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    Windows Spotlight

    Yesterday, those on Windows 10 received another cumulative OS update that included numerous security patches and other undeclared improvements. Following our detailed how-to on upgrading from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro, users noticed that the update also brought something new: Windows Spotlight.

    Indeed, our Windows 10 Home Single Language edition has had this for what seems like a few days. Now, our Dell XPS 13 with Windows 10 Home has it as well, although the 'voting' area is not yet active.

    However, this feature, for whatever reason, appears to be missing from the Pro version of the OS. It is not clear why that is, but it is something likely to be fixed in a future update.

    Windows Spotlight, announced at Build, is akin to Bing Images of the Day. However, the feature lets you say yay or nay on images. The idea is that users can like certain pictures, and Microsoft procures new, similar images for a user's lock screen. Saying 'no' to a particular style e.g. abstract imagery versus nature, shapes what Microsoft randomly chooses next.

    The feature is a way to refresh regularly the Windows 10 lockscreen to keep things both unique and personal.

    Here is how to enable it on Windows 10 Home.

    How to enable Windows Spotlight

    1. Open up All Settings from the Task Bar

    2. Navigate to Personalization

    3. Choose Lock screen

    4. Under Background select Windows spotlight from the menu

    Eventually, you should see a 'Like what you see?' dialog on the lock screen in the upper right-hand corner. Selecting this brings up an 'I like it!' and 'Not a fan' menu choice where you can register your vote.

    Overall, Windows Spotlight is yet another neat and personal approach to Windows 10. We just hope to see it come to the Pro version of the OS sooner than later.

    Do you have Windows spotlight? Shout out in comments what you think of it and how Microsoft can make it better!

    If you think this guide is helpful, we have many more posts like this in our Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks page. Or try our massive Windows 10 Forums at Windows Central for more help!

    Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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    Windows 10 mobile keyboard

    The keyboard on Windows 10 Mobile features a caret stick that lets you move the cursor as you hold the nub and then drag it towards up, down, left, or right. You'll mostly need it to replace letters in the middle of some words when writing a note or email. It's located on the left side of the keyboard by default. We'll show you how to switch it to right, or even turn it off.

    1. Go to Settings> Time & language> Keyboard
    2. Tap More keyboard settings
    3. Under Cursor controller, change it to Left handed usage if you want the caret stick to the right. You can also select Off if you don't need to use it.

    Windows 10 mobile keyboard

    That's it! I'm right-handed, but I personally like the caret stick to the right. Maybe it's because I'm used to having the arrow keys to right when I'm using my laptop. Do you use the caret stick on Windows 10 Mobile? Sound off in the comments!

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    OneDrive Windows 10

    OneDrive is a free online storage that comes with your Microsoft account. Files you store online can be synced across all your Windows devices, as well as devices on other platforms such as Android, iOS, and OS X. However, you don't need to sync everything on your OneDrive with your PC. You can select only some folders. We'll show you how.

    OneDrive settings

    1. Right-click the OneDrive icon on the taskbar located on the lower right corner. If you don't see it, you'll need to tap or click the up arrow to show more icons.
    2. Tap or click Settings
    3. Select the Choose folders tab
    4. Tap or click Choose folders
    5. Select all or select just some of the folders and files you want to sync.

    OneDrive Select folders

    That's it! The folders you select will show up locally in your OneDrive folder, which you can see on the left pane when you open File Explorer. Any files you add to these folders will be synced to the cloud and become available for all your other devices.

    For example, I've chosen to sync my Articles folder in OneDrive. This lets me start writing a Word document on my Surface 3 and do some quick edits on my Windows Phone when I'm on the train. I store several files on my OneDrive, but I don't need all of them to be stored locally on my devices. Selective syncing helps me work better and saves me hard drive space, too.

    How do you feel about OneDrive on Windows 10? Let us know in the comments!

    If you think this guide is helpful, we have many more posts like this in our Windows 10 help, tips and tricks page.

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    Windows 10 represents a major upgrade for Microsoft as well as for the millions of people who use the operating system every day. This new version makes a step back by bringing many of the familiarity of Windows 7 combined with the innovations included in Windows 8. You also get some new features and improvements, and it also prepares the operating system for the future.

    Perhaps one of the biggest strengths of Windows is the ability to customize virtually anything; users can customize their experience with the available options in the operating system and even through tweaks in the registry and policies.

    The ability to customize the experience allows you to make Windows 10 more personal and it can even help you to be more productive. As such, today we'll go through some customizations everyone should know to enhance your Windows 10 user experience.

    Getting the Start menu just the way you like it

    The Start menu in Windows 10 is very similar to what you been using in Windows 7. However, it also combines parts of the Start screen from Windows 8.1, and it's one of the first features you want to customize.

    There are number of ways you can use the Start menu:

    You can use the small default version of the menu, which is the menu most people will comfortable using. In this experience, you'll have a menu with Live Tiles on the right with a left side with access to all your apps, and a list of your most used and recently installed apps.

    You can also re-size the Start menu horizontally and vertically, but how far the menu can be re-sized will depend on the screen resolution. For example, on 1366 x 768 screen resolution you'll only get up to 3 columns. While in a Surface Pro 3, you'll be able to grow horizontally up to 4 columns, and up to 5 columns on a 4K display. Re-sizing the Start menu is easy, simply drag the edges to the right or toward the top.

    You can also have a Start menu without Live Tiles, which will be the closest to having a Windows 7 Start menu experience.

    How to remove the Live Tiles section in Windows 10 Start

    How to create custom Start menu Tiles in Windows 10 using TileCreator

    However, Windows 10 doesn't include an option to hide all the tiles; you'll have to manually, right-click each tile, and click Unpin from Start. Then shrink the menu to the left from the edge.

    Now, you can always use the Start menu in full-screen mode. If you prefer this mode, go to Settings > Personalize > Start and enable the "Use Start full screen".

    In full-screen mode, the Start menu will cover the entire real estate of the display, very similar to the Start screen in Windows 8.1. You'll still have access to the desktop and apps will run windowed.

