When you first login into Windows 10, you will see Start button which you can click to get access to additional features, then Cortana bar, list of applications that are linked to the taskbar, status bar and then you have a very quick button to get to the desktop, it’s barely visible on right of the taskbar.
When you click the start button, you will see a combination of what was available in Windows 10 and Windows 8. You will see the list of all the applications which starts with recently added applications and then in alphabetical order based on each letter, it shows you what’s installed on your computer.
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Some applications, as you can see have this arrow to the right and which means that this is a folder and there are applications underneath of this arrow, actual applications that you would need to click that are located in that particular folder.
On the left, there is a section that shows you different functions, frequently used functions that are available. And this button shows you that you can switch between different users in your computer. You can access documents, pictures or settings available to you as a Windows 10 user.
You can also shutdown, power off and there are different options for sleep, shutdown and restart of the computer.
On the right, it’s a tiles menu which is useful for touchscreen devices. And there are three categories for the tiles; create, play and explore. Tiles is Microsoft’s invention and they’re very useful if you don’t just use the mouse but use rather the touchscreen because they’re bigger and much easier to click.
Settings app is the simplified version of control panel that was available in Windows for a long time. Control panel is still available. You can access it if you type the name of the applications in Cortana bar, it shows up first in the list. You can see them compared, the Settings app and Control panel that are available. I have them side-by-side which are pretty much similar but if you use too more control panel then it’s probably going to be much easier for you to use especially knowing that it’s still available.
The easy way to access settings through the Start button is if you right-click on the start button, you’ll see that a lot of features are available and you’ll see Settings, File explorer, Search and Run as well as Shut down or Sign out for the user and access to the Desktop. So same Settings app I just showed to you, you can just right-click on the Start menu and select Settings and it’s available.
In tile section, you see tiles and they’re organized by groups and tiles are of the different size. If you right-click on the tile, you have different options that are available. You can unpin from start which will remove it, not the app itself but it will just unpin and it will not show up, that’s what the pinning means. You can resize it and there are four different sizes available. This is the medium size of the square. You can do a small size. You can also resize and make a wide size and you can make a large size. Those are four different sizes that are available. You can drag and drop tiles, especially if they match with the space available. You can organize them very nicely on your desktop.
Each tile app, most of them also have additional settings like weather app. You can go into the app settings. Some tiles are live tiles. For example, weather might show you the live weather based on your region selection and you can configure it in settings. And you have some other additional options that are available.
Taskbar is the bar at the bottom of the screen which has multiple things. It has applications that could be opened based on your selection. You can also see some already opened applications. Indication that some applications are opened is in the line at the bottom of the application. You can also add additional applications to the taskbar and the reason you might want to do it is so you can quickly launch them when you need to. For example, I do have excel here pinned. The function of adding applications to taskbar is called pinning them because you’re not actually adding application or deleting, you’re just pinning an existing application or unpinning an existing application. Right now, I have Excel because I quickly can launch it. I use it very frequently. So, I can just click on Excel and it launches Microsoft Excel.
To pin Word to taskbar so it will be available even after you close Microsoft Word, right-mouse click and there are options here and one of them is pin to taskbar. And now when you close Word, Word is still available and you can launch it when you need to.
A lot of functions in Windows are available through Right Mouse Click. So, when you do Right Mouse Click on the taskbar, it shows a menu that’s specific to taskbar. And one feature that you might find very useful is the fact that you can move taskbar on the screen. Right now, it’s at the bottom but that does not mean that it has to stay in the bottom. The only reason it’s fixed right now is because it’s locked. But if you select unlock taskbar, then you can drag and drop it. It could be on the right. it could be on the top, if you like it to. You just need to find the empty space which you can use to drag it from place to place and you can move it around the screen and all other windows are just based on your moves.
Let’s navigate to cnn.com. To launch snip and sketch,
- Press Windows-Shift-S and then you see cursor changes its appearance.
- Highlight the area of the screen that you’re trying to select and now windows put this information into clipboard automatically.
You can edit this image that you just selected. And maybe you want to share something with colleagues, so you highlight this using the highlighter tool, for example and you sketch around then you can put it into clipboard again by using Ctrl-C. And then let’s say you need to paste it in Microsoft Word, open blank document and use paste button to paste this information. You see the sketcher and the highlighter I used remains in the image.
You can make some additional editing with the tool as you wish. You can use maybe pencil, highlighter and pencil in different colors. It allows you to change the colors. If you don’t like something you can erase it. You can add a ruler and you can change the ruler to protractor as well. You can crop the image and make it smaller and remove some things that you don’t want to show in the image. Maybe you want to point out just specific sections of the image and the picture that you’re trying to share. And once you’re done with editing you can save the image on your drive in a lot of different formats or you can copy it into clipboard and use in other applications. Snip and Sketch is extremely useful tool and definitely improves your productivity in Windows 10.
