Windows 10: Become a pro with 11 simple hacks

Whether you have been using Windows 10 for years or have recently upgraded, there are many new and old tips, tricks and hidden features to find out what will make using your laptop faster and smoother every day.

Finding the Secret Start Menu and saving battery power with a simple trick are great ways to get the most out of your machine.

1. Minimize all windows except active

If your desktop screen is full of open windows, you can quickly minimize them in addition to the one you work on.

Just click on the title bar of the window you want to keep open to select it. Then hold the mouse and move the window back and forth by quickly moving it. After a few quick moves, all other open windows will be minimized, leaving only what you have chosen to be open. Nice huh;

2. Open the Secret Start menu

You know that to open the Start menu, tap the Windows icon at the bottom left of your screen. However, Windows 10 includes a lesser-known second Start Menu that makes it much easier to access important features such as Command Prompt, Control Panel, and Task Manager. You can access it in two different ways, either by pressing the key Windows + X, or right-click the Windows icon / Start Button.

3. Create an event without opening the Calendar application

The latest Windows 10 update lets you quickly add events to the Microsoft Calendar directly from your taskbar without having to open the calendar at all.

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 you want to schedule 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 select the one you want to add it to.)

4. Click Save. The event should appear in the Calendar application on all your devices.

4. Take a screenshot

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There are at least eight different ways to take a screenshot in Windows 10. If you want to capture and save an image of your entire screen, the easiest way is to press Windows + the PrSc key and the image will be saved in the Images \ Screenshots folder.

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To capture only one part of your screen, press the key Windows + Shift + S to open a tool called Snip \ Sketch The tool will let you click and drag to create a screenshot, which is saved in the Clipboard.

5. Open items in your taskbar with keyboard shortcuts

If you have pinned programs to the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, you do not need to click on the icons to open them. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows + [number key], with the number key corresponding to the program position on the taskbar. For example, the Windows + 2 key will open the second item in the taskbar.

6. Find out how much space applications take up on your disk

Computers start up slower as the available free space on your disk shrinks. A quick way to speed them up is to get rid of applications that take up more space than they should, especially if you do not use them regularly.

To see how much space an application uses, go to Settings \ System \ Storage. Click the drive you want to search for and click Applications and Games to see a list of applications installed on your machine and how much space they take up.

7. Get rid of the ads in the Start menu

If you are running Windows 10 with the default settings, you will sometimes see applications on the right side of the Start menu. Microsoft calls them "suggestions", but they are actually ads for applications in the Windows Store that you can purchase.

To get rid of ads in the Windows 10 Start menu, go to Settings \ Personalization \ Start. Change the setting called Show suggestions occasionally.

8. Quit running applications in the background

Applications running in the background can receive information, send notifications even when not in use, which can be useful, but it can also drain your battery and data if you are connecting to a mobile phone.

To check which applications are running in the background and save energy and data, go to Settings \ Privacy \ Background applications. To stop running all applications in the background, change the setting Let the applications run in the background on Deactivation. Alternatively, you can select which applications will run separately in the background from the list on the same page.

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9. Use scroll in the background

With Windows 10, you can scroll up and down in any window - even if it's not what you're working on. It is a useful tool when you have several windows open that you want to look at at the same time.

Try opening two programs, say, an Internet browser page and a Word notebook or document. Arrange both on the screen so that you can see at least one part in each. While in a window, hover over the mouse pointer or use the touchpad to move to the second window and scroll. .

The feature should be enabled by default, but if it is not, go to Settings \ Devices \ Mouse and change the setting Scroll to inactive windows when you hover over it on Active. You can then hover your mouse over a window in the background and use the scroll wheel to scroll.

10. Show file extensions in File Explorer

Microsoft hides file extensions by default, making life difficult for people who need to search for specific file types, such as JPEG and JPG. To view file extensions in File Explorer, do the following:

1. Go to search bar at the bottom of the screen and look for Options file exploration and click on it.

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

3. Remove the option that says Hide extensions for known file types. Click on Application and OK.

11. Reduce distractions with Focus assist

It is frustrating to try and get work done and your alerts are interrupted. You can determine how many alerts you want to receive with Focus assist, a tool added to Windows 10 in the April 2018 update.

Adjust it from Settings \ System \ Focus Assistance. Choose from three options: Deactivation (receive all notifications from your apps and contacts), Priority (see only selected alerts from a priority list that you customize and send the rest to your action center) and Notifications only (hide all alerts except alarms).

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