Windows 10 cheat sheet | Computerworld


When it was first launched in July 2015, Home windows 10 was the very best working system to come back alongside from Microsoft in a very long time. A shape-shifter that modified its interface relying upon whether or not you have been utilizing a conventional laptop or a touch-based one, it undid the injury wrought by Home windows 8, together with eliminating the awkward Charms bar and bringing again the long-mourned Begin menu.

Home windows 10 launched many different key options as nicely, together with the Edge browser, the Cortana digital assistant, hyperlinks to Microsoft’s cloud-based OneDrive cloud storage service, and many extra.

That’s to not say that Microsoft acquired all the things proper out of the gate. The corporate has honed these options, added new ones, and scrapped some that didn’t work out because it rolled out 11 main updates to Home windows 10 since its preliminary launch. This story relies on the Home windows 10 November 2021 Replace (model 21H2), so the options described right here and the screenshots you see could differ from what you see in case you have an older model of Home windows 10. I will cowl all the things you should know, and I’ve additionally supplied quick-reference charts itemizing helpful keyboard shortcuts, touchscreen gestures, and touchpad gestures.

Word: If you wish to get essentially the most out of Home windows 10, you may have to make use of a Microsoft ID as your consumer account. With out a Microsoft ID, you will not be capable of use quite a lot of Home windows 10 apps or sync settings amongst a number of units. So while you arrange Home windows 10 for the primary time, register with an current Microsoft ID or create a brand new one.

Earlier than I get began, a couple of phrases about some terminology you may have to know. Microsoft has sowed huge confusion with a set of light-weight apps that have been initially designed for the Home windows 8 touch-oriented Begin display interface. It first known as them Metro apps, after which by means of the years modified their names to Fashionable apps, Home windows Retailer apps, after which Common Home windows apps. Now it is settled merely on Home windows apps, though at instances the corporate additionally calls them Common Home windows apps. On this article, I will discuss with them as Home windows apps.

What about apps designed for the desktop? Microsoft now calls them Home windows desktop functions. On this article I will name them desktop functions for simplicity’s sake.

The Begin menu

The loudest criticism that desktop customers had about Home windows 8 was the loss of life of the Begin menu. In Home windows 10 it is again with a vengeance. If you use Home windows 10 on a desktop or laptop computer, you boot immediately into the desktop. Click on the Begin button on the decrease left of the desktop to convey up the Begin menu — command central for conventional PC customers. (Those that use Home windows 10 on a pill will as an alternative see a Begin display; extra on that later within the story.)

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The Begin menu is command central for Home windows 10. (Click on any picture on this story to enlarge it.)

The menu is split into two sections. Down its left facet you may discover the next:

All Apps: Up on the prime left of the display is a “hamburger menu” (three parallel horizontal strains) that when clicked is a toggle for turning on or off a listing of all Home windows apps and desktop functions. (By default, the record is turned on.) On the very prime of the All Apps record you’ll discover apps you’ve lately put in. Simply beneath which can be all of the apps and functions in your PC, in alphabetical order. Click on any app to run it.

Proper-click any app and also you’ll see a listing of the information you’ve lately opened in it. Click on the file to open the applying or app, with the file loaded into it.

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The leap record for Excel reveals the information you’ve lately opened.

In some circumstances you’ll see a folder with a down arrow subsequent to it fairly than an icon. Which means there are a number of choices there — for instance, to run the Dropbox app or go to the Dropbox web site. Click on the folder to point out all of the choices, then click on the choice you need to run. (Additionally observe that in some situations, there shall be a folder, however while you click on it, you solely get one possibility, to run the app or software.)

Account: Down towards the underside left of the display is a set of stacked icons, beginning with an icon in your consumer account. Click on it to signal out of Home windows, lock your PC, or change your account settings. If you select to alter your account settings, you may be despatched to a display that permits you to change your account image, your password, and a wide range of different settings.

Paperwork, Photos, Settings, Energy: These icons on the backside left of the Begin menu aren’t any thriller: Paperwork opens the Paperwork folder utilizing File Explorer; Photos opens the Photos folder utilizing File Explorer; Settings brings you to the Home windows Settings app (extra on that later); and Energy enables you to put your PC to sleep, shut it down, or restart it. Click on any icon to run it.

In the event you’re confused about which icons are for Account, Paperwork, Photos, Settings, and Energy, simply hover your mouse over any of them. The icons disappear and are changed by textual content labels.

The proper facet of the Begin menu has tiles for Home windows apps and desktop functions. Click on any tile to run the app related to it. They’re grouped into classes together with Productiveness and Discover, after which, in case you have extra apps than slot in these two, they’re grouped into unnamed classes beneath that. New tiles shall be added to the unnamed teams as you put in new apps and desktop functions.

