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Windows 10 tips and tricks

|August 20 2015 |Microsoft, Windows, Software, How-to, Guide, Tips

“Read on as we explore some of the new tricks Microsoft’s latest and greatest, Windows 10 has to offer” 

Microsoft recently pushed the much-awaited upgrade to its highly popular operating system –Windows. Windows XP ruled the roost for the longest time and even the next-gen Windows Vista couldn’t displace it. But Windows 7 became an instant success and according to a credible source, still has over 60 percent of the total market share. Its successor Windows 8 saw mixed response though. But now, Microsoft has decided to rewrite its OS all over again. Windows 10 has a myriad of new features and yet it retains the simplicity and essence of the operating system we love the most (like the old Start menu). The users seem to love it, which is evident from the large number of downloads it has been receiving in just few days post its launch… not surprising considering it’s free. Let’s look at some of the cool (even hidden) features this new OS is loaded with. Here are some tips and tricks for using the last version of Microsoft’s operating system Windows 10

Virtual Desktops

Multiple desktops is a feature that has been on Linux and Mac for ages now. But as they say - “better late, than never”. Microsoft has incorporated the feature in Windows 10, calling it Virtual Desktops. This feature allows you to create multiple desktop environments and use them to open multiple applications on each. The feature makes multitasking a joy and is a boon for those who habitually clutter their taskbar with loads of apps. You can create new multiple desktops by using the shortcut Win+Ctrl+D and swipe left/right using Win+Ctrl+Left/Right.

Windows 10-virtual-desktop Windows 10-virtual-desktop-2Windows 10-virtual-desktop-3

Delayed Snipping Tool

Anyone who has ever used the Snipping Tool would know how infuriating it is when the screen cropping starts even before you can minimise the app. With the new Windows 10, you can introduce a slight delay before the cropping begins, which will give you ample time to open the required window before the snipping begins. The maximum delay supported is up to 5 seconds. You can also click screenshots using Win+Prt Scr shortcut, which will be saved within the Pictures library, inside the Screenshots folder. 

Windows 10-snipping-tool

Task View 

In previous versions, Win+Tab key was used for cycling through open application windows as an alternative to the Alt+Tab combination. Introduced as 3D Flip in Windows Vista, it opened application windows in a 3D-stacked animation. In Windows 8, this combination was restricted to only stitching between Metro and Desktop apps in a disappearing sidebar layout. But with Windows 10, Microsoft has decided to make this function more usefu, than a mere app switcher as it introduces the Task View. This mod sorts all the open windows, apps and even desktops into tiles, wherein the users can switch or kill the tiles they desire. Also, one can add more desktops and even drop open windows to these desktops from this screen.

Windows 10-task-view

Using Cortana in India

Cortana is Windows 10’s personal voice assistant and Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now. Cortana can answers questions, open various settings, set alarms, search the web and even chat with you. But, this incredible feature is available only in select countries and hence gets locked when you install Windows for India. Well, there’s an easy tweak you can apply for making it work in India. Just head to Settings and change your Region to United Kingdom and also select English (UK) as the default language. Now restart your PC and there you’ll see Cortana, ready to obey all your commands. The app can be accessed by either clicking the microphone icon on the taskbar or pressing Win+Q. You can also enable “Hey Cortana” hot-word by opening Cortana, pressing the third icon on he left row (below home) and in Settings enabling “Hey Cortana”.

Windows 10-Region-Language-Settings

Windows 10-Cortana Windows 10-Cortana-Hey

Snap multiple windows

Want to draft an email, watch a movie, surf the web and view photos – all at the same time? With Windows 10, you can. In the previous version, Microsoft simplified multi-tasking by allowing you to divide the screen between two applications and one of them had to be a Metro app. With the new upgrade, you can now divide your desktop to host up to four open windows. As Microsoft calls it, you can snap the open windows to the corners of the screen where they automatically get resized and clipped, Simply hold the windows (keep pressing left-click) and drag it to the corner of your choice. You may also use Win+Arrow Keys to arrange the window according to your preference.

