If you use a Windows PC, like so many people around the world, you’re probably used to the operating system’s idiosyncrasies by now. Microsoft’s software is ubiquitous and used by a wide variety of people, businesses and organizations.
As such, it typically has a pretty uniform look and feature set. This is on purpose, so everyone can use it and get to know it in ways that make it simple to hop from one computer to the next if need be. But did you realize there were ways you could tweak Windows to make it more appealing to the way you use it?
There’s no shortage of options, but we’ve narrowed it down. Here are some of the coolest ways you can tweak Windows to your liking.
1. Change up how your apps look
You don’t have to settle for how your apps come standard. They can be customized! Simply go to the Start menu, then Settings, then Personalization and Colors. From there, select Choose your color and opt for Light or Dark mode. Your apps will get an instant facelift.
2. Make your pointer stand out
Sometimes, it can be a little difficult to see your pointer on-screen. We’ve all been there. You can make it bigger or change its color, even. Just go to the Start menu, choose Settings, then Ease of Access and Cursor & pointer. From there, you can change the size and color of your mouse pointer so it feels right for you.
3. Back up all your important folders
Don’t ever lose your precious files. Just keep your documents, photos and desktop files backed up automatically using your OneDrive so you’ve still got access to your docs, even if for some reason you no longer have your PC. Go to your taskbar, hit OneDrive, then More and then Settings. Check out the AutoSave tab, then Update folders and choose the folders you want to have to automatically sync from there. No more worries!
4. Use Quick Assist to help non-techy family members
If you’re consistently finding that you need help figuring things out in Windows or want to give quick instructions to a family member or friend who isn’t that handy with tech, this feature should help nicely. In Windows 10, type in “quick assist” in your taskbar, then choose “Get Assistance” or “Give Assistance.” Follow the on-screen prompts and you’ll get all the help you need to accomplish various tasks.
5. Eliminate the need to squint
You can make your on-screen text much bigger than it is already. Just go to Start, Settings, then Ease of Access and Display. Look for the Make text bigger slider to get started editing how large the text is. You can use the slider to customize the text size to your liking, or you can click the drop-down menu and choose “Make everything bigger” to make even the windows larger so you can see them better.
6. Schedule tasks to run on your time
You can use the Windows Task Scheduler to start running tasks at certain times to make things more convenient for you. For instance, you can run a defrag tool to keep your computer running properly at a certain time each week so you don’t have to start it. Just type “task scheduler” into your taskbar to get started.
7. Record what’s happening on your screen
Sometimes, whether you’re in the middle of a game or creating a cool piece of art on your computer, you may decide you want to record your screen. You can do this very easily by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard as well as the G key at the same time, then follow the on-screen prompts to start recording. Simple as that!
8. Stave off updates until you’re ready for them
Sometimes, updates can come at the most inopportune times. Keep them for another time that works for you by going to Start, then Settings, then Update & Security. Click Windows Update, then Pause updates. You can then start updating again when you’re ready (or have time for them to run).
9. Have Microsoft step in to protect your PC’s health
If you’re not sure how to take optimal care of your PC, you can let Microsoft help ensure your computer is running as smooth as it possibly can. Just head to Start, Settings, Update & Security, and then Troubleshoot. Microsoft will offer a series of recommended troubleshooting suggestions to help you resolve any issues you may be having.
10. Experience Microsoft apps on your Android device
If you have an Android phone or tablet, you can use the Microsoft Launcher to use various aspects of Microsoft’s Windows on your phone. Type Microsoft Launcher in the search box on your phone, install the app and then you’ll be privy to new Bing wallpapers that change daily, your Office docs and calendar and plenty of other cool stuff.
11. Use emoji from your keyboard
You can use emoji in anything with a recent update from Microsoft for Windows. You can press the Windows key to pop open an emoji panel and proceed to use emoji anywhere you have access to a keyboard. Easy-peasy!
12. Use Microsoft to keep your PC safe from malware
If you don’t want to pay for pricey antivirus programs, Windows actually has an option for you that’ll do the trick nicely called Windows Defender. You can set it up to block malware, scan for viruses and other dangerous programs that find their way onto your computer, and more. Just type Windows Defender into your taskbar, select the Windows Defender app and then turn Real-time protection on. Then you’re protected!