Try These ‘Secret’ Windows 10 Tricks
Now that I’m sure my not-so-old PC will never run Windows 11, I've been digging deeper into Windows 10. Here are some little-known features, tips and trick that are worth sharing. Some will improve security or privacy. Others will save you time or trouble. Check out these things you should know about if you're using Windows 10…
Windows 10 - Bag of Tricks
The Recycle Bin has been part of Windows since Windows 95. You probably already know that when you delete a file or folder, it really doesn't go away. Windows stashes it in the Recycle Bin, just in case it was an "oops" or you later decide you want it back. Similarly, Windows has a cache of temporary files that accumulate while your browse the Web. This enables you to quickly return to a web page without having to re-fetch all the text and images. But both the Recycle Bin and the temp files can grow rather large over time. On a computer that's short on hard drive space, this can be a problem.
Storage Sense empties your Recycle Bin, deletes temporary files automatically, and can help you find space hogs. To learn more about Storage Sense and other hard drive cleaner-uppers, see my article Windows 10 Hard Drive Cleanup.
Dynamic Lock automatically locks your PC when a paired Bluetooth device moves out of range. To use this feature, you first need to pair your phone or another Bluetooth device that is usually on your person to the PC. Here’s how to do that:
- On your PC, go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices.
- Turn on Bluetooth with the toggle switch. Enable Bluetooth on your phone, too.
- Click on the + sign, and in the pop-up “Add a device” window select “Bluetooth.”
- Choose your phone from the list that appears.
- Prompts will appear on both your PC and phone. Accept them to pair the two devices.
Now you’re ready to enable Dynamic Lock. Open Settings, select Accounts, then click on the Sign-in Options link in the left sidebar. Scroll down the next page to Dynamic Lock and check the box next to “Allow Windows to detect when you're away and automatically lock the device.” That’s it! Unfortunately, there is no “Dynamic Unlock” feature as yet. You’ll need to manually unlock your PC when you return to it.
More Windows 10 Tips
Speech recognition with speech-to-text dictation is built into Windows 10. To start dictating, click inside a text input area in any app, and press the Windows key + H. The dictation toolbar will open and you can start talking into your computer’s microphone. To stop dictating, say “Stop dictation.”
Even Windows novices know about the Start menu, which is accessed by pressing the Windows key on the keyboard, or clicking the Windows icon at the bottom left of the screen. The Start menu shows a list of installed programs, and tiles you can click to open an app. But Windows 10 also has a "secret Start menu" that makes it easier to find things like Task Manager, Power Options, Network Connections, Disk Mangement, and Powershell. You can access it by pressing the Windows key + X.
Taking a screenshot has been part of Windows since the ENIAC computer was invented in 1943. Just press the PrtScn button and you'll capture the entire screen in the Windows clipboard. But if you want to capture just a portion of the screen, press the Windows key + Shift + S to open Snip & Sketch. You can capture a rectangle, a freeform snip, just one Window, or the whole screen, and then edit your snip.
Microsoft has frequently taken good ideas from the shareware world and incorporated them into Windows, much to the dismay of shareware developers. An example of this poaching of ideas is the “Night Light” feature in Windows 10; it’s a rip-off of the popular f.lux app.
The light from a PC’s screen can be hard on the eyes after sunset. The Night Light feature adjusts the display’s brightness and color to more soothing settings after dark, and restores daylight settings at sunrise or at a time you specify. To enable Night Light, type “night” in the Windows search box and select “Night Light” from the results. On the Display settings page, move Night Light’s slider control to “on.” Click on the “Night Light Settings” link to change how this feature behaves.
A host of automated troubleshooting tools are built into Windows 10. Type “troubleshoot” in the search box and select that word in the results to open a long page of troubleshooters for common and uncommon problems. Some of the most popular troubleshooters fix problems with Internet connections, network adapters, printer setups, and Windows Update.
With the Creators Update released back in April, 2017, Windows 10 finally got a built-in “print to PDF” option, eliminating the need for third-party PDF drivers. You can select this virtual printer from within any app that supports printing, and save the current document in PDF format.
Battery Saver mode is enabled by default in Windows 10. When your laptop battery’s power level drops to 20%, the Battery Saver kicks in to stretch the remaining power as far as possible. It dims your display. It also prevents Universal Windows Apps from running in the background and receiving push notifications. You can tinker with Battery Saver settings by typing “battery” in the search box and selecting “Battery saver” from the results.
Do you have a Windows 10 tip to share? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below…
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 5 Jul 2021
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Try These ‘Secret’ Windows 10 Tricks (Posted: 5 Jul 2021)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved