There are usually at least two ways to do anything in Windows — the easy way and the quick way. The easy way is for people who don’t want to spend time getting to know Windows inside and out, and are happy to click through the Start menu to get things done.
The quick way uses keyboard shortcuts and clever right-clicks to jump straight to certain options, but these ‘power user’ tricks are usually hard to stumble upon by accident.
As you might imagine, Windows 10 has more than its fair share of clever shortcuts. Many of the Windows 7 shortcuts still work, but here are nine new ones we find really useful.
Tip 1: Ask Cortana anything
No Windows 10 user can have overlooked Cortana, but this digital personal assistant can be used for more than just launching apps and finding files by name. You can also type a wide range of requests in the Search box and Cortana will understand what you mean. You can send an email by typing Send an email to <NAME> about <SUBJECT>, for example, or set alarms and reminders without having to open a separate app.
Tip 2: Use the hidden the Start menu
We obviously got the Start Menu back in Windows 10 and it can be customised in a wide range of ways. Left-clicking the Start button is only half the story, though. Right-click the Start button and you’ll find another list of shortcuts for the more advanced parts of Windows, which is a much quicker way to get to them.
Tip 3: Arrange windows with Aero Snap
Windows 10 will automatically resize windows when you drag them to the left, right, top, bottom and all four corners of the Desktop — we’ll let you discover what each option does. You can also resize the current window with the keyboard shortcut [Windows] and the four cursor keys, so you don’t need to take your hand off the keyboard. And if you want to hide all windows to show the Desktop, press [Windows] + [D].
Tip 4: Make your monitor much bigger
Windows 10 has built in support for virtual Desktops, which makes it much easier to manage multiple open apps — just move them to their own Desktop until you need them. Press [Windows] + [Tab] to see the default three Desktops and an overview of the apps on each — just hover the mouse pointer over a Desktop at the bottom of the screen to see what it contains.
You can drag apps from Desktop to Desktop here, too, and add more Desktops by clicking the New desktop option. Switch quickly between Desktops by pressing [Windows] + [Ctrl] + [Left/Right cursor key]
Tip 5: Use a more powerful command prompt
If you’ve ever used the Windows Command Prompt for certain advanced tasks, you’ll know what a pain it was to paste anything into it from another window. No more! The usual [Ctrl] + [V] keyboard shortcut now works. Better still, there’s a superior command prompt app called PowerShell (launch it from the Search box) that’s much more powerful — and it looks a lot nicer.
Tip 6: Record videos of apps with Game DVR
Windows 10 has a built-in app for taking screenshots and even recording video of apps in use. It’s called Game DVR and while it’s intended for recording video of games, it works with any app — so it’s great for making tutorial videos, for example.
Launch Game DVR with the [Windows] + [G] keyboard shortcut, although you may need to start the Xbox app for this to work and be sure to tick the box for Yes, this is a game if asked. You’ll then see a toolbar for capturing video and still images, but you’ll need to read Microsoft’s help page on the app to learn how to use all of its features.
Tip 7: Print to PDF documents
If you’re in the habit of printing web pages when you want to save them, there’s a cheaper (and faster) option in Windows 10. Just start printing a page in the usual way, but choose Microsoft Print to PDF from the Printer drop-down list. This prints the page as a PDF, with all formatting preserved. The option works in any app that can print.
Tip 8: Make your laptop battery last longer
In addition to its usual power management features for laptops running on battery power, Windows 10 also has a Battery saver mode that kicks in whenever mains power is unplugged. Go to Start > Settings > System > Battery saver and you can see which apps are using the most battery power and add apps to the exclusion list, to prevent Windows 10 from limiting their activity when battery power is low.
Tip 9: Make multiple windows more manageable
If you often work with two or more windows open side by side, it’s a pain to have to click each one when you want to scroll through its contents. With Windows 10, you don’t have to. Go to Start > Settings > Devices > Mouse & touchpad and enable Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them option. Now you can simply move the mouse over a window to scroll it, without deselecting your current window — so you can even carry on typing in it.
Did we miss any of your favourite hidden features in Windows 10? Let us know in the Comments section below.