Still, if you’re having a hard time with the operating system, we’ve compiled a guide to 100 of the most common Windows 10 problems, and how to fix them – whether it’s a Windows 10 problem with a printer or connectivity issues. So, if you’re trying to troubleshoot your device, keep reading.
1. Having enough space to install Windows 10
If you’re planning to move to Windows 10, actually installing the OS is the first area you could potentially run into problems with. Installing a new operating system requires a certain amount of free space on your drive so that it can be downloaded and certain elements can be run successfully.
For Windows 10, the space requirement is 16GB, which should be kept free on the main system drive the computer uses. This is actually the same as previous versions of Windows, so if you’ve upgraded before you can most likely do it again.
If you want to check how much space is left on your PC, go to My Computer (or This PC, depending on which version of Windows you’re running) where any drives you have will be listed. You can see the remaining space indicated beneath each drive, or you can right click and select Properties for a better overview (your system drive is usually C:)
2. Checking you have a powerful enough PC
Just as with space requirements, your PC will also have to be capable of running Windows 10. This means that it must reach certain minimum system requirements.
The requirements for running Windows 10 are relatively low: A processor of 1GHz or faster; 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit) of RAM; 16GB of free drive space; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphic device; and a Microsoft account combined with internet access.
To find out your PC’s spec, go to Control Panel and select System and Security, then System.
However, keep in mind that these are the minimum requirements, and you should shoot for higher specs to have a smooth and enjoyable experience.
3. Activating Windows 10
Some users have reported issues with activating their copies of Windows 10, which could have been down to a number of different reasons. In some cases, the easiest way to get around the problem is to purchase a legitimate copy of Windows 10.
Unlike previous versions of Windows, the latest one is almost exclusively available online, which means that official Microsoft websites are the best bet for your purchase. The company was giving the OS away for free, but that promotion ended quite a while ago.
Microsoft has a helpful website that provides a downloadable copy in either 32-bit or 64-bit versions.
If you do find that you’re unable to activate Windows 10 successfully, handily Microsoft introduced a new activation troubleshooter feature way back in the Anniversary Update. You’ll find this in Settings, then click Update & Security, go to Activation and select Troubleshoot (you won’t see this option if the OS has been activated).
4. Avoiding inconvenient software update reboots
Windows 10 is, in many ways, a truly internet-based operating system. Mostly, this is a bonus but there are times when it isn’t – and Microsoft’s attitude towards operating system updates is one such time.
The most annoying part of automatic updates is the restarting, which can seemingly come at random (and inconvenient times). The simplest way to counteract this is to head to Windows Update (in Settings > Update & Security), click on Advanced Options and then Notify to Schedule Restart, which means the OS will request a reboot instead of interrupting everything you’re working on.
5. Updating old software to work with Windows 10
Each version of a new operating system comes with its own set of backwards compatibility issues and Windows 10 is no exception.
The transition from Windows 8.1 to 10 is far less jarring than the move from Windows 7 to 8 was, but there are still certain applications that can become broken and, in some cases, cease to work at all.
If a program isn’t working with Windows 10, try looking in the Windows Store for an update and, if that doesn’t work, delete and reinstall it.
Now that Windows 10 has been out for a few years, most programs should be compatible with the operating system. If they aren’t, then they likely never will be.
Consider moving to a newer version of the software, or if it’s stopped being developed, it may be time to look for alternatives.
6. Changing privacy and Wi-Fi Sense settings
Data security is incredibly important, especially as hackers become increasingly sophisticated and the number of cyber-attacks is on the up.
Windows 10 comes with a decent set of built-in protection measures, but you can never be too careful. One such feature that should be disabled by privacy-minded individuals is Wi-Fi Sense, which automatically shares the Wi-Fi password across Windows 10 devices on the same account.
Microsoft updated Wi-Fi Sense to share less data, but switching it off is the ideal way of preventing anything you don’t want happening. To turn it off, go to the Start Menu, select Settings and click on Network & Internet, then Wi-Fi, and head to Manage Wi-Fi Settings – turn off all the options in here.
Also in Settings, it’s possible to get an overview of everything else happening on Windows 10 in terms of privacy – unsurprisingly, under the Privacy section. In here, you’ll be presented with a bunch of toggles that adjust some privacy options to help keep everything under control.
7. Printer compatibility
If you have an older device, printer compatibility can turn into a real problem. If you’re upgrading from Windows 7 (or earlier) to Windows 10, you need to update all available printer drives, which will prevent them from not working post-upgrade.
Luckily, this couldn’t be easier. Just search for the name of your printer in the search engine of your choice, and download the latest Windows 10 compatible drivers – make sure you’re downloading them from the actual manufacturers website, though. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install them, and you’re good to go.
8. Grappling with the touchscreen
Microsoft ships Windows 10 with Edge, the successor to its Internet Explorer browser (although IE is still present in the OS). For many people, however, using Chrome or Firefox is the norm, no matter what Microsoft wants.
To install Chrome or Firefox – and get back to normality – open Edge, search for either, and find a Windows 10 version. Download it, install it, and make sure it’s set as the default browser option so that Edge doesn’t keep reappearing. To do this, head to Settings, System, and click on Default Apps – click under Web Browser and you can then select your preferred default browser.
But, now that Microsoft Edge is moving to Chromium, you may have less of a reason to switch over.
9. Grappling with the touchpad
Having a touchpad-enabled laptop is also good for Windows 10, but some users have reported that the upgrade from Windows 7 (and sometimes Windows 8) breaks it.
One of the ways to solve this is by first checking to see if your keyboard has a key that turns the touchpad off. If it doesn’t – or the right setting is toggled – then head to Devices > Mouse & Touchpad > Additional mouse options.
A new window will appear. From here, select the tab that says Device Settings, then Devices, and then make sure the touchpad is enabled.
If none of these options work, press Windows Key + X, select Device Manager, then the option for Mice and other pointing devices, and update the driver. This should fix things.
10. Finding Safe Mode
Safe Mode is just what you’d expect – a safe way of booting up a PC and running the system with no startup apps and only essential drivers, which should hopefully allow the computer to boot successfully when it won’t otherwise due to some issue or other.
With Windows 10, to access Safe Mode, hold down the Shift key during boot-up (or select Restart from the desktop while holding down Shift).