Being a Windows expert doesn't mean you have to memorize every shortcut and secret. You just have to know where to find those details when you need them.
That's the point of this page, where I've collected the links I regularly use to find information and download tools and utilities. These include essential information, troubleshooting tools, and download sites, as well as some of my most popular FAQ pages and tips.
I update this page frequently. The most recent update was June 25, 2020.
Here's everything you need to know before you repair, reinstall, or upgrade Windows 10, including details about activation and product keys.
If you've spent years mastering the ins and outs of Windows Update, prepare to do some unlearning. Windows 10, with its emphasis on "Windows as a service," rewrites almost all the rules of updates and upgrades. Here's what you need to know.
Microsoft's much-hyped free upgrade offer for Windows 10 ended in 2016, and the extension officially expired at the end of 2017. But you can still get a free digital license using these instructions.
You've got a new PC running Windows 10 Home. You want to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. Here's how to get that upgrade for free. All you need is a Pro/Ultimate product key from an older version of Windows.
Downloads and version information
This is the official download site for Windows 10, where you can update directly or use the Media Creation Tool to create an ISO or bootable USB flash drive.
What's the difference between Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 10 Pro, and Windows 10 in S Mode? This official page has a long, footnote-packed feature list.
Windows 10 release history (official)
Use this Microsoft-provided list to look up the availability date, OS build, and latest revision date for all currently supported Windows 10 versions. Scroll down for availability dates and links to KB articles for all cumulative updates.
Always check this page before installing a new feature update manually. It lists the current status of the latest release and provides details about known issues, including those that Microsoft has designated as serious enough to block installation on affected devices. The page is updated regularly as issues are identified, investigated, and resolved.
With each new Windows 10 version, Microsoft adds a new page with version-specific information about new features in that release. The list focuses mostly on features that are of interest to professionals who support Windows in the enterprise: security, deployment, update, and management.
With each new Windows 10 version, Microsoft publishes a marketing-focused blog post highlighting a few new features. If you want a more detailed list of changes, you'll find them in an unlikely place: The Windows Insider Program archive captures details about each new feature, often with an explanation of why it was implemented the way it was. When a release leaves the Insider program and goes to general release, these notes are all archived under the "What was new" heading.
Each new version includes a long list of new features, but it typically also marks the end of the road for some features, which can be removed, replaced, retired, or deprecated. The two lists of features here includes "Features we're no longer developing" and "Features we removed."
Windows 10 version history (Wikipedia) (includes Insider Preview releases)
This long, independently curated page includes two large chunks of information not available on the official page: a history of Insider Preview releases for every Windows 10 version, and release history for older Windows versions that are no longer supported.
A well-organized index that includes details about every cumulative update for Windows 10, including improvements and fixes, known issues, and file information. Note that this link goes to the details for version 1909, but other versions are listed in the navigation pane on the left.
Don't be put off by the outdated design on this page. Use the search box to find any update (including device drivers) for any Windows 10 version, and then download a standalone installer package.
A frequently updated list of questions and answers covering questions that individuals and small businesses are likely to ask.
Every would-be Windows expert should know about the Sysinternals utilities, which help you manage, troubleshoot and diagnose Windows systems and applications. The collection was originally created and is still maintained by Mark Russinovich.
Execute any Sysinternals tool directly from the web by entering its path in Windows Explorer or at a command prompt.
If a Windows update (including device drivers) is causing stability problems, you can prevent it from reinstalling automatically using the "Show or hide updates" troubleshooter package.
Use this downloadable utility to automatically repair some common causes of update issues in Windows 10. (This page also includes links for Windows 7 and Windows 8 versions of the tool.)
Most Windows 10 upgrades and feature updates succeed without incident. But if you're encountering problems, especially with an older PC, use these tools and techniques to figure out what's going wrong.
Documentation for IT pros
The official Windows 10 documentation (Microsoft Docs), aimed at IT pros, complete with extensive technical information. These pages are updated regularly to reflect the most recent feature updates.
Detailed documentation to help IT pros plan, test, and manage deployment of Windows 10 in enterprise scenarios.
A grab bag of documentation covering features and methods to help configure or lock down specific parts of Windows 10.
For corporate customers, detailed information on security features built into Windows 10 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 E3 and E5.
How to view and configure Windows diagnostic data in an organization. Includes details about what Windows diagnostic data is collected at each setting, as well as a new section on GDPR compliance.
Microsoft's top support solutions for common issues experienced when using Windows 10 in an enterprise or IT pro environment. Links include tools for dealing with update issue, bugchecks (the Blue Screen of Death), and installation/configuration errors.
Help and support resources
- Windows 10 Help
- Microsoft Community: Windows 10
- Windows 10 Support (home)
- TechNet Forums, Windows 10 IT Pro
- Windows 10 Support Lifecycle
- Quick guide to Windows as a Service
- Modern Lifecycle Policy
- Microsoft Lifecycle Policy home page
Windows Insider Program
Visit this page to sign up for access to preview releases of Windows 10. You can use a Microsoft account or a corporate email address.
This dashboard identifies the latest Windows Insider Preview releases for PC, Server, and IoT. You can also look up the status of the SDK and ISO images.
An index of new features, organized by the build number in which they debuted.
When new builds are available in the Slow ring, they'll appear here in ISO format, suitable for testing deployment scenarios.