14 Windows 10 Tips and Tricks

Things you might not know you can do with Windows 10

Person using computer keyboard
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Although Windows 10 has been around since 2015, there are many features that you might not know about. Here are some Windows 10 tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your OS.

Information in this article applies to all devices running the Windows 10 operating system.

Secure Your Computer With Windows Hello

Windows Hello is the biometric security system available in Windows 10. It can scan your face, iris, or fingerprint to log into Windows 10. To set up Windows Hello:

  1. Select the Windows icon, then select the gear to open your Windows Settings.

    Select the Windows icon, then select the gear to open your Windows Settings.
  2. Select Accounts.

    Select Accounts in your Windows Settings.
  3. Select Sign-in Options.

    Select Sign-in Options.
  4. Select Set Up under Windows Hello.

Not all Windows 10 computers support face and fingerprint recognition. If yours doesn't, then you cannot use Windows Hello.

Set Up will appear under Windows Hello if your computer supports it.

Access the Hidden Start Menu

If you find yourself missing the traditional Windows Start menu, right click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the screen. A menu will pop up showing common administrative tools, folders, and shutdown options.

Right click the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the screen to access the alternate start menu.

Copy and Paste With Cloud Clipboard

Windows 10 has a cloud clipboard feature that allows you to see a history of items you have copied. You can even pin items that you want to reuse or review more than once.

Press Windows Key + V to open the cloud clipboard. You can access clipped or copied text, images, and more on any computer as long as you are signed into the same Microsoft account.

Record Your Screen With the Game Bar

Although it is intended for PC gamers to record clips and screenshots of games while they play, anyone can benefit from this feature-rich tool in Windows 10. Press Windows Key + G to open the Windows 10 game bar.

Press Windows Key + G to open the Windows 10 game bar.

With the game bar open, you can use the following shortcuts:

  • Windows Key + Alt + R: Start/stop recording.
  • Windows Key + Alt + G: Record the previous 30 seconds.
  • Windows Key + Alt + PrtScn: Take a screenshot.

Enable Nearby Sharing

Nearby Sharing lets you share website links, photos, documents, and more with other nearby devices using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Once you enable Nearby Sharing, you can share anything by selecting the Share icon in Microsoft Edge. You can also share pictures directly from the Microsoft Photos app.

Both devices must be running Windows 10 version 1803 or later and have Bluetooth enabled to use Nearby Sharing.

Once you enable Nearby Sharing, you can share anything by selecting the Share icon in Microsoft Edge.

Quickly Show Your Desktop

In previous versions of Windows, the Show Desktop button was located in the lower-right corner of the screen next to the time and date. Now, there is a feature called the Action Center. The Show Desktop button is still there; it has just been significantly trimmed down. If you click the small, rectangular spot just to the right of the Action Center, you will be taken to your desktop.

Alternatively, use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + D to instantly go to your desktop.

If you click the small, rectangular spot just to the right of the Action Center, you will be taken to your desktop.

Set Up Dynamic Lock

Locking your computer when you walk away from can be an effective way to protect your privacy. There are a few ways you can lock your screen on most computers.

  • Press Windows Key + L.
  • Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete and select Lock.
  • Use the Lock feature in your screen saver.
  • Select the Window icon, select your user icon, and then select Lock.

With Windows 10, there is one more way to lock your computer. The Dynamic Lock feature lets you pair your PC with your phone via Bluetooth. When the two devices aren't close to each other, your computer screen will lock automatically. To set up Dynamic Lock in Windows 10:

  1. Open your Windows Settings and select Account.

    Select Accounts in your Windows Settings.
  2. Select Sign-in Options.

    Select Sign-in Options.
  3. Select the checkbox for Allow Windows to automatically lock your device when you're away under Dynamic Lock.

    Select the checkbox for Allow Windows to automatically lock your device when you're away under Dynamic Lock.

You must remember to carry your phone with you when you walk away for Dynamic Lock to work.

Minimize Windows With Aero Shake

Although it was actually introduced in Windows 7, Aero Shake is a little-known feature that is still available in Windows 10. To use Aero Shake, click on the title bar of a window that is not maximized. While holding down the mouse button, "shake" the mouse around. Any other open windows will be minimized. You can bring them all back up by grabbing and shaking the window once more.

Microsoft Edge Reading Mode

Even if you use Chrome, Firefox, or another web browser as your primary means of accessing the internet, you might want to check out Microsoft Edge when you are trying to read or study without distractions. Microsoft Edge Reading View will eliminate banners, ads, and navigation elements of a website, turning the content into a magazine-style format that is easier on your eyes.

Reading Mode will only work on sites that support this feature.

Split Your Screen With Snap Assist

This Windows 10 feature can help you be more productive by snapping windows to the sides or corners of your screen without any hassle. You can split your screen by snapping two, three or four windows evenly.

Windows split using Snap Assist

Add Cortana Skills

Cortana is the digital assistant built into Windows 10. Although the virtual assistant can do many things straight out of the box, you can add more Cortana skills to increase your productivity:

  1. Type Cortana notebook into the Windows search box and select Open Cortana's Notebook.

    Type Cortana notebook into the Windows search box and select Open Cortana's Notebook.
  2. Select Manage Skills.

    Select Manage Skills.
  3. Select Discover More Skills. A browser window will open with skills you can search, browse, and add.

    Select Discover More Skills.

Add Contacts to Your Taskbar With My People

The My People feature in Windows 10 allows you to add three contacts to your taskbar. You can use it to get in touch quickly via Skype or email. To begin using My People, select the People icon on the taskbar, select Get Started, and then follow the on-screen instructions.

To begin using My People, select the People icon on the taskbar, select Get Started, and then follow the on-screen instructions.

Windows Timeline

Another organizational tool available in Windows 10 is the Windows Timeline feature. Similar to the way a web browser's History option lets you view recently visited websites, Timeline tracks apps and documents you have recently opened. Select the Task View icon beside the Windows Search box to view your timeline.

Select the Task View icon beside the Windows Search box to view your timeline.

Night Light

The blue light emitted by electronic devices can prevent you from falling asleep at night. Windows 10 has a built-in Night Light feature that lets you schedule times when your computer screen switches to warmer colors instead.

  1. Open your Windows Settings and select System.

    Open your Windows Settings and select System.
  2. Select Night Light Settings under Display.

    Select Night Light Settings under Display.
  3. Choose the settings you wish to use under Schedule.

    Choose Sunset to Sunrise for the Night Light feature to automatically turn it on at night and turn it off in the morning.

    Choose Sunset to Sunrise for the Night Light feature to automatically turn it on at night and turn it off in the morning.
  4. When you're done, you can close the window and the settings will automatically take affect according to the schedule you set.