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The 11 best hidden Windows 10 tricks to know you upgraded from Windows 7


These tips and tricks for Windows 10 can save you time and effort.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Regardless of whether you have been using Windows 1

0 for years or have recently upgraded, you will find plenty of new and old tips, tricks and hidden features to help you use your laptop faster and more smoothly every day. For example, finding the secret start menu and saving battery power with a simple trick.

Microsoft typically doesn't make its hidden features as popular as Apple, which can make it harder to make the most of the computer you use every day.

It can be difficult to learn how to upgrade to Windows 10 for free . Incidentally, you want to do this as soon as possible because support for Windows 7 ended in January . No matter which Microsoft, Dell, HP or any other Windows 10 rig you have these clever tips will help you stay organized and do more. And here's everything you need to know about the Windows 10 Nov. 2019 update .

Minimize all windows except the active one.

If your desktop screen is crowded with open windows, you can quickly do so, minimize them all except for the window you are working in.

Just click the title bar of the window you want to keep open to select it. Then hold down the mouse and quickly move the window back and forth – essentially shaking it. After a few quick shocks, all other open windows will be minimized, leaving only what you shook open. Neat, isn't it?

Open the "secret" start menu.

You know you have to tap the Windows icon in the lower left corner of the screen or on your keyboard to get to the Start menu. However, Windows 10 includes a lesser known second start menu that greatly simplifies access to important functions such as the command prompt, the control panel and the task manager. You can access it in two different ways by either pressing the Windows key + X or by right-clicking the Windows icon / Start button.

Create an event without opening the calendar app.

With the latest update to Windows 10, you can quickly add events to your Microsoft calendar right from the taskbar without opening the calendar. How to do it:

1. Click on the field with the time and date in the right corner of the task bar.

2. Click the date on which you want to schedule an event.

3. Enter the name, time, and location of the event. (If you have multiple calendars, click the down arrow next to the event name field to select the name you want to add it to.)

4. Click Save. The event should appear on all devices in your calendar app.

Taking a screenshot

I know it's easy – but it's amazing how easy it is to forget how to take a screenshot on a laptop or desktop if you don't do it often.

There are at least eight different ways to take a screenshot with Windows 10 . If you want to take a picture of your entire screen and save it, the easiest way is to press the Windows key + the screen print key and the picture will be saved in the folder Pictures> Screenshots.

To capture only part of your screen, press the Windows key + Shift + S to open the Snip & Sketch tool, which you can click and drag to take a screenshot, copy that is saved to the clipboard.

Open elements in the taskbar with keyboard shortcuts.

If you pinned programs on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen to create a shortcut, you don't need to click the icons to open them. Instead, use the key combination Windows key + [Number key] where the number key corresponds to the position of the program in the task bar. For example, the Windows key + 2 opens the second item in the taskbar.

This is especially useful when you are typing angrily and don't want to lift your fingers off the keyboard. It may feel more natural to grab the Windows key.

Find out how much space apps are taking up.

Computers slow down when space becomes tight. A quick way to speed them up is to remove apps that take up more space than they should, especially if you don't use them regularly.

Navigate to to see how much space an app is using. Settings> System> Memory . Click the drive you want to search (probably the local storage "This PC") and click Apps & Games to display a list of the apps installed on your computer and their space requirements. You probably won't get rid of your browser, but you may find that a game that you haven't played in years has a good weight.

Remove ads from your start menu.

If you're running Windows 10 with default settings, apps may appear on the right side of your Start menu. Microsoft calls them "suggestions," but they're actually ads for Windows Store apps that you can buy.

To remove the displays in your Windows 10 start menu go to Settings> Personalization> Start. Set the Suggestions occasionally in Start to Off.

Shutdown background apps

Apps that run in the background can receive information, send notifications, and stay up-to-date even when you are not using them – which can be useful, but also your battery and yours Battery can drain data when you connect via a mobile hotspot.

To control which apps run in the background and save battery power and data, go to Settings> Privacy> Background Apps . To prevent all apps from running in the background, switch Let apps run in the background to Off . You can also choose which apps to run in the background individually by going through the list on the same page.

Using background scrolling

On Windows 10, you can scroll up and down in every window, even if you're not working on it directly. This is a useful tool when there are many windows open that you want to look through at the same time – for example, when you want to open new submenu options in new windows to save time by clicking back and forth on the same page.

Try opening two programs, for example an Internet browser page and a notepad or a Word document. Arrange both on the screen so that you can see at least part of the text. Move the mouse pointer in one window or use the touchpad to navigate to the second window and scroll. Even if you are not active in this window, you should be able to move up and down on the page.

The feature should be enabled by default. If not, go to Settings> Devices> Mouse and switch to Scroll inactive windows when hovering over them to On . Then you can move the mouse over a window in the background and scroll with the scroll wheel.

Show file extensions in File Explorer

Microsoft hides file extensions by default. This makes it difficult for users to search for certain types of files such as JPEGs and JPGs. Follow these steps to display file extensions in File Explorer :

1. Go to the Search Bar at the bottom of the screen, enter and click File Explorer Options . (There are a number of other ways to get here, but this seems to be the fastest.)

2. In the window that opens, click the View tab.

. 3 Clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box . Click Apply and OK . You should now see file extensions for all files in File Explorer.

You can also use the File Explorer Options menu to view empty drives, hidden files and folders, and more.

Reduce distractions with the Focus Assistant.

It is frustrating to try to get the job done when you keep getting interrupted by notifications. With Focus Assist, a tool that Windows 10 added in the update of April 2018 you can determine how many you get.

Set it up by going to Settings> System> Focus . Choose from three options: Off (Get all notifications from your apps and contacts), Priority (Show only selected notifications from a priority list you have customized and send the rest to your action Center ) and only alarms (hide all notifications except alarms).

You can also activate this function automatically at certain times or when playing a game.

For more tips and tricks for Windows 10 laptops, see Don't make it difficult with a slow PC, but fix these and 6 simple security changes that all Windows 10 users have to make .

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