[Windows 10 Tip #3] - Where Is Everything?

Category: Windows-10

Last week, I said I would next cover Win 10’s new browser, Edge. I don’t know what I was thinking. Less than 6% of all Web surfers use Edge, and only about 1 in 5 Windows 10 users use it. The only time a typical consumer uses Edge is immediately after installing Win 10, when he needs a browser to download his favorite browser. So for now, let’s ignore Edge and get to a more interesting subject...

Where's My Stuff in Windows 10?

Where is everything in Windows 10? For starters, the Start button is in the lower-left corner of the screen, as usual. But when you click on it, you get a totally new and baffling Start Menu. (See image below)

[See more helpful articles in my Windows 10 Tips series: Click Here.]

There are three panels to this Start Menu. On the far left side several icons are stacked above the Start button. From the bottom up, they are Power, Settings, and Current User. Click on Power to find sleep, shutdown, and restart options. (If you have an older version of Win10, you may also see a File Explorer icon in this stack.)

The options for the Current User include signing out, locking the system temporarily, and changing the user’s account settings. The Settings icon opens the Settings app where many Windows options can be configured. The categories of settings are pretty logical and intuitive, and there’s a search box for finding a particular setting or function.

Windows 10 Start Menu

The search function on the Settings page does a haphazard job of finding things. Searching for “remove” or “uninstall” will retrieve the link to “Add or remove programs.” “Device Manager” finds Device Manager. But “Computer” or “My Computer” does not find the graphical representation of your PC. You’ll have to type “this pc” into the Taskbar’s search bar instead of the Settings search box. Unfortunately, all of the settings are not in Settings.

Entering “control panel” into the taskbar’s search box finds the old familiar Control Panel, except it isn’t the one found in Windows 7. Beginning in 2008, with Windows 8, Microsoft started migrating Control Panel functions to a new app called Settings. Nearly ten years later, that transition still isn’t done, so we have a confusing situation. Some Win 10 configuration functions are in Control Panel; others are in Settings. Some functions are in both places. And some functions work differently in Control Panel than they do in Settings. Yes, it’s ridiculous.

My solution is “GodMode,” a simple Windows hack that puts all configuration functions in one place. To activate GodMode in Windows 10, create a new folder on your desktop and paste the following line of text into the folder’s name field: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} The folder icon will change to a Control Panel icon. Click on it and behold all the configuration settings of Control Panel and Settings, neatly categorized and alphabetized, with a search box. The only problem is that you can’t pin that icon to the Start Menu or the Taskbar, nor can you create a shortcut for it.

Getting Back to the Start Menu...

The center panel of the Start Menu consists of small app icons arranged alphabetically. (If you don't see the alphabetical list of apps, you may have an older version of Windows 10. If so, click the "All Apps" icon on the left side of the Start Menu.) This is not very helpful if the app you want begins with “W.” But any of these apps can be pinned to the third, large panel on the right side of the Start Menu. Just right-click on an app icon and choose “Pin to Start” to create a tile for that app in the right-hand panel.

Conversely, you can unpin a tile from the right-hand panel, something I did many times in order to declutter my Start Menu. Right-click on a tile and select “Unpin from Start.” You can also pin app icons to the Taskbar, and unpin them. This option may be hidden beneath the “More” label displayed when you right-click on an icon.

Some apps, such as the Candy Crush game, can be uninstalled. Others, like Cortana, are Windows 10 features that cannot be uninstalled or removed from the Start Menu’s alphabetical list of apps. However, they can be unpinned from the large tiles area of the Start Menu.

After some tedious right-clicking and removing of unwanted apps, your Start Menu may have just a handful of tiles that are easily identified at a glance. As you add apps to your system, you can decide whether to pin them to the Start Menu or the Taskbar, or just leave them in the alphabetical list.

Some of those tiles on the Start Menu may be “live,” meaning they display data that is updated in real time. The Weather and News apps are examples. If the motion of live tiles bothers you, right-click on a tile, select More, and then select “Turn live tile off.”

Tiles can be organized into groups on the Start Menu. To move a tile from one group to another, just drag-and-drop it to the other group. To create a new group, drag a tile away from all the others until a light-blue bar appears; that’s the new group’s name box. Drop the tile in the new group and enter the group’s name in its name box.

Finding Your Files (and Where is the Library?)

To find your files, use the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar, or open the app that created them. File Explorer was called Windows Explorer in previous versions of Windows, and it operates pretty much the same. One change, which I think is for the better, is that the Libraries option is turned off in Windows 10 File Explorer.

I never liked the Libraries concept introduced in Windows 7, because it just seemed to add confusion. So good riddance. If you want to turn Libraries back on, right click the empty space In the left pane of File Explorer, and then click the "Show Libraries" item.

With these tips, you should be able to customize your Start Menu, tweak your Taskbar, and find your programs and files. Next week, we will explore Cortana, the Windows 10 virtual assistant.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "[Windows 10 Tip #3] - Where Is Everything?"

(See all 34 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

BFB
22 Jun 2017

Bob, I use Edge all the time. Once you get use to it, it's faster and safer than IE11. I still use IE sometimes and as a 2nd browser.

Don't under estimate the number of Edge users. Our Microsoft Store employees say most of their customers are using Edge now.

