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Nine Essential Windows 10 Hidden Features

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Windows has been released for several months now and that has given inquisitive users plenty of time to discover undocumented and unpublicized Windows 10 features. These features range in functionality from useless to essential. We’ve sorted through the long list to give you several that we’ve found to be most useful.

God Mode

godmode

While it sounds like it belongs in a video game, God Mode legitimately exists in Windows 10. In fact, it can be found in many versions of Windows. So what does it do? It provides access to all Settings and Control Panel functions in one place. No need to hunt through menus and dialog boxes to find the settings you want.

To enable God Mode, follow these directions.

  1. Create a new folder on the desktop.
  2. Give it the following name, without the quotation marks:
    “GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}”
  3. Press Enter to confirm the change and the folder’s icon will switch to that of the Control Panel’s.

Make Google the default search engine for Cortana and taskbar search

taskbar_search

By default, the Windows 10 taskbar search feature uses Bing for web searches even though many would prefer to have the ability to change that to Bing. While Microsoft allows you to change the default search engine for the Edge browser, it isn’t so easy for Cortana or the taskbar search. Thankfully, there is a workaround to getting Google search results from the taskbar search.

  1. Set Google Chrome as your default internet browser.
  2. Download and enable either the Chrometana or Bing2Google extension. Both redirect Bing searches to Google.
  3. Web search results in taskbar search will now open Google instead of Bing.

Add the Control Panel to your Start menu

control_panel

As veteran Windows users know, the Control Panel is a place of power. From it, you have access to a number of wide-ranging settings and configuration tools. It is a shame then that the Control Panel is conspicuously missing in Windows 10’s Start menu—by default, anyway. The good news is that you can add it without too much trouble.

  1. Search for “Control Panel” in taskbar search.
  2. When you see the Control Panel appear in the results, right-click and choose Pin to Start.

Print to PDF

print_to_pdf

This feature allows you to “print” or rather save a page as a PDF document. Anytime you have the option to print something, you also have the option to save it as a PDF file. To use it, choose the Microsoft Print to PDF option under the Destinations or Printer dropdown.

If Microsoft Print to PDF does not appear on the print screen, you can add it manually.

  1. Navigate to the Printers & scanners tab found in the Devices program.
  2. Select Add a printer or scanner.
  3. Choose The printer I want isn’t listed and in the next window select Add a local printer or network printer with manual settings.
  4. Click Use an existing port and select FILE: (Print to File).
  5. Under Manufacturer, navigate to Microsoft and under Printers find Microsoft Print to PDF.
  6. Click Next to add it as a printer option.

Scrolling background windows

hover_scroll

In Windows 10, you have the ability to scroll any Window regardless of whether or not it is your active window. If you have three internet browser windows open, you can still scroll all three even when only one is active. This feature should be enabled by default, but if not you can enable it manually in the Mouse & trackpad configuration tab in the Settings tool. Make sure the option for Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them is set to On.

Fetch files from anywhere using OneDrive

onedrive

In Windows 10, OneDrive more closely resembles what we had in Windows 7 than Windows 8.1. It now allows you to make files on your Windows 10 PC accessible from anywhere you can log onto OneDrive.com. This feature was removed in Windows 8.1. To enable fetch, follow the directions below.

  1. Right-click the OneDrive icon in your system tray and choose Settings.
  2. Under the Settings tab, enable the Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC option.
  3. You can access files from your PC as long as it is turned on and connected to the internet.

Video recording

game_dvr

Microsoft allows you to capture and record gameplay with the Game DVR tool found in the Xbox app. However, you can extend its recording functionality to other programs as well. In addition to capturing video off the screen, the tool also captures your microphone so that you can add live voice recording. To enable recording of a game or other program, press the Win + G keys while in a program. Unfortunately, you cannot record your entire desktop and minimizing or closing the program will end recording. Some programs such as File Explorer cannot be recorded.

File History

file_history_2

Windows 10 features a file backup function that utilizes an external hard drive to automatically save files in your User directory, which includes the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktops folders. Over time it will save multiple versions of your files, so that if you lose or damage a file down the road, you can retrieve an earlier version.

To enable File History:

  1. Connect an external hard drive and navigate to the Backup tab in the Settings app.
  2. Click on Add a drive and select your external storage drive.
  3. Once you’ve added a drive, make sure the option to automatically back up files is set to On.
  4. To change settings such as backup interval and folders included in the backup, click on More Options.

See which apps are using the most disk space

storage_sense

Storage Sense allows you to see how much storage space you are using and how it is being used. if you ever find yourself short on storage space, you can see exactly what you need to delete to get some of it back.

  1. Launch the Settings app and click on System.
  2. On the left pane, go to the Storage tab.
  3. You can see how much space is used on each connected drive and clicking on a drive will provide a breakdown of how much space is used by different types of content, including system files, apps, documents, pictures, videos, and more.

There are plenty more undocumented features to be found in Windows in addition to the ones mentioned above. Given time and experimentation, users will likely uncover more and more. Let us know in the comments if you’ve found Windows 10 hidden features that you think others should know about.

Summary
Nine Essential Windows 10 Hidden Features - HardBoiled
Article Name
Nine Essential Windows 10 Hidden Features - HardBoiled
Description
Windows 10 comes with a plethora of features, including a few hidden ones. We discuss several Windows 10 hidden features that you should be using.
Author
Wallace Chu

Wallace Chu

A self-professed tech hipster that loves computers and music. Uses an iPhone ironically.

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