so hidden - features of Microsoft's new operating system.

How to uninstall Windows 10 and revert back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1

How to use Windows 10

Windows 10 is a very good operating system, but you may find when you move from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 that Windows 10 isn't for you.

Luckily moving back from Windows 10 to your previous version of Windows is relatively easy, and we show you how with our how to uninstall Windows 10 and revert back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 guide.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

How to editor

Matt (Twitter) is TechRadar's How To editor. Having written for a number of magazines and websites, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about. From gadgets to games, he's here to provide the best how to guides to help you get the most out of your gizmos. If you're encountering a problem or need some advice, drop him a line on Twitter.