By default, when you launch file explorer, it shows with the white background which a lot of times creates a lot of pressure on your eyes especially if you watch on your screen long time during the day. Dark mode allows you to work longer without putting too much strain on your eyes.
- Go to Settings
- Select Personalization
- Go to Colors
- Go to Choose your default app mode
- Select Dark
And immediately background becomes dark and it becomes dark in the settings as well as in file explorer. Now you can work longer without feeling too much stress and being tired.
Using snap feature, you can work jointly with multiple applications. For example, you want to work with two copies of file explorer so you can see in both copies how to copy an information from one place in Windows in your file system to another location. To do that, launch second copy of File Explorer.
- Right click on the file explorer
- Select file explorer
There are two copies running now but I have to switch between the copies. Let’s say if I want to navigate two different places, for example from pictures I want to copy some files into the documents. It’s not very convenient. Obviously, I can rearrange the applications but there is a snap feature and you use shortcuts windows button and right keyboard button and what it does it first of all shows all the applications that are running right now on the left and it snaps the application that’s currently in focus. And snaps meanings that it takes exactly half of the window and it takes right half because I clicked Windows and the right button on the keyboard. Now let me do the same thing for the second copy of File Explorer. I just clicked on this and it filled the left half of the screen. Now both applications with just couple mouse clicks, they can fill the screen and use maximum space allowed and I can see in both and I can navigate in both between documents. For example, Desktop and downloads folders and I can drag-and-drop. And you can use it not just for file explorer. You can use it for a lot of other applications if you’re trying to see side by side and you don’t have a second screen and just have maybe one laptop screen. This is what I currently have and this is extremely useful feature and definitely improves productivity.
Microsoft extended this feature even further. For example, on the right side, if I make the file explorer in focus, I can push the windows up button and then it holds exactly quarter of this screen. And for example, I can fill in the lower part of the right side with the third application. So, I can have three applications potentially or even four applications if I do the same thing with applications on the left side.
If you want to see all applications currently running, you press Windows and Tab and it shows you that you currently have multiple applications open but on top of that, it also shows you all the activities and all the applications that you used in the past. For example, I was doing research in the 1080p resolution size and I can launch it and see what is the exact size of the 1080p resolution. By default, it keeps this data for 30 days but you can extend it, just see the instructions of how to add more days into timeline.
To do it, you can use Task View Button or Windows and Tab. Click new desktop and then it launches. By default, your current set of applications become desktop 1 and then you can create another desktop 2.
Desktops allow you to set up a specific set of tasks and work on those specific set of tasks imitating multiple computers. For example, throughout my day, I do multiple tasks. For example, I research topics in the browser and let’s say that I want to do it in my desktop 1, I’ll launch browser, I’ll launch multiple copies and I launch all supporting applications related to this task. Maybe I have browser running, maybe I have a research going on here in this desktop, now I want to switch and record the video. I only want to show relevant stuff in my recording. So, what I can do for that is create a new desktop or switch back to my original desktop and complete the recording. And then the third task maybe for my video, I will be creating thumbnails, launch new desktop, desktop 3.
You can switch between desktops. For example, as you go and complete research in our project and want to record video, you just switch from desktop 1 to desktop 2. You can also move applications from one desktop to another desktop. To do that, you just
- Right click on the application
- Select Move To
- Choose between desktops
You can open additional desktops and close desktops. To open a new desktop, you just click on the new desktop, Plus Button and create a new desktop.
Cortana can do a lot of things for you. To launch Cortana, you click on the Cortana button right in your taskbar and you see it’s listening and it’s typing everything that you’re talking about.
You can do a couple of commands such as “What is the weather in Milwaukee”, and Cortana shows you the weather and you can plan based on this information. Another thing you can do is “Tell me a joke” and Cortana comes up with the joke which may or may not be funny to you. Other feature is “launch notepad” and it will launch this application.
The Desktop area allows you to organize frequently used applications as well. so, you have icons for some of the applications that during installation loaded icons onto the desktop. You can organize the menu or you can also sort by, for example, name. You can rearrange them by size, item type, date modified. And you can view them as medium icon, large icons, small icons.
There are some additional settings related to those desktop icons. Each icon on the desktop has its own set of settings. And if you do select the icon and then do a right mouse-click, you can access all the settings including properties for each app which shows where app is located and how to execute it, as well as a lot of different tabs that are available specifically for this application.
Desktop itself also has settings. And if you do a right mouse click on the desktop itself, you can reorganize the icons. You could click refresh. You can also access display specific settings.
When you click on the Display Settings option, it launches the Settings app and here it starts with the display options that are available to you. As you can see I have three desktops and I can identify each one. You can rearrange them based on how they are configured. For example, you can put one desktop on top of the other.
There are some other settings available, you just need to scroll down. For example, one of the very useful settings is the size of the font and how much text is available. You have different resolutions available and you choose the best one. You can choose what to do with multiple desktops. You can duplicate content on the desktops or you can extend desktop so each display in your configuration will show its own set of applications, its own desktop kind of would be an extension. So, when you have three monitors you will have desktop that would be located on three monitors and you can drag it from one monitor to the other.
