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Microsoft Windows 11 tips and tricks
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Tech tips

7 tips and tricks to make Windows 11 more useful

If you recently purchased a new PC or laptop, you’re probably learning your way around Windows 11. Microsoft’s latest operating system was released in October 2021, and you’ll find it pre-installed on newer machines.

You may also qualify for a free upgrade on your existing Windows 10 PC. While Microsoft suggests you wait until you get a notification through Windows Update if and when your PC is ready for an upgrade, there is something of a shortcut. Tap or click here for instructions.

You may want to check out a few changes in Windows 11. They can help you maintain focus or provide faster ways to get things done. You can even play around with some settings to make the new Windows feel like past versions. We’ll go through some of them to help you get started.

This tip is brought to you by our sponsor, Dell. Read to the end to see how Dell can help you find the right tech to get the job done.

1. Customize quick settings

The notification center in Windows 11 contains quick settings, which gives you easy access to commonly used settings and apps. You can add or remove quick settings to your liking:

  • Press Win + A to open quick settings.
  • Select the Edit quick settings icon.
  • Select the Add button to add a quick setting or press the pin icon on the quick setting you want to remove. 
  • Select Done.

Third-party developers are adding features to Windows 11. We’ve compiled a list of applications that should interest Windows power users. Tap or click here to check out these five utilities.

2. Focus assist

Focus assist lets you choose which notifications you want to see or hear and when. The ones you don’t choose go to the notification center, where you can view them whenever you want:

  • Select Start > Settings > System > Focus assist.
  • To see and hear fewer notifications, select either Priority only or Alarms only.

3. Title bar window shake

You can grab a title bar and shake it to minimize all but that one window, helping to improve focus. It comes disabled by default, but you can enable it.

Go to Settings > Multitasking and toggle on Title bar window shake.

4. Launch voice typing with a shortcut

With voice typing, you can enter text on your PC by speaking:

  • To start voice typing, press the Windows logo key on a hardware keyboard or press the microphone key next to the Spacebar on a touch keyboard.
  • To stop voice typing, say a voice typing command like “stop listening” or press the microphone button on the voice typing menu.

5. See all your apps in the Start menu

You can customize what you see in your Start menu and keep your most recently used apps close at hand:

  • To see a list of your apps, select Start, then select the arrow next to All apps to expand that pane.
  • Go to Start > Settings > Personalization > Start and turn on Show recently added apps to show your most used apps at the top of your list.

6. Detailed battery report

If you’re interested in getting more technical info about your battery usage and estimated capacity, you can get Windows 11 to generate a battery report:

  • Select Search on the taskbar, type Command prompt, press and hold (or right-click) Command prompt, then select Run as administrator > Yes.
  • At the command prompt, type powercfg /batteryreport, then press Enter.

The battery report will be saved as HTML on your PC. The file location will be shown in the Command Prompt window. To view it, open File Explorer, go to the folder that the report was saved to and double-click the battery report (HTML file).

7. Realign the Start button back to the left

Windows 11 comes with the Start button centered in the taskbar, which may throw off longtime Windows users. Moving it back to the left is easy:

  • Press the Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  • Choose Personalization and Taskbar.
  • Select Taskbar behaviors and then click Left under Taskbar alignment.

Tap or click here for more Windows 11 tips and tricks.

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