    Finally, there is Tablet mode, which Microsoft has designed specifically for 2-in-1 devices. This is a feature that should appear automatically when removing the keyboard and mouse from a touch-enabled device. The major drawback using Tablet mode is that you can't access the desktop, but apps, File Explorer, and everything will appear in full screen.

    Tablet mode can be enabled from the Quick Actions button located in Action Center, or by going to Settings > System > Tablet mode and enabling the feature.

    How to manually enable tablet mode in Windows 10

    You can also customize what happens when you sign in and if the operating system should prompt you when it needs to switch automatically to Tablet mode. Also, you have the option to hide or show app icons in taskbar when in Tablet mode.

    Customizing Live Tiles and groups

    Like in Windows 8.1, Windows 10 offers the ability to drag and group Live Tiles any way you like. If want to name a group, simple click right at the top edge of a group, and name the group anything you like.

    You can also click and hold a group title with your mouse pointer to drag the group of tiles anywhere you like in the Start menu.

    Live Tiles display at glance up-to-date information without you needing to open an app. But sometimes, you may not like, or you don't need to see certain information. While you can't disable this feature globally, you can right-click each tile, and select Turn live tiles off.

    In the same way, you can re-size each tile to any of the supported sizes (small, medium, wide, and large). Furthermore, from the same menu, you can pin an app to the taskbar, or you can also uninstall any app, including universal Windows apps and desktop applications.

    How to use Live Tiles in Windows 10

    Quick Tip: Because desktop app tiles don't generate any live information, you can better utilize the Start menu space by using the small tile size for these applications.

    Customizing which folders appear on Start

    Windows 10 also allows you to customize the folder locations that appear above "All apps", to do this simply go to Settings > Personalization > Start > Choose which folders appear on Start.

    How to change which folders appear in the Windows 10 Start Menu

    There you can remove File Explorer and Settings, but you can also add other folders, such as Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, Network, and more.

    Making the most out of the left side of Start

    Microsoft is focused on making the Start menu a very customizable experience, so much that on Settings > Personalization > Start, you can also remove the list of most used and recently added apps. This change will give you more room to add as many folders as you like, as you can see in the image below.

    Getting Cortana ready to work for you

    Perhaps one of the biggest features in Windows 10 is Cortana, Microsoft's personal assistant. After upgrading or doing a clean install of Windows 10, you'll notice a new search box, here is where Cortana lives. If you're launching the feature for the first time, you'll have to go through the initial setup, which is super easy, click Next, Agree to the term, type the name you want it to call you, and that's it.

    Now, if you want to customize further the experience, use the Windows + S to launch Cortana. From the left rail, click the Notebook icon, there you'll find some preferences you can customize. These features include traffic alerts, news, package tracking, meeting, and reminders, weather, and much more.

    Then, you can click on Settings to enable or disable Cortana, you can also enable the "Hey Cortana" feature, which will require for you to have a microphone already setup.

    Quick Tip: If you want to disable completely Cortana, refer to my previous Windows 10 tutorial.

    When you enable the hands-free feature, you can also customize the assistant to respond to anyone or only you. If you prefer to respond only to you, you'll have to click the Learn my voice button to teach Cortana to learn your voice. (Remember that you may have to re-train the feature for better results.)

    Do you need help setting your first reminder? Check out this previous Windows 10 tutorial.

    If you're in a country where the native language isn't your first language, you can go to Settings > Time & language. Now make sure you check the Recognize non-native accents for this language option to have a better experience using the assistant.

    Setting up a wallpaper

    Similar to previous versions, Windows 10 also includes the ability to personalize your desktop using your own wallpaper.

    How to change your Windows 10 wallpaper

    How to add wallpaper to the Windows 10 Mail app

    Simply go to Settings > Personalize > Background, and there you can pick from one of your recent wallpapers, you can browse for a new image, and choose the image fit. (Alternatively, you can access the same settings, by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting Personalize.)

    Quick Tip: You can find great wallpapers and themes for your desktop at the Microsoft's Personalization page.

    Personalizing Start, taskbar, Action Center

    The personalization options in Windows 10 are more flexible than in previous releases. In the new version of the operating system, Microsoft is including a new default dark theme for Start, Taskbar, and Action Center. Also, you can pick a custom accent color or you can let Windows pick an accent color for you from the background, and you can enable or disable transparency. To customize these settings go to Settings > Personalize > Colors and pick your desired preferences.

    Quick Tip: You can create your own accent color by using "Color and Appearance" settings from Control Panel. To access these settings open the Run command type control color and hit Enter. Then pick a color, use the color mixer to create your own color, and click Save changes.

    Personalizing the Lock Screen

    Pretty much unchanged since Windows 8, the new version of Windows offers the ability to customize the Lock screen, which is the first screen you'll see when you start your computer and before you sign in. Personalizing the Lock screen is pretty straightforward, go to Settings > Personalization > Lock screen. In the settings page, you can choose your own picture or from the "Background" drop-down menu, you can select Slideshow to a folder with images to display on the Lock screen.

    If you click the Advanced slideshow settings, you can customize various options. For example, you can choose to include Camera Roll folders from your PC and OneDrive, whether the slideshow should play while using battery, for how long the slideshow can run, and more.

    Those users running Windows 10 Home will notice the Windows Spotlight option, which is a feature that brings Bing images of the day to your Lock screen.

    How to enable Windows Spotlight in Windows 10 Home

    Also, you can choose an app to show detailed status on the Lock screen, and up to seven apps to show quick status. To add a new app, simply click the "plus" button to select the Windows app, if you want to change an app, click on it and pick another.

    While we're talking about personalizing the Lock screen, we should also mention that if you want to sign-in even faster and more securely, you'll better off using PIN password, instead of a password. To do this go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options, under PIN click Add. You'll be asked to enter your current password, and then enter your numeric PIN, and click OK.

    The PIN only works locally, and you can't use a PIN to remotely sign-in to your computer. In this circumstance, you'll need to use your long, complicated password.

