The 15 ESSENTIAL Windows 10 tips and tricks you need to know before install

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  1. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    Upgraded to Microsoft's latest OS and need some pointers? These are the tips you can’t be without

    Having finally struck gold with Windows 10, Microsoft is really pushing its latest operating system by giving it away to upgrading users for absolutely nothing.

    With Windows 10, Microsoft has brought in a raft of new features and tweaks, meaning that, whether you’re completely new to Windows or you've upgraded from Windows 7 or 8.1, there are plenty of new features to learn. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the 15 Windows 10 tips and tricks that you really – and we mean really – need to know.

    1. Make Cortana recognise your voice
    [​IMG]© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited
    Don’t fancy clicking on Cortana’s search and typing in your query? You can simply ask Cortana a question. To do so, you first have to enable it to respond to the sound of your voice by saying “Hey Cortana”. Bear in mind that you may be asked to set up your microphone to use this feature if Windows doesn’t think it’s compatible.

    Here’s how to set up Hey Cortana:

    Open Cortana

    Click into Notebook (the icon underneath the Home button in Cortana’s side menu)

    Click Settings

    Scroll to find the “Hey Cortana” toggle switch and turn it on

    2. Turn off Windows Explorer’s “Quick Access” view
    While Quick Access is great for finding a recently or commonly used file or folder, those who just want to find something quickly on their computer might prefer the “This PC” view from Windows 7 and Windows 8. Thankfully, you can switch Explorer to this arrangement in just a couple of simple steps.

    Open File Explorer

    Click View then Options on the far right. The “Folder Options” menu will appear

    Next to the “Open File Explorer to” option, select “This PC” from the dropdown menu

    Click Apply then OK to confirm the change

    3. Take control of Windows 10 updates
    [​IMG]© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited
    While Windows 10 may remove much of the effort when it comes to updates, it also has a terrible habit of resetting your computer at the worst times. While you can delay some updates if you’re running Windows 10 Pro, Home users have no choice but to succumb to Microsoft’s update will.

    Fortunately, there’s a way to make this process a little more palatable, saving your internet bandwidth as well as your open documents. You'll still get Windows 10 updates Microsoft deems “essential”, but you’ll stop seeing app updates and updates to Start screen tiles.

    Here’s how to set Windows 10 to reduce update downloads over Wi-Fi and warn on resets:

    Open Settings and go to “Network and Internet”

    In WiFi, click “Advanced Options”

    Under “Metered Connection”, toggle the “Set as metered connection” switch on.

    Go back to Settings and select “Update & Security”

    Choose “Advanced Options”, then use the dropdown menu to select “Notify to schedule restart” instead of Automatic. Now, you’ll be notified when Windows 10 is about to restart so you can stop it.

    4. Stop Microsoft Edge Browser opening everything by default
    Microsoft’s replacement for its creaking Internet Explorer browser is a welcome change, but it’s eagerness to open everything as the default app is not.

    However, you can stop Windows 10 using it as default – and set defaults for all your other applications.

    Open Settings and go to System

    Towards the bottom of the options, you’ll find “Default Apps”

    Here, you can reassign defaults for a whole array of services and applications and even assign them by the type of file they open

    5. Ditch Bing and start searching with Google
    [​IMG]© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited
    Since Bing is the default search engine for Microsoft Edge and the Windows 10 search bar, it’s hard to get away from Microsoft’s search engine. However, despite improvements and Microsoft’s best efforts to force Bing upon Windows users, Google will always reign supreme.

    While totally removing Bing from Windows 10 is impossible, you can kick it out of Edge and clumsily replace it in the Windows 10 search bar.

