Windows tips

Use Linux on Windows 10

If you are someone who has moved from Linux to Windows 10 then you are going to love the transition. Windows 10 now ships with Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and it allows you to access the Linux Bash Shell just like you had on your Linux-based distribution. The project is still in beta, but it’s very promising as you get to interact with the real Linux Kernel and not some virtual machine. Further, Microsoft has improved WSL and brought the latest WSL 2 with support for multiple distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE, and Kali Linux. So go ahead and enjoy Linux on your Windows 10 computer without any limitation.

Learn Useful Touchpad Gestures

My work requires me to use both Mac and Windows on a regular basis. One of the things that I used to miss a lot about macOS operating system whenever I was using Windows was the gestures. All that changed after Microsoft released full support for touchpad gestures in Windows 10. Now, if your laptop is using Windows precision drivers, you will get access to a ton of built in gestures on your PC which will make it easier for you to navigate the user interface, and switch between apps. The new gestures include using two-finger swipes to scroll through a document or web page, three-finger swipes to switch between apps and launching the multitasking view, four finger swipes to move between virtual desktops and a number of other gestures and taps. To find what all you can do with the touchpad on your Windows 10 machine and disable or enable these gestures, just go to Settings -> Devices -> Touchpad and interact with the options present there. I am telling you, once you have mastered the gestures, you will never be able to go back. If you learn one Windows 10 tip from this article, let it be this one.

Use Storage Sense to Manage Storage

One of my favorite new features in Windows is its ability to automatically delete temporary and junk files. This feature is not enabled by default so you will have to go back into the Settings app to turn it on. To enable this feature, go to Settings -> System -> Storage and turn on the toggle under the “Storage Sense” option. With this turned on, Windows will automatically delete unnecessary files such as temporary files and files in your trash to release storage on your device. You can further customize this action by clicking on the “Change how we free up storage” option below the toggle. This feature is especially meant for people who are always running low on disk space. On the other hand, if you accidentally deleted a file or folder, click on the link to find out how you can recover deleted files on Windows 10.

Turn on Night Light

Another small but nifty addition to Windows is a feature called Night Light. What this feature does is that it removes all the blue light from your screen which is a big reason behind why we remain awake late at night. If you work on your laptop in the night and don’t want it to affect your sleeping habits, you need to turn this feature on. You can either manually enable this feature whenever you want to or you can schedule Night Light which will enable this feature at a specific time of day. To enable Night Light, go to Settings -> System -> Display, and turn on the toggle next to Night Light. You can also configure the intensity of Night Light and schedule its time by clicking on the “Night light settings” option marked in the picture below.

Quickly Access Emoji Keyboard

Emojis have become more popular than anyone could have ever imagined and while it’s easier to access them on a mobile device, there is no apparent way to quickly access emojis on your Windows machine. Not many people know about this feature, but Windows 10 actually allows you to quickly access an emoji keyboard with just a few clicks. All you need to do is enable this feature first. To access emoji keyboard first enable the virtual keyboard button by right-clicking on the Taskbar and clicking on the “Show touch keyboard button”. Now, whenever you want to access emoji keyboard, first click on the touch keyboard button in the bottom right and then click on the emoji symbol. Here, you can select and use all the emojis that you want to. But before you start using emojis, remember to learn the emoji meanings so you don’t send the wrong emojis and make a fool of yourself.

Turn on Dynamic Lock

If you are someone who constantly forgets to lock his Windows PC whenever he moves away from it, then this tip can save you a lot of hassle. When turned on, this feature will automatically lock your system whenever you walk away from your work-desk. Basically, the feature uses Bluetooth connection with your phone to determine if you are near it or not. Once your phone is out of the range when you walk away, your system will automatically lock down. You can enable this feature by going to Settings -> Accounts -> Sign-in Option and turning on the “Dynamic Lock” feature. Once you enable this feature, you will have to pair your smartphone to your Windows PC if you have not already done so. I really love this feature and I cannot explain how many times it has saved me a trip back to my PC just to lock it down. If you are half as forgetful as I am, you should definitely enable this feature to save your information from prying eyes.

Turn on the New Screenshot Tool

Since I write a ton of how to articles I take a ton of screenshots on a daily basis. Previously, taking a screenshot on Windows was not as intuitive as users had to jump through a lot of hoops if they wanted to capture a part of the display and not the entire display. However, the new screenshot tool alleviates this problem by giving users more control. As it is with most of these features, it is not turned on by default and you will have to enable it by going into Settings. Just go to Settings -> Ease of Access -> Keyboard and turn on the “Print Screen Shortcut”. Once you have done this, whenever you hit the Print Screen button you will be presented with three options. You can either capture the entire desktop, capture a part of the desktop, or capture a part of the desktop in free form. Once you capture the screenshot it will open in a window where you can also easily annotate it, and share it with anyone you want to.

Privacy Settings

If you are concerned about your privacy and don’t want Microsoft to attain certain types of information on your (such as location data, getting to know you features, and more), then it would do you good to spend some time in the Privacy Settings to figure out what you want and don’t want to share with the company. First of all, go to Settings -> Privacy -> General and turn off all the toggles if you don’t want Windows to track users habit and show you suggestions based on your behavior. Then go to “Inking and typing personalization” and turn it off. This will restrict Windows from tracking your typing and inking history. Similarly, you can click on other options such as “Diagnostics and Feedback”, “Activity History”, and more to disable sharing of your information that you don’t want to. To be fair, Windows records your usage to give you a better service, however, if you are not comfortable sharing your information with Microsoft, you should certainly switch these things off.

Record Screen using Xbox app (Built-in Screen Recorder in Windows 10)

Not many users know this but Windows 10 allows you to record your screen without any external app. In fact, not only you can record video but also both system and mic audio. The feature is called “Game Capture” however it works with any app that you are using. I have used this app to record countless short tutorials for my friends and family. I love this feature as it is very easy to invoke. All a user needs to do is hit the “Windows+G” keyboard shortcut and a recording menu will open. Here you can set your preferences and then hit the record button to start your recording. While this tool is not really feature rich, it definitely is easy to use, and being available natively makes it one of the best tools for capturing and sharing a small recording of your Windows PC.

Enable Dark Mode

One of the most requested features by Windows users has finally been introduced in Windows 10. Users can now easily enable Dark mode by going to the Settings app. To enable dark mode go to Settings -> Personalization -> Colors and scroll down and enable the dark mode. What I love about the dark mode here is that it’s truly dark so you are not getting that dark gray color which you generally see on other operating systems. Also, since this is a system enabled dark mode, all your navigation panels in every app, including Settings, File Explorer, and more turn to dark mode. That said, the feature still needs refining especially in the File Explorer as currently, it makes it a little hard to find things you’re looking for.