Hidden secrets. While Windows 10 does a splendid job of laying out all its bells and whistles out in the open, there are some really powerful tips and tricks that are buried away beneath its various panes and panels.
Microsoft continues to regularly update its OS, twice a year, with new versions that add and subtract the feature set. One can spend a considerable amount of time trying to master Windows. But the fact remains that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Many of the best tips and tricks that were unearthed in the days of Windows XP and Windows 7 are still relevant now.
Delve deep into some of the most useful hidden recesses of Microsoft’s newest operating system, and discover the range of powerful new features that help you improve the way you use Windows 10.
These are tips that will save your time, help you be more productive, or even transform the way you use your PC. There’s something for everyone here!
#1 - Evoke GodMode
The so-called GodMode has been the worst kept secret of the Windows operating system for many a year. It is a handy way to get access to every Control Panel option in the operating system, putting each Control Panel applet in a convenient list.
Simply go to your desktop and create a new folder with the text above. Any name can be used here, by the way, and the Windows Master Control Panel shortcut will be instantly created that you can then open. Save this in a convenient location, or add it to your Quick Link menu, if you want.
#2 - Snap App Windows
Microsoft has included a very useful little trick called Snap Assist that makes it easy to snap multiple windows in place. Drag your first window to the edge or corner of the screen to snap your first window, and all other windows will instantly appear as they do in Task View. You can now drag these to wherever you please, easily bring them into focus, or even quickly close them.
#3 - Background Scrolling
Background scrolling is something that power users are sure to appreciate. This feature enables you to scroll any program window using your mouse or trackpad. The window doesn’t even have to be in focus for this. You’ll have to toggle the Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them switch over at Settings > Devices > Mouse and Touchpad, first though.
#4 - Reduce Eye Strain
The Creators Update introduced one of the more useful features to the platform, one that changes the color temperature of your screen at night time. This feature has been proven to help you avoid eye strain, and sleep better. Switch it on by going to Settings > System > Display, and then tap Night light settings to activate it and set up the hours based on your location and time of the year.
#5 - Fix Search
If Windows Search is not accurately finding files that you know are there, then it may be time to rebuild its index. You can do that by clicking Start, typing Index, and then clicking Indexing Options. It will open up the Control Panel entry, where you can go to Advanced > Rebuild and let it do its magic. Try searching again, once the index has been recreated.
#6 - Find the IP Address of your Router
There may come a time when you need to change your router settings. And to do that you probably have to enter its IP address into a web browser. But if you don’t know what that address is, exactly, then Windows can help you find it.
Open a Command Prompt window by typing cmd in Start, and then type ipconfig/all and press the Enter key. Scroll down the list that shows up, and look for the network adapter that is connected to your router. Note its Default Gateway setting, which is usually the router address.
#7 - Run as Administrator
As in, quickly running a desktop program with administrator privileges. Just hold the Shift + Ctrl keys as you open it from its shortcut.
#8 - Access a PC Toolkit
Microsoft packs access to some of the best Windows tool in a handy little toolkit that you can quickly get to by typing msconfig in Start and pressing Enter. This will launch the System Configuration program. You can now click the Tools tab, and you will find a whole list of tools like the Action Center, the Troubleshooting applet, Command Prompt, Resource Monitor, the System Restore option and more. All these options are now just a double-click away
#9 - Launch Applets Faster
You don’t need to browse Control Panel for an applet. You can launch it directly from the Start! For example, to run Device Manager, click Start and type Device in the search box, and Windows will display a Device Manager link for you.
You can also type the executable file name of the applet, such as devmgmt.msc for Device Manager, services.msc for Services, diskmgmt.msc for Disk Management, or compmgmt.msc for Computer Management.
#10 - Copy Files
To copy or move files effortlessly from one location to another. First, make sure the Ribbon is visible in File Explorer. If it is not, then hit the Ctrl + F1 keys to display this interface, or click on the little arrow in the top right corner of the window, right under the title bar.
Now, select your files or folders that you want to deal with, and click on the Move to or Copy to options up top. Either choose any of the options provided or select Choose location to set a destination, and Windows will do the deed.
#11 - Paste More Accurately
If you are pasting text from a web page into Word or Excel, and find that it’s incorrectly formatted, try pasting it into Notepad first, and then copying it from there and pasting it into your application. Still got problems? See if there is a Paste Special option in the Edit menu, and choose Unicode.
#12 - Memory Troubles
Faulty memory can cause all kinds of off computer behavior, and not only are memory problems behind odd issues, but they can also be difficult to detect, too. Luckily, Windows has a RAM checker that can help identify issues. Go to Start, type Memory, and then click on the Windows Memory Diagnostic link.
Windows will reboot your computer, run a check of your memory, and let you know if it detected any problems.
#13 - Record Video from Anywhere
Microsoft may have designed the shiny new Game DVR function in Windows 10 to record your gaming exploits, but this recorder can be used to capture video from any app. Simply open the app and press the Win + G key combination. Check the Yes; this is a game option when prompted.
#14 - Lockdown WiFi
Make sure you are not exposed to insecure wireless networks by locking down your WiFi connectivity. Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi, and check that the Connect to suggested open hotspots is disabled. It is a good idea to keep it disabled unless you connect through a virtual private network or VPN service.
#15 - Access Developer Tools
Are you feeling the power of Windows 10? You can gain access to developer friendly options for the operating system by navigating to Settings > Update & security > For developers. A range of tweaks are available here, File Explorer, for example, can now show the full directory paths in the title bar.
#16 - Remember the Name
If you fear that you may forget something important, you can ask Cortana for help. Simply speak or type the word Remember to set up a reminder from scratch. Add in details like Remember to get milk after work tomorrow and the digital assistant will set it up for you.
#17 - Quicken Up Explorer
There are few elements of Windows 10 that are more used than File Explorer. And if you spend a lot of your time using the default file management application in the OS, then here are some quick shortcuts to boost your productivity.
If you want to open the user folder quickly in file explorer, then open the Run dialog by holding down the Win key with R and pressing Enter. Here type . to open your user folder, or type .. to launch user folders.
And when you want to search for something in the File Explorer window, you can do so directly using your keyboard with the need of reaching for the mouse. Just press the F3 key, and the cursor will jump straight to the search box. You can also press F4 to browse folders that you have recently accessed, and choose them from the History list.
Finally, if you are examining an enormous list of files, and need all possible screen real estate, toggle the full-screen view by pressing F11.
#18 - Reveal All Empty Drives
Windows confusingly hide all the drives that are currently not in use, like a memory card reader that does not contain a card. If you want all your drives displayed in My PC, go to the Options button in the Ribbon above, and select Change folder and search options. Go to the View panel, and uncheck the Hide empty drives option.
#19 - Old Friends
Do you miss the old options that appeared when you right-clicked a Taskbar button? You can make them reappear by holding down the Ctrl + Shift keys as you right-click.
#20 - Keyboard Speed Up
The Taskbar is one of the most useful elements of Windows 10, but not everyone knows how to make the most of it. One of the fastest ways to navigate multiple open programs or apps is by holding down the Win + T key combination, using the left and right arrows to select an application and pressing Enter to launch it.
You can also directly select an open application by holding down the Win key, and hitting 1 to launch the first icon or program, and 2 for the second one, up to 0, which represents 10. Magic!
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