Windows 10-Multi-tasking

Quick Access

We are used to see Windows Explorer when we press Win+E key combo. But in Windows 10 this shortcut opens up a “Quick access” windows where you can find the Libraries (Pictures, Documents,etc) and recent files. This looks a tad bit similar to the “All My Files” tab that pops up automatically when opening the Finder in Mac OS X. However, this feature is highly customisable as users can pin folders of their choice to this window. So if you miss the My Computer (This PC from Windows 8 onwards) simply pin it to Quick access.

Windows 10-Quick-acess

Record your Screen

This one is big for those who develop instructional content, record game scenes, create presentations or just want to do it for fun. Windows 10 comes with hidden screen recording capabilities. Designed primarily for gaming, Windows 10 features a game bar which allows one to capture both snapshots and clips from their favorite games. It’s designed for those who like to create video game walkthroughs for collection or distribution. But this feature is equally useful for recording your desktop with or without the game. Simply press Win+G to access the game bar and press the red record button. Once you choose to stop (Win+Alt+R), it will be saved within the Videos directory in the ‘Captures’ folder. You can also use Win+Alt+G shortcut to start the recorder, but you will have to first enable background recording from Game bar settings.

WIndows 10-screen-recorder

Full screen Start and Tablet mode

If you miss the full screen Start menu of the Windows 8, don’t worry, you can still get it back. Just head to Settings (Win+I) and select Personalisation. Next, select Start from the left pane and enable full screen mode. Your Start menu will now open in full screen.

Want the experience of a Windows tablet on your PC? Check out the new Tablet mode. Under this mod, the UI changes to that of a tablet, featuring a full screen Start menu. The apps will open in the full screen mode (not just maximised) giving you the look and feel of the tablet. The taskbar too becomes different in this mode. To activate, open the Action Center (first icon from the date/time in the taskbar) and select Tablet mode.

Windows 10-full-start Windows 10-full-start-2

WIndows 10-Tablet-mode2 WIndows 10-Tablet-mode

Access GodMode

A feature that has always been there, but is still not known to all.. Windows 10 too comes with GodMode. To be concise, GodMode gives one the option to combine all PC settings in one place without the need to look around for them individually. This centralised hub can be accessed by creating a new folder on the Desktop and renaming it to "GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}(no quotes). Once done, you will see a the folder change into GodMode's icon, opening which will take you to a long list of categorized settings. Though unlike previous generations, Windows now gives users access to all the settings listed in GodMode by default, the mode still remains useful. Its prime utility lies in the fact that you don't need to hop around different menus to look for individual settings, instead you can simply search for the setting in this folder itself. Do scroll around...as you are very likely to find some tweaks you never even knew existed.

Windows 10-GodMode

The Edge

Internet Explorer lost to the likes of Firefox and Chrome in terms of both performance and popularity. But now Microsoft has pushed IE off the edge as they have changed their default browser to Microsoft Edge, a swift and snappy alternative to the Internet Explorer (which is still present). But there are a couple of features under the hood which are not openly evident. For one, the Edge features a Reader mode (icon on the right within the address bar) similar to Apple’s Safari, wherein the screen is decluttered for reading by omitting flash, java and other plugins and displaying only the text, images and embedded videos. Also, for those who love black, Edge features a dark theme which makes the whole interface cooler. Thirdly, do check out the Advanced settings, from where you can enable/disable features like Flash, caret browsing, change default search provider and more.

 

Windows 10 is a very progressive operating system featuring loads of other features and functions and is available free for a limited time. For those of you who want to try it out without affecting their current Windows Installation, you may “Clean install” Windows 10 on a separate hard drive partition or on the existing partition, or on the existing one without formatting. Here you will get the choice to boot from either of the two OS versions present. For those worried about the files and data, you may simply upgrade the existing version to the latest. The old files would be saved within the Windows drive inside the “Windows.old” folder. Once you make the backup you can launch Disk Cleanup (Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Disk Cleanup) to delete the files from the previous operating system. 

windows10_install

So try it out and explore for yourself, what all does this last edition Windows has to offer.



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