[FIFTEEN] Windows 10 Features You Didn’t Know About

Windows 10 has been here since July 2015, and hundreds 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 some of the most useful, interesting, or at least amusing ones…

Fifteen Lesser-Known Features of Windows 10

If you’ve moved on to Windows 10, you’ll want to make the most of it. Check out these new features to improve your geek-cred and productivity. Some of them require that your computer is updated with the Fall 2018 or Spring 2019 Update. If any of the items below don’t work, or don’t work as described, use Windows Update to download and install the latest updates for your computer.

(1) The Cloud Clipboard lets you have multiple items in the clipboard buffer, finally! Press Windows+V to show the content previously copied (text and images). Items in the new clipboard can be shared with other devices that are signed into the same Microsoft account. You can also “pin” frequently used content to the clipboard, so they can be re-used over and over.

(2) Improved Sticky Notes: Windows Sticky Notes is not new, but the latest update has some nice new features. Most importantly, it now keeps a list of your Sticky Notes. Previously, when you closed one, it was gone forever. You can also sync sticky notes between computers.

(3) Snipping and Clipping: Most Windows users know that pressing the PrtSc (print screen) button will capture the entire screen, and place the image in the copy/paste buffer. You might not know that you can select an area for capture with Windows+Shif-S. Drag the mouse cursor around the rectangle you want to capture and release. After using either method, the image can then be pasted into a graphics program, photo editor, or directly into a document or email.

(4) The “Get Help” 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.)

(5) 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.

(6) 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.

(7) 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.

(8) 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

(9) 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.

(10) “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.

(11) 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.

(12) 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.

Contacts, Security and Emojis

(13) 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.

(14) 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.

(15) 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!

Have a great week from all of us at ZI.

The return of Last Names a further update

One of the most eagerly-awaited changes that is in the works – indeed, has been in the works for a long time (my last significant update on the subject was over a years ago!) is that of the “return of last names”.

During the Meet the Lindens event featuring Oz Linden, the Lab’s Senior Director, Second Life Engineering and April Linden, Systems Engineering Manager, Operations for Second Life, the subject inevitably came up, with Oz and April both explaining why the process of implementing  the capability is taking so long, and addressing questions on the subject (some of which have been asked in the past as well).

The first thing to point out, although it has been stated in the past, is that this capability is not just about avatar LAST names – it includes the ability for users to continue to select their own first name – and to be able to change both that name and their last name as they wish (and according to their willingness to pay whatever fee will be applied to the service.

But why is it taking so long to implement? In March 2018, Oz indicated the Lab hoped to have the feature ready by the end of that year – and we’re already six months beyond that.

Well, the answer is – as with a lot of things within Second Life – pretty complicated, and goes to the very heart of how the platform and its systems were originally created and have been seen throughout their lifespan, as Oz explained:

[Bringing back] Last names would have been pretty easy. In fact, we still do last names; it’s just that we give everyone the same last name … The hard part is allowing you to change your name …  Every part of Second Life, absolutely everything, was built with the assumption that your name can never change. And that means that lots of things that can be treated as cached, and [that] the cache never needs to be cleaned-up and updated [now have to change], and we have to go back and find that assumption everywhere in Second Life; and that’s a lot of code…

You would have thought it was based on a [avatar] key, but it wasn’t always, and the trick is that while maybe it was not maybe the best way to be doing it – to be saving names in different places – it always worked, because names could never change.

– Oz Linden describing the major issue with offering changeable avatar names

Oz and April went on to note that this work is still going on, but is taking a lot longer than have been anticipated. It is also something that is complicated as it means that all these points were the avatar’s name may be used and / or cached, now not only must have the “name never changes” assumption removed – they actually have to each be hooked up to some mechanism that can track name changes (e.g. through association with the avatar key) to make sure the correct name is always surfaced where it is seen by users.

Oz also went over some ground previously covered about the name avatar naming options, and which may well be familiar to many, but are again given here for completeness and for those who may not have followed that project closely:

  • First name selection will be free-form (pick any first name you like (within the bounds of LL’s ToS and the SL Community Standards).
  • Last names:
    • Will be selectable from a pre-set list. This list will change on some basis (TBD).
    • It may be possible for users to offer suggestions for new last names.
    • Currently, it is not planned to make  previously used last names (e.g. Pey, Sideways, Starr, Rubble, etc.) available for re-use.
  • Combinations of first name and last name must be completely unique (i.e. never used previously in Second Life).
  • The ability to change your name will likely be via a new page available through your secondlife.com account dashboard.

