16 ESSENTIAL Windows 10 tips and tricks to help you make the most of Microsoft’s new OS
Now the Windows 10 rollout has calmed down, now’s the time to start tinkering with your Windows setup to make it function exactly like you want it to.
As with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, Microsoft has included some fantastic features with Windows 10. However, sometimes what you know best is better than getting to grips with something new, so here’s 15 tips and tricks to make your Windows 10 system run exactly like you want it to.
1. Turn off Windows Explorer’s “Quick Access” view
While Quick Access is great for finding a recently or commonly used file or folder, those who just want to find something quickly on their computer might prefer the “This PC” view from Windows 7 and Windows 8. Thankfully, you can switch Explorer to this arrangement in just a couple of simple steps.
Open File Explorer
Click View then Options on the far right. The “Folder Options” menu will appear
Next to the “Open File Explorer to” option, select “This PC” from the dropdown menu
Click Apply then OK to confirm the change
2. Ditch Bing and start searching with Google
Since Bing is the default search engine for Microsoft Edge and the Windows 10 search bar, it’s hard to get away from Microsoft’s search engine. However, despite improvements and Microsoft’s best efforts to force Bing upon Windows users, Google will always reign supreme.
While totally removing Bing from Windows 10 is impossible, you can kick it out of Edge and clumsily replace it in the Windows 10 search bar.
How to remove Bing from Microsoft Edge:
Open Edge and select the ellipsis on the right
Go to Settings, then “Advanced Settings”
Under “Search in the address bar”, change the default option to “Add New”
Here, you’ll see a list of available search engines. If the list is empty (as it tends to be), navigate to your browser of choice and repeat the process. You should now see it listed as an available provider
How to remove Bing from the Windows 10 search bar:
Open Chrome and download “Bing2Google” from the Chrome App Store
Now, when you perform a Windows 10 search, Chrome will boot up and take you through to a Google search. Thankfully, you don’t lose any standard Cortana or device search functions by doing this, either
3. Make Cortana recognise your voice
Don’t fancy clicking on Cortana’s search and typing in your query? You can simply ask Cortana a question. To do so, you first have to enable it to respond to the sound of your voice by saying “Hey Cortana”. Bear in mind that you may be asked to set up your microphone to use this feature if Windows doesn’t think it’s compatible.
Here’s how to set up Hey Cortana:
Click into Notebook (the icon underneath the Home button in Cortana’s side menu)
Scroll to find the “Hey Cortana” toggle switch and turn it on
4. Stop Microsoft Edge Browser opening everything by default
Microsoft’s replacement for its creaking Internet Explorer browser is a welcome change, but it’s eagerness to open everything as the default app is not.
However, you can stop Windows 10 using it as default – and set defaults for all your other applications.
Open Settings and go to System
Towards the bottom of the options, you’ll find “Default Apps”
Here, you can reassign defaults for a whole array of services and applications and even assign them by the type of file they open
5. Take control of Windows 10 updates
While Windows 10 may remove much of the effort when it comes to updates, it also has a terrible habit of resetting your computer at the worst times. While you can delay some updates if you’re running Windows 10 Pro, Home users have no choice but to succumb to Microsoft’s update will.
Fortunately, there’s a way to make this process a little more palatable, saving your internet bandwidth as well as your open documents. You’ll still get Windows 10 updates Microsoft deems “essential”, but you’ll stop seeing app updates and updates to Start screen tiles.
Here’s how to set Windows 10 to reduce update downloads over Wi-Fi and warn on resets:
Open Settings and go to “Network and Internet”
In WiFi, click “Advanced Options”
Under “Metered Connection”, toggle the “Set as metered connection” switch on.
Go back to Settings and select “Update & Security”
Choose “Advanced Options”, then use the dropdown menu to select “Notify to schedule restart” instead of Automatic. Now, you’ll be notified when Windows 10 is about to restart so you can stop it.