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How to install (and make the most of out of) the Windows 10 Technical Preview

How to install (and make the m...
Here's how to install Windows 10 Technical Preview and explore some new built-in features
Here's how to install Windows 10 Technical Preview and explore some new built-in features
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Sign up for the Windows Insider Program
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Sign up for the Windows Insider Program
New Start menu in Windows 10
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New Start menu in Windows 10
Virtual desktops is a built-in feature in Windows 10
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Virtual desktops is a built-in feature in Windows 10
Periodic notifications asking for your feedback
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Periodic notifications asking for your feedback
Windows Feedback form
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Windows Feedback form
Here's how to install Windows 10 Technical Preview and explore some new built-in features
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Here's how to install Windows 10 Technical Preview and explore some new built-in features
The Command Prompt finally supports keyboard shortcuts
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The Command Prompt finally supports keyboard shortcuts
Agree to the Windows 10 Tech Preview EULA
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Agree to the Windows 10 Tech Preview EULA
Improvements have been added to File Explorer
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Improvements have been added to File Explorer

Microsoft recently released the first iteration of its new operating system to the public in the form of Windows 10 Technical Preview. Here's a look at how to install it as well as check out the current new features you can expect when the final version is released.

Important: Before continuing, there are some important things to take into consideration. This is a very early (and incomplete) release for enthusiasts, developers, and IT pros. You can expect a lot of bugs, crashes, and potential data loss. Because of that, don't install this on your main productivity home or business computer. Only install this on a second computer you have laying around as a testing system or in a virtual machine.

Install Windows 10 Technical Preview

To get a copy of Windows 10 Technical Preview you need to sign up for the Windows Insider Program, which you can find here. It's free and anyone with a Microsoft account can join. One important thing to note is that while you're using the Tech Preview, Microsoft will be collecting data from your system, including text, type of files you open, programs you use, etc. This helps Microsoft learn what users are doing to improve the product.

Sign up for the Windows Insider Program
Sign up for the Windows Insider Program

After signing up, you will be able to download the 32 or 64-bit version – each of which are around 3 to 4 GB in size. Two versions have been released, the standard version from home users, and the Enterprise version for business users. After it's downloaded, you can burn it to a DVD or create a bootable USB drive to install it. If the computer you install it on is able to run Windows 7 or 8, then chances are your hardware will support it. If you're not sure if you computer is compatible, use the Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant or the Windows Compatibility Center.

The installation process is remarkably simple and similar to that of Windows 8.1. If you have any data that you want to save on the test computer you're putting it on, make sure to back it up first. Once you start the installation you'll see familiar wizard style prompts that will guide you through the process. You'll need to agree to the EULA, decide whether to keep your computer's existing data and select the type of install you want to do – either Express or Custom. Also during installation, your computer will reboot several times.

Agree to the Windows 10 Tech Preview EULA
Agree to the Windows 10 Tech Preview EULA

New features in Windows 10

There will be several new built-in features in Windows 10, and you can check out some of them in the Technical Preview. From the return of the Start menu to new features in the Command Prompt, here's a look at some of what you can expect when the final version is released.

Start menu

After the controversial absence of the Start menu in Windows 8, Microsoft is bringing it back with a new look and new features. It's a hybrid of sorts and has traditional Start menu features you're used to, as well as Modern app live tile access that you can arrange to your liking – similar to Windows Phone.

New Start menu in Windows 10
New Start menu in Windows 10

Virtual desktops (Task View)

This is a feature that Linux and Mac users have had for years and now Windows users get this useful feature to help keep their work organized. It replaces the old application switcher that was in previous versions of Windows. The feature is officially called "Task View" by Microsoft and has an icon located at the left corner of the Taskbar. You can also pull up and create new virtual desktops using the keyboard shortcut Windows Key+Tab.

Virtual desktops is a built-in feature in Windows 10
Virtual desktops is a built-in feature in Windows 10

Floating Modern apps on desktop

One of the biggest complaints about Windows 8 (besides the Start menu controversy) was having to fight between the desktop environment and the Modern apps. Currently, if you try to open a PDF, the Modern app in Windows 8 goes full screen. We have covered how to stop that annoyance and how to keep the Modern UI out of your way, but users shouldn't need to go through so many actions to fix the problem. So this is a nice fix.

Now, when you open any of the Modern apps (which are being rebranded to Universal Apps), they will open in a regular window on your desktop. To get this behavior in Windows 8, you need to install some third-party software called ModernMix from Stardock, which costs US$4.99. I can vouch for how valuable ModernMix is on Windows 8, but it's nice to see Microsoft will have this ability built-in for Windows 10.

