Few things in life are predictable. Unfortunately, one has buggy updates to Windows. After each major update, you will see numerous messages about broken drivers, Fritz features, and the Blue Screen of Death.
These updates also bring vital security fixes, so skipping them altogether is not your best move. Updates can also speed things up, although you may need extra help if your computer logs every task. Tap or click here for smart, easy ways to speed up your machine.
Speaking of smart tips, I like to share ways you can get more out of your technology. If you have an iPhone, don’t miss these 10 iPhone tricks that you will use all the time.
Now that all the refractions have been developed by the big fall Windows update, it’s time to pick up the best new test drive features.
First, you need to update
Is the Windows 10 October update installed on your computer? Here’s a quick and easy way to check. Hits Windows key + R, then enter winver in the field that pops up. Choose Okay. The latest version is 2009, compilation number 19042.572.
If you haven’t already, you can update Windows 10 by opening it Settings, click on Update and security, then click Windows Update. From there, you’ll be able to see if new updates are available for download. If not, just click Check for updates to force the process.
You are now ready to start using these new features.
PRODUCTIVITY HACK: Keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10 that you need to know
1. Customize the Start menu
The ability to choose an accent color to customize Windows 10 is nothing new, but the update brings an additional twist. You will now be able to switch between Light or Dark as the default mode for Windows and default application mode.
The default Windows mode changes the color of the taskbar and the Start menu. The default application mode changes the color of windows and folders.
To switch between light or dark mode:
- Choose Get started in the lower left corner
- Click on Settings (gear icon)
- Choose Personalization, then click Colors in the left menu
- Under Color Selection, you can select both Light or dark mode, or a combination of both
From there, you can choose an accent color for all your windows and colors.
Professional advice: Access this even faster with the mouse. Right-click on the desktop and select Customize. Click on Colors and follow the last step above.
2. View all your open windows and tabs
If you have a lot of windows open, the taskbar may be cluttered with shortcuts and applications. There’s a much faster way to see which windows are open without having to search the taskbar.
This trick is a favorite of the time, but now Alt + Tab also shows all your open browser tabs. (Note: Works for Microsoft Edge only.)
To try, press and hold Alt , then press Section key. Windows will show you a snapshot of the open.
While holding down Alt, you can select a window or by tapping Section or using the mouse cursor. To close a window, just click x in the upper right corner of the visualization.
SO LONG, GOOGLE? Edge has a handy new search feature that can make you discard Chrome
3. Switch to tablet mode if you have a Surface Pro or Surface Book
Your Surface Pro or Surface Book can magically transform from a computer to a tablet with a few clicks. This setting is great when you need a device that is more comfortable to touch and super easy to navigate. It also makes the use of Windows applications designed for tablets work better.
Switching between tablet and computer mode is extremely easy:
- Choose Action center in the taskbar. This is the speech-like icon, in the far right corner, next to the clock.
- Below the notifications are several options, which include Wi-Fi connections, flight mode and screen trimming.
- Look Tablet mode. Tap it to switch.
- To return to computer mode, just follow the same steps.
Note: This feature only works if your device has a touch screen.
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4. Change the refresh rate of the display
The refresh rate of your monitor determines how smooth the movement appears on the screen. This is especially important when playing graphics-intensive video games, but you’ll also notice it when you drag open windows around.
The monitors support different refresh rates specified by the manufacturer and model. In general, a 60Hz monitor can display images at 60 frames per second.
If your graphics are lagging, make sure your screen has the maximum refresh rate:
- Click Start button in the lower left corner, then select Settings (gear icon).
- Click on The system, then Display. This should open automatically or select it from the left menu.
- Scroll down to the second to last option, Advanced display settings.
- If you are using dual monitors, select which monitor you want to change from the drop-down menu.
- IN Update speed drop-down menu, you will see several refresh rate options supported by your monitor.
- Just click on the desired refresh rate and close the window.
SEE CLEARER: Optimize your monitor settings with this free tool.
5. Attach tabs to the taskbar
Like pinning a calculator, cropping tool, or your favorite app to the taskbar, the latest update allows you to pin sections of a website. The feature provides easy and instant access to the websites you visit most often without starting your browser.
Note: Again, this only works with Microsoft Edge.
To fix tabs:
- Open Microsoft Edge and find the website you want to pin.
- In the upper right corner, click Settings (the three points).
- Move and hold the mouse cursor More tools.
- Click Hang on the taskbar and select the title you want to appear when you hover over the pin.
As a bonus, you can follow the steps above, but instead of clicking Fix to the taskbar, select Start the Taskbar Fix Wizard. Edge will take a few seconds to analyze your browsing habits and make some suggestions for websites to attach to you. Convenient!
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Learn about all the latest technology at The Kim Komando Show, the largest weekend radio talk show in the country. Kim takes calls and spreads tips on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.