(Word that if you happen to’re utilizing an enterprise version of Home windows 10, your IT division could have configured different groupings, corresponding to productiveness functions or assist instruments, to look on the best facet of the Begin menu. In some situations, your PC producer could add its personal classes. For instance, on my Evoo laptop computer, there’s an OEM class — not a very clever use of branding, it should be admitted.)

Some tiles are “reside” — that’s, real-time info will get piped into them. So the Mail tile, for instance, reveals your newest e-mail, the Climate reveals the climate and so forth. Solely Home windows apps have reside tiles. Desktop functions, corresponding to Microsoft Workplace, do not. Every group of tiles is three columns large, with most tiles taking over one column by default.

The Begin menu is extremely customizable. To alter its top, hover your cursor over its prime edge till a two-headed arrow seems, then drag it up or all the way down to broaden or shrink it. On some Home windows 10 installations you are able to do the identical factor on the proper fringe of the menu to broaden it to the best or shrink it again once more, though this does not work for everyone.

To rename a gaggle of tiles, click on the group title and kind in a brand new title for it. You may as well transfer tiles across the Begin menu by dragging them from one group to a different, or, to create a brand new group, drag tiles to a clean space on the menu. You possibly can title any unnamed group by clicking on the clean space above it and typing in a reputation.

You may as well widen the teams within the Begin menu in order that tiles take up 4 columns fairly than three. To do it, from the Begin menu choose Settings > Personalization > Begin, and within the “Present extra tiles on Begin” setting, transfer the slider to On. The tiles will now take up 4 columns, however to benefit from the additional house you’ll should manually drag tiles to the fourth column.

You possibly can personalize many different points of the Begin menu from this Settings web page, together with whether or not to point out your most used apps on the prime of the All Apps record, have the Begin display run full display, and extra.

If you right-click a tile, a menu pops up. This is the place issues get a bit complicated, as a result of not each Home windows app and desktop software has the identical pop-up menu, and relying in your set up you may need to click on Extra to see a few of these choices. Most have some mixture of those decisions:

Unpin from Begin: Choose this and the tile vanishes from the Begin menu.

Resize: As you’ll count on, this allows you to resize the tile. You possibly can select Small, Medium, or Massive, and a few tiles even have a Vast selection that makes it span two columns in its group.

Flip reside tile off: This stops real-time info from streaming into the tile. If it is already off, you may get a Flip reside tile on selection.

Pin to taskbar: Because it says, this pins the app to the taskbar. If it is already pinned, you may get an Unpin from taskbar selection.

App settings: This results in a display that permits you to change the app’s settings, corresponding to whether or not to permit it to run within the background or get entry to your microphone.

Uninstall: This uninstalls the app. Some Home windows apps created by Microsoft, corresponding to Skype and Solitaire, cannot be uninstalled. Nevertheless, over time, Home windows 10 has allow you to uninstall extra built-in apps than beforehand, together with Mail, Calendar, Sticky Notes, and others.

Fee and evaluate: This feature is accessible just for apps downloaded from the Microsoft Retailer. It brings you to a web page that permits you to price the app on a one-to-five-star foundation and write a evaluate. The ranking and evaluate seem within the app’s description within the Microsoft Retailer.

Share: This allows you to share a hyperlink to the app utilizing a wide range of strategies, together with e-mail, Twitter, and others.

Run as an administrator: This allows you to run the app or software as an administrator.

Open file location: Opens File Explorer to the folder the place the applying lives.

Some Home windows apps produce other decisions as nicely, relying on their functions. For instance, right-click the This PC app and also you get decisions corresponding to mapping or unmapping a community drive.

In the event you’ve enabled the “Most used” record of apps on the left facet of the Begin menu, you may right-click the icons for these apps in addition to the File Explorer, Settings, and Energy icons beneath them. Home windows apps and desktop functions on the “Most used” app menu sometimes have comparable decisions to these already outlined (with some hidden underneath the “Extra” submenu). As well as, you would possibly discover these choices:

Pin to Begin: This strikes the app from the “Most used” record to the best facet of the Begin menu.

Run as a distinct consumer: This allows you to run the app as somebody aside from the particular person at the moment logged in.

Do not present on this record: Takes the app off the “Most used” record.

Cortana and Home windows search

Home windows 10 introduced Microsoft’s Siri-like digital assistant Cortana to computer systems. (It was first launched on Home windows Telephones in 2014.) By the years, Cortana has gone by means of vital adjustments on Home windows 10. At first, it turned intently built-in with Home windows Search, and its outcomes appeared within the Search field. It additionally was given a substantial quantity of energy, in a position to do issues as numerous as taking part in music and controlling your property’s good home equipment.

