Windows 10 is not only ‘under the bonnet’ a big improvement compared to its predecessors, there are also many functions to make working faster and more pleasant. How much of all those smart tricks do you really use? After this article with useful tips for Windows 10 maybe a few more!
Tip 01: Snap those apps
We have known the ‘snapping’ of apps since Windows 7: by dragging a window to the left or right edge of the screen, the window is pasted there and fills half of the screen. You can easily put two apps side by side, for example, Word next to the web browser, or a spreadsheet next to your PDF reader where you have your invoice open. In Windows, 10you can also snap windows to a quarter of the screen. To place windows next to each other, you drag a window to the edge of the screen, then Windows gives you the choice of the other open programs as a choice for the adjacent window. You can also drag a screen to a corner of your screen. You can also use the keyboard: use the Windows key in combination with the arrow keys. You can also drag the dividing lines between the apps with the mouse so that you are not stuck at a ratio of 25 or 50%.
You can easily use multiple windows next to each other
Tip 02: Virtual desktops
Virtual desktops are a handy way to use multiple applications simultaneously and switch quickly between them, but still keep the overview. For example, you can use your work applications on one desktop and your games on another. On the taskbar, you see an icon with three rectangles. Click on it for the overview screen on which all active desktops can be seen. You can also press the Windows key + Tab. At the bottom, you can open new desktops by clicking on the plus sign. Apps can be dragged with the mouse to the desktop of your choice. Incidentally, it is not possible to place other shortcuts on different desktops or to set a different background image per desktop. There are external tools that can do this.
Tip 03: Your start
For many users, the desktop was actually the ‘app launcher’: the place from where your programs start. The start button was only used to shut down the computer. And that while that start menu is actually the most convenient way to find and organize your programs. In the standard configuration, the Windows button opens the menu and you see the most used apps in the upper left corner. Below that you will find an alphabetical list of everything you have installed. The real work is on the right, in the form of tiles that can be adjusted to your own taste. Here you can choose the apps ‘pin’ (right-click a shortcut, choose to start attaching). The tiles can be shown in three sizes. You can also place files in folders by dragging one tile over the other. So, you can easily group tiles from apps that belong together. The correct setting of your start menu results in a much clearer choice menu than a desktop full of icons!
Customize desktops completely
Do you find the idea of the virtual desktops useful, but do you want more possibilities? For example, placing different icons on different desktops, or setting their own background image per desktop? These kinds of best basal functions cannot be standard in Windows, but you can add them with an external application. The originally German app Dexpot is a free desktop manager that offers all these functions. The app does have some minor bugs when used in Windows 10 and is not very actively developed (the latest news item is from February 2016) but those with some minor defects can certainly try this addition. We hope that Microsoft will add these features to an updated standard.
Tip 04: Start big
One hates it, the other likes it: The Windows 10 start menu can be used in full screen. This function is especially useful for touch screens. To make your start menu work full-screen, go to the settings of Windows (Windows-key + I), choose Personal settings and then Start. Here you can also adjust more things to your own taste. In this case, choose the switch Start in full-screen mode. You can choose top left between the app list (with most used applications) or the tile overview. Walk through the rest of the options to see if the other options are set as you like.
Tip 05: No advertising
Someone at Microsoft thought it was a good idea to place surreptitious advertising in Windows 10. We do not agree with that person and find it annoying that our neatly adapted start menu continues to suggest that we have to install Candy Crush. Whoever does not appreciate this, can happily switch off these suggestions. Go to Settings/Personal settings/Start. Disable the option for showing suggestions here. You are now relieved of these small – but oh so irritating – advertising messages between your apps.
A legacy of the Windows 8 metro system is the availability of ‘active tiles’ for the start menu. However, the question is how often you want to read the news in the small animated blocks. There is something to say that you can see at a glance whether you have new e-mails or what the weather will be today. If you want to get rid of all active tiles (that makes the start menu a lot easier), you can. In the start menu, right-click the live tile that you want to disable, click More, and then click Disable Live Tile. He changes into a regular shortcut.
Tip 06: Quick access
Quickly arrive at your frequently used folders? Use ‘quick access’. In each Explorer window, you will find a list on the left with the name Quick access, where you can add favorite locations yourself. In Windows 7 this part was called Favorites and it worked slightly differently. To add a location to Quick access, do the following by right-clicking on the folder and choosing Fast-fix access. You can also drag the folder to the menu until you see Add to quick access. Release the folder and there is now a shortcut in the menu. This makes it easy to access your favorite locations from any Explorer window.
Windows also help a hand and automatically adds frequently used folders to the quick access menu. You can delete them manually by right-clicking on them and selecting Disable from Quick Access. If you want to delete the entire automatic list, you can do that too. To do this, open an explorer window, select View and then right-click Change folder and search options. In the new window, you will find the Delete Explorer History button, which you can use to delete the entire list of frequently used locations. Windows will automatically fill it again unless you disable it in the same screen under Privacy.
In order to use the personal assistant Cortana, you have to adjust your region and language
Tip 07: Cortana
Unfortunately, Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana still does not understand Dutch. That does not mean that you cannot use it. Cortana works just like Siri and is fully integrated with Windows 10. That means you can give extended searches, start applications and ask Cortana to schedule calendar appointments and reminders. For those who speak English, this is certainly an addition to the workflow. To use Cortana, you must switch Windows 10 to a region where Cortana operates. This means that you have to tell Windows via Settings/Time & Language that your region is the United States or the United Kingdom and the language English. This will change your entire Windows 10 installation in an English version and the Store will also change region! It may be that some apps are therefore not available. But Cortana is really a handy and productive assistant, so it’s definitely worth trying. If you are not satisfied with how it all works, you can simply restore the region to the Your Country. Cortana will then disappear again until Microsoft makes a Your Country version of course.
Tip 08: Quick search
Finding your files can take a while. Even if you know where they are, you often click through a number of folders before you have what you are looking for. Fortunately, Windows 10 has a very fast search function that allows you to find everything in less than a second. He is only a little hidden. Search is done by pressing the Windows button and simply typing. As you type, various search results appear, grouped by source. Very handy to quickly find files you want to get started with. And by the way also great to use to start a program very quickly (for example press Start, type Paint, and press Enter). You will also receive suggestions for applications that you can download from the Store.
Tip 09: Basic start
All those advanced features in Windows 10 are very nice, but sometimes you want to go back to basics, for example to the old start menu. Windows 10 has a very basic start menu built in by right-clicking on Start, a menu appears in which you quickly request the system properties, start a command prompt or open the explorer. Without all the bells and whistles that are included in the extensive start menu.
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