    Personalizing the taskbar

    Although it feels very familiar, the taskbar in Windows 10 has changed quite a bit, but like before you can still customize the experience. For example, if you feel that Cortana is taking valuable space in the taskbar, you can hide the feature completely or show only the icon. To do this, right-click on the taskbar, select Cortana, and pick your option.

    From the same right-click menu, you can also hide the Task View (virtual desktops) button, as you can always use the Windows + Tab shortcut to access the feature.

    More virtual desktops options can be found going to Settings > System > Multitasking. There you can customize whether you want to see windows open only in the desktop you're using or on all desktops and what appears when using the "Alt + Tab" when you're using Task View.

    If you're in Tablet mode, you'll notice that app icons won't appear in the taskbar by default. Nonetheless, if you want to see them, simply right-click the taskbar, and from the menu click Show app icons.

    Personalizing Quick actions buttons for Action Center

    Quick actions buttons are a faster way to access certain features in Windows 10, and while you can't add more buttons of what is available, you can change the priority order.

    How to change your Quick Action buttons in Windows 10

    To do this, go to Settings > System > Notifications & actions and under "Quick actions" you can pick what feature you can access in the first row.

    From the same settings page, you can control which icons and system icons appear on the taskbar. Also, you can control system notifications, including whether Windows 10 should show you tips.

    How to customize your Windows 10 notifications

    Finally, you can also control app and lock screen notifications and more.

    Setting up OneDrive

    Another great feature in Windows 10 is the integration of OneDrive. While in Windows 8, the feature will work automatically, many users were confused about what was available offline. So, in Windows 10, Microsoft is going with selective sync, which means that you need to setup what to you want to sync before you can use the service.

    How to select which OneDrive folders to sync in Windows 10

    To start with OneDrive, open File Explorer, click the OneDrive folder and customize what to sync, you can choose everything or a few folders and files. Also, from the same setup, you can change the default location to store your files.

    Once you select your settings, click OK to finish. You can also refer you my previous guide on configuring OneDrive, and you can read this Windows 10 tutorial on how share files and folder with the cloud storage service.

    Personalizing Quick access

    Other than a few tweaks and new icons, File Explorer in Windows 10 remains the same. However, "Quick access" is a new addition that replaces "Favorites". It's the default access when clicking the File Explorer icon on the taskbar; it lists your frequent files and folders, and if you want, you can also pin folders to the new Quick access.

    While the software giant isn't adding a lot of customization to the feature, there are a few things you can tweak. For example, you can:

    • Disable recently viewed files and folders
    • Clear File Explorer history

    You can change the behavior whether clicking the File Explorer icon, open "Quick access" or "This PC"– to accomplish these tweaks check out this guide. You can even disable Quick access completely.

    On a related topic, you can also add quick access to Settings to the right-click desktop menu, such as to Power, Wi-Fi, Windows Update, and more. To learn how to do this, check this previous Windows 10 tip.

    Personalizing your default apps

    Whatever the operating system you use, there will always be more than one app to browse the internet, open a file, or edit a document. Windows 10 includes the ability to for users to set their default programs. As such, if you don't like Microsoft Edge as your default browser or Groove as your default music player, you can easily go to Settings > System > Default apps to change all the default settings, choose what apps open what files, reset to the Microsoft default settings, and more.

    Personalizing Microsoft Edge

    In Windows 10, Microsoft is also bringing Edge, the new default web browser, which still a work in progress, but it's a usable piece of software. While extensions and other features are planned to come on a later date, if you're testing the browser now, you can customize a few things. For example, you click the "more actions" (…) button in the top-right corner of the screen and click on Settings. In the settings page, you can:

    • Choose to use the "Light" or "Dark" theme
    • Configure whether you like Edge to open on the "start page", "new tab", "previous pages", or "specific page or pages".

    Going to View advanced settings, you can choose to show the home button on the address bar with a custom URL. You can disable Adobe Flash Player, and more importantly for many users, you can also change your default search engine from Bing to Google or anything you like. That is, of course, if the search engine uses OpenSearch standard.

    To change the default search engine:

    1. First visit the search engine web page
    2. Return to Edge advanced settings
    3. Click the dropdown menu under "Search in the address bar with", click Add new
    4. Select the new search engine, and click Add as default.

    Personalizing your Privacy with Windows 10

    Windows 10 is an operating system that collects certain information about who uses the operating system to deliver a more personalized user experience. While this may be a privacy and security concern for many users, Microsoft is very clear on what it collects, and Windows 10 makes it very easy to control what information the company is allowed to collect.

    The downside is that the more you restrict Windows on what information it can collect, the less personalized the experience will be. Nevertheless, if you need to better understand the new privacy policies and how you can adjust your setting in Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge, you must read this guide, written by Daniel, which goes through in-depth on everything you need to know.

    Wrapping things up

    There are hundreds, and even thousands, different ways you can customize you user experience, and that's one of the beauties of the operating system, you can virtually customize it any way you like. Today, we looked at a few of them that hopefully will get you started getting the most of Windows 10.

    For more resources, don't forget to check our Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks page. Or if you have any questions, you can always count post on our Windows 10 Forums at Windows Central for more help.

    Is there any specific customization you like to add in Windows 10? Don't forget to tell us in the comments below.

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    Earlier this year, I wrote a tip for those using Google Chrome as their primary web browser. Although Microsoft's Edge is getting extension support later this year, including the porting of Chrome extensions, Chrome has them right now.

    The extension that I am talking about simply auto-generates a localized QR code in the Windows Phone Store. However, Microsoft recently unified the Store and as a result, the extension broke. Today, however, it is updated and works flawlessly.

    Why use it?

    We get a lot of "why do you need this" questions about this tool, so I'll explain why it is nice to have:

    1. Sometimes apps are not yet searchable in the Store if they are very new; this lets you quickly download an app from your desktop
    2. Options are useful for users as everyone has their circumstances
    3. It saves you time. Instead of reading about an app and then having to search the Store, you can go right to it by scanning

    You may have your reasons. However, I know many of us here on staff use this because we often find apps very early on.

