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19 best windows 10 tips and tricks yyou should know
19 Best Windows 10 Tips and Tricks You Should Know
It has just been over a year and a half since Windows 10 was officially
launched. And if you look at the technical evolution, Windows has changed
tremendously and it has done so rather beautifully. Now we have a whole
different level of features which are not only brilliant but equally
flexible (from a longtime Windows user’s perspective, of course).
Windows 10 Tips & Tricks
It’s not essential that we know all the tricks that a particular tool has in
its arsenal. Knowing the few important ones is all one needs for a
smoother experience .
Features — big or small — play a big role in enhancing productivity . And
while it was an arduous task of picking and testing them, we have done it
and filed it. Phew!
Though you might know some of these, why take the chance of not going
through this entire article and missing out on some cool ones, right? Let’s
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1. Dark Theme
The Windows dark theme comes in a time when most of us were bored of the
ordinary look (read ancient). Initially, the darker theme could be enabled
only through the registry , but now it can be achieved with just a few
Windows 10 Dark Theme
Head over to the Settings > Personalisation > Colours, scroll down and
choose Dark as the app mode.
The dark mode would appear mostly in the settings window, though. But
explore the other features of this mode and you might end up with a very
different looking desktop.
2. Resize & Unpin Tiles
I love the start menu tiles since the time when they were first launched,
providing me with useful insights into the weather, mail snippets, news,
Twitter feed, etc. In order to get the most out of it, this particular
section can be
customized to your utmost satisfaction.
Windows 10 Tile
For instance, if you want your favorite tile to occupy a much wider berth,
right-click on it and choose the resize option. Similarly, for removing
right-click and select Unpin from Start.
Speaking of weather, did you know that just pressing Win+S will show you the
weather and news? You know it now.
3. Start Menu Customization
One of the best things about customization is that it lets you achieve a
unique look and Windows isn’t far behind.
The start menu can be customized in many ways. Right from displaying the
recently added apps to the frequently used apps, all these can be turned
off/on depending on your choice.
Windows 10 Start Menu
You can also opt to have a full-screen display of the start menu in all its
glory through the Use start full screen option.
Plus, if you want to get your hands on a sleek start menu, you can start by
removing all the tiles and resizing it.
4. Alternate Start Menu
Surely, you must be knowing that you can right-click on the start button to
access the Power User Menu, but what if you need it real quick?
Just hit Win + X and the menu will pop up. The menu holds a lot of useful
apps in its quiver, like Command Prompt, Control Panel, Mobility center,
etc. And if you will be using the keys to go around, the up/down keys
Power User Menu
Another nifty trick to open the tools swiftly is to just press the
underlined letter. For instance, hitting P would open the Control Panel.
5. Snap Windows
An impressive feature for the multi-tasker in you. This feature lets you
snap the current window to one side and simultaneously open the second one
on the other side. Just press Win and right/left arrow key. What’s more,
can just scroll through the windows sans the clicks.
Speaking of multitasking, here’s a quick approach to open the pinned apps,
Win + 1 — first app
Win + 2 — second app, and so on.
6. The Cortana Search
Cortana, the Windows personal assistant is a powerful aide that can be
compared to the likes of Siri or Google Now.
“Microsoft’s voice-activated virtual assistant is more than just a direct
link to Bing (or whatever search engine you’ve got her to use) — she’s,
well, an assistant.”, writes CNET about this wonderful assistant.
And while she can do almost anything right from singing songs (bet you
didn’t know that) to setting reminders, you can also customize the way
Cortana operates. Whether it’s the type of cards that you want to see or
that Cortana accesses, there’s a whole bunch of things hiding beneath the
Windows 10 Cortana Sing Windows 10 Cortana Define
Plus, Cortana handles most of the natural language commands seamlessly and
while I did face an issue of Siri understanding my accent, Cortana just
Cool Tip: Cortana has a useful built-in dictionary. So if you want to test
her skills, type define followed by the word and the meaning will appear
7. Quick Access Files and Folders from File Explorer
One of the features that I was desperately waiting for and finally, Windows
10 answered my prayers. I find it feasible to have quick access to the
recently used folders, but we are humans and we have a great reputation of
Windows 10 quick access
So for those who would NOT like to have an open display of their recently
accessed files & folders, there’s quite an easy trick to hide them.
