Speedy ac­cess to sys­tem tools

Cre­ate and cus­tomise an al­ter­na­tive Start menu

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

The menu that ap­pears when you right-click the Start but­ton or press [Win] + [X] – con­fus­ingly named the Quick Ac­cess Menu – con­tains quick short­cuts to var­i­ous parts of your sys­tem, but you’re not limited by the de­fault choices. It’s pos­si­ble to cus­tomise the menu to your tastes so the short­cuts you want – whether to pro­grams, sys­tem tools or more – are just a cou­ple of clicks away. Down­load and run the free – and por­ta­ble – Win+X Menu Ed­i­tor tool from https://wi­naero. com/down­load.php?view.21 to add and re­move tools, as well as to re­ar­range the menu or­der.

Cre­ate a GodMode short­cut

The GodMode short­cut is so-named be­cause it pro­vides one-click ac­cess to the en­tire Con­trol Panel – and, given Mi­crosoft’s slow dep­re­ca­tion of the Con­trol Panel in favour of Set­tings, it’s the best way to keep quick and easy ac­cess to the older (yet still use­ful) sys­tem tool. Right-click the desk­top and choose New > Folder, then change its name to: GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E825C-99712043E01C}

Feel free to change GodMode to what­ever you like be­fore click­ing OK. You can now dou­ble-click the icon to ac­cess all Con­trol Panel ap­plets via a handy A-Z list.

Cre­ate cus­tom Con­trol Panel short­cuts

GodMode gives you ac­cess to all of the Con­trol Pan­els, but if there’s one ap­plet you still use more than oth­ers – for ex­am­ple, the ad­di­tional con­trols found un­der File His­tory – then why not cre­ate a short­cut di­rectly to that in­stead? Right-click the desk­top or tar­get folder and choose New > Short­cut, then type the fol­low­ing ex­actly into the new short­cut box: %WinDir%\ex­plorer.exe shell:::{F6B6E965-E9B2-444B-928610C9152EDBC5}

Click ‘Next’, name your short­cut and click Fin­ish to cre­ate it, then dou­bleclick this to by­pass the File His­tory en­try in Set­tings. Other Con­trol Panel ap­plets are eas­ier to cre­ate – see the box on the op­po­site page for just ten of our favourite short­cuts.

Switch de­fault apps

Wrong pro­gram hi­jacked your file ex­ten­sions? In­stead of dou­ble-click­ing a file, right-click it and choose ‘Open with' > ‘Choose an­other app’. Make sure you tick the ‘Al­ways use this app…’ box be­fore se­lect­ing your al­ter­na­tive from the choices on of­fer (click ‘More apps’ for a wider choice and scroll down and pick ‘Look for an­other app on this PC’ if your de­sired app hasn’t been de­tected).

Change the de­fault printer

If you have two or more prin­ters and you tend to switch be­tween them in­fre­quently, there’s lit­tle sense in mak­ing one the de­fault over the other. In­stead, nav­i­gate to Start > Set­tings > De­vices > ‘Prin­ters & scan­ners’, then scroll down and tick ‘Al­low Win­dows to man­age my de­fault printer’. Win­dows will now select whichever printer you last used as your cur­rent de­fault.

Eas­ily switch Win­dows Fea­tures on or off

Want to get rid of un­used fea­tures like Mi­crosoft’s XPS Doc­u­ment Writer, IE11 or even Win­dows Me­dia Player – or look­ing to add fea­tures like Hy­per-V vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion sup­port? You need to ac­cess the Win­dows Fea­tures dia­log box, buried away un­der the Pro­grams and Fea­tures Con­trol Panel. Save time by ac­cess­ing it di­rectly: press [Win] + [R], type op­tion­alfea­tures and click OK.

Switch play­back de­vice

Lost your sound? Want to switch be­tween head­phones and your mon­i­tor’s speak­ers? The quick­est way to change the sound out­put de­vice is to click the vol­ume icon in the Taskbar no­ti­fi­ca­tion area, then click ‘^’ to select your cho­sen play­back de­vice from those in the list. If it’s not listed, right-click the icon in­stead and choose ‘Speaker setup’ > ‘Ad­vanced set-up’ to ac­cess the old-style Sound Con­trol Panel.

Where is the Ac­ces­sories folder?

Click ‘Start’ to browse the pro­gram list for those clas­sic ac­ces­sories – Notepad, Clip­ping Tool, Char­ac­ter Map and so on – and you’ll be left floun­der­ing. The rea­son is Win­dows 10 has re­named the folder Win­dows Ac­ces­sories, so they’re at the bot­tom of the list. Re­mem­ber, it’s just as quick to type the tar­get pro­gram di­rectly into the search box to lo­cate it than man­u­ally scrolling through the list – and that ap­plies to most pro­grams.

