[Windows 10 Tip #8] - Bag of Tricks

Category: Windows-10

Windows 10 is 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. 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.

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

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 and deletes temporary files automatically. To enable this handy feature, open Settings, then click on System, then click on Storage. Click the “Change how we free up space” link. Enable either or both of the cleanup options.

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 tools to tweak or tune your hard drive? See my article [TUNEUP] Free Hard Drive Tools for some excellent (and free) third-party tools to help you manage your hard drive.

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.

With the Creators Update released in April, 2017, Windows 10 finally has 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 "[Windows 10 Tip #8] - Bag of Tricks"

Posted by:

28 Jul 2017

Hi Bob. I work for a company with strict security policies, like if you walk away from your laptop, you must lock the screen. I just discovered Dynamic Lock last week, and it really helps. Now if I forget to lock it, the system does it automatically. Do do think there is a 30 second lag after going out of range, but was happy to learn of this feature.

Posted by:

28 Jul 2017

I could not find the “Change how we free up space” link when I followed your instructions for freeing up disk space. Also a search for "night" and "night light" did not yield the night light feature either. Any idea why my Windows 10 doesn't seem to have either of these options?

Posted by:

28 Jul 2017

It appears that these features are only available on the Creator's Update which most people don't have yet.

Posted by:

Dwayne Hunt
28 Jul 2017

I have the creators update and still don't know all the new functions it provides. That's on my list of to-do's. Cortana, to me, is a cute gimmick that requires too much input for the help it provides. I therefor don't use it at all now. I would like the ability to say, "turn on/off the internet and disable/enable the anti-virus", as I need the extra cpu power for Protools(without the baggage it comes with).

Charlene, if you don't have the Creators Update, you will not have many of the options that Bob mentions.

Posted by:

Dwayne Hunt
28 Jul 2017

You can get the Creators Update now if you are interested. Go to this link and How-To Geek tells you how:


Posted by:

28 Jul 2017

Regarding the comment: "Microsoft has frequently taken good ideas from the shareware world and incorporated them into Windows, much to the dismay of shareware developers."

The issue about Microsoft incorporating features into their operating system has been around since "memory managers" in DOS. More recently, consider browsers and anti-virus software.

If they do not offer a feature, people complain that "Microsoft does not even include the most basic ...".
If they offer a generic product, people complain that "Third-party ... programs are far superior to Microsoft's offering".
And if they offer a competitive product, people complain that "Microsoft is abusing its market dominance to push out third-party ... developers".

Nice that there's always a reason to complain!

In Windows I typically stay with Microsoft's offering unless there is a compelling reason to change. They are not always best of breed, but they work well and usually play well with each other.

Posted by:

28 Jul 2017

Just installed the Creators Update and now have those features. I had been holding off installing it until I pretty sure it was completely stable. Seems to work find. Takes about 2 hours to install.

Posted by:

Michael Cassidy
28 Jul 2017

Thanks for uncovering these little gems buried in Windows 10, Bob. What I would really like to see for myself and my neighbors in these remote parts of Australia is a list of all the features in Windows 10 that consumer Internet data allowance. Most of us have limited data and relatively poor Internet connections. I know about metered connections and have turned off live tiles (some came back to life with the Creators Update). But we are still bleeding data.

Any chance you can give a comprehensive list of how to minimize data consuming features of Windows 10?

Posted by:

Sarah L
29 Jul 2017

I do not understand what "lock screen" means. Does it mean the keyboard cannot change what shows on the screen? If so, then it seems crucial to know how to exit that state of affairs.

Posted by:

10 Aug 2017

When my computer comes off screensaver I randomly but frequenctly get no password box, just a blank red screen. I have t odo a hard reboot. Win10 build 1703

Posted by:

Tom Eversole
14 Aug 2017

I cannot find the “Change how we free up space” link in storage.
I cannot find any reference to Night Light when I search in windows.

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