Head over to the file explorer and click on View > Options and uncheck the
privacy checkboxes. The file explorer will switch to the My PC look.
Discover four unique ways in which you can lock files and folders in
Windows 10 natively.
8. Virtual Desktops
Task View, known popularly as Virtual desktops (VD), was added as a
mainstream feature in Windows 10 and trust me, VDs can boost the
productivity levels. In simple words, you get to have a number of desktops
Windows 10 Virtual Desktop
There are a lot third party apps that let you have VDs, but a native one
surely beats the odds when it comes to stability and accessibility. The
choice is yours as to how you would utilize this space. For starters, you
can have a work
desktop and an entertainment hub.
Keyboard shortcuts for VD,
Open TaskView – Win + Tab
New Desktop – Win + Ctrl + D
Close the current desktop – Win + Ctrl + F4
Scroll through VDs – Win + Ctrl + right/left
9. Command Prompt Shortcuts
The previous versions of Command Prompt did a pro-level job of testing
your patience. With Windows 10, it’s quite a breeze as it lets you to use a
number of shortcuts in an effortless way.
Keyboard shortcuts for Command Prompt
Ctrl + C / V /A – Copy, Paste , Select All
Shift + Page Up / Page Down
Ctrl + Right/ Left arrow – Text browsing, etc.
10. Annotating in Edge & Calendar Sync.
We tend to mostly research online these days, ending up reading tons of
articles. That also means getting lost in the sea of posts and not getting
any meaningful work done. That’s when the annotation feature of Edge can
into great use.
It lets you annotate on a specific area of the webpage where you would like
to add a note and save the same for later references.
Plus, Windows 10 not only has revamped the hideous calendar, you can now
sync the core calendar app with any third-party calendars in a fairly easy
11. Select Audio Source from the TaskBar
On Windows 10, the audio source selection process (if one can call it a
process), is neat. It can be done right from the comfort of your current
Windows 10 Audio Source
Just click on the volume icon on the taskbar and select the appropriate
source. And when you compare it to opening the Audio Properties window and
then choosing the audio source, this seems like a cakewalk.
12. Record your PC
Previously, capturing a screenshot or recording a screencast wasn’t
possible without the use of third-party software. However, that’s not the
case with Windows 10. All you have to do is press Win + G and you will be
with a tiny window with all the necessary options.
Windows 10 Screen Record
Win + G+ PrntScr – Screenshot.
Win + Alt + R – Screen Recordings.
13. Picture Passwords & PIN
Because conventional passwords are just so passé.
On a serious note, we all know the vulnerabilities traditional passwords
pose. So, the new sign-in options seem to be an added bonus since it gives
you an alternative choice of having a picture or PIN as passwords.
Windows 10 Passwords & Pins
And not just a plain picture, you will need to annotate over three points in
the picture — these can be a circle, a stroke or a dot on any random area.
As pictures have far more characters, it’s much safer to use them as
passwords, provided you don’t use obvious gestures in noticeable places
(over the nose and ears).
14. Block Suggestions/ Ads
Of all the possible places that Windows can advertise its products on, it
chose the start menu. And if you find these suggestions bothersome, there’s
a straightforward solution to block them out — once and for all.
Windows 10 adv
Head over to personalization in the settings menu and turn off the
Occasionally show suggestions in Start option (under start) and stay
Speaking of ads, learn how to bypass Adblock detection on websites that
literally bombard you with ads.
15. Find my Device
Ever faced the exasperation of tracking a lost device or a silent phone?
Well, Windows offers the choice from where one can track the last known
location of a device . It works similar to Google’s Device manager.
Windows 10 Device
Compared to the phone tracking , the device search has its limitations. For
now, only the last known location of a PC can be tracked and you won’t be
able to wipe or lock your device.
16. Filter Clipboard Contents in Command Prompt
Now that command prompt lets you copy-paste texts in a jiffy, chances are
that you might end up copying stuff straight off from a browser.