    How 'Windows Phone Store QR' works

    In Chrome just browse to the Google Chrome Store using the link below.

    Download Windows Phone Store QR from the Chrome Web Store – Free

    1. Choose Add to Chrome
    2. Navigate to the Microsoft Store ( and you should see a QR generated under the app name.

    You can then use the built-in QR reader

    1. Open up Lumia Camera
    2. Tap the cog at the bottom right (Settings)
    3. Lenses
    4. Bing Vision

    Alternatively, you could use one of the dozens of QR code readers on the Store. You can read our 'best of' QR code readers below for some ideas or share yours in comments!

    Top ways to snap that QR code on Windows Phone

    In case you are wondering why this extension has not gone to Opera or Firefox, the developer, George Schizas, chimed in on the matter on a Reddit thread:

    "Before asking for a Firefox extension (or a Safari extension, or an Opera extension), know that I had made a Firefox extension, but Mozilla rejected it, after pondering about it for a very long time, so I'm not eager to repeat that experience."

    Let us know if you'll use this trick in comments. Even better is knowing that this could be ported to Microsoft Edge in just a few months!

    Via: Reddit

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    barcode generator

    Earlier, I wrote an article detailing how to generate a QR code for the Windows Store using a Chrome extension automatically. The controversy in that is, of course, not everyone likes to use Google Chrome and instead prefer Microsoft Edge. Fair enough!

    Luckily, one our readers tipped us off about a Windows Store app that solves this problem. The app is fittingly called Barcode generator, and is a free download.

    Turns out, Barcode generator is one heck of a cool app with many more uses than the one I am going to show you here. However, for the sake of parity, here is how to generate a QR code for an app in the Windows Store using Microsoft Edge!

    How to use Barcode generator

    1. Get the app

    Download the free app Barcode generator from the Store. There are optional in-app purchases totalling $2.49, although I have not come across them yet.

    Barcode generator for Windows 8.1 and 10

    2. Use the Windows Share picker

    You may need to open Barcode generator first, but anytime you see something that can be shared, the app should populate the Universal Share picker.

    In this case, we are at using Microsoft Edge and are browsing

    3. Share to the app

    Using the share picker, share to Barcode generator

    4. Generated!

    Barcode generator then auto-generates a QR code and displays it for easy scanning. Additionally, you can also save the QR code to the app for future reference.

    Overall, Barcode generator is a swell solution to the temporary no-extension issue for Microsoft Edge. Indeed, not only is this app free but in browsing around you can find it can do much more. It tying into the Share Picker is easily one of my favorite tricks yet! Even I just learned something new.

    Download it from the link above and let us know in comments what you think!

    For more basic info on Windows 10, including some tips and our vast array of how-to articles, make sure you head to our main Windows 10 help page or jump into our forums!

    Windows 10 on Windows Central – All you need to know

    Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks

    Windows 10: Help and discussion forum at Windows Central

    Thanks, Martin A., for the tip!

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    Maps on Windows 10

    The Maps app on Windows 10 is a pretty handy thing to have around. Long gone are the days where you'd have to crack open a web browser to use a routing service. The Maps app is also great for quickly sending other people directions, to.

    And it's really easy to do. Here's a quick beginners guide to show you what you need to know.

    1. Open the "Maps" application on your PC or tablet.

    2. Click on "Directions in the left hand pane.

    Maps on Windows 10

    3. Do the route planning based on your start and end points first.

    Maps on Windows 10

    4. Once you have your route, beneath the estimated time you'll see the regular Windows 10 share icon (three small circles connected by lines).

    Maps on Windows 10

    5. Click on "Share."

    6. The Windows 10 Share pane will open on the right hand side. Choose your desired method, such as email.

    Maps on Windows 10

    This method allows you to use the Mail app, social apps like Twitter or even OneNote to share directions with other people. They'll not need the Maps app to use them as they'll get a full digital printout to read and hopefully navigate from!

    For more Windows 10 tips be sure to drop by our dedicated page here

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    Windows 10 touch keyboard

    Continuum is a awesome feature for Windows 10 that lets you change between desktop mode and tablet mode. You can use a keyboard and mouse when you choose, or you can optimize your screen for a great touch experience. However, I notice that I prefer to stay in desktop mode even when I don't have the Type cover attached to the Surface 3.

    So what's the problem with desktop mode in Windows 10? By default, the touch keyboard does not automatically pop up when tapping on text forms, address bars, or anywhere else that you need to type on. The good news is that you can change that behavior in just a few steps.

    1. Go to Settings (keyboard shortcut: Windows + I)


    2. Go to Devices> Typing

    3. Scroll down and toggle on: Automatically show the touch keyboard in windowed apps when there's no keyboard attachedto your device.

    Keyboard settings

    With this method on the Surface 3, I can see more of my open windowed apps. I can also snap up to four apps on the screen instead of just two in tablet mode. Desktop mode still feels very touch-friendly, too. In fact, I don't even think I need to go into tablet mode anymore. What do you think? Do you like this setup, too? Let us know in the comments!

    If you think this guide is helpful, we have more like this in our Windows 10 help, tips and tricks page.

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    Windows 10 tablet mode

    It's a simple thing you want to do, but it's not necessarily immediately obvious. You just want to close that fullscreen app in Tablet Mode on your Windows 10 device. In this beginners guide we'll show you how to do it whether you're on a tablet or on a PC that you're using in tablet mode.

    Here's what you need to know.

    1. Dragging the app window down from the top of the screen

    Windows 10 tablet mode

    If you're on a tablet, be that a smaller one like the HP Stream 7 or a larger one like the Surface 3, the method is exactly the same. In tablet mode, apps run fullscreen so you don't get the "X" in the top right hand corner you might usually use to close it. To do it, simply drag your finger from the top of the screen down to the bottom. Half way the app window will shrink right down, just keep dragging until an animation pulls it off the bottom of the screen.

    There you are, app closed!

