PDQ Library:  Windows 10: Getting Started

After you upgrade to Windows 10, you find that system settings seem to be an odd mix between Windows 7 and the Windows 10 settings designed for touch screens and its Metro interface. So here is my list of the solutions to various problems I found. As always, don't make changes to your system settings until you make a complete system backup. Here's the menu for this page:

  1. Date-time Display
  2. Microphone not compatible in Windows 10
  3. Devices not Working!
  4. Getting your old Start Menu Back
  5. Customizing Fonts
  6. Removing "ENG" in the Task bar
  7. Cortana Setup for Canada
  8. Turn System Restore ON!
  9. Getting rid of the Lock Screen

1. Windows 10 Date-time Display

I prefer date-time stamps on files in Windows Explorer to look like this:   16-07-16 3:06 pm

  1. Click the Start Icon (Windows key), then Settings, then choose Time Date.
  2. Time & Language window opens with Date & time already selected.
  3. Click Change time and date formats
  4. Under Short date select one i.e. "yy-MM-dd" (19-11-30)
  5. Click back arrow to return to Time & Language
  6. Under "Related settings" click Additional date, time & regional settings
  7. Under Region, select Change date, time or number formats
  8. In the Region window, the Formats tab is already selected.
  9. Under Short time select "h:mm tt" then click Apply at the bottom.
  10. Click on the Additional settings button at the bottom.
  11. In the Customize Format window, select the Time tab.
  12. Highlight the AM dropdown and type am followed by the TAB key.
  13. PM is now highlighted, so type pm followed by the TAB key.
  14. Click OK on all open windows and close them.

2. Microphone not working in Windows 10

Click the Start Icon and the X key at same time to open the Control Panel. Select Sounds from the list.

On the Recording tab, right-click on Integrated Microphone Array (on my PC) and then click Enable - you should now see activity in the volume bar if the mic picks up any sound.

Next click the Start Icon then Settings then choose Time & Language.

From left of windows select Speech then under Microphone click Get Started to start the mic calibration. You can now record sounds and use Cortana if you wish. Still not working? Search for Troubleshooting by clicking the search icon (or typing in the search box) in the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen.

3. Devices not Working in Windows 10

I immediately ran into problems with external devices not working - like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth! I opened up the Control Panel then Hardware & Sound then Devices & Printers to inspect properties of my bluetooth devices and noticed a link to Troubleshooting problems. A few clicks in the wizard and a missing driver was installed! I was surprised that missing drivers had not been installed during the upgrade, but pleased it was so easy to get things working again. Then I went back up to Network & Internet and started the Troubleshooting wizard. Once again, it fixed the Wi-Fi driver, and after a reboot, it was working again. Next up is testing the wireless printer and USB scanner, which should be fun.

4. Getting your old Start Menu Back

If you used Windows 7 for years, your Start Menu was probably organized into many folders and sub-folders. After you upgraded and chose to "keep your existing programs and data", your old Start Menu is still there, but the "new" Start Menu merges all your folders and shortcuts into the All apps list making it very hard to find your "media" or "maintenance" programs.

To get your old Start Menu back in a form you can control, you can add it to the Taskbar at the bottom of your screen as a "new toolbar".

First check out these Start Menu paths to find one you want to use. Copy each path in turn by selecting it and typing Ctrl+C. Then paste it by typing Ctrl+V in the Windows Explorer's address bar. Replace USERNAME with your user name to see your old Start Menu.

"C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"
"C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"
"C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"

Copy the path of the folder you want to use (quotes are required for a path with a space in it). To use just the Programs subfolder, add "\Programs" to the path:

"C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs"

Right-click on the Task bar at the bottom of the screen and select Toolbars, then select New Toolbar... In the window that opens, paste the path into the Folder box. The name of the folder (Programs or Start Menu) will appear in the Task bar left of the System icons. When you click on the tiny double chevrons to the right of the name, your menu of folders and programs will appear above it. Select a folder to see its subfolders.

5. Customizing Windows Fonts and Sizes

Right-click the Start Icon select the Control Panel. Select Display from the list. Here, you can enlarge Title bars, Menus, and Icons. Setting 12 pt is a big improvement over 9 pt on my laptop. And Desktop icons made bold are much easier to read on the Desktop.

