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Windows 11: Top 20 Useful Tips & Tricks

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While your Windows system might appear easy to use, many tips and tricks would help you save time. Microsoft recently released its latest operating system, Windows 11, in October 2021, and Windows 10 also received an update the month after. If you decided to download Windows 11, you would find different hidden features, tricks, and tips to smoother your working experience.

It doesn’t hurt to master your Windows system, especially the productivity features, regardless of what you’re working on. This way, you can get the most out of your computer. While these tricks are not blatant, we have compiled the top 20 for your benefit.

1. Shift the Start Button

windows 11 home

When you first open your new Windows 11 PC, you might notice that the Start button is located at the center of the taskbar with other icons. You can decide to leave it like this, but if it’s uncomfortable, as we are all used to the button placed at the lower-left corner, you can change it back.

To do so, right-click the taskbar, open its settings, and select Taskbar Behaviors. Change the Taskbar Alignment to Left, and this would put everything the way it’s supposed to be.

2. Personalize the Quick Settings Panel

On Windows 11, you will notice that the Quick Settings located in the Action Center have been separated. If you want to customize the panel, you should click on the icon on the taskbar with the speaker, Wi-Fi, and battery symbols, which would open a settings menu.

windows 11 settings

You can control the Bluetooth, battery savers mode, Wi-Fi, airplane mode, and others on this menu. You can remove and add settings with the Edit Quick Settings button and unpin whatever you don’t want.

3. View More Right-Click Menu Options

windows 11 explorer

The right-click menu on Windows 11 only shows the most basic or everyday settings. If you want to view more settings like set a new background, print, view the file location, and more, click on Show more options, which would show a drop-down menu.

4. Create and Manage Desktops on Windows 11

The Task View button has been redesigned on Windows 11, making it easy to form and manage different desktops. To do so, you can place your mouse over the icon to create a new desktop or view any open desktop. You can rearrange these desktops and move apps from one to another.

5. Work Better with Focus Assist

Windows 11 has a Focus Assist setting with different tools for staying focused. You can start by clicking on System under Settings and selecting Focus Assist. Then, you can choose the types of notifications you have, whether none, only alarms or the list you prioritized.

There is also the setting for automatically putting this feature in place at particular times, like when using an app in full-screen mode.

6. Minimize Windows

You can minimize all the windows quickly except the one you’re working on. This trick comes in handy when you have a crowded desktop with open windows. To do so, select Title Bar Windows Shake under Multitasking in the System Settings.

If you have this setup, you can click the title bar of the window you are leaving open. Then, move it back and forth quickly by holding the window in place.

After shaking it fast, all other windows would minimize. Windows 11 appears even more straightforward to use with tricks like this, reminding us of Windows 10X and its simplicity.

7. Customize Your Widgets

windows widget page

Windows 11 does way better with widgets than Windows 10. You can use the Widgets icon on the taskbar to check the weather, trade stock prices, check your Outlook calendar, read news and sports scores, watch traffic, and make a to-do list. You can also rearrange these widgets based on your need and preferences.

8. Secret Start Menu on Windows 11

Everyone knows the Start menu that you can open with the Windows icon on your keyboard or bottom-left corner. But with Windows 11, you get a second Start menu, where you can easily select the Command Prompt, Task Manager, and Control Panel, and get to it by selecting Windows Key and X.

9. Keyboard Shortcuts for Opening Pinned Items on the Taskbar

You can use different keyboard shortcuts to open items that you have pinned to the taskbar as a shortcut. You should select the Windows Key and Number Key simultaneously to open the pinned program in that position. For instance, Windows Key and 4 would open the fourth pinned item.

10. Shut Down Background Apps

You can shut down the background app if you’re running on limited battery power. Even when you’re not using these apps, they send notifications, updates and can receive info. While this can come in handy, it takes up battery.

You can control and monitor these apps by going to Power & Battery under System in Settings. Then, select Battery Saver, restricting the notifications and background activity.