    2. In tablet mode on your Windows 10 PC

    Windows 10 tablet mode

    If you're using Tablet Mode on your desktop PC or laptop you can still use the mouse or trackpad to close an app just as you would with any, regular desktop app. Just move the cursor to the top right and corner and that familiar "X" will appear. Just click it and the app closes as normal.

    Of course, if you have a touchscreen you can also still use option one.

    3. Using the Task Switcher to close multiple apps

    Windows 10 tablet mode

    The other method is particularly good when you're wanting to close lots of apps quickly. It uses the task switcher, which you can access by swiping in from the left edge of the screen or by clicking or tapping on the icon on the taskbar (it's the rectangle with two 'ears'). All your open apps will be displayed with a "X" next to them to close one by one without having to open each app first.

    There we have it. A few different ways to close your apps on Windows 10 in Tablet Mode!

    For more Windows 10 tips be sure to drop by our dedicated page here

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    Windows 10 uninstall

    As new users try out Windows 10 for the first time, some newbie questions might arise. An example would be how to uninstall apps on Windows 10? There are actually several ways to do it. Watch our how-to video and find out.

    The simplest way to uninstall apps is from the Start screen. Press the Windows logo on your keyboard or tap the icon on the screen. At the Start screen, tap and hold the app's tile you want to uninstall. Tap the three dots at the lower right corner, select more options, and then uninstall. It's also easier with a mouse or trackpad. Just right click on a tile and then select uninstall. Some apps can't be removed, so you might not see the uninstall option.

    Windows 10 uninstall apps

    There's another way to uninstall apps that might not be too obvious. Swipe in from the right side of the screen and tap 'All settings.' Select System and then tap Apps & features. You can sort the list of apps by size, name, or install date. If you would like to uninstall an app, select it from the list and then tap or click the uninstall button.

    Windows 10 apps list

    While you're on the apps and features page, you can also manage optional features. Tap or click that option on top to see a list of features. There are several features related to text input and prediction on my Surface Pro 3. Select an item and tap or click the uninstall button.

    That's it! That's how to uninstall apps on Windows 10. The easiest way to do it is from the Start screen, but the settings page gives you sorting options.

    This article was originally published on Apr 2, 2015. However, we are re-running following the release of Windows 10 for new users.

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    So you've been up and running on Windows 10, and everything has been going great. Then one day, you suddenly see a list of apps queued up in the Windows Store waiting to update and stuck in the "pending" state.

    Microsoft said this morning that they have fixed the Store issues, although some users are still experiencing them. If you fall into that camp, you will want to read on for a possible fix!

    The natural reaction probably is to close and reopen the Store or to reboot your computer when that doesn't work. But if you are like most people who have experienced this issue, you are still stuck with the problem.

    Here is a list of steps you can take to get the Store working and your apps downloading again.

    Once you've tried restarting your computer (Start> Power> Restart), the next step is to log out of the Windows Store and then log in again with your Microsoft account.

    Log off

    1. Open the Windows Store app
    2. Click on the account logo in the upper-right corner of the app, then click on your account name
    3. Click on you account name in the new box, then click Sign out
    4. Click on the icon in the upper-right corner again, then click Sign in and choose your account name again

    Reset the Store Cache

    If that does not get the Store working again, close out of the app, then try resetting the Store cache:

    1. Click Start, then type "wsreset" and select wsreset
    2. When the Store app opens, see if your downloads are working

    Troubleshoot Windows Update

    If resetting the Store cache doesn't fix it, the next thing to try is troubleshooting Windows Update, which is closely ties to the Windows Store:

    1. Click Start, then type "troubleshooting"
    2. Select the Troubleshooting option
    3. Under System and Security, click on Fix problems with Windows Update
    4. Follow the prompts, then test out the Store app

    Reset Windows Update (Caution)

    The final thing that you can do to get the Store working again is to reset Windows Update completely. And before proceeding, you should be warned that messing around with Windows system files can lead to problems, so do this at your own risk:

    1. Click Start, then type "services" and select the Services desktop app
    2. Find the Windows Update service, right-click on it, then select Stop
    3. Next, open File Explorer and navigate to the C:\Windows directory
    4. Right-click on the SoftwareDistribution folder, then rename it to SoftwareDistribution.OLD or any name of your choosing
    5. Go back to the Services app and restart the Windows Update service
    6. Test your Store downloads

    This final step is the one that ultimately worked for me, but it is a "nuclear option" and I do not recommend trying it first.

    Have you run into this problem with Windows 10? Be sure to chime in below in the comments to let us know if anything worked for you.

    Source: Technipages

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    If you've been cursed by a sign-in error with the code 0x800488AB in the Xbox app for Windows 10, fear not, there is an easy fix.

    The error window will tell you to go to and sign in to fix an issue with your account. But you don't need to do that. It doesn't fix anything, anyway.

    Here's what you need to do.

    1. Click on sign in with a different Microsoft account

    You'll find the option you need under "Use another account" as highlighted in the image above. While this image doesn't show the actual error, you will still find the option in the same place, the window will just look a little different.

    2. Don't click on your own Microsoft Account

    Your Xbox Live Microsoft Account that is usually connected to the Xbox app will be offered as an option. Don't click on it.

    3. Click on the option for a new Microsoft Account

    Use the option highlighted in the image above. Then, simply enter your Microsoft Account details again, click login and you should find yourself back into the app, error free.

    It might not work for all of the people, all of the time, but we've encountered it first hand and these steps helped us back into the app.

    For more Windows 10 tips be sure to drop by our dedicated help page here

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    In Windows 10, Microsoft's own Groove Music is the default music player app when you first start using it. But, while it's not a bad app, music players are pretty personal and everyone has their own preferences.

    So, if you'd rather Groove wasn't the default player, this beginners guide will show you how to do it.

    1. Open "Settings" and click on "System"

    Windows 10 settings

    2. Select "Default apps" from the left hand pane

    Windows 10 default apps

    3. Scroll down until you see "Music Player"

    Windows 10 default apps

    4. Choose your alternative

    Windows 10 default music player

    You'll see Groove Music is selected currently, and this is what you want to change. Click on the box and you'll be presented with a list of apps you have installed that are suitable for this category. Simply select your favorite and it will now become the default music player whenever you're using Windows 10.

