Desk­top, Start menu and Taskbar

Windows Help & Advice - - WINDOWS 10 TOP 60 TIMESAVING TIPS & TRICKS -

Mas­ter the Time­line

The lat­est up­date to Win­dows 10 adds a new time­line slider to Task View – press [Win] + [Tab] to open it, then scroll down. Be­neath the de­fault view of your cur­rently opened win­dows you’ll find a grid-like view list­ing the files you’ve opened (as well as their par­ent apps). Click one to re­open it, or right-click for op­tions to re­move ei­ther that in­di­vid­ual item or all en­tries from the same day.

Use mul­ti­ple desk­tops

Task View is also where you can set up mul­ti­ple vir­tual desk­tops – as many as your PC can han­dle – and then move pro­gram win­dows be­tween them. You could set up one desk­top for work, for ex­am­ple, and a sec­ond for all your me­dia ap­pli­ca­tions. Drag win­dows from here to a dif­fer­ent desk­top at the top of the screen to move the pro­gram to that desk­top. Check out the box on key­board short­cuts on the page op­po­site for some quick-fire ways to man­age and nav­i­gate be­tween your desk­tops.

Scroll in­ac­tive win­dows

Win­dows 10 has in­tro­duced an in­ac­tive win­dow scrolling fea­ture – sim­ply move your cur­sor over an open win­dow and use the mouse scroll wheel to scroll that win­dow with­out switch­ing fo­cus from your main win­dow – per­fect if you’re copy­ing in­for­ma­tion from your web browser into a doc­u­ment, for ex­am­ple. If you don’t like this new be­hav­iour, dis­able it by flick­ing off the ‘Scroll in­ac­tive win­dows when I hover over them’ switch un­der Start > Set­tings > De­vices > Mouse.

Re­size win­dows quickly

You’ll know about Aero Snap – drag a win­dow to ei­ther side of the screen and it’ll re­size to fit half the screen. Drag it into a cor­ner and it’ll re­size to fit a quar­ter of the screen. But if you’d like to re­size in­di­vid­ual win­dows to spe­cific sizes or as­pect ra­tios, then in­stall the free Sizer app (www.bri­anapps.net/ sizer4/), which en­ables you to re­size the cur­rently ac­tive win­dow quickly by press­ing [Ctrl] + [Win] + [Z], then se­lect­ing your cho­sen size.

Hid­den ‘Send To‘ short­cuts

Right-click a file or folder and select Send To and you’ll be able to send it to a spe­cific lo­ca­tion or de­vice (such as Blue­tooth or email re­cip­i­ent as an at­tach­ment). Hold the [Shift] key as you select Send To and you’ll re­veal loads more op­tions, in­clud­ing many of your user fold­ers. By de­fault, items are copied to the new lo­ca­tion; keep [Shift] held down to move them in­stead.

More Send To op­tions

Man­age ‘Send To’ items via its own shell folder (type shell:sendto into the Run dia­log box) where you can re­move un­wanted short­cuts plus add spe­cific ones of your own (such as fre­quently used fold­ers). Al­ter­na­tively, use Send To Toys (www.gabriele­ponti.com/soft­ware) to add more use­ful en­tries such as trans­fer­ring files or file­names to the clip­board, or an op­tion to man­u­ally select the folder that you wish to send the item to.

Taskbar app con­trols

The Taskbar thumb­nail fea­ture that pops a pre­view of any open win­dows up when you roll your mouse over a Taskbar icon some­times comes with use­ful ex­tras – roll your mouse over the thumb­nail and the win­dow will mo­men­tar­ily ap­pear on-screen for ex­am­ple. But look out, too, for app­spe­cific con­trols such as Play/Pause and Track Skip but­tons in Win­dows Me­dia Player, for ex­am­ple. Cus­tomise the thumb­nail fea­ture fur­ther us­ing the free Wi­naero Tweaker app (https://wi­naero.com/down­load.php?view.1796) – go to the Desk­top and Taskbar > Taskbar Thumb­nails sec­tion where you can dis­able the fea­ture, tweak the size of thumb­nails and more.

Cus­tomise the Taskbar

Take the time to right-click the Taskbar where you can quickly tweak key fea­tures, such as the ap­pear­ance of the search box (you can change it into an icon to free up space) plus choose whether to show the Task View but­ton and add on-screen key­board and track­pad but­tons along­side short­cuts to the Peo­ple bar and Win­dows Ink workspace if re­quired.