11. View File Extensions

It’s challenging to see file extensions on File Explorer with Windows, and most people don’t know how to go about it. But, you might need to find specific file types. If you want to view the file extensions, start opening the File Explorer Options. Then, click on View.
You can then turn off the option for hiding extensions. This would turn it on, and you can view your file extensions.

12. See How Much Space Your Apps Take

If you don’t want your Windows 11 computer to lose space with too many apps, you can view how much space they take to manage them. You can view these apps and delete those you don’t use. To check how much space they take, go to System under Settings and check Storage. You can see a complete list by selecting Show More Categories.

You can even ask for suggestions on what you should delete by clicking on the Cleanup recommendation.

13. Background Scrolling for Multiple Windows

Background scrolling on Windows 11 is another helpful trick for multitasking, allowing you to scroll up and down on a window even when you’re not working on it, and it saves you time from clicking back and forth on two or more pages.
You can open two programs side by side on the screen. Then while working on the window, move the mouse to the second window and scroll, as it is on by default. If yours isn’t, go to Settings, then Bluetooth & Devices. Click on Mouse, then put on the option for background scrolling.

14. Snap Layout on Windows 11

While the snap and resize feature has been around since Windows 7, it’s been upgraded for Windows 11. Asides from only dragging and dropping windows from place to place, there’s a setting to see a menu of layout options by hovering over the Maximize button on supported apps. You can arrange one large window on the left and two on the right or three in a row.

15. Focus Sessions

focus windows 11

Asides from Focus Assist, you can reduce distractions with the Focus Sessions app on Windows 11. It would help you set time apart for work when you need to focus on their newly designed Alarms & Clock app. You can select 30 minutes of work time without distraction or more, and after every 45 minutes, you’ll be alerted to take a break for five minutes.

16. Chat with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is now built into this new operating system. It is a free messaging, videoconferencing, and calling app from Microsoft, and the icon is located on the taskbar. Now, you don’t have to open the Teams app to make calls or start chats. You can also sync your contacts with the app or invite them through email or text, and they can video chat with you from a web link or chat through SMS.

17. Pair Input and Output Devices

Windows 11 also makes it easy to pair input and output devices. It features a full-fledged Sound Menu, where you can add a device under the output or input section. Open Settings, System, and then Sound, and you can open the Output or Input section and click on Add Device.
You can select Bluetooth, wireless docks, or other ways to connect to the devices. If you want to see all the input and output devices you’ve connected, click on Advanced and then All Sound Devices.

18. Customize the Start Menu

windows 11

Become even more productive with your new Windows OS by customizing the start menu. When you open the Start menu, you might notice the Settings icon is gone. But, go to Settings, Personalization, Start, and Folders to add it back and other folders.

There is also the removal of live titles, which were replaced by a straightforward Start menu that allows you to pin apps. This is quickly done by opening App List, right-clicking on the app you want, and pinning it to start.

19. New Sound Modes

Another fantastic trick is concerning the sound modes on this Windows OS. It gives you more control over your audio output, with mono audio and enhanced audio modes. If you want to select mono, click on Settings, System, and then Sound. Then, choose Mono audio, combining the left and proper channels.

You can also enhance the audio by changing the settings for virtual surround, loudness equalization, bass boost, and room correction. This is done by clicking on Advanced, then All Sound Devices. Click on a device and check the properties to enhance audio.

20. Touch Gestures

Touch gestures are some of the best tricks you can use on your Windows 11 if you have a tablet or touch-screen PC convertible. Some of these new touch gestures involve using more than one finger. Here are some of the touch gestures:

  • Swipe in from the left to open the Widgets panel.
  • Swipe in from the right to open notifications.
  • Swipe three fingers up to open the running windows.
  • Swipe up on the screen with four fingers to show the Task View.
  • Swipe three fingers down to minimize an app and view the desktop.

Final Thoughts

With these productive tricks, you can enjoy your Windows 11 system better and get the most out of your system. If you’re still using Windows 10, you can decide to upgrade to Microsoft’s new operating system or try out these hidden features on yours!

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