Here are some common tasks in Windows 10 that you should be aware of. Most of these apply to earlier versions of Windows as well but might look slightly different. Click on one of the links below to navigate to what you wish to learn.
- Switching between windows
- Permanently deleting files
- Cannot see Recycling Bin, Control Panel, etc. on Desktop
- “Pin” an item to the taskbar.
- Snipping Tool/Taking Screenshots
- Making a .pdf file
- Changing resolutions on an extended monitor
- Changing your wallpaper
- Running Windows updates
- Getting rid of Malware
Switching between windows
In the example above, Microsoft Paint and File Explorer are open. Note how a white box can be seen around the “Untitled-Paint” window. If you let go of the Alt key now, you will now get to the Paint window. If you want to get to the File Explorer window, hold the press Tab again (Note: press not hold). The white box will now move to the File Explorer window and when you release the Alt key, you will switch to that window. The above example contains only 2 different windows; you can have a number far larger and be able to switch between them. Just follow the white box!
Delete your files permanently (Warning: You will NOT be able to recover your files after this; make sure you know if you really want to do this)
You may be used to deleting your files with Right click -> Delete or by selecting the file and pressing the Delete key. This sends your deleted files and folders to the Recycle Bin. If you frequently delete files, you will end up with a really large Recycle Bin. The files in the Recycle Bin can still be recovered, and will take up space on your computer unless you remove them from the bin as well. To permanently delete your files, select them like you normally do. Now, hold the Shift and Delete keys on your keyboard together. You will see a window like the following:
Click Yes. An alternative is to delete it normally (i.e. send it to the Recycle Bin) and then remove it from the Recycle Bin. Locate the Recycle Bin (usually present on your desktop) and open it. Locate the file you wish to permanently remove, right click it, and then click on Delete. This will again display the same window as in the above picture.
Recycle Bin, Control Panel, etc. hidden on Desktop
If you cannot find your Recycle Bin on your Desktop, you can enable it from Control Panel. On Windows 10, there is a quick way to do it. First, press the Windows key on your keyboard or click on the Windows button on your desktop to bring up the start menu. Start typing “Show or hide common icons on the desktop”. You should see the option show up as soon as you type the first few characters. Click on the search result (pictured below).
You will now see a window titled “Desktop Icon settings” (pictured below):
A check mark indicates that the item is visible on your Desktop. Click on the box corresponding to the icon you wish to display on your desktop. Click OK to save changes.
How to pin an item to the taskbar
Pinning an item to the taskbar gives you quick access to that program. (You may notice that File Explorer is pinned by default on most machines) This is useful if you use the same programs a lot. To do this, locate the item in Start Menu -> All apps. If you use the program a lot already, it might be under “Most Used” as shown below:
Right-click the program and you will see a menu with the option “Pin to Start” with a pin symbol next to it. Click on that option and you should see the program pinned on the taskbar. Alternatively, you can drag and drop a program onto the taskbar to pin it if you are browsing File Explorer. To remove it from the taskbar, simply right click the pinned program and click on “Unpin from taskbar”.
Taking screenshots: Snipping Tool and more
Snipping Tool is an in-built software in Windows that you can use to take and edit screenshots. It’s very easy to learn how to use it if you’ve never used it before. Programs have moved around in Windows 10; if you cannot find Snipping Tool, here’s how you can do so.
You can also take a screenshot by pressing the PrtSc (Print Screen) button on your keyboard. This will copy the current screen to the clipboard that you can then paste in an image-editing software like Microsoft Paint to save as an image file. Press Alt+PrtSc if you wish to only copy the current window.
Alternatively, you can press the Windows key + PrtSc to directly save the image to your Pictures folder. This will save it in a sub-folder named “Screenshots”.
Browsers in Windows 10
You may notice something new in your applications, desktop or elsewhere – Edge. Edge is the recommended browser from Microsoft, intended to replace Internet Explorer. Edge comes by default with Windows 10 and cannot be removed from your computer. However, you are in no way obligated to use this particular browser. You can still use the one that you are comfortable with, like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc. You may have pinned your browsers to your taskbar that will not work anymore after the Windows 10 upgrade. This does not mean that the browser itself will not work. You can remove the broken link on your taskbar, locate a working shortcut and pin it to the taskbar and use it like you normally do.
How do I make a .pdf file?
There are several different ways to create a .pdf file.
- Making a pdf file from a webpage: While on the webpage you wish to print, press Ctrl+P. You will be prompted to print the current page.
Click on the “Change” button. Now you will see a list of printers installed on your device. Select “Save as pdf” from the list.
On the next screen, click “Save”. Note that the steps may look slightly different depending on what browser you are using, but most browsers should have the option to print to .pdf.
- Converting a document: You may use this option if you want to save your Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. document as a .pdf file. To do this, open your document, click on File -> Save As.
On the next screen, select “pdf” from the drop-down menu at the bottom. Now click Save. You now have a .pdf version of your document.
- If you wish to convert images to a pdf, your best option would be insert the images into a Word document and follow Step 2. Another option is to use a dedicated software or online resource that lets you convert the file. You can easily find such resources by searching for “Image to pdf converter”.
How do I use a different resolution on each of my monitors?
In earlier version of Windows, you may have run into some difficulty with the size of things you see on your screen if you were using a dual-monitor setup that involved one monitor being larger than the other. Windows 10 offers an easy fix for this – you can now apply a percentage-based scaling to all your connected monitors. To do this, click on the Start menu, and click on Settings.
Now click on “System” in the next Window that appears.
You will now be directed to the following screen:
Here you will notice all your connected displays. In the setup above, you will notice that there are two monitors, and the “Extend these displays” option is selected. In the extended display setup, the second monitor acts as an “extension” to the first, and you can have different windows open on each. In the panel above, you can drag a given monitor around to adjust how you get from one monitor to the next. In the example above, to get from monitor 1 to 2, the user has to move the cursor to the right edge of the screen. If you wanted to change this setup, you would simply have to drag the box with “1” or “2” around. If you do not know which monitor is which, click on “Identify” and the corresponding number will be displayed on each monitor.
To change the scaling on a given monitor, click on the number it corresponds to; this will turn the box blue. Now adjust the slider as shown in the red box in the above screenshot until you achieve a desired size. Next, you may want to restart your computer. This will fix common errors like the taskbar or certain portions of the screen being hidden.
How do I change my wallpaper?
To change your wallpaper, right click on your Desktop and click on Personalize. You will see the following screen. You can click on “Browse” and select a picture that you wish to set as your wallpaper.
How do I update my computer?
Windows 10 automatically downloads and installs updates for you. Unlike previous versions of Windows, updates are not optional. You may be prompted at times to restart your computer. You can select a time that works for you and Windows will restart at that time. You can also manually restart to finish installing updates.
All genuine versions of Windows come with Windows Defender. It is completely free, and offers you protection against malicious programs infecting your computer. Windows Defender is just another program installed on your computer and you can find it the same way as you would any other program. See this link for instructions. The main screen looks like this:
Windows Defender offers you real-time protection and monitors all the activity on your computer to detect any suspicious activity. Most threats will be handled automatically, and you may sometimes be prompted to select which action to take. If this does happen, Quarantine will be your best option. It may also be a good idea to run a manual scan every now and then. Simply click “Scan now” in the Home screen of Windows Defender.
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