Windows 10 Tips - 29 Ways to master Windows 10

by Robert Best on July 12, 2019
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Windows 10 Tips

Windows 10 is jammed packed full of helpful features. There are features to help you be more productive. Features to help you work on the move. Features that are just fun.

How many of them do you actually know about though?

We've put together 29 of the most useful Windows 10 tips to help you become a Windows 10 master.

Use Cortana

Virtual assistants are all the rage nowadays. Cortana is the widely popular Windows 10 version. It works just like Siri, and Google Assistant, by providing you with information by way of a voice search.

Cortana can also be used in Microsoft Edge. That option can is found in the advanced settings of Edge. Don't want to use Cortana? No, problem it is easy to turn off.

Make Cortana even smarter

Cortana can understand 'natural language' so you don't need to stick to simple commands. You can ask Cortana to 'find photos from May', and the assistant will search through your files and find all photos from May. Handy.

Have Cortana send an email

In the world of hands-free, this almost seems like a standard feature, but it is, in fact, another Windows 10 tip. Try it out right now, say 'Send an email to Jim' and then follow it with a message. If you know a Jim (don't worry it works with all names!), Cortana will search through your contacts and compose the email you've just spoken.

You get the choice to review the email before sending, just in case Cortana has struggled with your pronunciation.

Fun and games with Cortana

Well, fun if you think Rock Paper and Scissors is still fun :). Cortana has a few hidden games that you can play to kill a little time. Say to Cortana 'Roll the Die' or 'Flip the Coin' and you launch a gaming experience.

Change your Windows 10 start menu

windows 10 start menu

The Windows 10 Start Menu was a significant departure from previous menus. The new start menu really stands out. It is made up of a tile on the left side where Apps and Setting live. On the right is another tile where you can pin the apps you use the most.

Windows 10 lets you play around with the menu layout. You can pick and choose which Apps you have in the tiles and also resize each tab. Want to personalise the start menu further? The next tip is for you.

Personalise Start Menu and Taskbar

Want to add a splash of colour to your windows experience? Well, you can change the colours of your Start Menu and your Taskbar.

Go to Windows 10 Start Menu and enter Settings > Personalisation. Navigate to Colours, and you can select the colour you'd like.

Change Default Program

Ever get that annoying thing where the default app you selected gets changed to something for seemingly no reason at all? Rolling back that setting is straightforward.

Go to Settings > System > Default Apps. In the panel, you can choose the default app for each category. Next.

Choose which folders appear on Start

Customise your start menu further by choosing which folders show on your start menu. In settings go to Personalisation > Start and click on 'choose which folders appear on Start'. From here you can customise your folder list.

Resize your Start Menu

To help make room for the customisations you've just done you can resize the Start Menu, so it all fits. Move your mouse to the top border or the right corner of the Start Menu, the pointer will change into arrows, and you can then increase the size.

Improve the Wall Paper quality

If you are anything like me, you will painstakingly select the 'perfect' desktop background. It could be a loved one, a favourite picture, a beautiful scene or anything else that you want to see time and time again.

However, when you select that background image, Windows reduces the image quality to 85 per cent of the original quality. For those 100 percenters out there you can change that setting.

Press Win + R and to bring up the run box. Type 'regedit' and press okay. Navigate to the following key: 'HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop. Then right right-click and create a new 32-bit DWORD parameter. Then name it JPEGImportQuality. Set the value data to 100 and click OK and exit. When you restart your computer, the background will be 100% quality. Can you see the difference? :)

The show desktop button

windows 10 show desktop

Hidden away in the bottom-right hand corner of the desktop toolbar is a button. See it? It's beyond the date and time, all the way to the right. There is a small snippet of a button. Click it, and it'll bring up your desktop.

Rotate your screen

If you have a vertical monitor (or you have plenty of time on your hands), this is a great tip. Press Ctrl + Alt + D and any arrow button, and you can rotate your screen in that direction. It can flip 90 degrees left and right, and yes, even upside down.

Great if you use multiple displays or you are the office prankster.

Personalise tiles

Right-click on a title and you bring up a pop-up menu. From here you have various options like un-pin from the Start Menu or resize the window.

Switch between Virtual Desktops

There is multi-tasking, and then there is real multi-tasking. Windows 10 offers virtual desktops for the first time. Here is how to get started.

Click on the Task View, the icon on the right of the Windows menu. This separates all your open windows and apps into icons. Drag any of them to 'New Desktop', and that creates a new virtual desktop.

