Windows 10 Tips: Increase Your Productivity with These 5 Secrets and Tricks

microsoft windows 10

Windows 10 has been a preferred OS for companies and remote workers for years, with a steady stream of updates and productivity features adding to an already robust system. Whether you use it casually or for your livelihood, Windows 10 can be vastly improved with these 5 hidden features, which have as many applications for event planners and managers as they do for gamers and casual users.

1) Utilize the Secret Start Menu

The Start menu is one of Windows’ productivity revolutions that made it a home name in simplified computing. Not having to open command prompts or access databases to find files and run applications is part of the original sales pitch for the entire Microsoft system.

Even though you can simply click on your Start menu to run your most recent applications, search for files, or even do a quick web search, the secret Start menu gives you just a bit more command with a robust list of nitty-gritty system management stuff that you can access from one convenient menu.

The secret Start allows you to review your apps & features, access the task manager, view your system and updates, settings and power sonsumption, your device manager, your network connections, and more. All these useful technical menus are already on your computer, but in separate places, many in the control panel.

By right-clicking on the Start icon or simply by pressing the Windows Key + X, the secret Start menu pops up on the left of the screen and allows you to manage your power, network, tasks, devices, settings, and more from a single menu.

Who should use it: Gamers that need to update devices, manage power consumption, and improve their PC’s graphics management can do everything from the secret Start menu. Anyone who needs to install new devices or run multiple tasks will appreciate it as well.

2) Event Creation Made Simple

Creating events in your calendar helps you stay on top of your schedule. The latest Windows update improves the calendar’s utility by allowing you to add events to your schedule directly from the taskbar. You don’t have to search for your calendar icon at all.

Click on the box with the time and date in it on the right side of your taskbar. This will bring up a mini calendar. Click on the date of your event, and type the event, location, and time directly into this menu that appears below the calendar. Remember to click “save.” This will update your calendar across all your synced devices with reminders of your new entry.

Keep in mind that if you keep multiple calendar schedules, you’ll need to select which one this event goes to. Click the down arrow next to where you’re typing the event’s title to see your available calendars.

Who should use it: Event planners, managers, and anyone who works from their computer can make use of the streamlined calendar in the latest Windows update.

3) The Many Methods of Taking a Screenshot

Screenshots have a wealth of utility in the modern work environment. Not only can you save important screens, but you can annotate them for how-to articles like this one, communicate information with a team, give a demonstration, or even show technical support the exact problem you’re having. Screenshots are therefore just as essential for collaborative work as for technical troubleshooting.

Most users don’t realize that they have multiple ways to take screenshots in Windows 10 for different situations. No fewer than 7 different methods are available to get the information you need. Here are the three most useful:

use print screen shortcut in windows 10
  • Print Screen Cheats – Labeled on the keyboard often as PrtSc, next to the Delete key, can be pressed to automatically capture what’s on your screen. This command doesn’t save the image, however, so you’ll need to paste it somewhere like Word or Paint first. Press the Windows key at the same time you press PrtScn to automatically take the shot and save it to your Picture folder. Just go to your pictures folder to see them inside of the “screenshots” folder.
    • Bonus tip: Search your Settings for Ease of Access, click on Keyboard, and find the option that says, “Use the PrtScn button to open screen snipping” to do exactly that. It’s way more convenient.
  • Snip & Sketch – A Windows app that you can search for or easily call up by pressing the Windows key + Shift + S. In your apps list, it shows up as “Screen snip.” This panel saves screenshots to your clipboard and easily lets you annotate and share them.
  • The Snipping Tool = Not to be confused with the above, this is the older version that we’ve had for a while. Since Vista, the Snipping Tool has made screenshots easy to save and manipulate with an intuitive freeform cursor box. You can expand it to take only the part of the screen you want and save it to your screenshots folder. It just takes additional time and clicks compared to the updated version.

Who should use it: Finding the best way to take screenshots is extremely useful for people on a collaborative team who want to show their screens to each other, people who need to contact IT support with a specific problem, or anyone that needs to write a how-to or demonstration for their employees.

4) Optimize Your Storage

Even if you have a 2TB hard drive, you need to know how to optimize storage and usage to get the most out of your processor. Computers slow down when their hard drives fill up, but you can optimize how your computer uses apps, especially in the background, to give your computer more storage to run programs.

You can view how much processing power individual apps take to run from your Settings menu. Click on System and then Storage, the drive you want to see, and then Apps & features. This will show you a list of everything on your computer and how much space they require to be stored. Just by getting rid of old games you no longer play (you can always download them again) or outdated apps, you can free up space for your computer to run more efficiently.

Who should use it: Gamers that want the most from their laptops can free up space to run their new purchases by uninstalling old ones. Anyone who feels their computer is running slowly may want to check their storage to see if they can free up space.

5) Turn Off Some Background Apps

Most users think only about the foreground when using their computers. However, the background and the programs running even when you aren’t actively clicking on them can be used to your advantage in Windows 10.

One way is by shutting them off or choosing which continue to run. Applications can receive updates, give notifications and run in the background while you are not actively using them. This can slow your computer down because it will be using up RAM. Go to Settings, click Privacy, and then find Background apps. Look for this button that says, “Let apps run in the background.” You can turn them all off or go down the list and choose which ones are important.

find background apps in windows 10 step 1

find background apps to optimize windows 10 speed

The Takeaway

Windows 10 offers users many productivity features without hiding them. However, it doesn’t advertise the features that are hidden and many of them could make our lives easier if we knew about them. These 5 secrets can increase the productivity of a collaborator or planner, improve the storage of a gaming PC, or even simply make browsing and taking screenshots more useful.

See also: How to Make Your Laptop Last Longer

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