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Technology is a necessary evil. If you feel this way, then chances are you work with technology, but you secretly hate it and wish we could go back to simpler times.
You are not alone. Many people feel this way, which is why there are so many Windows hacks that can help make using your computer easier, quicker, and less frustrating.
Windows hacks essentially take tasks you do all the time and make them easier and more intuitive. Most of these hacks will involve keyboard shortcuts, which involve pressing a few select keys at one time to produce a result.
One thing to note about keyboard shortcuts is the commonly used keys. You will see Ctrl and the Windows key often in these shortcuts. Ctrl is the key found at the very bottom on the left and right under the Shift keys on each side. The Windows (Win) key is under the “Z” and looks like the Windows logo.
Using these keyboard shortcuts and hacks is incredibly helpful because they save time by reducing the number of steps you must take to do something, or make actions easier because you don’t have to take your hands off the keyboard to reach for the mouse or trackpad.
You may want to print this out and keep it as a handy reference guide. Eventually, though, your favorite hacks will become second-nature.
The following hacks make it easier to use your computer. They address general things that you may only need to do once to set up your computer in a more functional way. They are things that will save you time in the long run.
If you work with multiple monitors, you may have a need to move windows between your monitors. While it may seem easy to do, it can sometimes lead to frustrations, so a simple way to do it is to press WIN + Shift and then the arrow key for the direction you want to move the window.
Sometimes, your computer may freeze up or have issues with a program that requires you to close programs. In these situations, you will usually not be able to directly close the program, so you have to open the task manager.
The traditional way to open the task manager is to press Ctrl + Alt + Delete. When you do this, it brings up a new screen where you have to select the option to open the task manager.
If you are already frustrated, this extra step can just add to it. So, get directly to the task manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
At any time, you may have multiple windows open and need to return to your desktop to open another file or check something out. If you want to quickly return to your desktop, press Win + D.
Leaving your computer unlocked can open you up to nefarious people gaining access, including friends or family who will take advantage to post things on your social media in an attempt to embarrass you. Maybe you’ve been there.
If you need to step away for a minute and don’t want anyone getting into your computer, lock it fast by pressing Win + L.
For someone who values organization, using multiple desktops can be a great option. You can create desktops for all your different tasks. For example, you can have one where you have personal stuff and another for work stuff. It is the perfect organizational tool.
If this sounds like something you want to do, you can create a new desktop by pressing Win + Ctrl + D. But before you do that, you should know how to get back! Hit Win + Ctrl + Left/Right to switch between your desktops, and use Win + Ctrl + F4 to close your current desktop.
One of the annoying things about Windows is that you often have to navigate through multiple menus to get to wherever you need to go. This is the case with getting to settings.
Sometimes you don’t want to mess around with the long process it takes to get there. If you are looking for a better way, then use this hack: press Win + I. It’ll bring up settings directly.
Apps running in the background can use up essential resources and slow down your computer. To close them easily, open the settings menu, choose Privacy, and then Background apps. Change “Let apps run in the background” to off.
The start menu on Windows is full of stuff that you may not use. If you want to customize it, all you need to do is right-click on a tile and then choose what you want to do from the menu that pops up. Options include removing and pinning to the start menu.
For people who were used to the old start menu Windows had before the Windows 10 update, the new start menu can be frustrating. It isn’t as user-friendly.
PC Magazine suggests using the hack to access the old start menu because it is still there. It’s just hidden. Get to it by right-clicking on the Windows icon that opens the new start menu. You can also press Win + X to bring it up.
God mode is simply the name for accessing Window Master Control Panel. This panel gives you access to many different options and settings that you can use to amplify your experience.
To get into the panel, you need to create a folder on your desktop and name it:
You do not have to use GodMode as the name, you can use something else if you want, but you do have to include the rest of the name exactly as it shows.
Once you name it, it will change the icon and access the control panel when you click it.
Windows hacks can help to make doing work tasks easier and save you a ton of time. These productivity tasks are perfect if you use your computer for business.
If you need to minimize windows fast, CNET explains you can click on the active window, shake it a little, and every other window will minimize.
In your browser, you can delete your history by navigating through various menus. There’s an easier way to do this by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Del. You’ll get straight to the menu you need to delete your history.
Having to remove your hands from the keyboard to mess with your mouse is a waste of time. You can use a range of quick keys to copy, paste, undo, or select all.
Copying URLs can be a pain, especially if they are really long. If you miss copying any part of it, it won’t work, which means you have to fix it later.
Avoid this problem by putting your cursor in the address bar and hitting F6. It will highlight the whole address for you to copy.
If you want to save something that does not give you a save option, you can easily do it by hitting print instead. When the print window comes up, change the printer to Print to PDF. This will save the item as a PDF file.
You can screenshot either the whole screen or just a portion of it with simple hacks. To snap the whole screen, click Win + Print Screen.
If you only want part of the screen, press Win + Shift + S. This opens the Snip & Sketch tool that lets you choose what you want to screenshot.
Windows calendar is useful, but having to open the program every time you want to add an event can get tiresome. The easy way to add an event is to click on the date/time in your taskbar. Click on the event’s date and enter the event information in the space below the calendar view. Click save, and it will show up in your calendar.
Here is another hack that allows you to keep your hands on the keyboard and avoid messing with the mouse. If you have items pinned to your taskbar and need to open one of them, press Win and the number that corresponds to the item’s position in the taskbar.
For example, if you have six items and press Win + 4, you will open the 4th item in the bar.
Whether your carpal tunnel symptoms are bothering you or you just don’t feel like typing, you can get instant speech to text by pressing Win +H. A box will pop up and record what you say while typing it into the open text field.
In Word, if you want to create an en dash, you will need to use an Alt code, such as Ctrl + Alt + -. To simplify this process and create an en-dash without Alt codes, you can set it up in the automatic formatting to have Word turn any dash with spaces into an en dash.
If you need to rename a large group of files with the same name, you can select them all, press F2, and then enter the name. Windows will rename them all, adding numbers on the end to keep them separate.
One of the most interesting productivity hacks is accessing the secret functionality of apps you probably already use. For example, the calculator is a handy tool, but did you know you can use it to convert measurements? There are a bunch of functions under the menu in the app. Check them out and see all the cool things it can do.
You can do this in various apps. It is worth the time to explore to see what you can find.
The next set of Windows hacks are interesting things to try out. They may help with productivity or use, but in most cases, they are simply helpful hacks that enhance your Windows experience.
Access the special character menu.
If you need to insert special characters or wish to access the Kaimoji characters, you can do it by pressing Win + period (.). A menu will pop up that gives you access to various characters and emojis.
The Daily Glance box gives you access to news, weather, and other information about your active session. To bring it up fast, press Win + S.
Dark mode is a newer option that is easier on your eyes. It darkens backgrounds and windows to get rid of the blue light that can lead to eye strain and fatigue.
To get into Dark Mode, you need to bring up the settings menu, choose Personalization, and then choose Colors. Here you can choose dark mode coloring.
Game mode optimizes your computer for playing games. It will combine system resources and turn off notifications. You also get panels that allow quick control of audio and other tasks that you may need during gaming, such as recording and broadcasting.
You will need to pull up the game bar by pressing Win + G to enter game mode.
But don’t just take our word for it — download this printable so you can keep these handy hacks nearby.
Windows hacks can help boost your productivity and make technology a little less stressful to use. You will probably find yourself using at least one of these hacks on a regular basis, but the chances are good that you will use many of them because they are just that helpful.
Finding ways to do tasks easier can always make you feel less annoyed with the technology you must use in your day-to-day life, and they will soon become the regular way you do things.