A few weeks ago I wrote about Microsoft’s commitment to officially release Windows 10 on July 29. Microsoft has emphatically stated that Windows 10 will commence its rollout of Windows on July 29, but do not expect to get your copy on that date. Due to the sheer volume of Windows users that have reserved a free download copy of the PC version of Windows 10, along with the release of the tablet and phone versions of Windows 10, it may take quite a while for users to actually be able to receive their copies of Windows 10. For those of you who did reserve a copy of the PC build, Microsoft will notify you when your particular copy (a 3GB download) may be available for download.
It is official. Windows 10 for the PC went “RTM” or “Release to Manufacturing” on July 15, selecting what was known as “Build 10240” for initial mass production. Specifically, according to several online postings, this build is being distributed to Microsoft partners so that they can load the new Windows 10 on to newly built PCs. This Build 10240 has an improved “Edge” browser, which in third party tests was faster than Google’s Chrome, the current speed champ. Users may also need to learn to navigate the Windows store, which Microsoft hopes will become the primary source for “apps”, which most of us have either downloaded or purchased from third parties while using earlier versions of Windows. Some users may need some tips on dealing with Cortana, Microsoft’s new and improved voice activated system. While it may be purely speculative on my part, today, in a direct marketing email, I received a sale announcement that HP was starting to “closeout” PCs running Windows 8.1. Purchasers of new Windows 8.1 computers and tablets are also supposed to be able to receive the free upgrade to Windows 10.
Since Windows 10 will have a lot of new features not available on earlier flavors of Windows, users contemplating upgrading to Windows 10 or purchasing a new device with Windows 10 factory installed may be interested in knowing something about the new operating system, other than the anecdotes that have been published in the media or posted to countless social media resources and blogs. I have already seen magazines at the newsstands and books advertised online capitalizing on the upcoming release of Windows 10, such that readers should theoretically be able to be productive more quickly, once they get their upgrade or new machine. For those skeptical about paid third party resources that may or may not be reliable, Microsoft has released a series of free eBooks on Windows 10 in a variety of widely used formats, joining hundreds of other free Microsoft eBooks on almost any Microsoft product or topic.
Starting at the “TinyURL” that I created to substitute for the 280 character original URL, tinyurl.com/FreeWindows10EBOOKS , anyone can freely browse Microsoft’s extensive library of hundreds of currently available eBooks that can be downloaded. There are several free Windows 10 specific eBooks that are available to help orient and educate Windows 10 users, such that they may be familiar with the new operating software prior to its installation, and to also use as a continuous reference once Windows 10 is on our computers.
A basic but comprehensive and fully illustrated guide to Windows 10, “Exploring Windows 10” is available as a free download in Microsoft Word DOCX format. Colorfully illustrated to clearly display how to utilize the major functions and features of Windows 10, this eBook (http://ligman.me/1H32nUT) would be an excellent resource for all present or future Windows 10 users of any experience level. For those awaiting the availability of their opportunity to download their upgrade to Windows 10, or anyone contemplating the purchase of a new computer with Windows 10, this eBook would be invaluable. For those who would like to view this eBook, but do not have Microsoft Word on their devices, almost all third party office utilities, such as the free Libre Office (libreoffice.org) can open and display the Word DOCX file. For those who have smart devices with Android or iOS operating systems, Microsoft recently released a free Word app, available in the respective device store; this app easily displays the “Exploring Windows 10” eBook.
For those interested in more detailed technical information on Windows 10, including those responsible for installing Windows 10 in a commercial environment, the eBook “Introducing Windows 10 for IT Professionals, Preview Edition” would be most useful. This eBook is available in ePub formats for dedicated readers, MOBI format for most tablets and phones, and in the universal PDF format, which can be opened on almost any device (PDF is my recommended format). The PDF version of “Introducing Windows 10 for IT Professionals, Preview Edition”, (http://ligman.me/1Uiyx8Q) is a 6.4MB download, and has 115 pages of Windows 10 information. Published by Microsoft press, and with a first printing copyright date of 2015, this eBook has an enormous amount of information on Windows 10, much of it presented from a technical viewpoint intended for geeks responsible for corporate and academic environments. This comprehensive tome includes basic information on Windows 10, apps (applications and software), the new Edge browser, new security enhancements incorporated into the operating system, Cortana, malware protection, phishing (identity theft) protection, networking, backup and recovery, Windows 10 for phones and tablets, and other relevant information. While this particular eBook is clearly intended for IT professionals, much of the content is obviously applicable to the home user as well.
Many users may take advantage of the Microsoft OneNote that will be included in many flavors of Windows 10. OneNote is a Microsoft Office component that can be used for integrated note taking, annotating photos and other documents, and a variety of other useful functions, and can be automatically synchronized with OneNote installed on other devices. Microsoft has made a free PDF formatted eBook, “OneNote for Windows 10 Preview Quick Start Guide”, available on the OneNote that will be incorporated into Windows 10; this four page eBook, more in the format of a “cheat sheet” with tips and guides, can be downloaded from http://ligman.me/1JOa0T8.
Since tablet and other smart device computing is surpassing the traditional PC and laptop in utilization, along with Microsoft’s recent release of free PowerPoint apps for tablets and phones, it is inevitable that an increasing number of users will be creating, editing, and showing PowerPoint presentations from those devices. As Windows 10 is also being released for tablets and smart phones, it is only logical that users will be using PowerPoint on Windows 10 equipped smart devices; for this explicit reason, Microsoft has published “PowerPoint Preview Quick Start Guide for Windows 10 Tablets”, available as a free PDF download directly from http://ligman.me/1evyFB0. This four page guide, also in “cheat sheet” format, displays the basic commands and methods of manipulating PowerPoint files on a smart device.
As Microsoft Word is arguably the most widely used word processor, and in consideration of the proliferation of smart devices which will be running Windows 10, Microsoft has published “Word Preview Quick Start for Windows 10 Tablets.” Similar to the other quick start guides, this four page guide, available in PDF from http://ligman.me/1HGJdbV would be a quick orientation or help guide for the newly released Microsoft Word apps.
While not Windows 10 specific, the website at tinyurl.com/FreeWindows10EBOOKS also has links to many other Microsoft specific eBooks available for download. There are about 20 Windows 8 specific guides, several Windows 7 specific eBooks, as well as a large assortment of guides for Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, SharePoint, and other Microsoft products.
If I had to recommend only a single eBook on Windows 10, it would be the “Exploring Windows 10”, as linked above. A close second choice, though more technical but far more comprehensive, would be the “Introducing Windows 10 for IT Professionals, Preview Edition”, also linked above. For those using Office products on tablets and smart phones, the quick guides mentioned above could be very useful.
To satisfy curiosity, or to better be able to utilize the new Windows 10, these free downloadable guides and eBooks would be worthwhile for anyone having an interest in Microsoft’s newest operating system.