    For more Windows 10 tips be sure to drop by our dedicated page here

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    Groove Music

    Music streaming is arguably the future of how we get most of our digital tunes. There's a bunch of choices for the Windows 10 user, one of which is Microsoft's own, built in, Groove Music service.

    Whether you're into streaming your own music or tunes provided by Microsoft, here's everything you need to know.

    1. Sign up for a Groove Music Pass

    Groove Music Pass

    If you're intending to take advantage of Microsoft's music offering you'll need a Groove Music Pass first. This was formerly known as an Xbox Music Pass, and if you have one of those then you can jump past this step.

    If you do need to sign up for one, check out the link below for the full run down on what it is, what it gets you and how you go about getting one.

    2. Find new music to stream directly in the Groove Music app

    Groove Music

    Since the Groove Music app is where you'll be playing all your hot tunes the chances are that you're going to use it the most to find things to stream. There are two main ways you can find new music in the app. The first is the search box and the second is the Explore tab. Both of which are highlighted in the image above.

    Search is as broad as you'd want it to be in a music app. Type in an artist, album or song and if it's in the database you'll get results.

    Explore is designed to help you discover new music. Top songs, albums, artists and new releases are offered up to help you see what's hot this week.

    With artists you can choose to start a radio station based on them or pin them to your Start Menu, while albums and songs you can add to your collection.

    Groove Music

    To add music to your collection look for the "+" sign in the album listing or next to the song name. This opens up a menu where you can just add it to your main collection or choose a specific playlist. From there you can select any of your albums, songs or playlists from the relevant tabs in the app at any time. So long as you have a data connection, of course.

    3. How to take your streaming music offline

    Groove Music

    Streaming is great but it doesn't work on a plane, or any other place you don't have access to a data connection. Even though you're paying for a streaming service you can still take the music offline.

    • Open up the album you want to take offline.
    • Click on the "More" option towards the top.
    • In the resulting menu, click "Download."

    The album will now be downloaded to your PC or tablet and you can take it anywhere you go. You're only allowed to do this on five devices at once, so be sure to keep an eye on that. To check how many you're using go into "Settings" then click on "Manage my devices."

    4. Stream albums in Groove from the Windows 10 Store

    Windows 10 Store

    Groove may be Microsoft's streaming service but it also sells albums and individual songs through the Windows 10 Store. You'll find it all under the Music tab at the top and you can browse and then preview tracks right here in the Store.

    If you find something you like, hit the "Play" button highlighted in the image above to be taken into the Groove app to carry on listening. If you want to add it to your collection and/or playlists, follow the steps listed in point two.

    5. Stream your own music using Groove

    Groove Music

    Groove Music and OneDrive can be best pals and the latter will let you stream your own music from the cloud using the former. It's really easy to do, all you need is enough OneDrive storage to hold your personal collection. Importantly you don't need a Groove Music Pass to do this. After all, it's your own music. But once it's in OneDrive you can stream it using the Windows 10 app (as well as other apps on other platforms.)

    For everything you need to know check out the link below.

    That's about all there is to it. If you want to know more about the Groove Music app for Windows 10, check out our guide at the link below.

    For more Windows 10 tips be sure to drop by our dedicated page here

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    Cortana package tracking

    Microsoft's Cortana is one of the more interesting technologies found in Windows 10, but it can also be overwhelming. The natural instinct is to do simple web searches, but Cortana can do much more than that.

    One of the neat but subtle features in Cortana is package tracking. With just a few simple steps, the next time you have a UPS or FedEx delivery, Cortana can keep you posted on its status. Here is how to get it working.

    There are two ways to track packages using Cortana, manually and automatically.

    Automatically track packages using Cortana

    1. Cortana Settings

    Open Cortana's Notebook and then Settings

    2. Enable Tracking

    Turn on Find Flights and More

    Now, whenever you receive an email with tracking information, Cortana offers to track the package once the information is detected.


    For this automatic tracking to work, there are a few things to note:

    1. Email must be routed through the Mail & Calendar app; web email does not work
    2. Currently, only packages and emails from, Target, Apple, eBay, Microsoft Store, and Walmart are supported
    3. Supported package carriers include USPS, FedEx, DHL, and UPS

    Package tracking in Cortana is very much like flight tracking in that you need to have these conditions met for the personal assistant to track your items automatically.

    If the above steps do not work, or you have a different setup, you can still manually make Cortana track a package. Here is how.

    Manually track packages in Cortana

    1. Copy your package tracking number (Ctrl + C)

    2. Paste info and track

    (1) Paste the tracking number into the search box and after Cortana finds the info select (2) Track your package

    Next time you open Cortana the assistant asks you would like to track the package. Answer Yes.

    There is also the most direct way, which is what Microsoft recommends

    1. Open Cortana

    2. Go to Notebook

    3. Select Packages

    4. Select + Add a Package

    5. Paste in the tracking number (Ctrl + V)

    What next?

    Now that you have enabled package tracking or manually inserted a number Cortana keeps you updated on its status.

    Every time you open Cortana whether it is on the PC or phone you will see a new card. The Cortana card provides the following information:

    1. Estimated delivery date
    2. Current status (Processed, In Transit, Delivered)
    3. Delivery Address
    4. Package number

    That is it! Now you will always know where your package is in the world thanks to Cortana.

    Need something more robust? Try out Package Tracker ($1.99), which is an app for Windows Phone and Windows PC that lets you more finely tune your package tracking, including notifications, maps, and more!

    Download Package Tracker for Windows Phone

    Download Package Tracker for Windows 10 PC

    For more resources, don't forget to check our Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks page. Or if you have any questions, you can always count post on our Windows 10 Forums at Windows Central for more help.

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    We all have pet peeves. Some are rational, others may appear irrational to others. I am not sure where this registry trick falls into, but shortcut arrows on the desktop drive me crazy. There is just something about making an otherwise nice desktop icon busier with those arrow overlays.

    This easy step by step guide shows you how to get rid of them!

