Like all of the operating systems before it, Windows 10 is chock full of lesser known features that can enhance your experience, help to safeguard your privacy, protect your data and much more. Given the enormous complexity of the software, there are many functions and features that you probably have yet to discover. Following are eight of the most exciting:
#1. It Has Multiple Desktops
Multiple desktops are now a standard feature of Windows 10, although it’s not immediately obvious how to use them. You can now create a new desktop at any time simply by using the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + CTRL + D. Alternatively, you can click on the multiple desktop icon by Cortana’s search bar and click “New Desktop”. This interface also allows you to cycle between your open desktops.
#2. Your Old Programs Are Still There
Most of the programs that you know and love from Windows 7 and 8 are still there in Windows 10. However, some remain hidden to make way for the newer apps. If you’re not impressed by the new photo viewer, Edge browser or media player, you’ll find all of the old desktop applications hidden away. You can find most of them using the search function, although others require a simple registry edit to enable.
#3. Try Out Pre-Release Versions
Thanks to Windows Insider integration, any Windows 10 user can now be among the first to experience new builds of the operating system before they’re released to the general public. Simply navigate to Settings – Update & security – Windows Update and click on “Advanced options”. You’ll be able to access the Insider Preview builds in the next screen. However, you should only use them on a non-critical machine.
#4. Record Your Gaming Sessions
Gamers can now record their favourite gaming sessions without having to download third-party software. You can then upload the footage to YouTube to share with the world. When you’re playing a game, you can launch the new Game Bar feature, a part of the included Xbox app, using the Windows Key + G shortcut. Simply press the red button to start recording!
#5. Cortana Knows Your Darkest Secrets
Microsoft’s new AI assistant has drawn much controversy since the launch of Windows 10. Unfortunately, while the powerful search tool and assistant can be helpful, she’s also spying on almost everything you do by default. Unless you fancy familiarizing yourself with Microsoft’s 12,000-word service agreement and still selling your soul to Bill Gates, you might want to consider turning it off.
#6. Unleash the Power of God Mode
Just like its predecessors, Windows 10 includes a shortcut for power users that provides quick access to a whole raft of system settings and other features. You can access the aptly named God Mode simply by creating a new folder and naming it “GodMode.ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C” (without quotes). The new folder will contain a vast range of shortcuts to hidden system settings.
#7. Synchronize Your Files
Windows 10 includes support for built-in synchronization with Microsoft OneDrive, a free cloud-based storage service that comes with having a Microsoft Account. You’ll find the shortcut by the system time on the taskbar, though you may need to click on the upward-pointing arrow to access it. The settings menu allows you to choose folders on your computer to automatically synchronize.
#8. Access the Secret Start Menu
As far as many productivity users and traditionalists are concerned, even the revamped Windows 10 Start menu still leaves something to be desired. However, there’s an advanced start menu accessible using the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + X. This shortcut provides quick access to a range of advanced features and functions, such as the command prompt, device manager and event viewer.
If you’re among the many left wanting more from Microsoft’s latest operating system, you’ll be glad to know that almost all of the features and programs you’re used to are still there, even if they are hidden by default. However, since Windows 10 is effectively provided as a service, each major update is likely to reveal new features and functions for users to explore.