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Hidden Features in Windows 10 You Need To Use

Windows 10 has been out of a while now, but you’re probably not aware of some of the hidden features that really save you time, effort and can even speed up your machine. Here’s our list of top features in Windows 10 that you may not know about.

Hidden Start Menu

By pressing Windows + X keys, you’ll get a hidden start menu that you can single-click jump to almost every important area of your machine without having to navigate through all of the settings menus. Important tools like Disk Management, Event Viewer and Task Manager are easily accessible from here. You can also right-click on the Windows icon to see this menu.

God Mode

Yes, really. Windows 10 allows users to have complete control over their settings with a hidden feature known as God Mode, in order to access God Mode you will have to create a blank folder on your desktop and then rename it to the following: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Once you’ve renamed the folder, it’s icon should change and you should have access to every configurable setting on your device, all in one window.

Shake to minimize

There are many occasions that we’ve had dozens of windows open and wish to minimize the ones we’re not working on, in Windows 10, if you left-click your window that you wish to keep and give it a shake with your mouse, all of the other windows will minimize except the one you’re shaking.

Fresh Start / Recovery Options

Gone are the days of searching through the drawers looking for that old boot disc to wipe your OS and start again, trying to find your license key and all of the software that you had installed. Windows 10 now allows you to refresh your PC or Laptop with the option to either keep or remove your settings and software. To reset your PC, head over to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery and under Reset this PC select ‘Get Started’. During the setup, it will ask if you wish to keep or remove personal settings. This can also be especially useful if you plan to sell or give your device away, ensuring that your personal data has been removed.

The Recovery Options also allows you to start up from a DVD or USB by selecting Advanced Startup. This is especially helpful as previously you would need to continually hit one of the F keys (usually F8 or F12) until you were asked what you wanted to boot from which could become tedious as the F key varied from the machine manufacturer.

windows 10 recovery menu allowing you to reset the pc or boot into USB

Task View / Virtual Desktops

A feature that’s been around in OS X and Linux for a while, is the ability to have separate desktops if you’re working on multiple things. This is now available in Windows 10 by selecting the Task View on your Taskbar. If Task View isn’t showing for you, try right-clicking on your Taskbar and ensure the tick is next to ‘Show Task View’

You can create desktops and switch between them using the Task View icon, you can also use the Windows key, CTRL and the left or right arrow to cycle through your desktops. Laptop trackpads will usually also allow gestures such as swiping with multiple fingers.

Task View showing multiple virtual desktops

Print to PDF

Windows 10 finally has a built-in ‘Print to PDF’ function, allowing you to save webpages and other key documents as a PDF file. Prior to this feature in Windows 10, many people resorted to software such as CutePDF which is most likely where Microsoft got the inspiration from with the Print to PDF function. To save your documents as PDF’s, simply select Print on the page you’re on and select the ‘Print to PDF’ printer, rather than actually trying to print your document, it will prompt you to select a location and name to save the PDF document.

Keyboard Shortcuts

In keeping with the hidden features, there are many things that you can do with simple keyboard shortcuts, usually by holding the Windows key and pressing a certain letter/key will do a specific action that may speed up your day to day usage of your computer. Here are some of the most common shortcuts that are useful:

  • Windows + Tab (Task View)
  • Alt + F4 (Closes Current Window)
  • Alt + Tab (Switches between all open Windows)
  • Windows + Up/Down (Minimize/Maximize current Window)
  • Windows + E (Opens File Explorer)
  • Windows + R (Opens Run, allows you to enter application names such as services.msc)
  • Windows + L (Lock your computer back to the login screen)

Matthew Mclaughlin

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