Like Windows 10, once you get use to it, it's good and similar to Win 7. There is just a small learning curve.


Posted by:

Ken
22 Jun 2017

I'm on W 7


Posted by:

Dave H.
22 Jun 2017

(1) I use Edge. I find it faster than Chrome and just as user-friendly. I tried Chrome twice but both times it eventually did not play nicely with my Hotmail account.
(2) I turned off my Libraries but they're still there in File Explorer. (I agree that they just add confusion.)


Posted by:

Bob Who
22 Jun 2017

Thank you for this tip about control panel. My touch pad settings were driving me nuts by re-sizing my screen every time my hands would come in contact with it. Bye bye multi finger gestures.


Posted by:

Rod B
22 Jun 2017

I always use Edge. I gave up on Chrome a long time ago, it keeps wanting to make changes in my system. I learned long ago that I have far less problems with my computer if I just leave it alone and use it rather than trying to improve it by changing things.


Posted by:

validus1
22 Jun 2017

Edge is a cookie generator for me. When I run anti malware software I find considerably more tracking cookies in Edge and Internet Explorer folders than with Firefox or Chrome. In my experience, worst to best is Edge, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox.


Posted by:

validus1
22 Jun 2017

My most recent Win10 update changed printer settings, removed some printer drivers and went through the motions of reinstalling Office. When I brought up Word, my default layout settings were back to the defaults rather than the way I had set them. Control Panel disappeared from the menu which pops up when you right-click on the Win START button. I don't mind clicking the icon after left clicking the START button to get control panel but why did they need to change? Little annoyances, yes but, annoyances just the same.

To my previous comment. My worst to best browser list comment is related to the number of adware tracking cookies generated. I'm not commenting on other parameters, just cookies.


Posted by:

carmen
22 Jun 2017

Regarding Microsoft EDGE: I use it, but, like you said, only because it came installed on my new machine. I find that it has too many quirks and limitations (like the with Print function, for example). Whenever I have a problem that is solved by using another browser, it's always EDGE that's "causing" the issue, so I don't have confidence in it.


Posted by:

Howard Hadley
23 Jun 2017

If you want to use a really fast browser, download brave from www.brave.com. It is a stripped down version of Chrome without all the snooping and selling going on.


Posted by:

frank billeri
23 Jun 2017

I am not able to save "my favorites" in edge to install them into another computer and I am forced to install internet explorer favorites.
Is ther a solution that I missed?


Posted by:

Russ
23 Jun 2017

Curious what happens when, on a windows 10 machine, you click on "Backup and Restore (Windows 7)" in the "God Mode"?


Posted by:

Mike Nease
23 Jun 2017

Thanks for "permission" to finally quit trying to find something useful about Libraries, Lord Gates knows I've tried.


Posted by:

Therrito
23 Jun 2017

Great article, Bob!
I have been using GodMode on my Win7 PC for several years now (I may have had it on my old WinXP PC) and it's my go-to source for when I want to change any settings. I think it's great and anyone with a bit of geek in them should have it.
I shared it with my oldest Nephew (he has more geek in him than most people I know) just after I discovered it and he said it's awesome.


Posted by:

Vin Burdziuk
23 Jun 2017

Tried God Mode on my Windows 7 and it works great!
Thank You...


Posted by:

Misterfish
23 Jun 2017

Thanks for the Godmode tip - just what we needed despite what MS thinks.
When I first went over to W10 I spent ages re-arranging the start menu and getting rid of the great long list of apps (as we now have to call programmes) and had it finally to my liking - but not to Microsoft's liking as the next system update wiped it all out and reset it all. Thank you Microsoft.
I've lost track of all the Windows versions I have suffered through, and still they have not produced a version that will allow me to set my own default location for saved files. Why would I want to put my private files in a folder labelled "my documents" that every passing intruder or hacker will search for critical data?
I really must get on with the move to Linux Mint!!


Posted by:

Jim
23 Jun 2017

Until we bought a new Dell computer w/Windows 10 installed back in March, I used Windows XP for 9 yrs. on a Sony computer w/dial-up service from Aol. So using Edge browser is nice and very fast. I was using Opera and Firefox browsers w/Windows XP. And a lot of people couldn't believe I was still using XP. Anyway, I still haven't explored all the features of Edge. I have Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and free Aol using Edge mostly. I'll play with all browsers to maybe see if I delete a few. I recommend Edge, but that is based on about 4 months experience w/Windows 10...and high speed internet.


Posted by:

Rob F
24 Jun 2017

I have windows 10, think it is good. Was using Edge as the default, 2 weeks ago it went completely inactive, (don't know why and it will not even start up). Went back to google default.
Any ideas?


Posted by:

Norbert Gostischa
26 Jun 2017

For anyone using Screencast-O-Matic Pro, please note that if you invoke the GodMode folder, you will not be able to save your screenshots to your computer. It's a known bug and currently, there is no fix outside of not using the GodMode folder.


Posted by:

Mpls Carrie
02 Jul 2017

Just switched from Vista to Windows 10. Can't find lots of stuff like working offline. Also, ours came with just notepad. Sucks. I had to download Open Office.


Posted by:

Glen
11 Jul 2017

I would like to use Edge But my security cameras
need Internet Explorer for them to run.
dose any one else have that problem or know a way around it


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