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5 must-know Windows 10 tips and tricks

Brad Chacos | July 30, 2015
Windows 10 is finally here, and Microsoft's latest, greatest operating system is chock full of tricks and tweaks that can enhance your experience--and tailor Windows to your personal needs. Here's a look at five of the most useful.

Windows 10 is finally here, and Microsoft's latest, greatest operating system is chock full of tricks and tweaks that can enhance your experience--and tailor Windows to your personal needs. Here's a look at five of the most useful.

Make Cortana more useful

The Cortana digital assistant is one of Windows 10's highlight new features, but she truly shines if you take the time to tell her your interests. Open Cortana and select the Notebook icon in her left-hand pane. From there, browse each section to tailor your preferences for specific news topics, alerts, and even the types of restaurants you like. You'll be glad you did.

Oh, and be sure to ask Cortana these questions. You'll be glad you did that, too.

Tap into Cortana's smarts while you're browsing

Did you know Cortana's built into Windows 10's new Edge browser, too? You may have missed it, because the notification alert when she's available is pretty subtle.

When you're surfing the web, Cortana will sometimes pipe up when she has helpful supplemental info. For instance, she may offer driving directions and Yelp review information when you're browsing a restaurant's site. Look for a blue Cortana icon with "I've got more info" to appear in the browser bar when it's available. There's no chime or in-your-face pop-up beyond the easy-to-miss text, however--so pay attention!

Master virtual desktops

Rejoice, fellow geeks: Multiple, virtual desktops have finally made their way to Windows!

The Task View button in the taskbar will show all your created virtual desktops--you can seemingly summon as many as your hardware can handle--as well as windows showing the software currently open in your active desktop. You can move open windows from one desktop to another by opening Task View and simply dragging-and-dropping the program onto another virtual desktop. Dragging a program over to the New Desktop button will (you guessed it) create a new virtual desktop to house your open window.

Bring back Metro

Does the return of the desktop make you yearn for Windows 8's Start screen? (You monster!) You can force Windows 10 to use the touch-friendly interface--replete with full-screen Windows Store apps--by opening the Action Center in the lower-right corner of the taskbar, then selecting Tablet Mode. (Don't worry, it looks less janky on actual PCs than it does in the low-resolution virtual machine I used to snag this screenshot.)

Search for "Tablet Mode settings" in Cortana for more options, such as the ability to enter Tablet Mode by default when Windows boots, or to shift to it when you're using a 2-in-1 device as a tablet. (Microsoft calls that Continuum.) If you like the Start screen-like effect but still want to use the rest of the traditional desktop, you can simply expand the Start menu to full-screen using the button in its upper-right corner.

 

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