Use virtual desktops
If you’re using just one screen for work, split your apps across multiple desktop panels. Just click into Task View from the taskbar and then add and swap between desktops there, or use Windows + Ctrl + the left and right arrows to quickly move between them.
Let the kids play
Got one or more little terrors? They’re bound to want to use your PC for games and edutainment apps, but you don’t want them running into objection able sights and frights online. Just go to Settings > Accounts and select ‘Family & other people’. You’ll be able to add an account for a child and choose to block adult content, limit screen time and drop some money into their digital wallets.
Avoid ill-timed updates
Sometimes Windows kindly decides to restart and install updates while you’re on a deadline. Fortunately, you can control when this happens to ensure it doesn’t cause you trouble. From Settings, go to Update & Security and hit Update Settings. You can set active work hours for it to avoid, or you can schedule an exact time later in the day.
Improve battery life
Want to squeeze some extra stamina out of your laptop? Battery Saver disables unnecessary background functions, and can also auto-dim screen brightness. Click on it in the Action Centre, or find it in Settings > System.
Boost your gaming
You might want to tap into Game Mode to reallocate your laptop’s resources and help towards a stable frame-rate and smoother experience. Just hit the Gaming section under Settings and you should notice the difference.
Tame your notifications
If you want to limit the junk that appears in Action Center and on your lock screen, go to Settings > System > Notifications & actions, and choose which apps can or cannot pester you.
Get Cortana Listening
Microsoft’s digital assistant is baked right into Windows 10, but by default she can’t hear you unless you click the microphone icon. You can change that: click the search bar, click the settings gear, and activate Hey Cortana.
Limit its snooping
Start with the ‘Speech, inking, & typing’ section under Privacy in Settings, and turn off speech services and typing suggestions. In the settings of the Cortana app, you can turn off tracking and then clear what Cortana knows about you.
Customise your menu
Tweak the Start menu to your liking by clicking and dragging along the edges to make the menu wider or taller, or right-click on apps to pin and unpin them as well as resizing them. And if you hate tiles, just unpin them all and have an old-school list.
Get rid of ads
Sick of Microsoft’s ‘suggestions’ clogging up your Start menu? Axe these ads by going to Settings > Personalisation and then Start. Flip the switch for ‘Occasionally show suggestions in Start and you’ll never see them again.
Learn new shortcuts
Everything in Windows 10 is available with a click or a tap, but if you’re faster with keys then you’ll want to utilise all the latest shortcuts. Windows key + A opens the Action Center, while Windows + Tab brings up Task View, and Windows + Ctrl + D creates a new virtual desktop.
Use gesture controls
What happens when you tap and swipe your touchpad? Is it exactly what you want? If not, then you should customise each specific gesture on your computer to your liking. Go to Settings > Devices > Touchpad and choose what kind of command is registered with each input. And if you click on Advanced Gesture Configuration you can dig deeper with three-finger and four-finger inputs.
Leave the night light on
Late-night screen usage can make it harder for you to fall asleep, but you can avoid that fate. Hit Settings > System > Display and you can activate Night Light, which displays warmer colours to help your body avoid disruption.
Windows 10 added a dark theme that switches to black folder backdrops and it’s a lot easier on the eyes than the glaring white. Just hit Settings go to Personalization and then Colours, and you’ll find the Light/Dark option near the bottom of the list.