Since Windows 10 arrived last week, you’ve sent in a flood of questions about how it works, what it can do and what it can’t do. We’ve gone through the list and come up with top five most-asked ones, and we’ll be answering them today.
Don’t forget that we’ve also covered Windows 10 extensively in other Tips, from how the upgrade process works to instructions on how to use some of the new features. So if you don’t see your question here, we might already have answered it in one of the other articles. And now, on to the questions.
1. Do I really have to pay to play solitaire in Windows 10?
When Microsoft dropped the classic game Solitaire from Windows 8, it made a lot of people upset. Sure, you could download it for free from the Microsoft Store, but it just seemed wrong not to have it already installed.
So, there was a lot of rejoicing when the news came that Solitaire was back by default for Windows 10. Since it’s the full Microsoft Solitaire Collection, it also brings back Freecell and Spider Solitaire, adds daily challenges where you can win virtual “coins,” has online leaderboards and more.
However, what the early reports failed to mention is that Solitaire would have (get ready for it) ads. Yep, if you want to use it for free, you’ll occasionally have to sit through big, full-screen video ads that run for 15 to 30 seconds.
Of course, you can get rid of the ads, but it will cost you. You can spend either $1.49 a month or $9.99 a year for the “premium” ad-free version, which also gives you more coins and other minor perks. Or you can go find a free alternative like this program that offers 1,000 types of solitaire in one download.
2. Does Windows 10 really share my Wi-Fi with people?
Windows 10 does have a feature called Wi-Fi Sense that makes it easier for friends and family to get on your encrypted Wi-Fi networks. They don’t have to type a password; Microsoft will log them in automatically.
There’s a lot of confusion around this feature that makes it sound scarier than it is. For example, it doesn’t actually show anyone your Wi-Fi password. Plus, you have a lot of control over how it works, and you can even disable it completely.
To start, people only get logged in automatically if they’re a contact in Outlook, Outlook.com/Hotmail, Skype or Facebook, and also running Windows 10 with Wi-Fi Sense enabled. And you can select which services to allow. For example, maybe you don’t want your Facebook friends having access.
To do that, go to Network & Internet>>Wi-Fi>>Manage Wi-Fi Settings (only available on computers that support Wi-Fi). Uncheck the services you don’t want to allow under “For networks I select, share them with my contacts.”
You might have noticed it says “for networks I select.” The first time you connect to a Wi-Fi network, Microsoft will ask if you want to share it. Simply say no and Wi-Fi Sense won’t log anyone in to that network.
Of course, there is a bit more to know about this feature. Learn more about Wi-Fi Sense, how it works and how to disable it permanently.
3. How can I tell if there are potential compatibility problems before I install Windows 10?
Some people are (correctly) worried about upgrading to Windows 10 and then finding out that a critical program or piece of hardware doesn’t work. Fortunately, you can get the scoop on potential problems before you hit the Upgrade button.
Windows should let you know if there are major showstoppers automatically before the upgrade happens. However, it might not tell you about what it thinks are minor problems.
To learn about those, find the Get Windows 10 app icon in the notification tray at the bottom-right corner of your screen. It’s the white Windows logo.
Right-click on it and select “Check your upgrade status.” Then in the screen that appears, click the icon with the three horizontal lines in the upper-right corner. From the menu that drops down, click “Check your PC.”
The app will bring up an overall “yea” or “nay” on installing Windows 10, and then list some items on the computer that might not be fully compatible. There might be things it misses, but it should give you a general idea of whether or not an upgrade is for you.
4. Are there any critical features in older versions of Windows that Windows 10 doesn’t have?
It depends on your definition of “critical,” but yes, Windows 10 has dropped some features that some people rely on. The one most people seem to be upset about is Windows Media Center (don’t confuse this with Windows Media Player, which is still installed).
Media Center is a Windows program that lets you watch and record TV using TV third-party tuner cards in your computer. It’s also a nice way to manage and interact with your videos, music and other media.
You can replace this with a free program like Kodi, but test it out before you upgrade to make sure it does everything you want. Some of our readers have tried it and say they prefer Media Center.
Originally it looked like Microsoft was taking out DVD playback as well, but now it sounds like it’s going to be coming back in a future update. In the meantime, you can use the free VLC media player.
Also, while it isn’t really a “feature” in older versions of Windows, Windows 10 won’t allow you to avoid installing updates. From a security perspective, it makes sense to force everyone to have the latest patches.
Unfortunately, these patches can sometimes cause problems and it would be nice if you could not install them until you’re sure they aren’t going to hurt your computer. If you’re using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, there is an option to defer updates for a little while. If you’re running Windows 10 Home, however, you’re out of luck.
5. Can I say no to the upgrade? If I did upgrade, can I undo it?
The upgrade to Windows 10 is completely voluntary. True, the Get Windows 10 app (that white Windows icon in your notification tray) might bug you about it from time to time, but you don’t have to accept.
If you reserved a copy of Windows 10 in the past and then changed your mind, you’ll want to cancel your reservation. Otherwise, your computer will download the entire Windows 10 installation soon.
To cancel a reservation, find the Get Windows 10 app icon in the notification tray at the bottom-right corner of your screen. It’s the white Windows logo.
Right-click on it and select “Check your upgrade status.” Then in the screen that appears, click the icon with the three horizontal lines in the upper-right corner. From the menu that drops down, click “View Confirmation.” Then click the “Cancel reservation” link, and then click the “Cancel reservation” button.
If you want the Get Windows 10 app off your computer completely, you’ll need to uninstall a specific Windows update.
In Windows 8, using a mouse, right-click in the lower right corner of the screen and choose Control Panel. If you’re using a touch screen, swipe from the right of the screen and tap Settings>>Control Panel. In Windows 7, go to Start>>Control Panel.
In Control Panel, click “System and Security” and then under Windows Update, click “View installed updates.” Find update “KB3035583,” click on it and then click the “Uninstall” button toward to the top of the Windows Update screen.
What if you went through with the Windows 10 upgrade and there are problems or you don’t like it? For 30 days after you upgrade, you can go back to the version of Windows you upgraded from.
Go to Start>>Settings and choose the Update & Security icon. Then go to the Recovery section and under “Go back to Windows 8.1” or “Go back to Windows 7,” click “Get Started.”
Windows will ask why you’re going back, give you some warning and then do its thing. It’s simple, although it could take a while.
Unfortunately, it isn’t a complete fix. Program icons might be missing or broken, even though the programs are still there. Also, clicking on links or files might not open them in the right program anymore.
You’ll spend some time recreating icons and telling Windows which programs you want to use.
The moral of the story is that you should generally wait to jump on any new piece of software. Give it some time and many of the bugs will get worked out before you upgrade.