Windows 10 tips and tricks
Wednesday 02 August 2017

Windows 10 tips and tricks

Windows 10 is brimming with new and updated features for streamlining all your computing tasks. The new release combines the familiarity of Windows 7 with the functionality of Windows 8.

While you can use some features to increase your productivity intuitively, others aren't so forthcoming and require a trip down the menus and settings before they make your life easier.

We've overhauled our Windows 10 tips and tricks guide by grouping the tips into categories, so it's now even easier to find the best Windows 10 tips for your needs.

In this guide we'll take you through Windows' nooks and crannies and help you tweak your Windows installation in a variety of ways to suit your style of working.

Using the tips, you'll be able to shave some time off of tasks that need to be performed regularly and streamline your navigation around the system. We'll also share tips to help tweak the new features based on your preferences, enabling you to use your new installation productively.

Also make sure you check out our huge collection of guides on how to use Windows 10 to make sure you get the most out of the new operating system

1. Use Custom Install

When you're setting up Windows 10 on a new PC, make sure you select the Custom install option instead of the default Express install.

It's more involved but lets you modify important aspects of your installation such as the privacy settings.

2. Remove old files after installing Windows 10

If you have no intentions of reverting to the previous version of Windows, you can save disk space by getting rid of the old OS files. Head over to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > Disk Clean-up and toggle the 'Previous Windows installations' box in the list.

3. Sign out of Windows

The Power menu in the Start menu only includes options to Shutdown and Restart the computer. To sign in as another user bring up the Start menu and click on your name displayed at the top.

This brings up a menu which includes the Sign out option.

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4. New Action Center

Windows 10 includes a new Action Center that keeps track of notifications from all over the system.

Click on the text bubble icon in the system tray and the panel flows out from the right-hand side of the screen.

5. New snap keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard warriors can save time and snap windows without using the mouse. Use the Win key + Arrow key to snap to one of the four corners of the screen and double-up commands to reach the quadrants.

For example, pressing Win + Right Arrow, then Win +Up Arrow places the current window in the top-right corner.

6. Make Windows touch-friendly

If your computer has a touch screen you can manually enable Windows 10's touch-friendly Continuum interface to operate Windows in a tablet mode.

Head to Start > Settings > System > Tablet Mode to manually alter its behaviour.

7. Customise Privacy settings

To take charge of general and app-specific privacy options head over to Start > Settings > Privacy. From here you can also individually define which apps can access the connected hardware like cameras and microphones.

8. Customise Battery Saver

The Windows 10 Battery Saver clamps down on background activities in order to maximise your system's battery.

You can enable it from under Start > Settings > System > Battery Saver. It comes online automatically when the charge drops below 20%.

9. Unlock PC with a fingerprint

Windows 10 includes a suite of new biometric security features known as Windows Hello. If you have the required hardware then you can use fingerprint detection or face recognition to log in.

Head to Start > Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options to explore the various available options.

10. Monitor with Task Manager

Windows 10 also includes an improved Task Manager with a better layout and easily digestible information and useful graphs.

Familiarise yourself with the Task Manager to monitor the resources of your PC and to terminate unresponsive processes.

11. Arrange windows

In addition to snap, you can arrange windows in other ways as well. Right-click on the taskbar to reveal three window arrangement schemes: namely, Cascade Windows, Show windows stacked, and Show windows side by side.

12. Scroll inactive windows

If you often work with multiple open windows at the same time, Windows 10 lets you save time and effort by allowing you to scroll through inactive windows in the background when you hover over them.

13. Snap windows to corner

Windows 10 includes a Snap Assist feature which lets you snap two windows side-by-side by offering you a choice of windows to snap. Also, to snap a window to a quarter size of the monitor, just drag the window to a corner.

14. Peek at the desktop

Right-click on the thin button at the far right end of the taskbar and choose 'Peek at desktop'. Now when you roll the pointer over it, it'll show you a quick preview of the desktop and revert back when you move away.

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15. View apps from across desktops

By default the taskbar displays windows and apps from the current desktop. To change this behaviour, head to Start > Settings > System > Multi-tasking > Virtual Desktops and select the 'All desktops' option from the pull-down menu.

16.  Move Windows between Virtual Desktops

To move windows, bring up the Task View and drag an open window from the current desktop straight into the desktop you want to move it into. Or drag a window to the 'new desktop' button in order to create a new virtual desktop for the window.

17. Shake to minimise

To declutter your screen you can quickly minimise all open windows except the one you're viewing currently. Just click, hold and shake its title bar. Repeat the action to restore all minimised windows.

18. Colourise Start

The default colour of the Start Menu doesn't please all eyes especially after several hours of use. To pick your own colour, head to Start > Settings > Personalisation > Colours and disable the 'Automatically pick an accent colour from my background' option and pick an accent colour from a palette.

19. Swipe menu

All your apps run full-screen when you're using Windows in the Tablet mode. To bring up the menu and access any commands and the window control, simply swipe in from the top.

20. Save apps to external drives

If you use an SSD as your system drive you can ask Windows 10 to install apps on another disk by heading to Start > Settings > System > Storage and pointing to it under the 'New apps will save to' option.