Finally had to buy a new computer for myself and it’s running Windows 10. So much has changed! Where’s Solitaire and how do I play the same game I’ve been enjoying for years on my WinXP system?
Welcome to the brave new world of Windows 10. That’s quite a jump to go directly from Windows XP [which was released in August, 2001!] to Windows 10, but you can manage it. Lots has changed, but fundamentally you still have a Desktop, a Taskbar along the bottom of the screen and a Start Menu, even if the latter looks a bit different from its earlier cousin.
Well, unless you have a Start screen with active tiles. If that’s the setup you have and you don’t like it, have a quick peek at my tutorial on how to restore the start menu to Windows 10!
Of all the programs included in Windows, however, few get more use than the ubiquitous Solitaire game. Millions of people playing tens of millions of games of Solitaire over the decades. If the programmers had received $0.01 per game, they’d be driving Ferraris by now, no question!
Fortunately, Microsoft knows better than to mess with success, so even the very latest version of Windows includes Solitaire, but now it’s a bigger, better program that allows you to play quite a few different variations on the one-player card game! Let’s start by using Cortana, also known as the search box in the Start Menu. It’s super powerful now and is where you should start every single query related to your system, configuration, or even general Web queries.
Look closely at what I entered (in the light blue box on the bottom) and you’ll see I misspelled “solitare”. Yes, it’s now smart enough to correct for spelling mistakes, and the top match, as highlighted, is Microsoft Solitaire Collection. That’s the one, so you can launch it – because it’s selected already, as indicated by the colored background – by clicking on it or just pressing Enter on your keyboard. Easy.
Now you’re in the fun and far, far more advanced world of Microsoft Solitaire:
Turns out that there are dozens of variations on the card game solitaire and instead of just having one, Solitaire on your Windows 10 system now includes five: Klondike, Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid and TriPeaks. Don’t panic, though, if you don’t want to try these new variations, just choose Klondike and you’ll have the classic game you’re used to playing.
Curious about these others, though? Here’s a brief description of how they work, from MSN.com:
Spider: Eight columns of cards await your attempts to clear them with the fewest moves possible.
Freecell: Use four extra cells to move cards around as you try to clear all cards from the table.
Pyramid: Pair two cards that add up to 13 in order to remove them from the board.
TriPeaks: Select cards in a sequence, either up or down, to earn points and clear the board.
Let’s just go for the classic game of Klondike, however. To do that, click on the appropriate icon. You’ll immediately learn that the game’s gotten a lot smarter, because now you have choices of the kind of deck you play against:
This is a great chance to decide if you want to really simulate a physical deck of cards, appropriately shuffled, or whether you want to, well, stack the deck in your favor. If the former (which is what I always choose), click “Play Random”. If you’d like to know you have a reasonable chance of winning, choose “Play Solvable”. It’s okay, no-one will know. 🙂
Notice on the very top you can also change from a draw-3 style to draw-1 as a variation. Again, changes in the rules of the game typically increase your chance of winning.
Once you’ve got things set up, you’ll jump right into the game, which looks pretty much as it’s always looked:
Now you can click and drag cards or stacks of cards around to your heart’s desire, trying to solve the patience game. Remember, alternating colors, and columns always cound downward. Notice also the Menu button on the top left.
Along the top you can see the game scores you on moves and keeps track of time spent. Don’t like that? You can mask those (or just ignore them). Lots of people prefer not to be timed, and that’s understandable!
Before we’re done here, do click on Menu to see what slides out of the side. It’s pretty cool:
As you can see, there are a ton of ways you can tweak and tune the settings ot meet your needs or wants. Bigger cards, no music, different types of scoring, even switch games or try the Daily Challenge!
Now, I hope that gets you set up and happy with the new Microsoft Solitaire Collection in Windows 10. Good luck!
Pro Tip: While you’re here, please do check out all the other Windows help we have. It’s quite extensive!