Windows 10 is for sure, Microsoft’s most refined operating system released to date. Bringing the stability of Windows 7 (which hit end-of-life status at the beginning of 2020), Windows 10 continues to deliver a modern, yet familiar layout; greater interconnectivity with cloud infrastructure and dedicated application eco system.
Be sure to check whether your system is up to date, as Microsoft releases patches for security and even provides new features to the operating system to make it more useful to your everyday life.
If you long to make your Windows 10 installation have a more “familiar” feel to it like Windows 7 did, keep reading. We have as solution to that and few other tips to make Windows 10 feel less daunting and more productive for you.
Get the Start Menu You Like – Easily
Windows 10 makes sure you can’t ignore the brand new, boldly coloured, tiled layout of the now iconic, Start Menu. Some of these “tiles” provide real-time information from your calendar and email in an “at-a-glance” format of taking in your day’s tasks or communications. Having the tiles move, brings a “kinetic” feel to an otherwise “static” experience.
Want to make that Start Menu, express itself to you with full color Pantone® passion? Navigate with your mouse or trackpad to Start > Settings > Colors and go through the options until you find that shade that suits you.
To curate your favourite list of applications in the tiled Start Menu grid, simply select the “Start” section and customize which apps are visible in your grid.
If you prefer the familiarity of the Windows 7 look, replicate the experience by going to Start > Settings > Start, and move every slider to the off position, except “Show app list in Start menu.” This will restore the more familiar Windows 7 layout that some have become accustomed to.
Regardless of your style of Start Menu, another great tip, would be to select the option labelled, “Choose which folders appear on Start” in the settings menu. This way you can give yourself quick access to your most-used folders and files to decrease the time you need to spend searching for them.
Use the New Search Feature
Hands down, the search function in Windows 10 brings simplicity to an otherwise complex operating system. It is amazing how much confidence you have with Windows 10, when you can find what you are looking for.
Gone are the days of only using search to find only files you might have put in the wrong place. The new Windows 10 search brings your applications, files and far flung areas of your operating system settings, right to your fingertips in a matter of seconds. This is a definite productivity accelerator.
The search in Windows Explorer works just fine also. Especially if you are still in the habit of dragging files into the wrong folders.
On-Task, On-The-Ball, On Your Time
Windows 10 allows you to zone into your day’s tasks without distraction using the Focus Assist feature. Set your working hours and choose whether you want no distractions, or just to be notified about “the important stuff.”
Get started with this feature using your newly discovered search function, type: Focus Assist. Alternatively, you can head to Start > Settings > Focus Assist
A great additional feature of Focus Assist is the option to prevent notifications when your screen is duplicated, for example, during a presentation. This can help save the presentation, your reputation and image in a single click.
Despite your best efforts to shut out the world thanks to Focus Assist, sometimes, you do need to keep in touch with specific application notifications and people. In that instance, you can create a “Priority Only” option.
To put this into effect, under “Priority Only”, select “Customize your priority list.” Here, you can designate the applications and people that work WITH your focus and not against it.
Everything else will literally wait until your focus time has elapsed. Your action center will summarize the events for you.
A Few More Pro Tips to Boost Your Windows 10 Productivity
Just those three Windows 10 features should serve you put you on a good, productive start. However, we have only but scratched the surface of the features available to you in Windows 10. If we had to pick three more tips to share with you, it would be these:
- Storage Sense– Save your hard drive life and storage space with this handy feature. This feature is a clever merge of the old Disk Cleanup feature and the Delete Temporary files feature. The goal of never running out of space is closer in your grasp.
- Use Hot Keys For Speed – Hot Keys or keyboard shortcuts allow you to keep your fingers on the keyboard and reach for the mouse less, whereby improving your speed at executing commands. For example, to execute a search, use the Windows key +S and start your search. Snap two applications to either side of your screen by selecting one application with your mouse and use Windows key + Left arrow key to pin that application to the left of the screen. In the process, Windows may snap your other application to the right of the screen automatically or provide you a graphical selection of which application you would prefer to use pinned to the right of your screen.
- Save Your Eyes and Monitor – A bright monitor taxes your eyesight over time. Save your eyeballs, battery life and your monitor with the Windows 10 Dark Mode or theme selection. Put it into use by going to Settings > Color and choose “dark” as the default app mode. Continue next to Settings > Ease of Access > High Contrast. Then, on the right, enable the “Turn on High Contrast” option and set the “Choose a Theme” dropdown to the “High Contrast Black” setting. Click “Apply” and you are done. Your Microsoft Edge browser can also be made to match your new dark theme. Open the browser and click the icon with three dots at the far-right side, and then select the “Settings” option. In the “Choose A Theme” drop-down menu, choose the “Dark” option. Similar options are available for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers.
Learn more tips and acquire the expert advice you need with us to flatten your learning curve of Windows 10.