    What arrows?

    In case you do not know what I am referring to let me explain. Since the days of Windows 95 whenever you placed a shortcut on the desktop for app or document, an arrow is placed on the lower corner of the icon. I get why it is there, at least for documents (you do not want to delete the original), but I think it makes less sense for apps. We just do not install apps to the desktop, so I am unsure why I need to be reminded "hey, this is a shortcut, not the real app".

    Also since the days of Windows 95 there have been third-party apps to get rid of these arrows. Windows 10 is no different. Due to security reasons, we are not posting or linking some home-made .exe files that people have created to automate this task. There are some apps likes AVG PC TuneUp 2015, which I really like, that can do this and other things, in case you are interested.

    Instead, we are going to show you how to do it the nitty gritty way through the registry. Truth be told, it is super simple and should take no more than 5 minutes.

    Still, you are touching the registry so make sure you have backed up your PC just in case if you feel uncomfortable.

    How to remove shortcut arrows in Windows 10

    1. Open up regedit

    (1) Type in regedit into the Cortana/search box and (2) select regedit at the top

    2. Answer yes

    When prompted Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your PC? Choose Yes

    3. Navigate

    Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

    4. Create Key

    Right click on \Explorer and using the dialog menu choose New> Key and name it Shell Icons. Press Enter.

    5. Create String Value

    In the right pane of Shell Icons, right click on an empty area, and click/tap on New and String Value. Name it 29.

    6. Modify String Value

    Double click/tap on the 29 String Value to modify it. You should see a blank box called Value data.

    7. Define String Value

    In the Value data box enter (or copy and paste): %windir%\System32\shell32.dll,-50 and hit OK when done.

    8. Restart

    You can now either reboot the computer or log off and on back again to complete the changes.

    Afterwards, you should have a nice, clean desktop with no arrow shortcuts. Of course, you could go more advanced and define your own shortcut arrows or even change your system icons, but that is for another day.

    For now, if you want a purer desktop with less clutter, just take the five minutes and make this registry change!

    For more resources, don't forget to check our Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks page. Or if you have any questions, you can always count post on our Windows 10 Forums at Windows Central for more help.

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    We have already written a near volume on how to customize Windows 10 for the PC and laptop (link at the end). One of those is Slideshow, something I have never used until now. The concept is very straightforward. Create a folder of your favorite wallpaper and let the OS change them every X minutes. It is a fun way to keep your desktop looking fresh and even better if you just can't decide which wallpaper you like.

    Besides showing you that, I'll also give you a quick tutorial on how to make it work while your laptop or Surface is not plugged into AC power. The reason? By default Slideshow only works on a plugged-in PC.

    How to enable Slideshow

    Enabling Slideshow is super simple. However, first you want to create a folder with all of your wallpaper that you want cycled. I recommend created a Slideshow folder under the Pictures folder. Once created, simply copy and paste (or move) all your images into that folder. You could even use a OneDrive folder if you please.

    Remember, these wallpapers sync across all your Windows 10 devices, regardless if the wallpapers are on their drives too.

    Now let's set up Slideshow.

    1. Go to All Settings by clicking the Notification Center

    2. Personalization

    3. Background

    4. Choose Slideshow from the background drop menu

    5. Choose Browse

    Navigate to your Slideshow folder that you created earlier to specify the directory

    6. Set time interval

    Under Change picture every choose your time preference of between 1 minute and 1 day. This selection is how often the OS auto-rotates your wallpaper. I elected for every 10 minutes for my system, but some of you may prefer just once a day. The choice is yours!

    7. Choose a fit

    This selection is purely optional. Most people opt for Fit under this setting. Although if you have a smaller wallpaper you may wish to Tile or Stretch.

    As a neat bonus, if you are running a multi-monitor setup, each monitor runs a separate/different wallpaper from your image dump. I have to admit, it is rather fun seeing three separate wallpapers cycle on my home PC.

    How to enable when not plugged in

    By default, the Slideshow feature does not work when a laptop that is unplugged from AC power. The reason should be obvious: power savings.

    It is not clear just how much energy is wasted in changing the wallpaper especially if it is just once an hour or more. Regardless, by default the OS puts the feature on pause until you plug the computer into a dedicated power source. So if you use Slideshow on your Surface Pro 3 and wonder why it is not changing…well, there you go.

    You can, however, override this setting very simply using the OS tools. Just be aware that you are likely to impact your battery life, although it does not seem like a drastic action. Here we go!

    1. Right-click on the Start menu

    2. Choose Power Options

    3. Change plan settings

    Depending on which power plan is active (or all of them) choose Change plan settings

    4. Advanced

    Digging deeper, on this page you need to select Change advanced power settings

    5. Desktop background settings

    Under the section, Desktop background settings double click to expand the tree. You now see settings for Slideshow, one for On battery, another for Plugged in. Under On battery change the menu from Paused to Available. Now choose OK.

    That is it! Now, Slideshow should run on your laptop or Surface regardless of the charging state. If, of course, you notice some worse battery life, you could simply retrace the steps above and put Slideshow back on Paused when on the battery.

    My wallpaper

    Finally, for those interested, the background images used in this article are from Michael Gillett (@MichaelGillett), and you can download it and others here from his OneDrive. I also often use the site Deviant Art and search for Windows 10.

    Related Reading

    How to customize your Windows 10 experience

    For more resources, don't forget to check our Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks page. Or if you have any questions, you can always count post on our Windows 10 Forums at Windows Central for more help.

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    Windows 10 Task View

    It can be overwhelming when you're working with a lot of apps and files, but Windows 10 can help. We'll show you five multitasking tips to help you become more productive on Windows 10.

    1. Snap

    Snapping in Windows 10 a great way to use your screen real estate more efficiently if you have several apps open. To snap a window, all you need to do is drag the top of an app window to the side. Snap Assist comes in to help you choose the other apps you'd like to snap in other available spaces. You can also snap apps to any of the four corners by dragging the title bar to those corners. You can see how to use Snap and Snap Assist for Windows 10 in the video below.