Make use of Jump lists

When you right-click cer­tain app icons you’ll see a list of re­cently opened files in that app – a handy way to quickly get go­ing with a spe­cific file again. If you fre­quently open the same files, roll your mouse over them in the list and click the Pin but­ton to pin them to the top of the list. You can re­move un­wanted items from the list by right-click­ing and choos­ing ‘Re­move from this list’.

“The quick­est way to hide icons from view is to click and drag them on to the ‘^’ but­ton on the left”

Tame Cor­tana

If you’re a pri­vacy fiend and don’t need Cor­tana’s per­sonal as­sis­tant fea­tures, then con­vert it into a sim­ple search box that sim­ply searches pro­grams, set­tings and files on your PC along with a few web sug­ges­tions. You could, of course, tweak the Registry to do this, but it’s far quicker and eas­ier to open Wi­naero Tweaker and tick Dis­able Cor­tana un­der the Win­dows Apps sec­tion. Re­boot when prompted and the Taskbar’s search box will be trans­formed.

Add user short­cuts to the Start menu

The Start menu’s slide-out left-hand pane – click the three-line ‘ham­burger’ icon to re­veal it – con­tains short­cuts to use­ful fea­tures such as the log off/switch user menu (click your user pic­ture to ac­cess it). You can add ad­di­tional short­cuts to var­i­ous user fold­ers such as Doc­u­ments and Mu­sic here by go­ing to Start > Set­tings > Per­son­al­i­sa­tion > Start and click­ing ‘Choose which fold­ers ap­pear on Start’.

Ac­cess files from the Taskbar

Right-click the Taskbar and choose Tool­bars > ‘New Tool­bar…’. You can select a spe­cific folder or drive from here, or choose This PC to gain ac­cess to your en­tire filesys­tem. Once in place, click the ‘>>’ but­ton next to the Tool­bar name to browse through fold­ers us­ing pop-up menus.

Clean up the No­ti­fi­ca­tion area

Once upon a time you had to delve deep into Set­tings to select which icons ap­peared in the Taskbar no­ti­fi­ca­tion area, but these days the quick­est way to hide icons from view is to click and drag them on to the ‘^’ but­ton to the left. You can also pin the icons hid­den be­hind here so they’re al­ways vis­i­ble in the No­ti­fi­ca­tion area by click­ing ‘^’ and then drag­ging them in the other di­rec­tion. You can also re­ar­range the or­der icons ap­pear in the list – click and drag them to their new lo­ca­tion.

Quickly tog­gle Fo­cus As­sist

Fo­cus As­sist is a use­ful set­ting that en­ables you to se­lec­tively mute alerts from the Ac­tion Cen­tre at spe­cific times. Set it up via Start > Set­tings > Sys­tem > ‘Fo­cus as­sist’, from where you can choose a sched­uled time when it comes on and off, and choose whether to mute all alerts, just non-pri­or­ity alerts – click ‘Cus­tomise your pri­or­ity list’ to select which apps fall into this cat­e­gory – or ev­ery­thing ex­cept for any alarms that you have set.

Once set up, you can also tog­gle Fo­cus As­sist on and off man­u­ally by right-click­ing the Ac­tion Cen­tre no­ti­fi­ca­tions but­ton in the bot­tom right of the screen and choos­ing what to al­low (pri­or­ity alerts or alarms) from the Fo­cus As­sist sub-menu.

Try a dif­fer­ent ap­proach

Can’t get on with launch­ing apps through the Start menu and Taskbar? Why not try Launchy (www.launchy.net) in­stead? This float­ing tool­bar hides un­til re­quired – press [Alt] + [Space] to bring it into fo­cus – then start typ­ing the name of the file, app or set­ting you need be­fore press­ing [En­ter] when a match is found. Click the Set­tings but­ton to cus­tomise its look, tweak pref­er­ences or add other fold­ers for it to scan (such as a por­ta­ble apps direc­tory).

Task View’s new Time­line view makes it easy to re­open re­cently ac­cessed files.

Re­size win­dows quickly and pre­cisely with Sizer.

Launchy of­fers you a dis­creet, fast and easy al­ter­na­tive to the Start menu and Taskbar short­cuts.

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