So it is safe to say that we have all taken the next step and have let go of our beloved (or in some of our cases, gotten rid of) Windows 8.1 and have welcomes the ‘new-old’ Windows 10 which promised to be the best we’ve had till now. And we haven’t been disappointed in most of its aspects. Now that all of us have taken the plunge bravely, there are a few features which are pretty new to us and we don’t really know how to go about using them.
Well, fret not. It isn’t rocket science and most of these new features are surprisingly very useful (or at least, fascinating!). Windows 10 promised to combine the best of Windows 8 – the super quick start up and good security features, along with the best of Windows 7 – familiar and easy to use – and they have done exactly that. Like any new operating system update, you can only discover new features if you spend quality with the system.
Now that we have had enough time to spend with the system, we’ve figured out Windows 10. Let us share with you a few things that will make your time on Windows 10 even more productive. Let us see a few tricks, tips and tweaks to make our Windows 10 journey a good one.
Customizing the Start Menu
The makers of Windows 10 promised that it would bring back the “old in to the new” and this does exactly that. The new start Menu is a mix of old and new with the menu coming up with the click of the start button the screen. Another welcome addition into the family is Cortana, which takes cues from Siri and helps you voice search for everything. This Start Menu pulls in the new tiled look from Windows 8, giving you access to the Live Tiles without exiting the desktop. If you don’t like how the tiles are arranged, or want to add new stuff to your Start Menu, you can customize! All you have to do is hover the mouse cursor over the tile and right click. You will see options to resize tiles to make them bigger or smaller, or you can unpin them too. If you do not like the Live Tiles, you have the choice to turn them off by ticking on ‘Turn the live tile off’ and you’re good to go!
Create Virtual Desktop
If you are familiar with the Mac OS then you will know what this is about. It’s an Apple favorite to have multiple desktops running together and it is now available in the Windows 10 version too! It is great for organizing and it is amazing how you can get all your work sorted using virtual desktops. To open a Virtual Desktop, all you have to do is press Windows Key + Tab key, and all your open windows will be displayed on your screen. And if you have A LOT going on in your first screen, you can add a second screen as well. When you open a virtual desktop, you’ll see a ‘+ New desktop’ on the bottom right corner of the screen. Go see for yourself.
Make Cortana your personal assistant
If Apple comes up with Siri, is Windows going to be left behind? Don’t think so. Cortana listens to your voice so you can quickly find what you are looking for. By default, Cortana will respond to anyone who yells ‘Hey Cortana!’ But you can set it up to respond only to you by clicking the Cortana Box, go to the Settings page and click on the ‘Respond Best To Me’ slider. Now after doing so, Cortana will ask you to repeat 6 phrases in order to familiarize herself to your voice. Don’t worry, this might take a few attempts, and you’ll have the smart Cortana all to yourself.
Super Useful Shortcuts in windows 10
Windows 10 comes with a plethora of super useful keyboard shortcuts that are bound to make your life easier. Let me introduce you to some of them.
- Screenshotting a window: You can do this by clicking Alt + prt sc
- Snapping a window: Press Windows button + Left/Right
- Switch to recent window: Do this by pressing Alt + Tab button.
- Task view: Press Windows button + Tab and the new task view opens up and stays that way.
- Create virtual desktop: Windows button + Crtl + D button should do the trick
- Switch the virtual desktop: You can do this by pressing Windows Button + Crtl + Left or Right button.
Play Xbox Games
Did you know that now you can play Xbox One games on Windows 10 PC? It is one of the nicest additions I’d say! This game streaming function lets you beam titles from your console to the PC even if it is in another room. You can simply activate it by opening the inbuilt Xbox app on your Windows 10 computer and ensure your console is on. You can connect it using Wi-Fi and click on or tap the Xbox One symbol that should appear on your laptop screen. There might be a slight delay for heavier games but for slow games, it works brilliantly and syncs seamlessly.
