Windows tips

Start using Windows 11 Virtual Desktops

Microsoft has finally brought out-of-the-box support for virtual desktops, which was available in Linux and OS X for very long time. Virtual desktops feature allows you to better manage the opened applications and windows by clubbing them in groups. Any one of the virtual desktop (or the app group) can be active at a time, and thus offers an uncluttered Tasks View. To get started with virtual desktops, open the Tasks View by clicking on its icon on the taskbar (present at immediate right of the Search bar) or hold down Win + Tab keys.

Learn new Windows 10 Keyboard Shortcuts

You can become more productive if you learn the shortcuts to perform various regular tasks such as using virtual desktops, snapping apps and more. Below are the shortcuts to help you do things faster.

  • Win + Tab (open Tasks View)
  • Win + Left + Up (move app to top-left quadrant)
  • Win + Left + Down (move app to bottom-left quadrant)
  • Win + Right + Up (move app to top-right quadrant)
  • Win + Right + Down (move app to bottom-right quadrant)
  • Win + Ctrl + Left or Right (change virtual desktops)
  • Win + Ctrl + D (new virtual desktop)
  • Win + Ctrl + C (speak to Cortana)
  • Win + S (view weather, news, sports, help, etc.)
  • Win + Ctrl + F4 (close virtual desktop)
  • Win + Up and Down (snap apps to top or bottom of screen or maximize them)

Improve Battery Life in Windows 10

Windows 10’s battery saver feature can help you if your laptop’s battery is running low. It is smart enough to throttle the background processes and threads to limit the power usage and save power to allow your machine to last longer. It is better than power-saving modes found in previous Windows releases and can be enabled using this procedure: click Start menu > Settings > System > Battery saver.

Sideload non-Store Apps in Windows 10

Windows 10 supports sideloading of apps, which allows you to download and install applications outside of Microsoft Store. There are lots of apps that are not available on the Store and those can be installed using this trick. Sideloading of apps is only allowed for developers, and thus you need to enable developer mode before installing non-Store apps. To enable the developer mode, open Start menu > Settings > Update & Security > For developers, and select Developer mode. After you’ve become developer for your system, enable sideloading of applications by going through the steps: launch Start menu > Settings > Update & Security > For developers, and select Sideload Apps. That’s all, you can now download and sideload apps.

Turn off Windows 10 Notification and System Sounds

Notification and system sounds are used to alert the user whenever an important action is performed. In order to turn off the system sounds in Windows 10, you need to do the following steps: right click the Speakers icon on the taskbar > Sounds, and choose No Sounds under Sound Scheme and press OK button. To disable all the notification sounds for all the apps, open the Start menu > Settings > System > Notifications, and toggle off Show app notifications. Please note that it will also turn off all the notifications and not only the sounds for the notifications. This is handy Windows 10 tip that ensures that you can work without getting disturbed.

Move or Install Apps to Another Drive

Windows 10 Apps are the Metro Apps that were introduced in Windows 8. They are by default installed in the C (System) partition, but if you want to make space by moving them to another drive, here is what you need to do: go to Start menu > Settings > System > App & Features, and click on the app you want to move, select Move, select a drive and click Move to move the app. Moving apps one by one can be painful if you’ve lots of installed applications. You will find changing the default install location much easier and convenient than moving apps. To change the default location for installation of Windows 10 apps, open Start menu > Settings > System > Storage. Click on Save locations, select any drive for New apps will save to. This feature may not be available in some editions but possibly be offered soon through an update.

Use Snap Assist

Windows 10 has better snapping capabilities and tries to assist you while you snap apps using the mouse. When you try to snap an app and some part of the screen is still empty, Snap Assist feature shows up with a thumbnail list of open windows. You can choose any one app/window from the list to snap it to the left or right of the screen along with your previously snapped app’s window.

Use Windows 10 Hello

Windows Hello is a system-level biometric authentication system. It’s claimed to be much safer technology than traditional passwords, and provide you instant access to your Windows devices. However, your device needs to have support for fingerprint or camera for this feature. You can head to Start menu > Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options, find the entry for Windows Hello and options to setup either a face or fingerprint, and after setup, you can use yourself to login to your Windows 10. This is a Windows 10 tip that not only secures your account but also makes it easier to login.

Disable Startup Applications

One major pain point of Windows 10 is that it gets slower over time and you must have seen people complaining about this issue on the internet. One of the primary reasons that your PC feels sluggish is because of startup applications. These are the applications that automatically start in the background when you log in to your computer. They remain active in the background and hog RAM, disk, power, and crucial CPU resources even when you are not using those programs. So if you are a beginner, you must learn how to disable startup applications on Windows 10. As you will install more programs over time, the list of startup apps may get longer. So you should keep a tab on startup applications and disable them from time to time. This is a handy Windows 10 tip for anyone who wants to keep their machine spruced up. Here is how you can do it. Right-click on the Taskbar and open Task Manager. Now, switch to the “Startup” tab and disable the programs that you don’t use regularly. This way, you can speed up Windows 10 and it will result in faster boot and better performance.

Use Your Phone App

With the new Your Phone app,  you can get messages, calls, and notifications from your smartphone to PC seamlessly. You can even make and receive calls from your PC and respond to messages as well. I have used the Your Phone app extensively and I can vouch for its reliability. Further, if you have a Samsung device then you can even mirror your device to Windows and control everything from your PC. How awesome is that? So go ahead and install Your Phone app to bridge the gap between smartphone and your Windows PC. A handy Windows 10 tip, indeed.