Virtual desktops are great for splitting up work and personal apps. To toggle between your virtual desktops use Win + Ctrl + right or left arrow. To remove a virtual desktop, go back into task view and delete the virtual desktop. This won't close any open tabs in that desktop either.

Find zen with Focus Assist

You might know Focus Assist by its former name, Quiet Hours. Focus Assist gives you more control over your notifications. In settings got to 'System' and 'Focus Assist' and you can customise notifications for your contacts, your apps and your alarms.

Share files and documents

windows 10 share files option

Jealous of Apple's AirDrop but don't want to admit it? That's okay you don't need to fork out for a MacBook, Windows 10 now has you covered. Click on the Share icon at the top of a file to open the sharing panel. Then click on Nearby Sharing to see any recipients in range.

Speak more, type less

Microsoft has always been active with speech recognition, but Windows 10 has taken it to a new level. Go to settings and select Time & Language > Speech > Related Settings and click on 'Speech, inking and typing privacy settings'. Here you can enable speech services.

Use Win + H in any text field to bring up a Cortana box. This box records your voice using the microphone of your computer and dictates your words into the text field. It can't do punctuation yet, but it still acts as a massive time saver.

Record your apps

Use Win + G, and you can bring up the Windows 10 Game Bar. From here you can switch your computer into gaming mode. You can also set up the Game Bar to be able to record your screen. This is a handy feature that can be used for a multitude of ideas, such as training or producing how-to videos.

Snipping tool

Say goodbye to the print screen, screen grab method. Windows 10 has a rather smart tool for screen grabbing called Snipping Tool. Open it using the Start button and search for 'Snipping Tool'.

Now you can snip away at your heart's content. The tool lets you select the part of the screen you want to capture, and you can also edit the image once it has been grabbed.

Find the apps and files using all your storage

Click on the Start button and search for storage. Use the drive you want to check and click on it. An overview shows you your used space. Windows 10 also gives you 'Storage Sense' which will automatically free up storage space. Search for 'Storage Space' and make sure the toggle is set to on. Here you can set up how Windows frees up storage space on your device.

Sticky notes

Quick check, how many sticky notes do you have on your screen? I've got 4 at the moment. However, I can now get rid of them because Windows 10 has Stick Notes. This is a great way to remind yourself without the risk of losing the precious piece of paper you wrote that note down on.

See your clipboard history

A more recent Windows 10 update now means you can now see what you've copied and so much more. You can now also pin frequently used items as well as sync your clipboard across multiple devices.

To get started got to PC Settings > System > Clipboard history > and ensure the toggle is set to on.

Instant emoji access

windows 10 emojis

You might have noticed a few emojis have sneaked their way into this article. Well, that is thanks to another Windows 10 tip. I will tell you how you can open the emoji menu, but you have to promise you will use them sparingly.

Just hit Win + full stop and off you go and emote.

Use your phone to auto-lock your computer

Struggling to remember to lock your screen. In the days of GDPR, it's a big deal now and forgetting to lock your computer can mean real trouble. Luckily this Windows 10 tip has you covered. Dynamic Lock can be paired with your phone so when it moves out of range, your PC will auto-lock.

Search for Dynamic lock to turn on this setting.

Customise battery saver

For portable devices, Windows 10 Battery Saver is a handy tool. It manages background activities in a way that maximises your system's battery. It's a great way to get every drop out of your battery when you are working on the move.

Go to Settings > System > Battery Saver. As a default, it comes on automatically at with 20 per cent left.

See inactive windows

For those of you who work with multiple windows open at a time (you know who you are!), you can quickly scroll through any inactive windows. To scroll through inactive windows when you hover over them.

Sync folders with OneDrive

You should be backing up your data. There are many reasons for you to do this and Windows 10 can make it easy for you as well. You can select folders to auto sync into OneDrive.

Right click on the OneDrive icon in the notifications and select Settings. In 'Choose folders' tab click the button to select the cloud folders you want to make available locally. You can also select folders to back up in OneDrive automatically.

Have keyboard shortcuts for any app

For faster access to any of your apps, you can launch them by using keyboard shortcuts. Right-click on the app's icon and then select Properties > Shortcut. In the box labelled 'Shortcut Key' enter whichever key you want to open the app with.

Maximum CPU power

Sometimes you just need more power. Windows 10 can make sure you are using the maximum power of your processor. Go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound and select Power options.

From here click Change Advanced Power settings > Processor power management > Minimum processor state and you can change it to 100 per cent.

What's your favourite Windows 10 tip?

That is 29 of the best Windows 10 tips, but there are so many features we will have missed a few. Let us know in the comments section what your favourite Windows 10 tip.

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