    How to remove Bing from Microsoft Edge:

    Open Edge and select the ellipsis on the right

    Go to Settings, then “Advanced Settings”

    Under “Search in the address bar”, change the default option to “Add New”

    Here, you’ll see a list of available search engines. If the list is empty (as it tends to be), navigate to your browser of choice and repeat the process. You should now see it listed as an available provider

    How to remove Bing from the Windows 10 search bar:

    Open Chrome and download “Bing2Google” from the Chrome App Store

    Now, when you perform a Windows 10 search, Chrome will boot up and take you through to a Google search. Thankfully, you don’t lose any standard Cortana or device search functions by doing this, either.
    6. Make your active windows more noticeable
    Windows 10 may look sleek and stylish, but when you’ve got multiple windows open its design is terrible, since the active window is never really highlighted.

    Microsoft is aware of the issue and is working on a fix, but you can make things easier on yourself in the meantime by adding a subtle border to your active window.

    Right click on your desktop and select Personalise

    Select Colours

    Turn off “Automatically pick an accent colour from my background”

    Select an accent colour you’ll recognise most against your Windows 10 background; your windows and highlighted points will all change

    7. Remove the Windows 10 login screen
    [​IMG]© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited
    Now that Windows 10 knows more about you than ever before, it makes sense to keep your profile behind a password or biometric lock. However, it’s endlessly annoying to boot up your desktop or laptop, walk off to do something and come back to discover it still hasn’t booted into desktop and loaded startup apps because of your lock screen.

    While we don’t recommend completely removing your password and security logins, it can be done with just a little brute force via the Windows tweaker’s favourite tool: the command prompt.

    In the Windows 10 search bar, type “CMD” and select "Command Prompt"

    Type “control userpasswords2” into the box and hit enter

    A "User Accounts" pop up will appear. Uncheck the tick box at the top that reads “users must enter a username and password to use this computer”

    You’ll be prompted to enter and confirm your password to change the settings. Once done, you’ll never have to log in to your computer again
    8. Have Windows 10 play DVDs
    If you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1, playing DVDs is a cinch – your video licence will have been carried over from the previous OS. However, if you’ve purchased a new laptop or desktop that runs Windows 10, you’ll discover you can’t play DVDs at all.

    Microsoft has a solution in the form of a Windows DVD Player app on the Windows Store. The app is free until 29 July 2016, but after then it’ll cost a hefty £11.59.

    9. Disable Flash in Edge at the flick of a switch
    [​IMG]© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited
    Adobe Flash changed the face of the web. It was often slow and cumbersome – forcing you to wait for Flash-heavy sites to load – but it opened the doors to a whole new world of website design. It was exciting and fresh, for all its technological failings. Now though, Flash is a buggy, lumbering nuisance with security holes aplenty. It has had its time in the sun.

    If you’d like to keep Edge browser running silky smooth and without security holes, you can turn off Flash at the flick of a switch.

    Open Edge and click the ellipsis in the right corner

    Select Settings and scroll until you can click “View Advanced Settings”

    Toggle “Use Adobe Flash Player” to off

    10. Streamline your notifications
    [​IMG]© The 15 ESSENTIAL Windows 10 tips and tricks you need to know
    Windows 10 likes to let you know what your apps and social feeds are doing. While this can be really useful, it becomes annoying to deal with when you have a lot of active apps and programs.

    Luckily, Microsoft realises not everybody wants notifications from Windows Feedback or other preinstalled apps, so it lets you choose the apps you want to hear from.

    Open Settings and go to System

    In System, select “Notifications & Actions”

    Here you can toggle notifications from every app on your computer

    You can also click on an app to tailor what type of notifications it shows you when notifications are enabled


    11. Snap windows together at the press of a button (or two)
    Windows 7 brought us the wonder that is window snapping with Aero Snap, a feature Apple has only just rolled out with OS X El Capitan. While Windows 8 refined the feature, Windows 10 has outdone it entirely by allowing you to snap together four windows and apps. The best bit? You can do it all with just two key presses and no fuss.

    Windows Key + Up = Snap active window to top

    Windows Key + Down = Snap active window to bottom

    Windows Key + Left = Snap active window to left

    Windows Key + Right = Snap active window to right

    12. “Print” documents to PDF
    [​IMG]© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited
    Not so much a trick as a tip for those who hadn’t already noticed: Windows 10 finally lets you “print” documents to PDF. No more installing a third-party app to save a web page or document for use offline; now you can select PDF as a printing output option to have Windows 10 export documents into Adobe’s indispensable file format.

