Windows 10 is ready for launch and many tech publications have covered it in their articles. However, everybody talks only about its biggest new features. As is always the case with operating systems, there are many small things that are new to Windows 10 and most people have never heard about them. We tested Windows 10 during its development cycle and we know many of these small new features. We decided to share them with you in this article:
The Best 12 Lesser Known Windows 10 Features
- The Start Menu can be resized – Unlike the old Start Menu from Windows 7 and the Start screen from Windows 8, the new Start Menufrom Windows 10 can be resized as you wish. It’s a neat little feature that many users will find helpful. By resizing your Start Menu you can make space for more apps rows and tiles, or you can shrink it so that no space is left unused.
- WiFi Sense – If you’ve used a Windows Phone, you already know what this feature is about. If enabled, WiFi Sense automatically shares the credentials you use to connect to wireless networks with all your other Windows devices. Also, you can use WiFi Sense to share these networks with your contacts from Facebook, Outlook or Skype, if they also use WiFi Sense. This way, both you and your friends can connect to wireless networks for which you don’t actually know the security details. You could call this feature “wireless Internet sharing”. A good thing, from a security point of view, is the fact that neither you or the others get to see the actual security details of the wireless connections that are shared. Secondly, WiFi Sense can also automatically detect and connect to open wireless hotspots whenever such networks are in range.
- Taskbar icons of open apps are underlined – This is what you’d call a subtle change that improves the usability of an operating system. Up to Windows 10, for each opened program or app, we had large buttons on the taskbar that did not look so great. In Windows 10, the taskbar icons used for opened apps are much more subtle and any opened app is underlined with an accent color. If you ask us, we like it better this way.
- File Explorer has a new Quick Access section – Both Windows Explorer from Windows 7 and File Explorer from Windows 8.1 have aFavorites section, where you can place shortcuts to folders, drives and so on. The new Quick Access section is much more flexible and configurable. You can set it as a startup folder for File Explorer and it can be set to display a list for frequently used folders and recently opened files. We like it a lot more than the old Favorites and we think that you will like it too.
- You can set the starting location for File Explorer – In Windows 10, Microsoft added a small yet nifty feature to File Explorer: you can now set it to automatically open Quick Access or This PC when you start it. It’s a small but useful improvement that will make you more productive when using File Explorer.
- Phone Companion – This is a very interesting app, which aims to help you easily connect any kind of smartphone to your Windows 10 PC. The Phone Companion app works very well with Windows Phone devices, iPhones or Android smartphones. It lets you sync your smartphone’s contents to your PC or install various apps like Skype, Office, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook or Cortana on your smartphone.
- Windows Defender gets cloud protection – Yes, Windows Defender gets improved by using cloud antivirus protection: if enabled, this feature will let Windows Defender send information to Microsoft about any problem it finds. This information is then used by Microsoft to develop new antimalware definitions and fix the problems on your device and others.
- Windows updates can be downloaded from the local network or the Internet – Traditionally, Windows updates were only downloaded from Microsoft’s servers. With Windows 10, Microsoft appears to embrace the peer-to-peer technologies that are very popular nowadays. As a result, Windows 10 devices are now capable of downloading updates both from other Windows 10 devices from your local network as well as other Windows 10 computers from the Internet.
- You can use OneDrive to fetch files from your PCs – Microsoft developed this feature quite a while ago but, for some strange reason, it removed it from Windows 8.1. We’ve got all the reasons to be happy now, as Windows 10 brings it back. As long as your devices are connected to the Internet and they are running on Windows 10, Windows 8 or Windows 7, you can fetch files from them using OneDrive.
- Storage Sense – This is yet another feature that Windows Phone users are accustomed to. Storage Sense allows you to look into what’s taking space on your Windows 10 device and set the default saving locations for new apps or documents. Considering the fact that Windows 10 is an operating system designed to work on a variety of devices, ranging from smartphones to tablets and fully fledged PCs, it makes sense for Microsoft to include it in Windows 10.
- Privacy controls – Microsoft takes your privacy very seriously and, in Windows 10, they included a lot of new privacy related settings. You can set permissions for apps that can access your location, camera, microphone, contacts, calendar, messages, radios and so on. All these are divided into separate categories and each of them lists every app that can control or access any of these features.
- Battery Saver – This is yet another feature that was borrowed from Windows Phone. Whenever your device’s battery level is low, Battery Saver is enabled automatically. This feature changes settings like the screen’s brightness, disables background apps and more, all in order to prolong the battery life of your Windows 10 device.
All in all, Windows 10 doesn’t bring only major new features, but also many improvements that are not noticeable at first. We hope that you enjoyed our list of less known new features and improvements and, if you know others, don’t hesitate to share them using the comments form below.