The event also saw a number of questions asked on last names. These are again summarized bellow and answers are supplied in the audio file (with questions relayed by Patch Linden):

  • Will incoming users be able to pick a last name when they are signing-up? – No, they probably will not. Incoming new users will continue to have “Resident” as a default last name.
    • This is because picking a last name was found to be a major blocker to users signing-up.
    • Incoming new users will, however, be able to change their name(s) like everyone else, once they are in Second Life.
  • Why is there a charge being applied to name changes? – Mainly to discourage people from frequently changing their names. These changes will have a impact right across the SL services, and this needs to be managed, and the Lab would prefer not to impose artificial limits (e.g. “you can only change one a month”), if possible.
  • Will friends of people who change their name be notified, or will they have to discover this for themselves? – Hasn’t been addressed, but potentially no reason why friends shouldn’t be notified.
  • Will people who change their names remain on a friends list? Yes; this is one of the systems the Lab has to parse through to make sure things behave as expected.
  • Will name changes be reflected in everything (the name of creators of object rezzed in-world, the owners’ names, etc)?
    • That is the goal, and again why it is taking so much time to get this feature to a point where it works as would be expected and then deployed.
    • However, there will likely be a some delays on seeing name changes, simply because they need to propagate and cached across multiple services.
  • How much will it cost to change names? – This will probably be one of the last things to be decided, as it only needs to be done when the capability is ready for deployment.

For those who prefer to listen to Oz and April’s comments as given directly during their Meet the Linden session, they can be found on the SL4live TV recording of the event at the following time stamps:

  • [28:20-32:35] Initial comments on the complexity of implementing the capability and what it will offer.
  • [38:04-47:59] Q&A with Patch Linden handling audience questions.
  • Have a great week from all of us at ZI

It’s Time to Celebrate Second Life – SL16B is Officially Open!

SL16B is now officially open! Second Life is turning “Sweet Sixteen” — 16 years of an incredible community and creative history that makes “SL” so unique. Of course, there is always cause for celebration on the Grid – but this is an opportunity to call out all the stops. This year’s celebrations will last longer than ever before! From today through July 8, we have packed SL16B with parties and events to mark this momentous occasion.

Here’s a “first look” preview of this year’s event:

With so much going on this year, we’ve assembled some highlights that you won’t want to miss:

SL16B Destination Guide & Over 170 Community Exhibits!

Community builds, events and celebrations are one of the biggest and brightest parts of the birthday celebrations. With over 170 community-created exhibits this year, there is a lot to see – so plan more than one trip to catch it all! To get started, check out the Community Exhibits category in our dedicated SL16B Destination Guide.

In addition to the community builds, there are several birthday events happening all over Second Life. Our Destination Guide also features an SL16B Featured Events category chock-full of places that are celebrating with us – make a point to join your fellow Residents in the festivities.

Shop & Hop – 100 Merchants. 100 Gifts. 5 Regions

We’ve brought back one of the biggest shopping events in Second Life and gathered one hundred of the biggest Merchants across five Regions, to offer some of their best products at incredible prices. Each Merchant has also provided a free gift in honor of the birthday of Second Life. Drop by each Region to shop and grab your gifts. A full list of participating Merchants is available on the blog.

Music Faire!

Second Life is full of talented musicians and you’ll find the live music community pulsing throughout the Grid each week – in clubs, venues, and cafes. We’ve got some of that talent together to take the stage at SL16B’s Music Faire – a full two day line up of feel good vibes. The full line up in SLT is available on our blog.

Slap on some virtual sunscreen and head out for the music.5d03ebfed9d37739582728.jpg

SL16B Music Faire 1

Meet the Lindens  

It’s also a tradition at SL16B to spend some time with some of the folks behind Second Life. On June 24th through 27th, our Meet the Lindens event connects Lindens to the community so that you can ask questions and get to know us a little better. Participants this year include Patch Linden (June 24), Oz & April Linden (June 25), Ebbe Linden (June 26), and Xiola & Strawberry Linden (June 27). All events at 2 p.m. (Pacific).

Meet the Lindens


Free SL16B Gifts & Avatars

What good is a birthday party without free gifts? Several cool retro gifts are scattered across the SL16B regions. Can you find them all in the SL16B Swaginator Gift Hunt?

SL16B Swaginator Gift Hunt

There’s also free themed avatars exclusive to SL16B!


Free SL16B Gift – Complete Avatars

Full Event Calendar


You’ll also want to catch the many DJ performances and other special events. To keep on top of what is happening each day, visit the full SL16B event calendar or our SL16B Landing Page.

We are so excited about celebrating with you – and look forward to more great Second Life Birthdays!

Sorry this post was late minor malfunction. Have a great week from all of us at ZI.

Time For a New Computer?

I get asked all the time: ‘My computer is three years old, and my teenager says it is obsolete. He wants us to buy a new computer with more speed, more memory, and a bigger monitor. Can you give me some pointers on how to determine if I really need to buy a new computer?’ And when playing in second life it does seem we tend to think our investment is lost after a year or two but there are options and solutions.