    13. Extend your laptop’s battery life
    Microsoft has introduced a new Battery Saver tool into Windows 10, helping boost your laptop or tablet’s battery life if you fall below a certain threshold.

    You can find Battery Saver settings through Settings > System > Battery Saver and Battery Saver Settings. In these menus, you can have Windows automatically switch to Battery Saver mode when your charge falls under a certain level, disabling push notifications and lowering screen brightness in the process.

    Handily, Microsoft also allows you to exempt apps, meaning they’ll run as normal regardless of your settings.

    14. Turn off Microsoft’s worrying “Wi-Fi Sense” functionality
    [​IMG]© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited
    Microsoft has what it believes is a handy system for sharing your home wireless network with friends. Anyone who’s in your contacts list automatically gets your Wi-Fi password, meaning when they come round to your house or office they’ll automatically connect to your network without needing to bother you with the password.

    While Microsoft says this is completely safe, with users unable to access networked storage or any other sensitive data, alarm bells should be ringing.

    If you’d like to keep your home network unclogged from your friends’ Instagram feed and YouTube streaming, Microsoft allows you to turn this functionality off via “Share network with contacts” when you first connect to a new network. However, this doesn’t stop other Windows 10 users from sharing this information when they connect to your home network.

    If you want to completely remove your wireless network from Windows 10’s Wi-Fi Sense scheme, you actually have to rename your network’s SSID to include “_optout”, which is less than ideal.

    15. Windows Key shortcuts you HAVE to know
    We all know our Ctrl + Alt + Del and Windows Key + D shortcuts, but with Windows 10 Microsoft has included a new set of incredibly useful keyboard shortcuts that you need to commit to memory right away.

    Windows Key + A = Open "Action Centre"

    Windows Key + S = Open Search

    Windows Key + C = Open Cortana in listening mode

    Windows Key + Tab = Open "Task View"

    Windows Key + Ctrl + D = Opens a new virtual desktop

    Windows Key + Ctrl + Right/Left = Cycle between open virtual desktops

    Windows Key + Ctrl + F4 = Close current virtual desktop

    Windows Key + G = Opens "Game Centre"

  2. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    How to recover deleted text messages on your Android phone

    If you've deleted your SMS inbox you have to act quick, because the messages are only until the portion of memory on which they are saved is rewritten. The longer you wait, the higher the likelihood that deleted text messages, app updates or who-knows-what will be obliterated forever. Here's how to recover deleted text messages on Android.

    Tools to recover deleted text messages
    There are a couple of different PC and Mac-based tools to help you through this part of the process which we've detailed below.

    The particular tool you choose will depend on your personal preference, but they basically do the same thing: scan your Android's memory, then identify and recover your ''deleted'' messages. They'll all walk you through the process, which is usually only four steps long: connect, scan, preview, recover. The process works for other data besides text messages as well. Some programs worth trying out include:

    Wondershare has a free trial that lets you recover deleted text messages. / © ANDROIDPIT
    How to recover lost text messages on Android
    Depending on which program you choose, the steps may be different, but the process is very similar (I'll use Wondershare for illustration purposes):

