Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft's operating system has now launched. No software upgrade will solve everything, and the upgrade itself, however ultimately beneficial, is sure to produce some bumps in the beginning. Thanks to a free preview of Windows 10 available to those who signed up for the Windows Insider Program, many issues have come to light prior to the official launch.
To jumpstart the troubleshooting process, we've compiled a list of 20 of the most common Windows 10 problems that we've seen and anticipate, and how you can address them.
Also check out our collection of how to use Windows 10 guides.
1. Reserving Windows 10
The first problem exists ahead of the software itself, and lies in reserving a spot for it. Since the OS update is being rolled out in waves, not everyone qualifies for the update on the big day. Windows Insiders will be the first to receive it, followed by those who have reserved a spot through Microsoft. Sounds simple enough, but be sure to read the fine print. You can't reserve unless your system is already running Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2 (2919355) installed in Windows 8.1, or Windows 7 SP1. Run a Windows Update to get up to speed.
2. System requirements
Again, this is more of a prelude, but it's important to know if you want to prevent unnecessary issues upon installation. Your computer needs to be up to par with certain standards. Here's the specs Microsoft requires:
- A processor of 1 gigahertz (gHZ) or faster
- 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit) RAM
- 16 GB of free hard disk space
- Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
- A Microsoft account and Internet access
3. Trouble activating
Microsoft has been updating builds of its previews during this beta period, but one sticky issue users are facing is trouble activating the upgrade once installed. On July 3, a Microsoft rep said that it was "doing some testing and work on the Activation process," and that it "hoped" the problem would go away the following day. It's not the most assuring type of talk from a technical support forum moderator, but it sounds like it was just a bug in the preview build that was likely flushed out before the full launch. At least, like Microsoft, that's what we "hope."
4. Forced updates create portal for junkware
Windows 10 doesn't give users a choice when it comes to system updates. It automatically accepts them. On one hand this helps the computer go about its business of updating accordingly. It also ensures that the computer is up to date on security patches, but automatic updating enables Microsoft to force-feed virtually whatever it wants onto a user's PC or mobile device. There's really no fix to this, unless you board Windows 10 Enterprise, Microsoft's business solution that lets users allow or deny updates.
5. Forced updates cause system crash
Another problem caused by the forced updates is that they can crash your computer. Rebooting your computer should fix that on a case by case basis.You can also uninstall the driver that's causing problems.
6. Forced updates cause software clashes
The forced updates are by far the trickiest aspect of Windows 10. Yet another problem that can occur is when a Windows update coincides with a third party driver management software update. This can cause a crash. The third party software can be halted, but the Windows update cannot. Your best bet is uninstall third party driver management and letting Windows take care of all the system updates, which gives Microsoft power over another company's products, which isn't cool.
7. Wi-Fi password sharing
Windows 10 comes with a system called Wi-Fi Sense, originally found in Windows Phone 8.1. It enables users to share your Wi-Fi network access with your contacts on Facebook, Skype, and Outlook. Now, I'm all for sharing, but this is going pretty far, as the feature automatically shares your password (encrypted) to everyone you're connected to ... spammers included. To disable this setting, go to Wi-Fi > Network Settings > Manage Wi-Fi Settings and clear all the boxes there.
8. Printer not responding
If, after upgrading, you find that your printer isn't working, you may have to start the whole installation process over. In order to ensure seamless connectivity, everything, even the drivers of accompanying hardware, should be updated in advance of upgrading. Make sure you're using a printer that's compatible with Windows.
9. Learning the browser
Windows 10 comes with a new web browser called Microsoft Edge, which is the new default across PC, tablets, and smartphones. The browser includes a "home" button that you add or take off the toolbar. Click on that button and you'll be routed to the site of your choosing.
10. Finding favorites
The trouble with an all-new browser is that it won't transfer pages you have favorited on IE. You can, however, transfer all your bookmarks over by opening Microsoft Edge, checking off Internet Explorer and clicking on "import favorites." Your favorites should now be loaded onto the Edge Favorites tab.
11. Mail fail?
Many who've previewed Windows 10 say that Windows Mail available on version 8.1 was superior. This is because you could create folders and subfolders, which you can't do with the Mail app in Windows 10 (at least as of now). People who want to do more email customizing are using Thunderbird instead, which works well with Windows 10.
12. Out Of control Chrome
The Chrome browser, a complicated ecosystem unto itself, is extra finicky on Windows 10. Perhaps this is Microsoft's subversive way of getting more people to use Edge? You may find it particularly buggy while running YouTube. If you must use this browser, be mindful of extensions. Run as few as possible.
13. Actually, you may have to re-install Chrome
Some users have found that Chrome crashes without warning and simply does not wake back up when reopened. The solution? Unfortunately, you'll have to uninstall and reinstall Chrome.
14. Parade Of pop-ups
Microsoft Edge loves its pop-up ads. You'll need to go into Internet Options, and under Privacy select "Turn On Pop-Up Blocker" in Settings. That sounds obvious, but it doesn't end there. You'll also want to click (just below that in the InPrivate section) on "Disable Toolbars and extensions when InPrivate browsing starts."
15. Edge won't stream music when minimized
Because Edge is a universal app, its actions are suspended when it's minimized. This is really annoying when you're streaming music on it. There is no fix for this, so you simply have to stream your music from another source if you plan to listen to it while using your device for other activities.
16. Edge crashes when AMD is running
Edge is probably going to have to undergo a couple overhauls before it's a competent browser. If you're using AMD GPU with it, expect "frequent crashes" according to Microsoft. To avoid this, go to Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update > Advanced and change to Slow Ring.
17. Mind your settings
When you upgrade to Windows 10, a Setting Screen will pop up asking if you want to use the new Photos, Movies, TV, and the Microsoft Edge browser. It seems instinctual to check yes, since you want access to these features. Consider though that if you do check yes, all your default applications will be Microsoft. Best to not select this setting and instead choose to use specific Microsoft apps going forward.
18. Blue screen of death
Hopefully you won't face this, but some previewers have complained of their system crashing, showing only the infamous blue screen of death. If you find yourself facing this very not good situation, you should reset your PC. To do so, find the Recovery section inside the PC settings. To go to the Recovery section, search for "reinstall" in the search tool inside the Start menu then click on "Remove everything and reinstall Windows."
19. Tricky touchscreen
Some users previewing Windows 10 on their mobile devices say that the touchscreen abilities are not as intuitively functional as they should be. For instance, it's easy to miss the edge of a window when trying to drag it, and some of the icons are too small to grasp with your finger pad. Unfortunately, this is just the nature of the beast. There's really not much other than practice that will help you overcome this finicky problem.
20. Free for now, but not forever
This isn't so much a problem as it is a gentle warning. Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade but only for one year. After that it retails for $119. A year feels like a long time, but in the world of technology it's a blink of an eye, so don't put this upgrade off for too long ... just long enough to let the initial kinks get ironed out.
- For a load of neat tips and tricks on Windows 10, buy: Windows 10 Beyond the Manual