Is Your Computer Obsolete?

Many years ago I saw a cartoon of a guy proudly driving home with his brand new state-of-the-art IBM 386 computer in the back seat. In the background was a huge billboard advertising the 486. The message: his computer was obsolete before he even got it home.

Technology is always changing… it’s hard to be sure if the system you have will support the newest software, operating system and peripherals. So how do you know when it is indeed time to buy a new computer, or when it is best to ignore the commercials that tout the latest “gotta-have” technology?

You May Need To Buy A New Computer If…

• …your processor speed is less than 3.0 gigahertz (GHz). Most operating systems and application software these days demand a lot from your system. A speedy processor will help you browse the Internet, run your word processor and play games with ease. On a Windows PC, click the Start button, type system information and press Enter. If the speed is listed in megahertz instead of gigahertz, see if any friends need a new anchor for their fishing boat.

• …your computer has less than 4 gigabytes (GB) of RAM memory. Again, the System Properties window will show how much RAM is installed. I recommend a minimum of 4 gigabytes (GB) of RAM for smooth performance. Go for 8GB of RAM if you use more than one program at once, or have multiple browser tabs open.

    • …you are running a version of Windows that begins with a “3”, “9”, “V”, or “X” (Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Vista or Windows XP). These obsolete versions lack the security features and technological advances required for safe computing and protection from identity theft. Windows 7 is still serviceable, but official support will end in January 2020. If you have a Mac that’s NOT running somer version of OS X, the same applies.

• …you have a monitor that’s 14-inch or smaller. Most websites will not display properly on an old 14-inch monitor, and larger 20-inch models are now standard. (I have dual 22-inch widescreen monitors on my desk!)

• …you try to install a program and you get the error “Operating System not supported.”

• …you try to upgrade the Operating System and get an error message that the hardware is not supported.

• …your computer has no USB ports. Most peripheral devices such as the mouse, keyboard, printer, scanner and external hard drives now use USB connections.

• …your computer has a 5.25 inch disk drive! Actually if you have even a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, you may qualify. Software has outgrown the floppy disk, and the mere presence of a floppy drive on your machine may indicate that it’s time to take it out back and shoot it.

Radio Shack TRS-80…your computer says Radio Shack anywhere on the packaging. I had lots of fun on the TRS-80 we had in high school, but that was almost 40 years ago. I actually owned an HP Model 33 Teletype (pictured above), which was the first computer terminal I used. It could go online with a 300-baud modem (about 10,000 times slower than broadband today) and saved programs on paper punch tapes.

All of the above scenarios warrant shelling out the dough for a new computer. There are cases however, where you might have a relatively new computer, (less than 3 years old) and it is acting up enough to make you want to replace it with a new one. Before you do that, let’s look at a few ways you can “soup up” a fairly new machine:

Your Computer Is Running S-l-o-o-o-w-w

This is probably the number one complaint heard by Help Desk techs worldwide. If your computer is less than 3 years old, there are a myriad of reasons for the slowdown in performance. For instance, you may not have all the latest security software installed. Operating Systems, device drivers, anti-virus programs and other applications have frequent updates releases to their original product. Keeping up with the latest releases or patches of any software you are running, is a good way to keep your computer free from viruses and spyware that can slow it to a crawl.

Hardware also has updates, called firmware updates. Check with your hardware vendors to make sure that your computer, wireless router, cable modem, printer, etc… all have the latest firmware updates. A cable or DSL modem that’s overheating can throttle your Internet speed. If you find that turning off the modem and then waiting an hour or so boosts your surfing speed, you may need to replace it.

Sometimes a slow running computer is one that is lacking memory. As applications get more feature rich, more memory (RAM, not hard drive space) is required to run them. A lot of times, computers will be sold without the maximum capacity of RAM that they can actually run. Again, check with your computer’s manufacturer. Find out if the memory is expandable, and how much RAM you currently have intalled. Upgrading RAM is a fairly easy and inexpensive way to speed up your computer.Does Your Computer Need More Memory?

Your Computer Is Running Out of Space

You are noticing degradation in your computer’s performance, and you are also noticing “Running low on disk space” messages. Low disk space can slow a machine down, and also cause problems running applications. Hard drive space is getting cheaper and cheaper these days; the newest computers often come with 500 GB or 1 terabyte (1000 GB) hard drives as a standard. You don’t have to buy one of these new computers though; you can replace a smaller hard disk drive with a larger one, or upgrade to an SSD drive.

Your Computer Has Less-Than-Great-Graphics and So-So-Sound

The characters in that cool, new game you installed, have herky-jerky movements or maybe there’s a tinny sound when you blast the bad guys. Or perhaps the photos you download from your digital camera have a grainy, dull look when opened on your computer. On a relatively new machine, these problems can often be remedied by multimedia upgrades. Upgrading your graphics card or sound card can add a whole new level to your computing experience. A newer monitor will make everything look crisper.