You can also click a link to change the size of text, apps, and other items. Other links just lead you a circle. Windows 7 allowed you to change almost any fonts. Windows 10 few settings is a shame since modern screens keep getting higher resolution, with smaller and smaller text – as my eyes get older and older.

6. Getting rid of the "ENG/FR" toggle in the Task bar

If you live in Canada, you probably selected all the options during installation of "Canada" as your language choice. You ended up with ENG in the Task bar just left of the clock, which is a toggle betweem english and french keyboards. If you click this, your keyboard starts creating accented characters! If you didn't want to use a french keyboard, you can remove this option (and icon).

Here's how you get rid of "ENG" keyboard toggle in the Task bar:
  > Control Panel > Language > Language Options > Input Method > Options
You will see both US and English Canada. click Remove beside the additional bilingual keyboard. You now have only a option for English (Canada) with a US keyboard layout. Now find the setting Turn icons on/off and uncheck Input Indicator to remove the icon from the Taskbar.

7. Cortana setup for Canada

If you click on that little circle icon in the Task bar but can't get Cortana to display anything useful, or hear you, or talk to you, you have some work to do in the Windows 10 settings. Here's the short version to get Cortana to use Canadian english instead of the default US english.

Check the language your device is currently set up to use. Start Menu > Settings > Time and Language > Region and Language
Country and Region should be set to Canada.

For Cortana to work for Canada, your PC needs to download the English (Canada) language pack. Click on the Add a language option, locate the pack in the list, and click to install. If English (Canada) is already set as the "Windows Display language" under Languages heading, that doesn’t mean it will work with Cortana. Click on English (Canada), then select Options. You may see several download buttons. Select Download language pack at the top to download and install it. Repeat the process for the Speech download option to install the Speech module.

Now you must select the new language as the one Cortana will use. In the Time and Language panel, select Speech in the left hand column. If the default is set to English (United States), clicking on it should bring up the English (Canada) option. Select this and then check the Recognise non-native accents for this language box. You must reboot your device for these settings to take effect.

After you reboot your device, you still need to make one final setting to turn on Cortana's voice command ‘Hey, Cortana’. Click on the Search area of the task bar, select the Notebook the square icon below the Home icon, then Settings, then toggle the icon labelled Let Cortana respond to “Hey, Cortana.” If your microphone is compatible, you should be able to use Cortana just by speaking that command. You're finally done - whew!

Check out the tips and the various tasks Cortana can do for you – such as appointment reminders, weather forecasts and alerts, timers, flight status, traffic conditions, send an email or text, make notes, and play music.

Thanks to pcadvisor.co.uk for details with screenshots for the United Kingdom.

8. Turn System Restore On

Windows 10 has "System Restore" turned off by default. This was useful in previous versions of Windows as it could restore the system registry to a previous time when the system was working properly. (The caveat was you had to repeat any installations or changes you had made to the System after that date.)

If you don't regularly create system backups or an Image backup using third party software (i.e. Macrium Reflect, Acronis True Image), you may not need this option. But if you want to use this protection, here's how:

  1. Use the Task bar search (beside the Start button) and type "restore". Select Create a Restore Point. The System Properties window will open,
  2. Select the System Protection tab. You will show which of your drives are protected - probably none.
  3. Select Configure. Under Restore Settings, select Turn on system protection.
  4. Select the amount of disk space to use (it should be large). Once you select that, you are returned to System Properties. It should now display your System disk (C) protection is ON.

9. Getting rid of the Lock Screen

Do you want to get rid of the Lock Screen when you wake your computer? Jf Windows doesn't give you an option to remove it, you can do it by editing the Registry - where Windows stores all its software settings. Before you start, create a full system backup.

To edit the Windows Registry, find and run regedit (Shortcut: %windir%\regedit.exe). When it opens, find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows. Add a key called Personalization. Then add a new DWORD value to it (32/64-bit to match your PC) and name it NoLockScreen. Double-click on it and set the Value data to "1". A value of "0" will revert to showing the Lock screen. Deleting the Personalization key will revert to showing the Lock screen.

If you are not confident editing the Registry, you may download and run these "REG" files to do it for you. To download, right-click on each link below and select Save link as... to store them on your hard drive. (Clicking the link just displays the code.) Double-click LockScreen-Disable.reg to run it -- the setting to display a lock screen will be changed in the Windows Registry. The second file restores the lock screen if you change your mind. Test your computer to make sure the lock screen no longer displays on "wake".

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