Back is the classic Start button, the one-touch access to a main menu, including shortcuts to a user’s list of apps and documents. As in old times, it can be opened with the click of a mouse or by pressing the Windows shortcut on a keyboard. (The Start button was still available in Windows 8, but some users were confused because it was hidden from sight.
Microsoft made efforts to modernize the Start menu with a fresh design. Clicking on the Start button brings up groups of tiles that can be tailored to your preferences. For example, I easily created a group of tiles labeled “Productivity” and pinned some of my most frequently used software for work, including apps for email, web browsing, Twitter, a calculator and Microsoft Word. Removing unwanted apps from the group is easy — you just choose to “unpin” the tile.
For longtime Windows users, the more intimidating part to get used to will be tablet mode. With hybrid tablets, such as the Microsoft Surface, you can detach the keyboard from the screen and switch into a different software interface optimized for tablets. In tablet mode, apps consume the entire screen; the tiles of the Start section are enlarged to be easier to see and touch.
Fortunately, interacting with Windows 10 on a touch screen is generally the same as with most modern touch-enabled devices. Spread two fingers apart to zoom in, swipe up to scroll down, swipe left to pan right. And even in tablet mode, the trusty Start menu remains there to remind you this is still Windows you’re dealing with.