12 Windows 10 Features You Didn’t Know About


In this blog I want to do something a bit different and give windows 10 tips. Although not much to do with second life, if your computer is not working correctly your second life will not either.

Windows 10 has been on the market since July 29, 2015, and tens of millions are using it. Yet there are still many new and useful features in Windows 10 that most people don’t know about. Here are 12 of the most useful, interesting, or at least amusing ones…

Twelve Lesser-Known Features of Windows 10

(1) The “Contact Support” app is new in Windows 10. You can open a text chat session with a Microsoft “Answer Tech” if you need help. There’s also an option to supply your phone number and have a tech support person call you at a time you specify. To open the app, type Support in the search box and click on the result. (You must be signed in to a Microsoft account.)

(2) Scrolling in inactive windows: In past Windows versions, only the active (current) window could be scrolled using the mouse wheel. In Win 10, you can scroll in any open window. Just move the mouse cursor over the window, and you can scroll using the mouse wheel, without clicking inside the window first. On my Windows 7 system, scrolling in inactive windows does work. Perhaps that because I have a Logitech M510 mouse with that functionality built into the driver software. Or maybe I’m just special. But in Windows 10, all mice are equal, at least when it comes to scrolling. If you don’t have Windows 10, and you can’t scroll inactive windows, you can use WizMouse to get the same effect.

(3) File Explorer now opens with a “Quick access” view, showing a list of commonly-used and frequently-visited folders, and a list of recently opened files. You can also navigate to a folder, then select the Home tab and click “Pin to Quick access” to make that folder appear in the Quick access list.

(4) Print to PDF: a native printer driver that converts documents to PDF files has been added to Windows 10. When printing from any Windows app, select “Microsoft Print to PDF” as the printer name. Instead of committing your masterpiece to paper, it will be saved as a PDF file.

(5) The Command Prompt has been upgraded with new features in Win 10. The window can be dynamically resized, and copying and pasting to or from a Command Prompt is now much easier; the standard key combinations Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V actually work! Also, text can be made to wrap when a Command Prompt window is resized, instead of vanishing under an edge of the window. Many other Command Prompt enhancements are detailed in this Microsoft blog post.

Control and Customization

(6) Windows Update runs on auto-pilot in Windows 10, but you do have some new controls. The Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10 have an option called “Defer upgrades.” When you defer upgrades, new Windows features won’t be downloaded or installed for several months. Security updates will still be applied. From the Start button, type “windows update settings” and press Enter. Then click the “Advanced options” link to see the Windows Update settings. (This feature is not available in the Windows 10 Home Edition.) You can also schedule a required restart for a time that’s convenient for you.

(7) “Sideloading” apps: in Windows 8, Microsoft allowed only apps from its Windows Store to be installed. This move mimicked Apple, which allows only Apple Store apps on its devices. Security is the reason for this restriction, but the general population of Windows users doesn’t want to be deprived of all the good, perfectly safe apps written by third-parties. So in Win 10, you can “sideload” apps – that is, load them from a source other than the Windows Store. But you have to enable this feature. Go to Settings > Update & security > For developers. Then click the button next to “sideload apps.” A warning about dangers of sideloading will appear and you’ll be asked to confirm that you wish to enable sideloading; answer “yes” and it’s done. My advice is to turn this feature off again, after loading the desired app.

(8) Stylish Desktops: You can now customize the look of your desktop better than ever. Go to Start > Settings > Personalization > Colors. Choose “Show color on taskbar and Start Menu.” You can pick the color from a palette, or let Windows choose a color from your background photo to display under icons of open apps. You can also remove the translucent property of the Start Menu.

(9) Monitor Apps’ Disk Space Usage: Windows 10 will now tell and show you what apps are using the most disk space, a boon if you are short of free bytes and want to manage space carefully. Go to Settings > System > Storage. A list of drives connected to your computer will appear. Click on one of them to see how much space each app and its data are consuming on that drive. Note that you can also change the folders in which files of different kinds are saved.

New Features in the Fall Creators Update

(10) My People: My People is a new feature in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update that started rolling out on October 17, 2017. It lets you pin up to three contacts to the task bar at the bottom of your screen. Click one of those icons, and a Skype messaging window will open. (You can use Mail, or a different messaging app from the Windows Store if you prefer.) You can also drag and drop pictures onto a contact to quickly share them.

(11) Ransomware Protection: Another piece of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is Controlled Folder Access, which prevents ransomware from accessing your important files. This works by locking certain folders so that only authorized apps can access them. By default, Controlled Folder Access protects your Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos, Favorites and Desktop folders. You can add additional folders to protect, and specify your own trusted apps. Access the Windows Defender Security Center to tweak those settings.

(12) Emoji! We’ve gotten used to having those little icons when texting on our mobile devices, but now there’s a handy emoji keyboard built into Windows 10. When your cursor is in a text field, press WIN+. (the Windows key and the period key) to pop up a selection of smiley-faces, hearts, food, and other icons that you can paste into your messages. You’ll need the Fall Creators Update to get your emoji on.

One-Stop Shopping For Windows 10 Tweaks

(BONUS) GodMode is not an official feature, and it doesn’t actually give you super powers. But it is a useful hack put together by an overworked and underappreciated system administrator long, long ago. Yes, GodMode has been available in earlier versions of Windows, and its fans are delighted to see it still works in Windows 10. GodMode provides a unified, categorized view of all of Windows’ farflung features, commands, settings, and functions, all in one place that you can open with a single click.

Think of it as Control Panel, Unlimited. To activate GodMode, right-click on your desktop, select New > Folder to create a new empty folder on your desktop. Then copy this string of characters below to your clipboard: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} Right-click on the new folder and select “Rename.” Paste the string into the space for the folder’s name and press Enter. Now, whenever you open that folder, up will pop the monster menu of options that is GodMode. You can change “GodMode” to whatever you like; one person I know uses “DeuceMode.” Just don’t lose that period that follows the name and precedes the cryptic string of characters!

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Have a great week

Deuce Marjeta

and the Zi Staff