Windows 10 Windows 10 Hints and Tips

Blackwidow

TK Veteran
Set up GodMode

The awesomely named GodMode brings up a special menu that puts lots of settings together in one place. To enable it, create a new folder anywhere on your root drive and rename it GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}. It will create a special icon that when you click on it shows you a beautiful advanced control panel.


Task view and virtual desktops

One of the best things about Windows 10 is how it handles virtual desktops. The fact that it finally handles them at all, out of the box, is a great step, since Mac OS X and Linux users have had that capability for a long time. It lets you set up a series of tasks and windows on your desktop, your email and Twitter window on another, and a third for general Web browsing and research. To get started, click the Task View icon on the taskbar (immediately to the right of the Search box), or hold down the Windows key (abbreviated throughout as Win) and Tab. You can also drag an app to a new virtual desktop by bringing it over to the +New Desktop option at the lower right.


Configure privacy settings

When you’re first setting up Windows 10, make sure to select a Custom install so you can modify the privacy settings, instead of going with the Express install. (If you already installed it, no worries; you can fix it all in Settings). Otherwise you’ll find yourself agreeing to all sorts of private data sharing — and while Windows 10 is free for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, it’s not a free product in and of itself — so there’s no reason to share your personal information when it’s not required.


Make the desktop more stylish

Windows 10 lets you personalize your desktop more thoroughly than before. Head to Start > Settings > Personalization > Colors, and choose Show color on taskbar and Start Menu. You can also tell it to automatically pick a color from your wallpaper and apply it underneath icons of open apps, and you can remove the Start Menu’s translucent option.


Print to PDF

You can finally print a document (or rather, save it) as PDF without using a third-party utility. This makes it much easier to save and distribute documents that aren’t easily modified. Another long overdue feature makes it in under the radar.

Customize the Start Menu

The new Start Menu is such a huge improvement over what came with Windows 8.1 that it’s almost impossible to describe the relief. It combines the best elements of Windows 7 and Windows 8. And it’s also fully customizable. You can resize tiles in the Start menu by right-clicking them and choosing Resize, and then selecting a size from the pop-up menu. You can also unpin them or uninstall them completely. I admit the first thing I did is unpin all of Microsoft’s tiles and then shrink the size of the menu so it looks a lot like Windows 7 (pictured).
For a while, during some of the Windows 10 Technical Preview builds, you could pin the Recycle Bin to the taskbar, which makes it a bit more like OS X. Unfortunately, that functionality seems to be gone in the release version, though you can still pin it to the Start Menu as a tile.

Command prompt tweaks

A lot of Windows 10 utilities underneath the service still look the same as they did in Windows 7 and Windows 8. But one of the hidden tweaks is in the Command Prompt — head over to Properties and you’ll suddenly find you can enable a host of customizations, including a transparent background, resizing the window, and word wrap.

Battery saver

If you’re on a laptop and your battery is running low, Windows 10 is smart enough to begin throttling back background services and other threads so that you can squeeze the last bit of battery life out of your machine. To enable Battery Saver, click the Start menu, and head to Settings | System | Battery Saver.

Background scrolling

Ever notice how when you hover your mouse cursor over a window and try and scroll, you still can’t, because the window wasn’t active? Turn this feature on in Settings | Devices | Mouse and Touchpad and you’ll be able to do just that.

Keyboard shortcuts

Here are some keyboard shortcuts you may want to be aware of — ones that will really help your daily workflow:

  • Windows Key-Tab (Task View)
  • Windows Key-Right-Up (Moves app to top right quadrant)
  • Windows Key-Ctrl-Left or Right (virtual desktop)
  • Windows Key-Ctrl-D (new virtual desktop)
  • Windows Key-Ctrl-C (Cortana listening)
  • Windows Key-S (Daily Glance for weather, news, sports)
  • Windows Key-Ctrl-F4 (closes virtual desktop)
  • Windows Key-Up and Down (snap apps to top or bottom of screen or maximizes)
 
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