    • Download and install one of the programs above. Launch the program on your computer.
    • Enable USB Debugging on your Android phone. To do this, you need to have access to the Developer Options in your main Settings menu. If it's not there, just go to About Phone, scroll down to Build Number and tap it repeatedly until it tells you that you have developer access.
    • You'll now get access to Developer Options in the main Settings menu (just above About Phone). Go into Developer Options, scroll down to USB Debugging (or Android Debugging, depending on your ROM) and check the box.
    First you need to enable USB Debugging on your Android smartphone. / © ANDROIDPIT
    Connect your phone to your PC with USB Debugging enabled. / © Wondershare
    • Follow the prompts in the recovery program to scan or analyze your Android's memory.
    • Once the process is complete you can browse and preview the deleted and undeleted data on your Android device. As long as the particular part of memory on which it was originally stored has not been saved over, you can still retrieve the data. This is why it's important to act quickly if you've lost data.
    You can filter the data you want to recover: in this case, text messages. / © ANDROIDPIT
    • Next, open the 'Messages' folder in the left-hand pane, select the messages you wish to recover, then click 'Recover' at the bottom right to put them back on your device or save them to your computer for safe keeping.
    Click 'SMS' or 'Messages' in the left-hand pane to view both deleted and non-deleted messages on your device. / © ANDROIDPIT
    Note: if you want to complete this process without a PC, chances are you will need root access on your device and more than likely a paid recovery app. In any case, it's easier and free to use a computer.

    How to never lose a text message again
    Maybe you've learned your lesson, maybe you haven't. If you're not into paying for any of the programs above or simply don't like the free options, your best bet is to ensure you don't have to use them again. This means backing up your messages from now on. The good news is, it only takes five minutes.

    I use a free app called SMS Backup & Restore. It's straightforward, looks nice and works perfectly: basically all you need for this type of operation. Check out the screenshots below for the walkthrough.

    SMS Backup & Restore[​IMG]
    • Once you've downloaded and installed SMS Backup & Restore, open the app then tap 'Backup'
    • Next, choose what exactly you want to create a backup of, then - crucially - tap 'Local Backup and Upload' if you want to send your backup to Google Drive, Dropbox or an email address. When you're ready, tap OK.
    SMS Backup & Restore is clean and simple to use. / © ANDROIDPIT
    Hit Backup, select what you want to save and where, then tap OK - simple. Restoring your backup is explained clearly too. / © ANDROIDPIT
    • To restore your backed-up SMS messages, tap Restore on the app's home screen, then on the Restore Backup page you can just tap the backup name in the list to restore it if it's stored locally.
    • If your backup's stored in the cloud, tap the menu icon (three dots) at the top right, then 'Load from' and select whichever cloud service it's stored on.
    You can back your messages up to cloud storage, then restore them easily. / © ANDROIDPIT
    • There are plenty of extra options in SMS Backup & Restore, such as scheduled backups and password protection. You can find these by tapping the menu icon at the top right of the app's home screen, then 'Preferences'.

  3. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    How to find old Facebook posts


    Finding old Facebook posts just got a whole lot easier.

    Facebook updated its search in a big way Monday that allows you to find your or your friends' posts from months or years past.

    Keywords are important
    The feature has already begun rolling out to the iPhone app and desktop. The company hasn't said when it will hit Android but a Google Play update will likely follow.

    We took the new search features for a spin on iOS to see how it works:

    Facebook searches are based on keywords in the post, so it works best if you have an idea of the exact post or type of post you're looking for.

    "With a quick search, you can get back to a fun video from your graduation, a news article you’ve been meaning to read, or photos from your friend’s wedding last summer," Facebook explained in its blog post.



    This means that if you remember, say, a National Geographic link a particular friend posted, you can type their name and "National Geographic" into the search bar.

    But results aren't chronological
    Notably, search results are not displayed in chronological order, so you may need to scroll down a bit to find the post you're looking for. But you can tweak the types of results that appear by specifying whether you want to search posts, groups events, pages, photos or apps. If I wanted to find photos of cats I had posted on Facebook, for example, I would search my name and "cats" and then select "photos."



    Again, since it's based on keywords, this method isn't perfect. The search results don't include other photos of cats I've posted that don't include the word "cat" in the description, for example. But Facebook will likely improve the feature over time and make it easier to fine-tune the types of content you want to see.

    It's worth pointing out that searches apply the same privacy settings as the rest of the app. If you set a post or photo to "friends only," for example, then only your friends will be able to see those posts in a search.

    But considering all your old posts just got a whole lot easier to find, it's probably a good time to revisit your account's privacy settings to make sure you won't be caught off guard by a random search surfacing one of those photos you posted before your mom joined Facebook.

    Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

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