    2. Task view

    By swiping from the left side of the screen, you can see all the open apps and quickly switch as needed. This is called Task View, and there are other ways to bring it up. You can also tap the Task view button on the taskbar, or press the keyboard shortcut: Windows + Tab. You can also swipe up on the trackpad with three fingers.

    Windows 10 Task View

    3. Virtual desktops

    If you think Task View is helpful, you can go a step further with Virtual Desktops. While Task View is open, you can create a new virtual desktop by tapping the new desktop button on the lower right corner. You can also drag apps to that area. This lets you group apps in multiple desktops. For example, you can place Outlook and Microsoft Edge in Desktop 1, while you have Netflix and Twitter in Desktop 2. You can see Task View and Virtual Desktops in action in the following video.

    4. Keyboard shortcuts

    You can check our list of essential keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10, but the shortcuts listed below are more specific to help you multitask:

    Keyboard shortcut Action
    Windows key + Tab Open Task view
    Alt +Tab Switch between open apps
    Ctrl + Alt +Tab View open apps
    Windows key + Arrow key Snap app windows left, right, corners, maximize, or minimize
    Windows key + Comma Temporarily peek at the desktop
    Windows key + Ctrl +D Add a virtual desktop
    Windows key + Ctrl + Left or Right arrow Switch between virtual desktops
    Windows key + Comma Temporarily peek at the desktop
    Windows key + Home Minimize all but the active desktop window (restores all windows on the second stroke)
    Windows key + D Show/hide desktop

    5. Touchpad gestures

    You can check our list of essential touchpad gestures for Windows 10, but here are the gestures that are more specific to multitasking:

    1. Show Task view: If you're viewing all open windows (from the step above), swipe up again with three fingers.
    2. Show the desktop: Place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe them towards yourself.
    3. Switch between open windows: Place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe right or left.

    Watch our how-to video below:

    6. Mouse tricks

    You can also use the trackpad for this trick, but go to Settings > Devices > Mouse & touchpad and enable Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them. This option lets you scroll other windows when you hover over them, even if they aren't active. For example, this is super handy if you are typing on Microsoft Word (the active window) and scrolling through a press release in Microsoft Edge (the inactive window). This setting may be already On by default but double-check your PC.

    Mouse Windows 10

    Another mouse trick we recommend for multitasking is to click the tiny space all the way to the lower right corner, next to the time and date. This hides and shows your desktop.

    We hope these tips help you become more productive in Windows 10. For more tips, we have many more posts like this one in ourWindows 10 help, tips, and trickspage.

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    Windows 10 change size

    You can make the text and other things like icons larger in Windows 10. You can choose to resize everything in one fell swoop or temporarily resize with the Magnifier. You can also just change the text size for certain items without affecting anything else. We'll show you.

    Resize everything

    1. Right-click on desktop and select Display settings.

    Desktop display settings

    2. Use the slider to change the size of text, app, and other items. It might be set to 150% by default. Dragging the slider to right increases the size, while dragging it to the left decreases the size.

    Display settings

    3. Tap or click the Apply button. A window pops up to let you know that signing out of Windows and signing back in is recommended.


    If you want to temporarily enlarge a portion of the screen, use the built-in Magnifier. You can quickly open it by using the keyboard shortcut Windows key and the plus sign (+) to zoom in and minus sign (-) to zoom out. Use Windows key and Esc to exit the magnifier.

    Windows 10 Magnifier

    Change only the text size

    If you don't want to change the size of everything on desktop, it's possible to just change the text size for these specific items:

    • Title bars
    • Menus
    • Message boxes
    • Palette titles
    • Icons
    • Tooltips

    Here's how to do it:

    1. Right-click on desktop and select Display settings.

    2. Scroll down and tap or click Advanced display settings

    Windows 10 display settings

    3. Scroll down and tap or click Advanced sizing of text and other items

    Windows 10 display settings

    4. Select the item you want to change in the drop-down list and choose the text size. You also check the box to make it bold.

    Windows 10 Display settings


    It's great that we have these options available to change the size of text, apps, and other items in Windows 10, but we've mostly stayed with the default settings in our PC. Have you changed anything with your display settings? Let us know in the comments!

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    Many users of Windows 10 have a solid idea of which build they are on. In fact, most consumers likely do not know, and that is an OK thing. Windows 10 should be transparent, and users should not have to know the exact build of the OS they are running.

    Windows Insiders, however, are a different breed. You, folks, like to keep tabs on every release and sometimes, just sometimes, you may have forgotten which build you are on. Alternatively, sometimes things update but you do not know what changed.

    Luckily, you can discover which build you are for Windows 10 in two easy steps. Let's go!

    Check Windows 10 Build Version

    1. Win + R

    Open up the run command with the Win + R key combo

    2. Launch winver

    Simply type in winver into the run command text box and hit OK

    That is it. You should now see a dialog screen revealing the OS build and registration information.

    Another way instead of using Win + R is to (1) type in winver into the Cortana search box and (2) select the first surfaced result.

    Note, if you are a Windows 10 Insider, you will likely have an expiration date for the build. No need to fret over this as you can always stop getting insider builds and your OS will revert to a non-expiring edition. In theory, Microsoft is going to keep updating Windows 10 through the Insider Program and this date will continually get pushed back.

    How Insiders can stop receiving new builds after Windows 10 launches

    Also, as an interesting observation, I noticed my OS shows Windows 8 at the top. Microsoft's Gabriel Aul notes that this is just a bug and most users will see Windows 10 or even just Windows at the top.

    Finally, I am sure many of you have noticed the return of the 'test mode' watermark on the 10525 desktop. For Insiders, this is also the easiest way to check your build number ;)

    Anyway, hopefully, you now know how to quickly check your build number!

    More Info

    For more basic info on Windows 10, including some tips and our vast array of how-to articles, make sure you head to our main Windows 10 help page or jump into our forums!

    Our definitive review of Windows 10

    Windows 10 on Windows Central – All you need to know

    Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks

    Windows 10: Help and discussion forum at Windows Central

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