Personalized allows you to personalize your desktop and launches the Settings app with the personalization option. You can change the background and you can choose a different picture or solid color or slideshow. And you have some options, you can choose different pictures. You can choose different options how you would fit if your image is not exactly matching the size of your desktop. You can choose a different option of how you’d want it to fit. If you want to choose your own image, you have to upload it unto the Windows computer and then click browse to find it and select it so it will show up in your desktop.
One of the very important applications available to Windows users is File Explorer. There are multiple ways to launch file explorer. One of them is from the taskbar. You just click on the file explorer and it has multiple different sections which are Quick Access, OneDrive, This PC, Libraries and Network. Libraries is something that was introduced in Windows 7 so you have to enable them. I use them so I have them available. You may not see Libraries in your machine.
Another alternative way to launch File Explorer is to right mouse click on the Start Button and select File Explorer.
The third way might be through Cortana Bar. Type File Explorer and it is the first app that shows up.
Quick access is an area where you can pin quickly accessed folders that you need. By default, Desktop Downloads, Documents and Pictures are pinned here. If you don’t like something being here, you can unpin it. For example, if you don’t like maybe pictures be in this area, you can right mouse click and then select Unpin from quick access and then it removes pictures from there.
OneDrive is Microsoft’s technology that allows you to exchange information. You have to sign up if there is a free account which has, I believe 15 gigabytes of storage which is very nice. If you connect it from multiple PCs, you should be able to access OneDrive which is a cloud storage from Microsoft. And if you need more space, I think there’s a paid version of that. So, I clicked on OneDrive, it prompts me to enter my email address assuming I already have an account for sign in and if you don’t have it, you can sign up with OneDrive.
This PC allows you to access to key folders of this workstation as well as access to drive C.
Libraries, this is the feature that Microsoft is trying to retire. I use it because I used it since Windows 7. Quick access is a much nicer equivalent of Libraries.
Network allows you to see which workstations are connected to your local network so you can connect to those workstations and exchange data.
File Explorer as name implies is very useful to work with the files. When you click on the documents, you do have some sample documents here. And your view might be different. You’ll see names of the files, date modified, type of the file and size. Sometimes you don’t see file extensions, I specifically enable them.
If you move through the tabs, you’ll see the ribbon interface which has multiple tabs. In this case, File, Home, Share and View and you can move between the tabs.
In the Home tab, you have most frequently used functions. For example, you can have a new folder created by clicking a New Folder Button. The name of the folder by default is New folder name but you can you just type in the name, let’s say Documents.
In the view, you select what type of view that you would like to have. You can switch between details to list view which is simpler to understand. View details has a lot of information. Or maybe content view or just the icons; small, extra-large, large or medium types of icons.
Enabling extensions enable you to see what type of file it is before clicking on the file. To do that, click on the Options button and it brings up the folder options dialog box. And there are multiple tabs there; one is general tab, another one is View tab, and this is where you select display file extensions as well as display some other options. So, uncheck Hide extensions for known file types.
In the Search tab, there are some settings that allows you to configure, for example search options and then what to do when searching on indexed location. This is helpful because if you search items in Cortana bar you can also search for local items and indexing allows you to speed up the search if you have many documents. You point where the index would be located and in which folders you will be indexing. In Cortana, if you type the name of the document and its index it will allow you to find the document very quickly.
Right mouse-click on the file and you can copy the file. And if you click on another place, you can paste the file. It’s a simple copy and paste. And what Microsoft File Explorer did, it created a duplicate of this file at the bottom and – copy, it added a copy to the name of the file. You can copy file in one folder, navigate to another folder and then paste file in another folder.
Another way to copy documents is to click on the file and drag and drop it.
You might experience the need to optimize the usage of the battery for your device. So, to do that you need to determine what’s the best power plan for you.
You need to click the start button and then click settings and then you can just type power and sleep settings or edit power plan, those are the good settings. From Edit power plan, it shows you what kind of power plan is being used and what happens, how quickly display will turn off after you stop using the device and how quickly computer will go to sleep which helps to save battery time. If you’d like to look at more details, you click Advanced power settings and it brings up the screen which would allow you to configure a lot of different options of how battery power is being used.
It’s very important to keep your device up-to-date with Windows updates. Some of the updates are feature updates. Some of them are security updates. It’s not as important to download latest feature updates. Some of the features in fact turns out to be quite buggy and some of them even are deleting user data. So, you might want to consider postponing your feature updates. But it’s definitely worth looking and downloading securities updates.
So, in order to check for updates and to see if your workstation is current, you click on Check for updates button. So, it’s very good to make sure that you download and keep your workstation up-to-date with security updates. A lot of times windows might require restart after downloading updates, so you can either click restart now or schedule restart or change active hours for when restart is available.