Advanced Tips

15) View file extensions

Windows 10 likes to hide file details to keep things clean and uncluttered, but that leads to the problem where you can't tell two different kinds of files apart… or you double-click a malicious .exe file, for example, that's dressed up as something else.

Want to make sure you always see file extensions listed? Good call. Just pull up the Control Panel, find File Explorer Options within, and find the setting for "Hide extensions for known file types." Turn that off and you're set.

16) Learn new shortcuts

Everything in Windows 10 is available with a click or a tap, but if you're faster with keys, then you'll want to utilise all the latest keyboard shortcuts.

Most of your familiar ones should work fine in Windows 10, but there are new ones as well: Windows key + A opens the Action center, for example, while Windows + C brings up Cortana for voice commands, Windows + Tab brings up Task View, and Windows + Ctrl + D creates a new virtual desktop.

17) Customise gestures

What happens when you tap and swipe your touchpad? Is it exactly what you want it to be? If not, then you should customise what each specific gesture does on your computer.

In the Creators Update, you can go to Settings, Devices, Touchpad and choose what kind of command is registered with each input. If you click on Advanced Gesture Configuration, you can dig deeper with custom three-finger and four-finger inputs. Just be aware that not all devices will have the right kind of input: if yours does, you'll see options for 'Precision Touchpads' listed.

18) Auto-lock when you leave

Always keep your phone in your pocket? Well, if you do, then you can have your PC lock up automatically every time you leave the vicinity of your desk via the new Dynamic Lock feature in the Creators Update.

Simply pair your phone via Bluetooth settings, and then when your phone exits the range of the PC, the computer will automatically toss up the lock screen after 30 seconds. It's not foolproof and it doesn't auto-unlock when you're back, but it can still be handy. And it doesn't even require a Windows phone, since Microsoft realised nobody uses them any more.

19) Tweak the Command Prompt

Most Windows users today will never use the old-school Command Prompt, let alone know where to find it – but it can still allow for powerful access. And if you plan to use it, you'll be happy to know it's been lightly modernised.

You can type in "cmd" from the Start menu to access Command Prompt, and it now offers Ctrl key shortcuts for copying and pasting, for example, along with wrapped text. And you can even customise the colours and other settings by going to "Properties" from the context menu.

20) Limit Cortana's capabilities

You can't turn off Cortana entirely in current versions of Windows 10, but you can effectively hobble the virtual assistant if you don't like the idea of her snooping around your PC.

Start with the "Speech, inking, & typing" section under Privacy in Settings, and turn off speech services and typing suggestions. In the settings of the Cortana app, you can turn off tracking and then clear what Cortana knows about you. Feel free to hide the taskbar search bar, too.

21) Get tips from Tips

OK, this isn't so much an advanced tip as it is an ideal parting shot. The 20 previous tips are all handy ways to improve your Windows 10 experience, but if you need more, Microsoft can help.

The official Tips app should be installed right on your PC already, and it has extensive tutorials on utilising core functionality, digging into creative tools, making the most of games, and even exploring all the benefits of the Creators Update. It's a worthy next step to keep expanding your Windows 10 knowledge.

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