What version of Windows 10 do you have?

Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows. To the causal computer user, that is seen as a good thing. However, for tech lovers, this opens up a entirely new can of worms. Microsoft will be putting out major updates to Windows 10 approximately twice per year. The first major update was back in November of 2015. The second major update came out last month (August 2nd, to be exact).

Sometimes the updates will change things enough to make it clear that the updated version of Windows 10 is different. That was the case with last month's major update. 

For example, prior to the update, the Start Menu would only show you all of your apps/programs if you clicked "All apps". Also, the "Power", "Settings", and "File Explorer" icons were all clearly labeled as such as shown in the image below:

The new Start Menu in the August release of Windows 10 now shows all of your apps/programs by default and the "All apps" icon is gone. Furthermore, the icons for "Power", "Settings", and "File Explorer" are no longer labeled as seen in the image below:

Just like with the Windows 10  universal apps, the Start Menu has a Hamburger Menu. Regardless of where you see it, Windows 10, Android, etc, clicking it typically brings up app settings and / or options. The Hamburger Menu is circled in the image below:

Clicking the Hamburger Menu expands the Start Menu and labels the icons as seen in the image below:

Now for the point of this blog post. To see which version of Windows 10 your computer is running, click on the Start Button and then click on the "Settings" icon. The "Settings" icon is circled in red:

Clicking on the "Settings" icon brings up the "Windows Settings" window. Click on the "System" icon. The "System' icon is circled in red:

The "Settings" screen defaults to showing the "Display" section first. Go down to the bottom of the list and click "About". The "About" section has the information we are looking for. The image below has two red boxes. The top box has the Version number and the bottom box has the Build number. 

Microsoft has a support page that lists the Build and Version numbers. You can find that page here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12387/windows-10-update-history. Halfway down the page, you will find the Build and Version numbers. Simply match the Version number on your "About" page with the Version number on the website. Then match the Build numbers. 

If your version of Windows 10 is not current you have two options. Option A would be to wait until the latest version is available via Windows Updates. Option B would be to scroll up to the blue "Get the Anniversary Update now" box (on that same Microsoft support page) and click it. That will download a small updater program from Microsoft. Run the program and it will download & install the update. If you choose to go this route, you should disable your anti-virus program (unless you are using Windows Defender) until the upgrade it complete. When the upgrade has completed and your PC has rebooted, you will be greeted by this Window: 

All that is left to do is to re-enable your anti-virus program if you disabled it before the upgrade. I'd also recommend going to the Microsoft Store and checking for updates. Any questions? Leave a comment below.

Microsoft Store Updates

As detailed in my last blog post, the way you check for Windows Updates has radically changed in Windows 10. You can see that post here. In addition to checking for Windows Updates, Windows 10 brings something new to the table - Microsoft Store updates. That's right, there are now two different places to check for updates. This blog post will show you how to check for Microsoft Store Updates.

The easiest way, in my opinion, is to look at the taskbar on the Desktop. On the task bar, look for the icon that looks like a shopping bag with the Microsoft Logo on it. You can also click the start button and look for the Microsoft Store tile. In addition to that, you can click on the start button, go to "All apps" and scroll down to the "S" section where you will find that same shopping bag icon with the Microsoft Logo on it. Regardless of how you get there, click the icon or tile.

The Windows Store icon circled in red on the taskbar.

The Windows Store icon circled in red on the taskbar.

The Windows Store tile icon.

The Windows Store tile icon.

The Windows Store icon on the Start Menu

The Windows Store icon on the Start Menu

After clicking the icon or tile, the Windows Store will open up. Near the top and to the right of the screen you will see either your account icon or a generic icon depending on if you added a picture to your user account. This icon is located directly to the left of the Search Box. 

Click the user account picture or generic icon and you will see a list of options pertaining to your Microsoft Account. Click on "Downloads and updates" (circled below).

After clicking on "Downloads and updates", you'll see the blue button "Check for updates" (circled below).

Click the "Check for updates" button and if there are any updates available, they will show up on the screen in a list. The updates will automatically begin to download and install. Note that when you click the "Check for Updates" button, the button becomes grayed out and you should see a spinning progress wheel over the button. If there are any updates available, a number will appear next to your user account icon. That number corresponds to the number of updates available. See the screen shot below for an example.

Here's an example of an update that's queued up for updating:

When you are done, all of your Windows 10 apps will be up to date. Any questions? If so, leave a comment below.

Are you ready for Windows 10?

Ready or not, Windows 10 is coming. Next month, July 29th to be exact, Microsoft will be releasing Windows 10 upon the world.  I've been using the Developer Preview on a 9-10 year old laptop with a used SSD I had laying around. From what I have seen so far, everything I have installed has worked fine.  If you've used Windows 8/8.1, the jump to Windows 10 is not that far of a stretch. The big highlight being the return of the Start Menu. Sure, some things are now different, but the overall Windows feel is still there. Windows 7 users are in for a steeper learning curve than Windows 8 / 8.1 users. 

Microsoft has been updating the Windows 10 preview through Windows Update. It should be safe to assume that with a release date of July 29th, Microsoft has switched into bug squashing mode. Still, there are some features in the Developer Preview that could be pulled (or even added) before Windows 10 is officially released.

Before proceeding, make sure you have 3 GB of available hard drive space - that's the amount of space needed by the install file(s) when they download. I expect the download to occur in late July, 2015.

Recently, a new icon started showing up on Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 PCs. The icon looks like a white Windows logo:

Clicking on the icon brings up this window:

Before clicking on "Reserve your free upgrade", I highly recommend you click on the Hamburger menu (circled below):

Clicking the Hamburger menu opens up this view:

Click on "Check your PC":

Clicking "Check your PC" brings you to a screen that points out any issues you might have when upgrading. In my case, using a Laptop from 2008 running Windows 7, my Bluetooth radio is potentially in trouble:

Microsoft is reportedly having issues with some drivers working with Windows 10. That's possibly the issue I'm seeing here. If your PC is showing issues, hold off a few weeks and go through the process again. Microsoft will be working to make sure as many device drivers as possible are working. You might find that a device that is having an issue today, might be fixed in a few weeks. In my case, I reserved the upgrade because I don't use Bluetooth with this laptop. If your machine doesn't show any issues, you can click the "Reserve" button. That will give you the option to enter your email address if you'd like an email confirmation. Otherwise, you are done.

Note that if you reserve your copy of Windows 10, Microsoft will download it to your PC without prompting you first. This download should happen in late July. As mentioned earlier, the download is 3 GB, so keep that in mind if you are low on disk space. Once downloaded, Microsoft will give you the option to install it when you want. I highly recommend backing up your data before updating. The update is FREE as long as it's done in the first year that it's available.

If there are any questions about the developer preview, ask them in the comments section.