Command Prompt gets new features

The only people who should be excited about these new Command Prompt options are power users, developers, and IT Pros. During the Windows 10 announcement, these new features were shown off which made major geeks quite happy. You can do a lot with that simple text box and a few of the long awaited features are here, including support for standard text selection, cut, copy and paste operations, and keyboard shortcuts.

If you're a professional user and want to dig deeper, go inside the Command Prompt properties box and select the Experimental tab. There you can chose from other experimental console features. Whether the experimental features make it to the final version remain to be seen.

The Command Prompt finally supports keyboard shortcuts
The Command Prompt finally supports keyboard shortcuts

File Explorer enhanced

File Explorer has been improved with a new Home location that provides easy access to favorite file locations, recent files, and frequently accessed folders. Sharing files is easier with the Share button from the Share tab. It lets you share files and folders via email, OneDrive, over a network or via other apps.

Improvements have been added to File Explorer
Improvements have been added to File Explorer

Give Microsoft your feedback

Microsoft really wants your feedback about Windows 10, and the company provides easy ways to provide it. First, when you access certain new features in Windows 10 a notification will pop up, similar to the one below asking how your experience was. Click it and you can rate it on a scale from 1 to 5 and provide additional feedback.

Periodic notifications asking for your feedback
Periodic notifications asking for your feedback

If you want to send specific feedback on a feature, either click the Send Feedback tile in the Start menu, or find it in the All Apps list. When it opens, you can choose between various system feature and select the one you want to send feedback on. You can also read feedback from other insiders like you, who are testing Windows 10. It also allows you to attach a screenshot if you get a specific error or other oddity Microsoft should see.

Windows Feedback form
Windows Feedback form

Moving forward!

The closed mindset of the former Windows regime didn't allow for true feedback from testers in previous versions. The Windows 8 release we got was just too radical and it pushed the Start screen and Modern environment too hard on traditional desktop users. While Windows 8.1 and the Windows 8.1 update 1 tried to remedy some of those issues by bringing back a Start button and other features to make the Modern UI work better with a mouse and keyboard, it wasn't enough.

But so far, the initial release of Windows 10 has received good reviews, and hopefully it will be what every user wants, both on the desktop and Modern side.

Remember that this is just a taste of what is to come in future updates and builds that will appear from now until the final release, which is rumored to be mid next year. Over the coming months expect cool new features, surprises, and crashes while using it.

9 comments
JweenyPwee
For the love of God....just give us Windows 8 with a start menu. That's all we want. Just gives us back the freaking start menu. Windows 8.2 with a start menu. Did I mention start menu? No? Start menu.
Catweazle
Be aware of this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/07/windows_10_data_collection/
Lembu
Windows 8 is great as long as you stay away from that metro crap and use the free proggy ClassicShell.net. It seems to be a popular strategy to let customers test out software so that the company may improve their product. If we lived in a cashless society that would be peachy, but we don't. The company should be providing some sort of remuneration to the tester customers as the company benefits monetarily from their input by an improved product. Dont drink the kool-aid.
Kalides Evony
windows 10. is very nice, and even though, windows 8 got a undeserved bad press, windows 10 should push windows up the the top spot, where it should be. there is no other OS, that is as complete, and versatile as window.
Scarboroughjim148
After my Windows 8 experience it will be a cold day in hell before trust Microsoft or try anything they have to offer. Thank GOD for Apple!
Bevin Chu
Windows 8/8.1 was a good OS with a bad UI. Just replace the UI and you're good to go. MS should have done it on its own. But a dozen or so third party apps, most of which are freeware, can remedy the UI problem in five minutes.
pmshah
You should keep in mind that you have readers outside of US too. The link you have provided dos not work here in India. Guess I will have to wait for it appear on Piratebay !!!!
nomex
I hear all the complaints against windows 8 but just shake my head. As noted with a free download of classic shell your back to a win 7 style start menue ect. It is faster than 7 and xp, just better. Looking forward to trying 10.
Paul Shane
Yesterday, just for chuckles, I loaded Win 10 on a 10-year-old Dell that had been running XP. To my astonishment, 10 loaded and ran without complaint maybe better than the XP. Mind you that this PC has only 1 gig of memory and only 80 gig hard drive. I didn't even need to load any drivers. I then installed a wireless HP printer, Google Earth, Google Drive and Chrome without any problem. Windows Defender was already running. I'm a 74-year-old guy who goes back to DOS and have installed 100's of OS's onto mainframes and VAXes and mostly PC's. I've now installed Win 10 three times including two on clunkers and this is easiest yet.