Windows 10: The best tricks, tips, and tweaks

Windows 10: The best tricks, tips, and tweaks
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Digging deep into Windows 10
Windows 10, Microsoft’s back-to-basics re-embracing of the PC, is already brimming with handy new features, and with all the new goodies comes with a legion of new tweaks and tricks—some of which unlock powerful functionality hidden to everyday users.

Others, though, simply let you mold some of Windows 10’s new features into the shape you see fit. Here are some of the most useful Windows 10 tweaks, tricks, and tips we’ve found. Be warned: Some of these may break as the operating system evolves, given Microsoft’s new “Windows as a service” mentality, though we plan to update this article over time (most recently with goodies from the big November update). Got any tricks of your own? Share them in the comments!

 hey cortana
Make Cortana's ears perk up
Cortana’s finally made the leap to the PC in Windows 10, assuming control of the operating system’s search functions and dishing out just as much sass as the Windows Phone version. But by default, she doesn’t listen for your commands.
If you’d like to be able to just bark commands at your PC, open Cortana by clicking the search field in the taskbar and select the Notebook icon in the left-side options pane. Select Settings from the list, then simply enable the “Let Cortana respond when you say ‘Hey Cortana’” option. You’ll need an active microphone for this to work, of course.
While you’re poking around Cortana’s options, you can dive into the Notebook menu to fine-tune exactly what personal data Microsoft’s digital assistant can access. Remember, however, that like Google Now, Cortana’s effectiveness is directly related to how much she knows about you.

 cortana find pictures
Powerful natural language search
Cortana can handle all sorts of commands you issue using natural language, such as playing music, creating reminders, or showing you the weather, but the most powerful use of her natural language abilities revolves around basic search capabilities. You can give Cortana basic commands like “Find pictures from June” or “Find documents with Windows 10” and she’ll apply the appropriate filters, then scour your local files and OneDrive storage for results.
Thirsty for more Cortana secrets? Check out our ultimate guide to Cortana for more.



windows 10 start menu
Customize your Start menu
Don’t forget to make the Start menu your own. If you appreciate the blend of the traditional interface with the Live Tiles, note that you can right-click on any tile and select Resize to alter the tile’s dimensions—just like on the Windows 8 Start screen.
Alternatively, if you loathe Live Tiles and the Metro interface with the ferocity of a thousand suns, you can also right-click on every one of the defaults in the Start menu and select Uninstall to wipe them from your system. (Or simply Unpin from Start if you’d rather hide than eradicate them.) Repopulate them with desktop software of your choosing—you can right-click any app or program and select Pin to Start—and before you know it, it’ll be kind-of-sort-of like the Windows 7 Start menu all over again.
PCWorld's guides to customizing Windows 10's Start menu and 11 must-know Start Menu tricks can help you dive deeply into its secrets.
 windows 10 find my device

Don’t forget to make the Start menu your own. If you appreciate the blend of the traditional interface with the Live Tiles, note that you can right-click on any tile and select Resize to alter the tile’s dimensions—just like on the Windows 8 Start screen.
Alternatively, if you loathe Live Tiles and the Metro interface with the ferocity of a thousand suns, you can also right-click on every one of the defaults in the Start menu and select Uninstall to wipe them from your system. (Or simply Unpin from Start if you’d rather hide than eradicate them.) Repopulate them with desktop software of your choosing—you can right-click any app or program and select Pin to Start—and before you know it, it’ll be kind-of-sort-of like the Windows 7 Start menu all over again.
PCWorld's guides to customizing Windows 10's Start menu and 11 must-know Start Menu tricks can help you dive deeply into its secrets.
windows 10 find my device
Find My Device
Windows ain’t just on desktops anymore, and a handy new feature released in the Windows 10 November Update acknowledges that: Find My Device, which does exactly what you’d think. (Though sadly, it doesn’t offer remote lock or wipe capabilities yet.)
To active it, head to Start > Update & Security > Find My Device, then click the big Change button and enable the “Save my device’s location periodically” option when prompted. Once it’s on, you can log into your Microsoft account and head to account.microsoft.com/devices to see the last known location of your Windows 10 gizmo.


Windows ain’t just on desktops anymore, and a handy new feature released in the Windows 10 November Update acknowledges that: Find My Device, which does exactly what you’d think. (Though sadly, it doesn’t offer remote lock or wipe capabilities yet.)
To active it, head to Start > Update & Security > Find My Device, then click the big Change button and enable the “Save my device’s location periodically” option when prompted. Once it’s on, you can log into your Microsoft account and head to account.microsoft.com/devices to see the last known location of your Windows 10 gizmo.
windows tablet sd card storage
Install Windows Store apps elsewhere
The Windows 10 November Update fixes another longstanding frustration for both mobile and desktop users: The inability to install Windows Store apps to external storage. Ever since the Windows Store debuted in Windows 8, it’s forced you to install apps to your device’s primary hard drive—a sore point for Windows tablet owners, or users who run Windows off a small SSD boot drive.
No more! After you’ve installed the Windows 10 November Update, you can save apps to external storage or secondary drives by heading to Start > Settings > System > Storage after you’ve connected the storage to your PC, be it a thumb drive or SD card. From there, click the drop-down menu under “New apps will save to” and select the external storage drive you want to use.



The Windows 10 November Update fixes another longstanding frustration for both mobile and desktop users: The inability to install Windows Store apps to external storage. Ever since the Windows Store debuted in Windows 8, it’s forced you to install apps to your device’s primary hard drive—a sore point for Windows tablet owners, or users who run Windows off a small SSD boot drive.
No more! After you’ve installed the Windows 10 November Update, you can save apps to external storage or secondary drives by heading to Start > Settings > System > Storage after you’ve connected the storage to your PC, be it a thumb drive or SD card. From there, click the drop-down menu under “New apps will save to” and select the external storage drive you want to use.
windows 10 folder options
Turn off File Explorer's Quick Access view
When you open File Explorer in Windows 10, it defaults to a new Quick Access view that shows your most frequently accessed folders and recently viewed files. I love it, personally, but if you’d rather File Explorer defaulted to the “This PC” view found in Windows 8, here’s how.
Open File Explorer, then select View > Options from the Ribbon. A Folder Options window will open. Click the “Open File Explorer” drop-down menu at top, then select the “This PC” option. Click OK and you’re done!
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