Windows 10 keeps getting better with every update – more features, more fixes, more security. Now more than ever before it offers a complete package that helps keep you safe on the internet, while making your computer usage more simple and efficient.
We’ve put together a list of our favourite tips and tricks to help make your windows 10 experience that much more enjoyable. If you don't want unwanted ads and pop-ups to effect your Windows 10 experience, then have a look at our guide to disable them.
Cortana has arrived
Cortana has made an appearance in Windows 10.
The ever present virtual assistant can help automate a lot of your PC life, but she will not start listening for you automatically. You will have to enable this option.
If you’d like her to react to your commands, go into your search bar at the bottom left and click the Notebook option. Go to settings, and then enable “Hey Cortana.” You will now be able to give her direct commands, and explore her range of useful options.
Make sure you have a working microphone though; otherwise you will just be talking to your monitor. And no one wants that.
If you’d like to check just how much personal data she is gathering on you, go back into the notebook settings and play around to your liking.
Windows 10 phone integration
The Creators Update we had back in October paved the way for even better integration between your PC and your phone.
With your phone connected to your PC, you can answer texts from your desktop and push apps and websites across from one to the other.
With the use of Dynamic Lock you can use your phone in place of a password. Your computer will unlock when your phone is within a certain distance, and then automatically lock when you get up and leave. Fancy.
OneDrive files on Demand
Something that people have been waiting for since windows 8.1; Cloud storage is now right at your fingertips through Windows 10. Windows now displays the files in your OneDrive as a folder on your PC, so you can browse through it like any other folder.
The catch here is that while you may browse the files on your OneDrive like it’s any other file, it’s actually just an indication of what is in there. If you’d like to access these files they must first be downloaded onto your machine from the cloud, which can be done by selecting them and hitting the download button.
As you use your computer you’ll notice that your storage space just keeps shrinking and shrinking as it fills up with more stuff. You’re probably not even sure what most of it is!
Windows 10 now features Storage Sense. This feature will help remove any unused files from your system by emptying the recycle bin every 30 days, and automatically cleaning up any temporary files that are lurking on your drives.
Print to PDF
We no longer need to use third party applications to print documents in PDF form, rejoice!
When printing in Windows, if you’d like your document in PDF form then it’s really quite simple. Go to File > Print as normal, and when selecting your Printer, choose “Microsoft Print to PDF”.
You will then be asked to name and save your newly created PDF file.
Windows 10 now has the ability to tie your Windows license to your Microsoft account, rather than to your PC’s hardware. This is a huge quality of life change, and means you can now change PC without having to worry about finding your Windows activation key. You can add your Microsoft account in your update and security settings when you upgrade.
You’ll also find a “Start with a clean Windows install” option alongside Windows 10’s tools, which will give you a minimalist install so you can avoid any third party bloatware.
Controlling your Windows updates
While we sadly still don’t have direct control over Windows updates, we do now have a number of options to customise the updating experience.
If you’re a Windows 10 Pro user you can delay some updates, but they will eventually be installed whether you like it or not. The “Active Hours” feature will allow you to select times when you would not like Windows to update, so you won’t have your PC shutting down on you halfway through some work.
You can also uninstall recent updates through windows if they’re causing some of your programs trouble, as well as using Microsoft’s recent tool that will ensure they won’t come back again.
Full control would be nice, but a lot of these updates are mandatory for a reason (security updates, for example). In the short term, these solutions provide a good middle ground in getting your PC to play nice.
Windows 10 now offers a Night Light function which can be found on many modern phones.
This feature changes the colour temperature on your PC when the sun goes down which reduces the amount of “blue” light that meets your eyes. This “blue” light inhibits serotonin production, which can lead to less restful sleep or less sleep all together.
With this feature, late night computer use shouldn’t be impacting your sleep quite so much.
Have you ever been in the middle of a very tense part of a film, or getting some peace and quiet with your favourite album only for Windows to start bleeping at you, informing you that Microsoft Office is now 20% off?
To stop that ever happening again, go into Settings > System > Notifications & Actions, and disable notifications from Get Office. There may be some other things in here you’d like to silence as well, so have at it.
Remove the login screen
A nice little quality of life change that has been added is the ability to remove the log in screen for your PC.
We’ve all done it. Getting up in the morning and turning your machine on, and wondering off to make some coffee, grab a shower or even just get back into bed.
You needed to log in to your machine before everything would load up, but now if you’re confident in the security of your location, you can disable the log in screen so your machine start loading everything up when you turn it on.
If you're doing anything with your PC's registry, it's important that you back it up first.