NEXT STEPS...

8) Avoid ill-timed updates

Ever been smack dab in the middle of a big work project, only to find that Windows suddenly decided it was time to restart and install updates? Nightmare mode!

Fortunately, you have some control over when Windows can go ahead and restart without causing you trouble. From Settings, go to Update & Security and hit the Update Settings. You can set active (work) hours for it to avoid, or you can schedule an exact time later in the day.

9) Rely on the cloud

Got all your files saved locally on a single device? You might want to tap into cloud storage to make them accessible on other devices, or ensure that you have backups handy.

Microsoft makes it dead simple with OneDrive integration: it's accessible from File Explorer, plus you can pick and choose which files are synced up to the cloud and available elsewhere. You get 5GB free storage, and you can buy more or get some with an Office 365 subscription.

10) Save maps offline

Microsoft has its own local Maps program in Windows 10, but it's dependent on internet connectivity for basic usage. However, there is a way round that, in that you can save big chunks of the world offline for access at any time and any place.

Just hit Settings and go to Apps – "Offline maps" is an option listed there. You'll be able to pick the regions you want saved locally, choose where to save them on your PC, and decide what type of connection to let them download over.

11) Play Xbox One games

Your Windows 10 PC may not seem capable enough to play top-end 3D games on its own, but if you have an Xbox One in your flat you can fling those games over to your computer screen.

Just set your Xbox One to allow game streaming and use SmartGlass, and you can then connect the console on your home network via the Xbox app in Windows 10. From there, you'll be able to play on your PC – just use a wired network if at all possible for the best performance.

12) Leave the Night Light on

A heavy day – or rather, evening – of screen usage can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night, as the blue light reduces melatonin production. The Creators Update gives you a way to avoid that fate without having to take the extreme measure of, y'know, shutting down your PC and reading a book instead.

Just hit Settings, System, and Display, and you can activate Night Light, which displays warmer colours to help your body avoid disruption. Better yet, you can schedule it from sunrise to sunset or pick custom hours. And you can also turn it on/off from Action Center.

13) Scrap the Start ads

The Start menu is where you'll find your own apps and games, but Microsoft decided that it should also be the place where it tries to get you to download other programs. But disguised as helpful suggestions or not, the fact is that they're adverts, and they're annoying.

Want them gone? No problem: you can axe these "suggestions" by going to Settings, Personalisation, and then Start. Flip the switch for "Occasionally show suggestions in Start" and you'll never see them again in list or tile form.

14) Let the kids play

Got one or more little terrors running around? They're bound to want to use your PC for games and edutainment apps, but you don't want them mucking around in your stuff… or running into objectionable sights online.

Just go to Settings, Accounts, and select "Family & other people." You'll be able to add an account for a child and choose to block adult content online and in apps/games, limit screen time, and drop some money into their digital wallets. Don't feel that you have to do the last one.

1
2
3