However these days are gone. Microsoft has dramatically reduce on Cortana’s options, and it’s not intently built-in into Home windows and Home windows Search. Now, Cortana is its personal app that works like every other Home windows 10 app, together with working in a resizable window that may be moved across the display.  

The one method to make use of Cortana is to run the app. Begin it by clicking the Cortana icon within the taskbar simply to the best of the search field, urgent the Home windows key + C, or saying “Hey, Cortana.” You possibly can then communicate your search, or kind your search into the app.

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Cortana is not built-in with the Search field; it now shows leads to its personal window.

If you ask Cortana an easy query or challenge an easy command, Cortana shows the outcome onscreen and reads it to you. Nevertheless, if you happen to ask a extra sophisticated query that requires a show of net hyperlinks, Cortana will present the hyperlinks within the Edge browser.

To be sure that Cortana responds to “Hey Cortana,” click on the Begin button and choose Settings > Privateness > Voice activation. Flip the slider on in Enable apps to make use of voice activation, then scroll all the way down to “Select which apps can use voice activation” and within the Cortana part, flip the slider on for Let Cortana reply to “Cortana” key phrase. If you wish to use Cortana even when your laptop is locked, transfer the slider on subsequent to Use Cortana even when my machine is locked.

After that, click on the Cortana button to the best of the Search field to launch the app. Click on the three-dot icon on the prime left of the display after which click on the Settings button (it’s within the form of a gear) and choose Keyboard shortcut. From right here you may select whether or not to have Cortana reply solely to the Home windows key + C shortcut, or additionally through talking.

You may as well take away the Cortana button to the best of the search field. Proper-click the taskbar and uncheck Present Cortana button from the menu that seems.

(You possibly can even flip off the search field on this method. Proper-click the taskbar, choose Search, and click on Hidden.)

Though Microsoft has scaled again Cortana, there are a variety of issues it will probably do for you. The most effective is the way in which it will probably remind you about duties or upcoming occasions. It’s simple to set a reminder — simply say or kind in plain English what you need to be reminded about, for instance, “Create a reminder for my weekly Tuesday 2pm Zoom assembly.” To ensure that Cortana to pop up alerts in regards to the reminders you’ve set, you should activate Home windows 10’s notification characteristic. To do it, go to Settings > System > Notifications & actions after which flip the slider on within the Get notifications from apps and different senders part.

For extra about utilizing Cortana, see “4 fast suggestions for Cortana in Home windows 10.” And for a have a look at the place Cortana is headed, see “Cortana defined: The rocky previous and promising way forward for Microsoft’s digital assistant.”

Utilizing search

The Home windows 10 search you’ve been used to for the reason that working system was launched has modified over time, notably when Cortana and Search went their very own methods. So even if you happen to suppose you know the way it really works, you may want a refresher, which I’ll present right here.

To do a search, kind it into the Search field on the backside left of the display, or in case you have a Search icon there fairly than a field, click on the icon and kind in your search on the display that seems. (To make the search icon seem, right-click the taskbar and choose Search > Present search icon. To have the Search field seem there as an alternative, right-click the taskbar and choose Search > Present search field.) Search makes use of the Bing search engine to look by means of your information, your Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage, your movies and music, the apps in your PC, your settings, your e-mail, and the net. If you do a search, a collection of tabs seems throughout the highest of the display:

  • All shows all search outcomes.
  • Apps reveals any app-related matches.
  • Paperwork reveals paperwork in your PC that match the search.
  • Net shows outcomes from the net.
  • Extra reveals outcomes from different locations, together with particular person folders, e-mail and apps together with Music, Individuals, Photographs, Settings, and Movies. You’ll should click on the down arrow subsequent to Extra to see all of them.
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Search reveals leads to a flyout mini-browser.

The Search field may be helpful even if you happen to don’t do a search. Put your cursor in it and also you’ll see a listing of the apps you most incessantly use, in addition to a listing of “Fast searches” you may click on to get information, climate, occasions that occurred right now in historical past, and coronavirus developments. Click on a search or app to open it.

Placing your cursor within the search field additionally enables you to do focused searches — you may restrict searches to only apps, paperwork, the net, and extra. Click on the suitable tab on the prime of the display and kind in your search.

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Put your cursor into the search field to see your most-used apps and to do focused searches.

By default, Search solely appears by means of a restricted choice of default libraries and folders together with OneDrive, Paperwork, Downloads, Music, Photos, Movies, and Desktop. It received’t discover information saved in different areas in your PC. Nevertheless, you may change that. Go to Settings > Search > Looking out Home windows, and within the “Discover My Information” part, choose Enhanced. That can inform Home windows to look by means of your total PC. If there are folders you need to exclude from the search, go to the “Excluded Folders” part, then click on Add an excluded folder and browse to the folder you don’t need to search.



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