Simple Tips Every Windows User Should Know For Beginners

By | April 26, 2022

Windows has an endless supply of little tips and tricks that can help you use your system more efficiently. The more you learn, the closer you will set yourself on the path to becoming a great user.

It sounds scary, but a really strong user is just someone who has used Windows long enough and is interested enough to accumulate a mental library of troubleshooting tips, tricks, and steps (like knowing how to fix a sideways screen).

If you’ve always wanted to be a more reliable user but aren’t sure where to start. Here are tips to get started.

Windows 7, 8.1, and 10

With all versions of Windows (except Windows 8), the Start menu is your go-to location for opening applications and accessing system utilities. Did you know that you can access many important system utilities without opening the Start menu?

All you do is hover over the Start button and right-click to open the secret right-click context menu. From here you can quickly open the task manager, control panel, run dialog, device manager, command prompt, and other important functions. There’s even a quick option to shut down or reboot your PC.

If you prefer to use keyboard shortcuts to open hidden menus, tap the Windows logo key + x, which is where the name Start-x comes from.

Send in bulk to menu (Windows 7 and above)

Have you ever used the Send to right-click menu option for files and folders? As the name suggests, it’s a quick and easy way to move files around your system to specific folders or apps.

The selection of options for the Send to menu is limited – unless you know how to get Windows to show you more options, that is. Before you right click on a file or folder hold down the Shift key on your keyboard.

Now, right click and hover over the Send option in the context menu. A large list will appear with pretty much every major folder on your PC. You won’t find sub-folders like Documents > My great folders, but if you need to quickly send a movie to a video or OneDrive folder, the Send to plus Shift option can get it done.

Add more clocks (Windows 7 and up)

By default Windows shows the current time at the far right of the taskbar. That’s great for tracking local time, but sometimes you need to track multiple time zones at once for business or to keep in touch with family.

Adding a few clocks to the taskbar is simple. The instructions here are for Windows 10, but the process is similar for other versions of Windows. Right-click the Start button and select Control Panel from the context menu.

Once the Control Panel opens, make sure the View by option in the top right corner is set to the Category option. Now select Clock, Language and Region > Add clocks for different time zones.

In the new window that opens select the Additional Clocks tab. Now click the checkbox next to one of the “Show this clock” options. Next, select your time zone from the drop-down menu, and give the clock a name in the text entry box labeled “Enter a display name.”

When finished, click Apply, then OK. To see if a new clock appears either hover over the time in your taskbar to get a pop-up with multiple hours, or click on the time to see the full version.

Volume Mixer (Windows 7 and above)

Most of the time when you want to reduce the volume, you can simply click on the volume icon in your system tray (far right of the taskbar) or press a special key on the keyboard. But if you open Volume Mixer, you get far more control over your system sound level including custom settings for system alerts.

If you’re tired of all the dings and pings smacking you in the eardrums here’s how you can fix it. For Windows 8.1 and 10, right-click the volume icon and select Open Volume Mixer. On Windows 7, click the volume icon and then click Mixer just below the general volume control.

On Windows 8.1 and 10 lowers the setting called System Sounds to a more comfortable level – on Windows 7 the setting may also be called Windows Sounds.

Pin your favorite folders to File Explorer (Windows 7 and up)

Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 all have a way to place the folders you use most often in a special place in File Explorer (Windows Explorer on Windows 7). In Windows 8.1 and 10 that location is called Quick Access, whereas Windows 7 calls it a favorite. Regardless, both sections are in the same place at the very top of the navigation pane in the File Explorer/Windows Explorer window.

To add a folder to this location you can drag-and-drop right into the section, or right-click the folder you want to add, and select Pin for Quick Access / Add current location to Favorites.

Send lock screen image (Windows 10)

Windows 10 lets you personalize the lock screen image on your PC instead of using the generic Microsoft provided image by default. Start by going to Start > Settings > Personalization > Lock screen.

Now click the drop-down menu under Background and select Picture. Next, under “Select your image” click the Browse button to find the image on your system that you want to use. After you select an image, it may take a few seconds to appear at the top of the Settings window under Preview. Once there, you can close the Settings app. To test if you got the right image, tap Windows logo key + L to see the lock screen.

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