The dramatic changes to the Windows 10 interface along with privacy concerns are a couple of reasons that many were hesitant to make the switch until their hand was forced.
If you’re concerned about the privacy issues that surround Windows 10, Wired posted an excellent article reviewing how to check all of the privacy settings at: http://bit.ly/2RIScU9
One of the first things that throws a new-to-Windows 10 user are the tiles that appear to the right side of the Start menu.
Any of the tiles can be removed by right-clicking them and selecting ‘Unpin from Start’ or if you want them to take less space, select ‘Resize’ to make the tile smaller.
If you remove all of the tiles, you’ll be left with something that looks a little more like Windows 7’s list of programs.
Windows 7 Start Menu
If you really want the Windows 10 Start menu to look like Windows 7, you can download a utility called ‘Open Shell’ that used to be called Classic Shell and Classic Start.
This utility is what is known as an open-source project, which means that the source code is available to any programmer that wants to contribute new features. This also means that it resides on a website that might be confusing for some to navigate (https://open-shell.github.io/Open-Shell-Menu).
If it’s too confusing to download and install yourself, ask a techie friend to help you.
Once it completes the installation, you’ll have the choice of three different classic menus to switch to and an option to replace the Start button.
This utility offers a large number of modifications throughout all of its menus, but I would avoid getting too carried away unless you are fairly technical.
If you don’t like the large search box just to the right of the Start button, you can turn it into a search icon or make it go away completely by right-clicking any blank part of the Taskbar to open a menu. Look for the Search option at the top, which has a sub-menu that shows you three options: Hidden, Show search icon or Show search box.
If the voice recognition tool known as ‘Cortana’ isn’t of any interest, you can remove the associated icon – a circle – from the taskbar by removing the checkmark in front of the ‘Show Cortana button’ while you’re in the menu.
To get rid of any of the unwanted icons on your Taskbar, just right-click on them and select ‘Unpin from taskbar’.
Controlling Windows Updates
Windows 10 is designed to automatically update when critical updates are released, which is a good thing from a security standpoint but can be an annoyance when it automatically restarts your computer in the process.
You can avoid a random restart by setting the active hours in the Settings menu of Windows 10. Under Update & Security is an option to ‘Change active hours’ that can be up to 18 hours.
Windows 10 is supposed to be the last version of Windows from Microsoft, so I’d suggest you eventually get used to it’s look and feel at some point.