Microsoft's Windows 10 is the latest OS (operating system) available to PC users. Though it's already quick to start up and runs smoothly, there are a range of shortcuts and other tricks you can use to make your experience more streamlined.
Quick access to your most-used files and folders
Previous versions of Windows have allowed you to create shortcuts directly on your desktop, something still supported on Windows 10. However, you now also have access to something called the 'Quick access' bar. Anytime you open a folder or the File Explorer window, you'll see this bar, which will automatically be populated with shortcuts to any recently-used files and folders.
Although this is done by default, you can choose exactly what this quick menu displays. All you need to do is navigate to the folder that you want to have displayed in this menu, and then right-click and choose 'Pin to Quick access'. This location will now be kept within this bar regardless of the other areas of your hard drive that you navigate to.
Another quick and effortless way to access these saved resources is to right-click on the folder icon on your Windows task bar. Anything you've pinned to the 'Quick access' bar will also be shown here, under the 'Pinned' label.
Quick-launch popular Windows tools
Built into the Windows 10 operating system, there are a range of different tools for managing your hardware and software configurations, for example setting up wireless networks, or changing your power and power-saving options.
There's an efficient way to launch some of the more popular Windows tools, without having to search for them in the Start menu. All you need to do is right-click on the Start button itself (the Windows icon), which will display a handy list of shortcuts to tools that help you to manage your system, such as Network Connections, Mobility Centre and the Device Manager.
Switch effortlessly between running applications
Though many workplaces now offer desks with multiple screens, most home users only have a single monitor or laptop display. This can make it difficult to do more than one task at once. Although you can still use Alt + Tab to jump between windows, fortunately there's now an even easier way to switch between multiple running applications in Windows 10.
On the left-hand side of your Windows taskbar, between your pinned application icons and the search box, you'll see the 'Task View' button, which looks like multiple squares overlapping one another. When you click on this icon, your screen will pan out to display a minimised version of each application that you're running. You can achieve the same effect without having to use your mouse by pressing the Windows key + Tab.
Reorganise your Start menu
Though we’ve already covered a couple of smaller tips above that will make your Windows experience more organised, you can completely customise your Start menu from the ground up, so that everything you use most often is right at your fingertips.
First, you'll want to remove any quick access icons that just aren't suited to you. You'll find that lots of icons will already be pinned, even ones that you don't use. Right-click and select 'Unpin from Start' on any programs that you either don't use, or don't use often.
Next, search for any programs, files or folders that you regularly need access to, then right-click on these and select 'Pin to Start'. They’ll take the place of the programs that you have already removed from the menu in the previous step. You’ll now have immediate access to these resources any time that you open the Start menu, which can be more quickly accessed by pressing the Windows key.
Remove pre-installed programs
For everything that it does right, Windows 10 also has a downside; the operating system comes with a lot of pre-installed software. These are programs that you just won’t have a need for, personally; for example, 'Money', which tracks stocks and other finances, or 'Sports'. Search for ‘Programs and Features’ in the Windows search bar on your task bar, decide which apps you won’t be needing, and then right-click and select ‘Uninstall’.
If you don’t recognise something or it isn’t clearly an unnecessary application, then we recommend leaving it alone. The worst thing you can do is to uninstall something critical to your computer’s proper functioning. If in doubt, you can always give WiseGuys a ring to speak to one of our support team.
Ask WiseGuys for more tips
There are a range of other tips you can use for customising your Windows 10 experience and making everything that little bit quicker to do. The operating system has lots of built-in functions for making your life easier, so if you’d like to ask WiseGuys about any more of them, then you can reach us on 0808 123 2820 and we’ll do our best to help.