On Computing

Helpful Tips for Windows 10…

Joel Howell

Article by Joel Howell Newsletter Editorial Board


Windows 10 is here to stay and will probably only be updated hereafter. There are a number of tips and tricks to navigation that either you did not know about or perhaps have forgotten. Thanks to CNET and the Internet, here are some nuances that can help.

Minimizing all windows except the active one can have a surprising effect on performance. You can minimize a crowded internet window quickly by selecting the tab you want to remain open, hold the mouse down and move the window back and forth quickly. In no time, all other open windows will minimize, allowing you to have only the tab you’ve been shaking open.

Did you know there is a ‘secret’ start menu on the Windows 10? The traditional method is clicking the Windows icon on the bottom left of the screen. However, there are two ways to access this second start menu: either by pressing the Windows key + X or right click the Windows icon / start button.

You can also create an event in your calendar without having to open that app. Here are the steps: (1) open Taskbar, click the box with the time and date in it (this will be in the right coroner of your screen); (2) click the date of the event; (3) put the event name, time and location (tip: if you have multiple calendars, click the down arrow next to the event name field to choose the one you want to add it to.); (4) click save. Now the event will appear on your calendar app across all connected devices.

Sometimes a screenshot is the only way to capture the information needed. This might seem like something many people know about, but this is a tool so useful, it is worth mentioning. Here are the two most common / useful methods. First, if you want to take a screenshot of the entire screen, type the following: Windows key + Print Screen Key. This will allow capture of the entire screen, creating a picture and saving the picture to the screenshots folder. Second, to take a screenshot of just a portion of the screen then they should do the following: hit the Windows key + Shift + S (all at one time). This will open a tool called the Snip & Sketch, allowing you to click and drag to create a screenshot of the desired portion and not the entire screen. This will be saved to your clipboard (much like copying and pasting.

A neat trick for quicker shortcut options is to open items that are on your Taskbar using keyboard shortcuts. If a program is pinned on the Taskbar (the bar at the bottom of your screen), you don’t have to click the icons to open them. Instead, you can type the following as a shortcut: Windows key + [Number key]. (Tip: The number you hit will correspond with the position of the program on the Taskbar.)

Apps can take up a lot of space on your computer. If you are experiencing lag time, it never hurts to know how much space the apps on your computer is taking up. These are the steps to figure that out: Settings > System> Storage. Then, click on the drive you want to search (most likely “This PC”), and click Apps & games. This should list all the apps installed on your computer and show how much space they are using. You might be surprised to find some apps running in the background that you forgot to close out.

Apps can really drag your computer’s performance and battery life down. One way to help your computer’s performance is by shutting down background apps that are running while you are unaware. Good news is that you can stop these apps from running in the background and make your computer run faster in the process. First, go to Settings > Privacy > Background apps. Then, to stop all apps from running in the background, toggle Let apps run in the background to OFF. (Tip: you might want to have some apps you want to keep running in the background like location services. In that case, you can choose which apps to run in the background individually by going down the list and clicking the box).

Did you know there are ads in your Start menu? When running Windows 10 with default settings, there might be ads on the right side of your Start menu. These are termed “suggestions,” by Microsoft, but they are actually ads for Windows Store apps you can buy. Luckily, you can get rid of them easily: (1) go to Settings > Personalization > Start; (2) toggle the setting called Show suggestions occasionally in Start to the off position.

Background scrolling might seem simple, but it can save a lot of time when working on two documents simultaneously. If you find yourself having two documents open at the same time on your screen (think an internet browser and a Word document). Users can arrange both screens so that they can be read side-by-side. If you are in a Word document but need to scroll through the internet tab, all you have to do is hover the mouse or touchpad to the window and scroll. This should be a default setting, but if it’s not here are the steps to enable or disable this feature. Go to Settings > Devices > Mouse, then toggle Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them and turn it ON.

Computers can be a distraction at times. In Windows 10, you can put your computer on “do not disturb” mode for a while. Just go to Settings > System > Focus Assist. Once the menu is up, you can choose from three options: off, priority, or alarms. First, the off option allows for users to get all notifications from apps and contact off their screens. Second, the priority option allows users to only see selected notifications from a priority list you customize, the rest will be sent to your action center. Third, the “alarms only” option allows for all notifications to be hidden except for alarms.

Questions or comments? Drop me an email: jwh3@mindspring.com