Even if you’ve been using Windows 10 for a while, there are likely more than a few non-obvious features you’ve never tried before. We’ve picked ten of them, and each one will help you get the most out of your PC.
Got a PC running Windows 11? Be sure to check out our favorite Windows 11 features, too.
Emoji Picker Menu
If you’re a big fan of emoji, there’s an easy way to insert emoji into any document. To do so, press Windows+Period (“.”) on your keyboard. In the small menu that pops up, you can scroll through the complete list of available emoji in Windows 10. When you find the one you want, click it, and Windows will insert it into whatever text field you’re working on.
If your Windows workspace feels crowded, virtual desktops can help you manage your open windows and keep your desktop organized by task or topic. To add a new virtual desktop, click the Task View icon on your taskbar or press Windows+Tab. In Task View, click “New Desktop” button at the top of the screen. (If you don’t see virtual desktops in Task View, make sure they are enabled in Settings > System > Multitasking.) Now you have another desktop to get to work on, and you can switch between desktops at any time in Task View by clicking each desktop’s thumbnail.
Instant Time Stamp in Notepad
If you like taking notes in Windows 10’s built-in text editor, Notepad, you’ll enjoy this quick tip. To get a date and timestamp in Notepad, press F5 on your keyboard at any time. Or you can select Edit > Time/Date in the menu bar. As of that exact moment, the current time and date will appear instantly at the position of your cursor. Very handy!
Snip & Sketch
This built-in app can take screenshots of any area on your screen, and it can also create a screenshot of a full webpage with the press of a button. To launch Snip & Sketch, press Windows+Shift+S on your keyboard. Or you can open the Start menu and type “Snip & Sketch,” then press Enter or click its icon. To take a screenshot, click the “New” button in the toolbar and then use your mouse to highlight the desired area. You’ll see the result in the window, and you can save it by clicking the save button (a floppy disk icon) in the toolbar.
Windows “Time Machine” Backup
A built-in Windows 10 feature called File History makes a backup of your files every hour by default, but you can change the frequency to as little as every 10 minutes. It’s similar to Time Machine on a Mac. To turn on File History, press Windows+i to open Settings, then navigate to Update & Security > Backup. Under “Back Up Using File History,” click the “Add a Drive” button and select a drive (usually an external drive) where you want Windows to save backups. You can configure File History’s settings if you click “More Options” in Update & Security > Backup.
Screen Record With Xbox Game Bar
The Xbox Game Bar is one of Windows 10’s most powerful secret weapons. It’s designed for gamers, but anyone can use its features, including a handy screen recording tool. To use it, press Windows+G to open the Game Bar. In the main Game Bar menu, click the small “Capture” icon (which looks like a camera). In the “Capture” window, use the record button (a small circle in a button) to start recording your screen. Click “Stop Recording” when you’re done. You’ll find the video file in your Videos folder.
The Power User Menu
The hidden power user menu, which you can launch by pressing Windows+X on your keyboard or by right-clicking the Start button, gives you quick access to some of Windows’ most important tools and settings, such as Task Manager, Device Manager, Event Manager, Disk Management, Network Connections, and more. It even includes sleep and shut down options, and you can quickly open File Explorer with a couple of clicks. (Bonus Tip: Try pressing Windows+E to open File Explorer as well.)
If you need a break from notifications, Focus Assist can help. While on, you won’t get any notification pop-ups in the corner of the screen. To enable it, click the Action Center icon (which looks like a word bubble) on the far-right side of your taskbar. Next, click the “Focus Assist” button. If you don’t see a “Focus Assist” button, click “Expand” at the bottom of the Action Center. In Settings > System > Focus Assist, you can choose to enable Focus Assist automatically at specific times or customize which notifications you want to see while Focus Assist is enabled. Toggle it off at any time using the same Action Center button.
Don’t you hate it when you try to paste something and you realize you’ve already cleared the clipboard by copying something else? Luckily, Windows 10 has a built-in feature called Clipboard History, which you can enable in Settings > System > Clipboard by switching “Clipboard History” to the “On” position. Once you do that, seeing your clipboard history is as easy as pressing Windows+V at any time. If you toggle “Sync Across Devices,” you can share your clipboard history with other Windows computers that you’ve signed in to with the same Microsoft Account.
If you find yourself working late into the night, Night Light mode can help reduce eye strain by making your screen appear warmer. It might also temporarily help boost your melatonin levels so you don’t disrupt sleep.
To activate it, open the Action Center and click the “Night Light” button. Or you can open Settings and navigate to System > Display and flip the switch beside “Night Light” to “On.” If you click “Night Light Settings” in the same menu, you can adjust the warm tint’s color and even automatically schedule Night Light to turn on and off at certain times of day. Pleasant dreams!