Try These Windows 10 Tips and Tricks

Category: Windows-10

The latest versions of Windows 10 are chock-full of handy new features that are worth exploring. Some will improve security or privacy. Others will save you time or trouble. Here are few tips and tricks you should know about if you're using Windows 10...

Windows 10: Did You Know...?

The Recycle Bin has been part of Windows since Windows 95. So 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 is a Windows 10 feature that empties your Recycle Bin and deletes temporary files automatically. To enable this handy feature, open Settings, then click on System, then click on Storage. Click the "Configure Storage Sense" link to enable the automatic cleanup options of your choosing.

Storage Sense will also show a report of how files are distributed across your hard drive. This can help you to quickly see which folders are using the most space, and identify possibilities for deleting large or unwanted files.

Windows 10 Hard Drive - Storage Sense

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.

Looking for more Windows 10 tips? See my article FIFTEEN Windows 10 Features You Didn't Know About to get the scoop on some new and useful features in Windows 10. I'll bet some of them are new to you!

More Windows 10 Tips

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.

In case you missed it, the April 2017 Creators Update (finally) included 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 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...

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Most recent comments on "Try These Windows 10 Tips and Tricks"

Posted by:

27 Aug 2019

Hi Bob,

Useful article as always.

The new Win 10 feature I'm using almost every day is the screen snipping tool: Windows key + Shift + S allows you to paint a rectangle on the screen with the mouse. The content of the selected area then gets copied to the Clipboard for pasting into another app such as an email message.

Posted by:

27 Aug 2019

Thanks Chris! A lot fewer steps than using the old snipping tool.

Posted by:

27 Aug 2019

Two* features in the April 2019 update that I love, both in Settings, Ease of Access: Under Cursor & Pointer, make the pointer any size and color that you want! Mine is Orange and somewhere between huge and gigantic. (And that's only about 1/4 of the way to the largest possible.)

The other one is under Display, "Automatically hide scroll bars in Windows" which is, by default *on*. Turn it off to see the d* scroll bar instead of the one-pixel wide something-or-the-other.

And, of course, for those with nice high-definition displays but small screens, "Make Everything Bigger" also under Display. On my little 10" 2-in-1, 150% brings it up to the barely readable range.

*There are 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.

Posted by:

27 Aug 2019

Why does Microsoft give us tons of garbage we don't need and yet it takes away our email program so we can't even have an email list. That's why I'm still using XP, and all I really care about is how to keep it going. Who cares about all this other junk? Who needs it? I just want my XP, and Outlook Express to keep working. I don't need to learn another program that doesn't even do what I want it to do anyway.

Posted by:

27 Aug 2019

You are just scratching the surface: Aren't you, Mr. Rankin? I bet you could write a few chapters on new-ish Win10 features to supplement this great 'TMI' article. Thank you!
But... please don't forget to wish the ControlPanel (CP) an R.I.P.; as many of the CP features we've grown to accept are now being rolled over to the CP-superseding "Settings" section. My favorite keyboard shortcut in Win10 has become Win+X to fetch CP, TaskManager, PowerShell and other hardware and system settings.

I am thinking that your reference to the Dynamic Bluetooth lock feature just is not going to fare well, even before everyone wishes farewell to older WinOS, such as the WinXP of yore...

Posted by:

27 Aug 2019

Great info thanks for another really needed info post

Posted by:

Jay R
28 Aug 2019

ChrisR- I often thank Bob, but I am not sure that I have thanked a responder. That's magical, dude! Thank you!! And, Bob, thank you for this letter so ChrisR could post such a great tip. And thank you, bb, I'm about to personalize my pointer.

Posted by:

29 Aug 2019

For thsoe who didn't know, the "Windows+Shift-S" shortcut had also been shared by Bob Rankin over two months ago in the article linked in the sidebox.

In any case, grateful for including it here, so that people who were unaware can make use of it too.

Posted by:

29 Aug 2019

There are some nice new features of Win10 1903, but there are also some annoying things--

1) 'ThisPC' is broken. It appears to no longer be possible to have a desktop shortcut to it, and shortcuts to folders and drives shown within it point to them by other routes. This makes it impossible to just have a desktop shortcut which shows my various 'Documents', 'Photos', 'Music' along with 'Downloads'and labelled drives.

(Using 'Libraries' is not a substitute for this since it doesn't show Downloads or the drives.)

2) 'Documents' has been just plain broken for a decade-- instead being a place just for the files a user actually generates in the course of using programs (Office documents, for instance); the programs insist on storing their own configuration files-- files that the user rarely or never directly needs to directly deal with-- there, so it takes setting up manually a subfolder for one's own docs, and one whole extra layer of drilling down through the file dtructure to get at them. MS made special places for all the file types they considered important-- photos, music, videos, 3D stuff (having areas in the file structure configured to sho thumbnails and specializes info for them but they dropped the ball with the 'quotidian' productivity files-- sticking them in with all that other clutter. Perhaps they were wooing Apples 'The Rest of Us'?

3) Why does MS insist on adding the little shortcut arrows back to desktop shortcuts every freakin' time they force a 'feature update' on us? On my desktop, at least, there are precisely two icons that aren't (or at least are not shortcuts handled in the ordinary way)-- the root of a file structure which holds 'overflow' application shortcuts and ones for utility software, and the Recycle Bin. Those little arrows and the "-Shortcut" suffixes on the labels tell me nothing useful, but the suits at MS sure seem to love the heck out of them.

4) Window-docking is slightly broken if one has one's toolbar at either side of the screen-- the windows overflow the top, bottom and outer sides of the desktop (exclusive of the toolbar) by a few pixels. The only place the window border is actually visible is on the sides where they meet in the middle.

Posted by:

29 Aug 2019

Oops, I forgot one.

5) Why do internal drives no longer show up outside of 'This PC' (Just above'Network')? Only external ones are shown there any more. Either bring the internal drives back to that location or have all lettered drives show only within 'This PC'.

Posted by:

07 Sep 2019

Rocketride - Are you referring to Item 5 not showing up on your Desktop? If so, Go to "This PC" Double click on the drive such as "DVD RW Drive (D:) You will see various Items listed, including Create Shortcut. There you will see another panel "Can't create shortcut here. Do you want the shortcut to be placed on the desktop instead? Click the "Yes" Box. Now you should see the Drive on the desktop and place it underneath "This PC."

Posted by:

06 Nov 2019

This was a great help to me. I do not like for my HD to get over loaded.

Posted by:

12 Nov 2019

Here is another tip for those who like to use the screen snip feature but do not want to press 3 keys (Windows key + Shift + S) or Notification area to do so. Go to Settings and type "Screen Snip" in the search box (without the quotation marks). On the screen that is displayed, scroll down until you see "Print Screen shortcut." Turn on the ability to use the Print Screen (or PrtScn) button to activate screen snipping. Now you just have to press one button (you may have to reboot to activate the feature -- I did not).

Posted by:

12 Nov 2019

Another fabulous article, Bob; thank you! And thank you as well to commenters sharing their discoveries. I can now see my brightly colored cursor and the scroll bars (thanks, bb!). And thanks to Bobsie, I've set "Print Screen" as my Screen Snip shortcut.

Posted by:

E. Gilles Lalancette
30 Dec 2019

Hi Bob,
Could not get Night Light. When I typed «night» in the Search box all I got is a Word document that opened up ?

Posted by:

31 Dec 2019

@E. Gilles Lalancette:

For the night light go to Settings > System and it's right there under Display.

Posted by:

E. Gilles Lalancette
31 Dec 2019

Thanks William. Exact and precise info.

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