Even if you’ve been using Windows 10 for a while, there are likely more than a few non-obvious features that you’ve never tried before. We’ve picked ten of them, and each one will help you get the most out of your PC.
Do you have a PC with Windows 11? Also check out our favorite Windows 11 features.
Emoji selection menu
If you’re a big emoji fan, there’s an easy way to add emoji to any document. To do this, press Windows+period (“.”) on your keyboard. In the small menu that opens, you can scroll through the full list of available emojis in Windows 10. When you find the emoji you want, click on it and Windows will paste it into the text box you’re working on.
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If your Windows workspace is feeling crowded, virtual desktops can help you manage your open windows and organize your desktop by task or topic. To add a new virtual desktop, click the Task View icon on your taskbar or press Windows+Tab. In Tasks view, click the New Desktop button at the top of the screen. (If you don’t see any virtual desktops in Tasks view, make sure they’re enabled in Settings > System > Multitasking.) Now that you have another desktop to work on, you can switch between desktops at any time in Tasks view switch Click on the thumbnail of each desktop.
TIED TOGETHER: How to quickly switch between virtual desktops on Windows 10
Instant timestamp in editor
If you enjoy taking notes in Windows 10’s built-in text editor, Notepad, you’ll enjoy this quick tip. To get a date and time stamp in Notepad, press F5 on your keyboard at any time. Or you can select Edit > Time/Date from the menu bar. From that moment on, the current time and date will appear immediately at the position of your cursor. Very convenient!
TIED TOGETHER: Why Notepad is still great for taking notes
Cut out & sketch
This built-in app can take screenshots of any area of your screen and can also take a screenshot of an entire webpage at the touch of a button. To start Snip & Sketch, press Windows+Shift+S on your keyboard. Or you can open the Start menu and type “Snip & Sketch” and then press Enter or click the icon. To create a screenshot, click on the “New” button in the toolbar and then use the mouse to mark the desired area. You will see the result in the window and you can save it by clicking the “Save” button (a floppy disk icon) on the toolbar.
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Windows “Time Machine” backup
A built-in Windows 10 feature called File History backs up your files every hour by default, but you can change the frequency to just every 10 minutes. It’s similar to Time Machine on a Mac. To turn on File History, press Windows+i to open Settings, then navigate to Update & Security > Backup. Under “Back up with File History,” click the “Add a drive” button and select a drive (usually an external drive) where you want Windows to store backups. You can configure File History settings by clicking More Options under Update & Security > Backup.
TIED TOGETHER: How to use Windows File History to back up your data
Screen capture with Xbox Game Bar
Xbox Game Bar is one of Windows 10’s most powerful secret weapons. It’s designed for gamers, but anyone can enjoy its features, including a handy screen recording tool. To use it, press Windows + G to open the game bar. From the Game Bar main menu, click on the small “Capture” icon (which looks like a camera). In the Capture window, use the capture button (a small circle in a button) to start recording your screen. Click Stop Recording when you’re done. You can find the video file in your videos folder.
TIED TOGETHER: How to record screen on Windows 10
The power user menu
The hidden Power User menu, accessed by pressing Windows+X on your keyboard or right-clicking the Start button, gives you quick access to some of Windows’ most important tools and settings, like Task Manager, Device Manager, Event Manager, Disk Management, Network Connections and more. It even includes sleep and shutdown options, and you can quickly open File Explorer with a couple of clicks. (Bonus tip: Try also pressing Windows+E to open File Explorer.)
TIED TOGETHER: How to access Windows 10’s hidden power user menu
If you need a break from notifications, Focus Assist can help. While this option is enabled, notification popups will not appear in the corner of the screen. To enable it, click the Action Center icon (which looks like a word bubble) on the far right of your taskbar. Then click the Focus Assist button. If you don’t see a Focus Assist button, click Expand at the bottom of the Action Center. In Settings > System > Focus Assist you can choose to have Focus Assist turn on automatically at certain times, or customize what notifications you want to see while Focus Assist is on. Turn it off anytime with the same action center button.
TIED TOGETHER: How to use Focus Assist (Do Not Disturb Mode) on Windows 10
Don’t you hate it when you try to paste something and realize you’ve already cleared the clipboard by copying something else? Luckily, Windows 10 has a built-in feature called Clipboard History, which you can enable in Settings > System > Clipboard by toggling “Clipboard History” to “On”. Once you’ve done that, seeing your clipboard history is as easy as pressing Windows + V at any time. If you toggle “Sync across devices”, you can share your clipboard history with other Windows computers that you’re signed in to with the same Microsoft account.
TIED TOGETHER: How to enable and use clipboard history on Windows 10
If you work late into the night, night light mode can help reduce eye strain by making your screen appear warmer. It can also temporarily help increase your melatonin levels so you don’t disrupt sleep.
To enable it, open the Action Center and click the “Night Light” button. Or you can open Settings and navigate to System > Display and toggle the switch next to Night Light to On. If you click on “Night light settings” in the same menu, you can adjust the color of the warm tint and even schedule the night light to turn on and off automatically at certain times of the day. Nice dreams!
TIED TOGETHER: How to enable night light on Windows 10
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