Short­cuts to ad­min tools

The Com­puter Man­age­ment con­sole is the place to go if you’re look­ing for a va­ri­ety of core sys­tem tools – De­vice Man­ager, Ser­vices, Disk Man­age­ment, Task Scheduler and Event Viewer all re­side here, for ex­am­ple. All the tools re­side in the C:\Win­dows\Sys­tem32 folder and have a .msc file ex­ten­sion. You can ac­cess Com­puter Man­age­ment via the Win+X menu, or type

comp­mgmt.msc into the Start > Run box. Each tool has its own di­rect short­cut, too, such as de­vmgmt.msc,

ser­vices.msc and eventvwr.msc, which can also be pinned any­where.

Get quick ac­cess to your PC's disk man­age­ment tools

Tra­di­tion­ally, the Disk Cleanup and Disk De­frag­menter tools are trig­gered from short­cut but­tons on a spe­cific drive’s Prop­er­ties win­dow. Save a bit of time by go­ing through Start > Run in­stead – type clean­mgr to launch the former, and dfr­gui for the lat­ter. Type

diskmgmt.msc to launch the Disk Man­age­ment tool for view­ing and par­ti­tion­ing drives.

Unin­stall in bulk

Win­dows’ tools for re­mov­ing apps work on the premise you’ll unin­stall one at a time. They also leave loads of de­tri­tus be­hind. In­stead, In­stall IObit Unin­staller 8 Free (http://www.iobit.com/ ad­vance­dunin­staller.php) and not only can you have the pro­gram scan for left­over files and Registry en­tries, you can also go through your en­tire pro­gram list, place a tick next to each app you want to re­move and then click Unin­stall to in­stall them one af­ter the other. You’ll need to pay at­ten­tion to the unin­stall process – de­cline any prompts to re­boot

"The GodMode short­cut is so-named be­cause it pro­vides one-click ac­cess to the en­tire Con­trol Panel”

un­til ev­ery­thing’s been re­moved, plus click through var­i­ous dia­log boxes that may pop up. Nev­er­the­less, it’s still far quicker than Win­dows.

Copy and paste to the com­mand prompt

Open a com­mand prompt win­dow and you can man­u­ally – and la­bo­ri­ously – copy and paste com­mands within and from out­side the win­dow us­ing the mouse and a right-click. Speed things up by en­abling the [Ctrl] + [C] and [Ctrl] + [V] key­board short­cuts – right-click on the pro­gram tool­bar and choose Prop­er­ties > Op­tions tab be­fore tick­ing ‘En­able Ctrl key short­cuts’.

Registry short­cuts

Registry Ed­i­tor gets in­creas­ingly pow­er­ful with each new Win­dows fea­ture up­date, but some of these short­cuts work in older ver­sions, too. First, it’s com­mon to ac­ci­den­tally go down the wrong branch (HKEY_ CURRENT_USER or HKEY_LOCAL_ MA­CHINE) where many keys are du­pli­cated. If you find your­self in this sit­u­a­tion, sim­ply right-click the key and if there’s an equiv­a­lent at the other branch, you’ll see some­thing like ‘Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE’ en­abling you to quickly jump to it.

Also make use of the Favourites menu should you of­ten re­turn to a spe­cific Registry key. If you have the lat­est ver­sion of Win­dows you can also make use of the new Ad­dress bar – sim­ply copy a Registry key from a web­site or doc­u­ment and then paste it into here to jump straight to the lo­ca­tion in ques­tion.

Power up the con­text menu

Lots of use­ful short­cuts can be found by right-click­ing files and fold­ers, but over time the menus can be­come clut­tered – and yet still lack the op­tions you re­ally want. Easy Con­text Menu (www.sor­dum. org/7615/) fixes both prob­lems. The pro­gram’s main screen splits avail­able op­tions into six main cat­e­gories based on what you’re right-click­ing (from the desk­top to drives, fold­ers or files), with three sub-cat­e­gories in each of­fer­ing loads of use­ful short­cuts.

Once you’ve se­lected your choices, click the Con­text Menu Cleaner but­ton to go through all the con­text menu en­tries added by third-party pro­grams. You can dis­able or even delete un­wanted en­tries to cut the clut­ter. We’ve high­lighted plenty of key­board and sys­tem short­cuts in this fea­ture, but we’ve barely even be­gun to scratch the sur­face of what’s avail­able. Luck­ily, a handy ref­er­ence guide can be found at https://short­cut­world.com – head there in your favourite web browser, then select Win­dows Short­cuts on the left and you’ll see an ex­ten­sive list cov­er­ing what ap­pears to be just apps. Click ‘Win­dows built-in Apps’ un­der the Group sec­tion and you’ll find sec­tions cov­er­ing the com­mand prompt, Run dia­log box, and File Ex­plorer as well as built-in Win­dows apps.

Quickly change sound out­put de­vice di­rectly from the Taskbar no­ti­fi­ca­tion area.

Add your favourite sys­tem short­cuts to the Win+X menu with this user-friendly ed­i­tor.

Place use­ful com­mands and tools within easy rich by adding them to the con­text menu.

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