14 Hidden Windows Programs That Will Change Your Life {Infographic}

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14 Hidden Windows Programs That Will Change Your Life {Infographic}

Dear old Microsoft Windows – for over three decades now, it has slowly formed an almost unnoticeable background to our daily lives. Every time you hear that chime or see those impossibly verdant meadows, something deep in your soul sighs, ‘ah, I’m home’! Yet on a conscious level, you use it each day without really thinking too much about it.

You could even argue that a good operating system, like a good movie sound designer, is defined by the fact that you don’t even notice it’s there. But in fact, with Windows 10 especially, to do so is to fail to make the most of this versatile piece of software.

Windows 10 is there to be explored and exploited, and if you haven’t done so then there is range of programs and apps of which you’re not even aware – and which could change your day-to-day life.

You can unleash your inner creative with Windows Ink, for example. Nab a digital pen off of Amazon or eBay, and you can make sketches, write on the screen, and even create what Microsoft calls Intelligent Sticky Notes – essentially, smart Post-Its. For example, you can scribble a flight number down on such a note and Windows will add the flight details underneath automatically.

If that’s still too much work for you, you can use Window’s own Siri to help you get yourself organized. It’s called Cortana, and chatting away with this digital assistant will enable you to control your sound system with your voice, make Skype calls, and ask the weather or even for a joke. No guarantees how funny they are – this is serious old Microsoft after all – but still, it’s nice to have a bit of company, no?

You can further adjust Windows to make it easier to see what you’re working on or to find stuff that you’ve lost deep in that hard drive. Task View is easily brought up by hitting the Windows key and Tab at the same time, which shrinks all your open windows so they can be seen simultaneously. You can then click on the one you want to visit to continue your work.

Windows God Mode is a little more advanced. You need to create a new folder on your desktop and name it “GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}” (they couldn’t come up with something more user-friendly?) which should transform its folder icon into a Control Panel icon. Inside this folder you’ll find all the settings menus that Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, has spread out across all four corners of the OS. No more struggling through multiple menus to find the function you need!

A special added trick with that one is that you can replace the word ‘God’ in the folder name with anything you like: NinjaMode, DaveMode, HalMode – well, it’s a bit of fun, isn’t it?

If your thing is producing content for your blog or for YouTube, you will also find some handy tools hidden away in Windows’ back room. The Snipping Tool allows you to screenshot just a selected section of your screen by dragging your cursor over the required section. Meanwhile, Game DVR allows you to video capture your screen. You can set it to record just the app that want, so that it doesn’t jump all over the place when you’re tabbing from program to program – and your tutorials and games clips will look smooth and professional.

Whatever kind of project you’re cooking up, OneNote is sure to help. A powerful virtual scrapbook, OneNote enables you to drag in articles and webpages, to add your own diagrams and sketches by scanning or using the mouse pad to draw, to make lists, and add all kinds of other materials. It’s also great for collaborating, since you can share the notebook you’ve made and allow others to edit it in real time. Use it in tandem with Sticky Notes to keep yourself organized and your hot ideas streamlined.

And if you have trouble with any of these options, and Cortana isn’t able to help you, it is now much easier to get in touch with Microsoft’s Windows boffins and have a conversation about your errant software. Their new help app, known as Contact Support, contains a range of useful links but also allows you to connect with Microsoft support representatives for live text chats, so you can resolve issues with accounts, billing, or software fails and enquiries.

Sure, Microsoft is not Apple and in certain types of comparison it will always come up short. Apple’s security is rightly renowned, and if you’re running Windows then you need to pay for decent virus and malware detection software on top of what you’ve already got. And some of the way it works isn’t too intuitive, but if you know your way around a computer at least you can go inside and figure things out for yourself – a process that Apple frowns on.

So if you’re running Windows 10, it’s time to celebrate and make the most of it with these hot hidden apps. For an at-a-glance look at what it’s got going on in there, check out this new visual guide to the Windows programs you’re not using but should.

Editorial Team
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