Cast videos to other multimedia
I bet you didn’t know you could do this! Don’t have Chromecast? No worries! One of the best things about Windows 10 is that it is constantly updating and bringing in new features one after the other. The November update for Windows 10 enabled the Edge Browser to cast media to the likes of Chromecast like Miracast or DLNA equipped devices with just a few clicks. To beam a video to your TV, you can open it in Edge and click on the three horizontal dots on the upper right hand corner of the Edge browser. Click on Cast Media from the drop down menu that appears. Soon, a black window will appear containing all the names of the nearby devices. Choose the one to your liking and it should soon begin to play.
Schedule your restarts now
This is so great. You can now actually schedule your update restarts according to your liking and when your work permits. Windows 10 allows you to schedule these restarts. To do this, all you have to do is open the Settings option under the Start menu and then go to Updates and Recovery followed by clicking on Windows Update. If you have a pending update, you will be able to see it here. This screen also allows you to schedule your reboot. All you got to do is click on ‘Select a restart time’. If you want more options, you can click on Advanced options, and ask Windows to notify you to schedule the reboot and update whenever ready.
Find the original Control Panel
The new Settings option is easy and makes a lot more sense than the stuffy old one, but if you were accustomed to the old one, you might need that one to have access to some more advanced options. It is easy to look for it even though its smartly hidden. All you need to do is click on the Start button on the screen and go to Control Panel from there. When you right click the Start Button, you’ll be able to see options there such as Computer Management and Disk Management.
Record the video of an application
No, I am not kidding. You can do this. Windows 10’s new Game DVR function is to be used to record videos of gaming moments that you want to remember, but in reality, you can record videos of any open applications or desktop soft wares. So yay!
To do this, you can press the Windows key + G. A box will soon appear asking you if you want to open the Game bar. Well, lie, and press Yes, this is a game box and other plethora of options will appear in the same bar. It is simple – all you have to do is click on Record to start recording the video. You can find the recorded videos in the Game DVR of the Xbox’s inbuilt app and also under the user folder Videos followed by Captures. This trick is especially useful if you are into making instructional videos for YouTube and the likes.
Now you can access Maps even if you don’t have access to the internet. To do this, you will first have to download an offline maps package. Click on Settings icon in Maps and then you can go on to select Download or update maps under the ‘Offline Maps’.
From now on you can select what country’s map you want to download and then start the download. Windows 10 also lets you know how large the Map file will be, before you download it.
Now save more battery with the Windows 10 battery saver mode. Windows 10 was smart enough to know that the user requires a low power mode when you need to get work done and just don’t have a charger at hand. It is also worthwhile to mention that the battery functions more efficiently in this Windows version.
To enable Battery Saver, click on the Start Menu, go to Settings, followed by System and Battery Saver.
Make your desktop stylish
Windows 10 gives you the ability and control and personalize more than ever before. You can do this by going to Start menu and going to Settings. From there head to Personalization and Colors. You can choose Show color on taskbar and Start. You can also ask it to automatically pick a color from your wallpaper and apply it. More style to you!
Print to PDF
Now you can print a document or save it as a PDF without having to install a third party application. This makes it a lot easier to save and share documents are have to be modified. This is honestly a long overdue feature which is very welcome.
Make your privacy a priority
Once you have installed Windows 10, make you have selected Custom Install so that you are able to configure and modify your privacy settings. If you go with the Express Install, you’ll be agreeing to thing you don’t want to like data sharing and personal information sharing. If you have already done the installation with the Express settings, don’t worry, you can undo it all by going to Windows followed by Settings and Privacy. Select or unselect your desired privacy settings and you should be good to go!
Go back to Windows 7 or 8.1
Well, after everything, if you decide that Windows 10 isn’t really for you and you decide that finally the older versions were better suited for you, wait for it, all hope isn’t lost. You can step back and take the reverse leap into Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. You’ll have a month to go back to the old version so you can make sure that it is what you really want. Also, keep in mind that you save all the files that are important. You can do this by uploading them on Google Drive or OneDrive or even back them up using an external hard-disk.
To go back, you can go to the Windows Menu and click on Update & Security option. Click on Recovery and you should now see an option which says Go back to Windows 7 or 8.1, depending on what was the last version you were using before you switched to Windows 10.
You will also be asked to fill out a form explaining why you are switching back and then the process will start.
This will take a brief period of time and you will soon be good to go!
I hope these tips and tricks help you get the best out of Windows 10!
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