It’s important to know when to let go of an old clunker of a computer. It’s just as important to realize when your computer needs a “tune-up”. The goal is to find a happy medium between being able to experience the latest that technology has to offer, but not being pressured into throwing a perfectly good system away because of slick sales ads, feature envy or industry hype.

Have a great week from all of us on the ZI Staff

Nonprofit Events in Second Life & Sansar: Relay for Life & World Oceans Day

One of the best things about our community is its unwavering support for good causes. Fundraising events and designer fairs that give back to nonprofit initiatives are so ubiquitous that they are now part of our common virtual culture. That’s why we’re excited to call attention to and support both Relay For Life and World Oceans Day – both events take place June 8.



For a limited time, you can grab your free virtual t-shirt promoting one or both causes in the Second Life Marketplace.


In Second Life, the annual Relay for Life event is packed with events on June 8 including the survivor/caregiver walk and Luminaria Ceremony.  Login, show your support and help raise funds for an important cause. Your presence and contributions do make a difference – over $3.5 million USD have been raised by these efforts over the past decade!


There’s a big event happening June 8 in Sansar, too. This World Oceans Day, you don’t have to leave home to make a difference.


Help clean a virtual beach in Sansar on Saturday, June 8, from 12 to 5 PM PT, as we celebrate the world’s oceans and raise money for EarthEcho International!

To join, simply log into Sansar if you have an account (or download it if you haven’t yet), pick one of 4 shark avatars for yourself, and meet us on the beach, where we’ll be picking up virtual trash, bouncing around, and playing games. As more trash gets collected, amazing sculptures will begin to form in the experience.

For every shark that joins, we’ll be donating $5 to EarthEcho, along with an additional $5K if we complete the sculpture before the event ends. As a bonus: The Roddenberry Foundation will be matching up to $5K!

It’s a one-of-a-kind fundraising event and all you need is a PC to experience it. Don’t miss out!

Have a great week from all of on the ZI Staff

Applications are open for SL16B Live Music Faire!

Applications are open for SL16B Live Music Faire! SWEET 16! Can’t believe its already been 16 years and still going strong, so if you are wanting to be a part of the best birthday celebration in second life read on.

                                Pic is from inkie Pixelstyles.

This June, Second Life turns 16 and we’re planning some fun ways to celebrate the Second Life community as a whole, as well as the incredible live music community within SL.

In recent years we’ve taken the popular idea of music festivals and brought them into the virtual world – all the music, merriment, and good times without the sunburn. Last year marked the 4th Music Fest, and this year, things are going to be a little different! We do have a Music Faire that we’re very excited to announce! Like Music Fest, Music Faire is a way to enjoy a ton of live music within Second Life as part of the birthday celebrations.

We’re holding an audition showcase to highlight some of the musical talent in the Second Life community. Many of you have been performing for years in virtual venues all over the grid, and we’d love to have you come showcase your talent. All genres are welcome! From bands to solo acts, rock and roll to electronica – we encourage anyone to sign up for consideration.

The Second Life Music Faire is an opportunity to perform at one of the biggest celebrations in Second Life and will be held on June 21st and 22nd this year from 10 am until 4 pm SLT.

To sign up for an audition, please complete and submit the submission form no later than June 1st, 2019. While we encourage everyone to sign up, it is not a commitment on your part and does not guarantee a spot at the auditions. We will review all submissions and extend audition invitations via email and/or notecards to the designated contact. Each invited act will have a short audition time (5 minutes max) to play.

All Residents are welcome to participate in the auditions as audience members. Again, I can’t stress enough what a great time it is to see so many musicians perform and support one another! For those who are interested, the audition location will be shared in a future blog post. Showcase dates and times are as follows:

May 27, 2019 6 AM – 6 PM (SLT)
May 28, 2019 6 AM – 6 PM (SLT)
May 29, 2019 6 AM – 6 PM (SLT)
May 30, 2019 6 AM – 6 PM (SLT)
May 31, 2019 6 AM – 3 PM (SLT)
June 3, 2019 6 AM – 6 PM (SLT)
June 4, 2019 6 AM – 6 PM (SLT)
June 5, 2019 6 AM – 6 PM (SLT)
June 6, 2019 6 AM – 6 PM (SLT)
June 7, 2019 6 AM – 3 PM (SLT)

See you inworld!

Please note that applications for Exhibitors and Performers have been extended through the end of the month and the applications for Merchants for the shopping event are open until June 1st.

Exhibitor Application – Applications close on May 31st, 2019 (Exhibitor Policies)

Performer Application – Applications close on May 31st, 2019 ( Performer Policies)

Merchant Application – Applications close on June 1st, 2019

Like 3