Sunday, 21 February 2016

Windows 10 System Apps Review: Get Started

Note: This page is a review which forms part of the post Windows 10 System Apps Review

What’s this app for?

Back in the “Good old days” it was impossible to log into Windows without being told how to use it. Forever playing catch-up, or just taking their time, Microsoft have an app that tells you everything you need to know to get the most out of Windows 10 and it’s called, you guessed it, “Get Started”. From customising your desktop, how to get the best out of Edge (hmm, that’ll be interesting), and how to use most of the system apps, this “Get Started” app has a lot of simplified guides and videos to help explain what the heck you’ve just installed or logged into on your computer.

Does it do the job it was primarily designed for?

Yes. There’s a wealth of information in this app; there’s 'What’s New in Windows 10', how to search and get help, setting things up, connecting to internet, how to use the start menu, Cortana, Windows Hello, Edge, Xbox App, Entertainment, Office, Personalising, Apps, Continuum and Accessibility. Pretty much everything you could think of is all there in a user-friendly form, in terms of its presentation and its concise guides.

In addition to the kudos to Microsoft for the diversity and amount of information in this app, there are also plenty of videos to show you how to use certain apps like Edge and Store. The layout of the videos is remarkably like the video player in the “Films & TV” app. I’d be surprised if it’s not leveraging that app’s abilities to do the videos. Most of the videos also have Subtitles, which is quite simply a must have feature in such an app. Thankfully the videos are quite short too, so no one is going to get bored that quickly.

Sadly, all is not perfect. The app is clearly missing a search facility, which would make finding how to use something a whole lot easier than randomly clicking through different topics and hunting away.

There’s also no obvious tie-in between Cortana and this app. If you search for help in Cortana, you are directed to a Bing Search Results page most of the time, which is usually hit and miss on giving you useful outcomes. I’d expect that the first time a user uses any apps and features of Windows 10 that this app will pop-up, which I have seen it do in some insider builds in the past, but on my testing by logging in as a new user in Windows 10, I hardly ever saw this app. Sure, it’s in the “Most Used” section of the start menu for a new user but it should be there as a large tile and/or on desktop/taskbar so people can’t miss it. Sadly, there’s nothing there automatically helping new users to understand an OS Microsoft wants us to embrace.

Lastly, none of the guides are capable of ‘one-clicking’ you to the right location in the OS to do something or at least show the user how to do it, such as if you’ve read about Edge but are still unsure where it is. Be nice if the app could show you where Edge is. Alas, nothing like that, which would have been useful, but I guess they want users to figure things out and learn from the experience. Microsoft have obviously never worked with users of varying levels of expertise …

What’s the alternative?

Phone a friend? That’s probably what most would do, but providing you know how to fire up a browser and type, you can go to and see most, if not all, of the same material that’s in this app online.

Hit, Miss, or Maybe?

Hit; I’ll give this the thumbs up. Sure, it could be more interactive across the OS and relies too much on the user knowing the app exists, but when you open it up there’s no doubting that there’s a lot of good entry level and user-friendly information about Windows 10 in the app.

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