Microsoft Windows has dozens of helpful and time-saving features, but the average user may not be aware of all of them. As you use Windows more and more, it’s helpful to discover new features that can make your day-to-day tasks easier, or let you accomplish tasks in ways you didn’t even know were possible. You might know about some of these cool Windows features, but there are many others you likely aren’t aware of yet! 11 Hidden Windows Features You Should Know About
- Search For Anything
While most people are familiar with Windows 10’s default search (Cortana), it’s also possible to search for files on your computer using something called Windows Search. Just enter a search term, then click Search my stuff to get started.
- Copy Files From One Drive To Another
Using Command Prompt, you can copy files from one folder to another without using your OS’s file explorer or drag and drop functionality. Just right-click on a folder in Command Prompt and choose Copy Here. After that, right-click on a different folder and choose Paste Here. Easy as pie!
- Search For Files By Type
Rather than searching by filename, which can often be misleading (particularly with MP3s), Windows now supports file type searches. Just search for *.pdf to find all PDFs on your computer. More importantly, you can also look for images, music and videos in a similar fashion. Note that you’ll need to do a right-click search to take advantage of these features.
- Find Recently Accessed Programs And Documents
This is a lesser-known feature that’s available in both Windows 7 and 10. First, you need to head to your Control Panel. Then, click on either Performance and Maintenance or Programs depending on which version of Windows you’re using.
- Lock Your Computer, Log Off, Or Switch Users
Right-click on your desktop and select Lock from the menu that appears. Selecting Lock will put your computer into a sleeping state until you log in again. Alternatively, if you’re using Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can press Win+L to lock your computer instead of right-clicking. Pressing Win+L again will unlock it. Logging off puts your PC to sleep and logs you out of all apps and sessions.
- Open A File On A Network Drive In One Click
If you work on a network with many shared drives and folders, it can be a real pain to find and open them every time. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to set up your computer so that opening files on shared drives or in shared folders just takes one click.
- Open Multiple Remote Computers At Once With Remote Desktop Connection
The ability to remote into a computer from another has been in Windows since XP, but there’s a hidden feature that you may not be aware of: you can connect to multiple computers simultaneously. The process is fairly straightforward: From within Remote Desktop Connection, right-click a remote computer and select Connect To > Create New. Then, either enter a new name for an additional connection or just use an existing one.
- Take A Screenshot Of Your Entire Screen Or Part Of It
Screen-shotting tools are a dime a dozen. There’s no need to download additional software if you don’t want to; there’s already an easy way built into your operating system.
- Use The Second Monitor As Extra Storage Space
It’s easy to forget about your second monitor when you’re doing work, but it can really help speed things up. If you find yourself using a graphic-intensive program like Photoshop, have that program open on your second monitor—you’ll notice a significant difference in performance between having that data stored on your laptop and accessing it over an external hard drive. This is also great for checking Facebook while working.
- Organize Files Into Folders Inside Other Folders
Create nested folders within other folders by dragging a file onto another folder and holding down shift while you drop it. For example, if you have a Projects folder in your Documents folder, you can create an additional Office Projects folder inside it by holding down shift and dragging a ProjectX file into that main Projects folder. To access files inside nested folders, click on them in File Explorer.
- Customize The Number Of Recent Items You See In The Start Menu
The Start menu shows you 20 of your most recently used programs, folders and files. To change that number, open a command prompt and type regedit to open Registry Editor. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer. There should be a key labeled NumberOfRecentlyUsedApps which determines how many apps appear in Recent Documents list.