Every new version of Windows is met with a mixture of excitement for the new features that have been added and a sense of trepidation for the changes involved. But something all Windows users can agree on is that they want the best and fastest experience possible.
So whether you’re a Windows veteran who’s getting used to the new look and feel of the operating system, or a first-time user of Windows, we have gathered an essential collection of tips and tricks you need to get the most out of Windows.
Some will let you stamp your mark on Windows 11 and make it your own, others will speed up the way you use the OS. But they all have one thing in common – they improve Windows in some way.
Move the Start button
You will notice that the Start button and icons in the taskbar are centered – this is not something that’s to everyone’s liking. If you would prefer the Start button to be in the left-hand corner as it always has been, right-click an empty section of the taskbar and select Taskbar settings. Click the Taskbar behaviors section to expand it, and then select Left from the Taskbar alignment drop-down menu.
Enable dark mode
The option to switch to a darker color is a trend that has hit many different applications, and Windows 11 does not miss out. If you prefer darker tones, right-click an empty section of the desktop and select Personalize before clicking the Color section. From the drop-down menu labeled Choose your mode, select Dark.
Use Snap layouts
If you have several applications running and multiple instances of Explorer open, it can be difficult to organize the windows on the screen for easy navigation. Windows 11’s Snap feature could be the solution you’re looking for. Hover your cursor over the Maximize/Resize button and you can choose a layout to quickly arrange open windows. There are several to choose from, each suited for different tasks and screen sizes.
Hide unwanted Taskbar buttons
Chat With Teams
Microsoft Teams—the company’s free messaging, calling, and videoconferencing app—is built into Windows 11. Launch video calls and start chats from a new Chat icon on the taskbar; no need to open the Microsoft Teams app. You can sync your contacts through the Teams mobile app, but if your contacts don’t use Teams, send invites via email or text. You can also have SMS conversations with contacts even if they don’t sign up for Teams, and they can join a video chat from a web link.
Get Things Done With Focus Sessions
With messages and video chats popping up throughout the work day, it’s easy to get distracted as the work piles up. Focus Sessions in Windows 11 encourages you to set aside time for work that requires uninterrupted, deep focus. It’s currently available in the new Alarms & Clock app, and offers a quick way to get at least 30 minutes of distraction-free work time. If you go beyond 45 minutes, the app automatically schedules a five-minute break about midway through your session. Here’s a step-by-step guide on setting it up for your PC.
Pair Input/Output Devices
Windows 11 gets a full-featured Sound menu with the ability to pair new input and output devices. Open Settings > System > Sound and click Add device under the Output section to link external speakers or other devices. Or click Add device under Input to connect an external microphone. You will then be given the choice to connect via Bluetooth, wireless docks, and more. Scroll down to the Advanced section and click All sound devices to view a full list of all input and output devices that have been connected to your PC.
Pins Apps to the Start Menu
Speaking of live tiles, they’re finally gone in Windows 11. In their place is a more simplistic Start menu where you can pin apps for easy access. Open the App List, right-click on an app, and select Pin to Start to move it to the Pinned section. You can then drag the app into your preferred position. To remove apps, right-click and choose Unpin from Start.