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Windows 10 hacks: 11 hidden tricks to master after you upgrade


These tips and tricks for Windows 10 can save you time and effort. Sarah Tew / CNET

Whether you have been using Windows 10 for years or have recently been upgraded, there are plenty of new and old tips, tricks, and hidden features that make everyday use of your laptop faster and smoother. For example, finding the secret Start menu and saving battery power with a simple trick.

Microsoft does not generally publish the hidden features that Apple does, making it harder to know how to get the best out of the machine that you use every day.

Even learning how to upgrade to Windows 10 for free can be tricky. By the way, you want to do this, because support for Windows 7 ended in January . So regardless of which Microsoft, Dell, HP or other Windows 10 installation you have these smart tips help you stay organized and get more done. Plus, here's everything you need to know about the upcoming Windows 10 April 2020 update .

1. Minimize all windows except the active ones

If your desktop is too full with open windows, you can quickly minimize them except the ones you are currently working with.

Click on the title bar of the desired window to remain open to select it. Then hold down the mouse and move the window quickly back and forth – essentially shaking. After a few quick shakes, all other open windows will minimize, leaving only the ones you shook open. Tidy, right?

2. Open the & # 39; secret & # 39; Start menu

You know that you can access the Start menu by pressing the Windows icon in the bottom left of the screen or on your keyboard. But Windows 10 includes a lesser known second Start menu that makes access to important functions such as the Command Prompt, Control Panel, and Task Manager much easier. You can access it in two different ways, either by pressing the Windows key + X or by right-clicking the Windows icon / Start button.

3. Create an event without opening the Calendar app

With the latest update of Windows 10 you can quickly add events directly from your taskbar to your Microsoft calendar – without actually having to open the calendar. Here's how to do it:

1. On your taskbar, click the box with the time and date in the right corner.

2. Click on the date on which you want to plan an event.

3. Enter the name, time and location of the event. (If you have multiple calendars, click the down arrow next to the event name field to choose the one to which you want to add it.)

4. Click save to. The event must be displayed on your devices in your Calendar app.

4. Take a screenshot

I know, it's simple – but it's amazing how easy it is to forget how to take a screenshot on your laptop or desktop if you don't do it often.

There are at least eight different ways you can take a screenshot with Windows 10 . If you want to take and save a photo of your entire screen, the easiest way is to press the Windows key + Print Screen key and that photo will be saved in the Images> Screen Captures folder.

To capture only one part of your screen, press the Windows key + Shift + S to open a tool called Snip & Sketch, with which you can click and drag to create a screenshot that will be saved to your clipboard.

5. Opening items on your taskbar with shortcut keys

If you have attached programs & # 39; s to your taskbar at the bottom of your screen to create a shortcut, you do not have to click on the icons to open them. Use the shortcut key Windows key + [Number key] with the number key corresponding to the position of the program on the taskbar instead. For example, Windows key + 2 opens the second item on the taskbar.

This is especially useful if you type furiously and do not want to take your fingers off the keyboard. It may feel more natural to reach for the Windows key.

6. Find out how much space apps take up

Computers start working slower when they get too little space. A quick way to speed them up is to remove apps that take up more space than they should, especially if you don't use them regularly.

Navigate to to see how much space an app uses. Settings> System> Storage . Click on the drive you want to search (probably the local storage, "This PC") and click on Apps & games to see a list of apps installed on your machine and how much space they have take it. You probably won't lose your browser, but you might find that a game that you haven't played for years is a good dead weight to drop.

7. Delete ads in your Start menu

When you run Windows 10 with default settings, you sometimes see apps on the right side of your Start menu. Microsoft calls them & # 39; suggestions & # 39; but they are actually advertisements for Windows Store apps that you can purchase.

To remove the advertisements in your Windows 10 Start menu go to Settings> Personalization> Start. Set the institution named Occasional suggestions in Start to the off position.

8. Shut down apps in the background

Apps running in the background can receive information, send notifications, and stay informed even when you're not using them – which can be useful, but can also suck your battery and your data, if you connect via a mobile hotspot.

Go to Settings> Privacy> Background apps to determine which apps are running in the background and to save battery power and data. To prevent all apps from running in the background, switch Let apps run in the background to Off . Or you can choose which apps you want to run separately in the background by going to the list on the same page.

9. Scrolling in the background

With Windows 10, you can scroll up and down in any window – even if this is not the window where you are working directly. This is a useful tool when you have many windows that you want to look through at the same time, for example if you want to open new submenu options in new windows to save time by clicking forward and backward on the same page.

Try to open two programs & # 39; s, for example an internet browser page and a notepad or Word document. Place both on the screen so that you can see at least part of the text on each screen. While in one window, move your mouse or use the touchpad to move to the second window and scroll. Although you are not active in that window, it should allow you to move the page up and down.

The function must be enabled by default, but if this is not the case, go to Settings> Devices> Mouse and switch Move inactive windows when I hover over them to To . You can then place your mouse over a window in the background and use the scroll wheel to scroll.

10. Viewing file extensions in Explorer

Microsoft hides standard file extensions, which makes life difficult for people looking for specific types of files, such as JPEG & # 39; s and JPG & # 39; s. To see file extensions in File Explorer do the following:

1. Go to the search bar at the bottom of the screen and type File Explorer Options and click on it. (There are also a number of other ways to get here, but it seems to be the fastest.)

2. In the window that appears, click the Display tab.

3. Remove the checkmark from Hide extensions for known file types . Click on Apply and OK . You should now see file extensions for all files in the Explorer.

You can also use the File Explorer menu to choose to display blank disks, hidden files and folders, and more.

11. Limit distractions with Focus assist

Trying to get work done is frustrating when you are constantly interrupted by notifications. You can determine how much you get with Focus assist, a Windows 10 tool added in the April 2018 update .

Set it up by going to Settings> System> Focus . Choose from three options: Off (receive all notifications from your apps and contacts), Priority (see only selected notifications from a priority list that you customize and send the rest to your action center) and Alarms only (hide all messages except alarms).

You can also choose to turn this feature on automatically during certain hours or when you play a game.

For more tips and tricks for Windows 10 laptop, view Do not accept a slow PC, repair it yourself and 6 simple security changes that all Windows 10 users need to [19459005temaken].

Originally published earlier this year.

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