And there are equal chances that those texts might have some special
characters or an added tab. So what do you do with the unwanted content?
Remove them manually? Naah, that’s too old.
Windows 10 CP filter
Well, there’s a nice little feature in the command prompt properties which
automatically removes tabs and unsupported special characters from the
copied text (when enabled).
17. Choose Printers
The latest version of Windows allows the system to set any last used printer
as the default one. It can be both a boon or a bane for some users. If this
setting is an over-kill, head over to the printer settings and turn it
The system will no longer switch between different printers and will stick
to the default one.
18. Active Hour Updates
Windows 10 has come up with this amazing feature which lets you choose the
time when you don’t want updates to be installed. It’s referred to as
Active Hours and that’s enabled with the proper timings. Get ready to bid
goodbye to untimely updates.
Windows 10 active hours
To set the active hours, head over to Settings > Update and security and
click on active hours.
19. Block Notifications
Windows PC almost never stops from enlightening you on every single thing,
whether it’s a Java update that’s available or a new notification. And like
me, if you are annoyed with this feature, there’s an easy way to turn it
Windows 10 Notifications
All you need to do is head over to Settings > System and Notifications and
actions and turn it off.
By Jim Morgan
First of all, I’d like to thank Karen, aka, Madam Editor, for helping out
with last time’s column. It was a good idea and I’m appreciative of her
thinking of it.
What I’d like to do is to expand just a little on what she wrote. In
addition to sorting one’s Favorites in Internet Explorer, there is an
additional way to group one’s Bookmarks.
What I’m talking about is using folders. This is really no different than
using them anywhere else to group like items. For example, you can group
together a particular Author’s books, in order to make it a little less
than looking at a long list and choosing what you want.
It’s a very simple procedure to add a folder. You simply choose Add Folder
from the Favorites menu and then type in the name. After that, you can use
Organize Favorites, from the same Favorites menu, to cut and paste
Bookmarks into the appropriate place. Although Internet Explorer uses the
term, and menu choice, Favorites, the Correct term, which Firefox uses, by
the way, is BookMarks. I’m not sure why they’re called that but the term is
Perhaps Microsoft just didn’t want to step on any Copyright toes or get sued
again, like Apple tried to do back in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s or,
maybe, they thought it would make things easier for users; I don’t know. In
case, they really are correctly termed Bookmarks.
I would recommend, when you’re finished, to sort the entries as Karen
described last time so that things will be in the right order instead of
the order in which they were entered.
After you’re done with this, when you access The Favorites Menu, just choose
the folder in question and it will show a sub-menu of the Bookmarks in it.
I would, however, suggest that you use folders when you have 2 or more
items of like type. For example, I have a folder set up for Amazon that has
the main Amazon site, the Screen Reader version, and Amazon Smile in it.
Because you can get to a folder or Bookmark by hitting the first letter, I
the letter A and then using the arrow keys select the one I want.
It’s up to you how you group things together. I would recommend trying to be
as unique as possible when choosing folder names so that it doesn’t get
Just for thoroughness’ sake, there is one other way to add folders, edit
Bookmarks, and place already set up Bookmarks in folders. You can use the
Windows Explorer. Under the Folder Documents and Settings, there is a
that has all the defaults you use in Windows. This folder may be “All
Users”, “Default User”, or whatever name you log in with when starting
Windows. On my computer, it’s my first name. One thing I’ve noticed is that
enter the Windows Explorer it goes to the Start menu folder and I then just
have to Up-Arrow a few times to get to the correct folder. Under the folder
where your defaults are, is a folder called “Favorites”. In this folder are
your Bookmarks and any folders you’ve set up. Just as with any other files,
you can rename, cut and paste, edit and delete, etc. I find this easier to
do if I’m moving a bunch of files around or renaming some things.
As with everything else, it’s up to you which way to go about it; there’s no
one right way. However, I would recommend, as I did above, that you do a
Sort when you’re done so that things will be where you expect them to be.
Anyway, my thanks again to Karen and I hope you found this “expansion”
helpful. Should you have further questions about this or general questions,
please feel free to E-mail me at my address above. I will always reply to a
message, even if it’s to say that I don’t know the answer. Happy Computing!