Microsoft’s first major Windows 10 update debuted yesterday with some new features and changes. Most of the additions are obvious, but there are a few hidden away. Here are several Windows 10 features you might not have discovered yet.
Find my device
You’re probably used to using a find my device feature on your phone, but what happens if you lose your laptop? In most versions of Windows you’d have to settle for a third-party app to trust and track your laptop’s location, but Microsoft has decided to add this functionality straight into Windows 10. Just like the mobile equivalent, you can enable find my device and it will track the last known location of your laptop or PC.
It’s linked to your Microsoft Account so you can sign-in on the web from another device if you lose your laptop or it gets stolen. You can find the setting to enable it in settings > update & security > find my device.
Cortana will let you reply to texts and more
If you have a Windows Phone then Cortana gets a lot more useful with the latest Windows 10 update. A new option in Cortana’s settings section lets you enable missed call notifications. That’s useful if you simply miss a call, but it also lets you reply to calls with text messages. Cortana will use your phone and its number to send the text, and you can even say “text Joe Bloggs” to initiate a text message without having to miss a call.
Sadly this isn’t available yet in the new Messaging app, so you need to use Cortana at the moment to send text messages. If you have a device with a stylus then Cortana will also let you create reminders based on times, dates, and locations that you scribble into digital notes. If you’re an Uber user then you can even link your account so Cortana will offer driving directions for events alongside an option to request an Uber ride.
Automatic time zones
Windows has had the ability to set automatic time for years, but if you travel to another country it never changed time zones automatically. That’s changing with the latest Windows 10 update. Hidden away in settings > time & language is a new “set time zone automatically” option. It’s enabled by default if you install the latest update, and it does exactly what it says. Now if you’re travelling for vacation or work, you won’t get to your destination and be puzzled by your old time zone. It will finally work just like your smartphone does.
Cast media to device
Microsoft already supports DLNA and Miracast streaming inside Windows 10, but the latest update makes it a lot more discoverable. If you’re using Microsoft Edge then there’s a new option to “cast media to device” and elsewhere there’s a little cast icon in apps like photos or videos. The cast media feature lets you send photos, video, and audio to compatible devices with no setup required. It’s a lot like Google’s Chromecast feature now.
Microsoft Edge sync passwords and favorites
It’s surprising that password, favorites, and reading list sync wasn’t enabled for the Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 10, but that’s changing with the new update. If you use multiple Windows 10 devices then you can enable the sync option in Edge settings so the browser finally syncs passwords and favorites across all the laptops and PCs you use.
New Skype apps
Microsoft is including Skype integration with its latest Windows 10 update, but you might not even notice it at first. If you install the latest update then apps like Messaging, Phone, and Skype Video will also be installed. You can find them using Cortana or the app list, and they’re basic versions of Skype features. They’re useful if you want a lightweight messaging app to talk to Skype friends, but they still need some improvements.
Better app snapping
Windows 8 introduced some useful “Metro” app snapping features, and now Windows 10 is extending them to all apps. When you place two desktop apps side-by-side, like File Explorer and Notepad, you can now resize them individually and the other window will adjust to fill the gap. It’s a lot more like how Metro-style apps worked in Windows 8, and it’s great if you want to have apps side-by-side but have one act like it’s a sidebar. Just hover your mouse in the middle of two snapped apps and you’ll see a new slider will appear to let you adjust accordingly.
Verge Video: Windows 10 review
Written by the award-winning team that created the best-seller Windows 7 Inside Out, it digs deep to explain not just how new features work, but why they work that way. The authors are backed by world-class technical editors and inside sources at Microsoft to make sure their information is accurate and complete.
Windows 10 is better (in ways) yet all that white is just annoying. I find it a bit hard to find where to place the mouse so I can drag windows from screen to screen. (Yes I have 2 screens.) Well Windows 10 uses white title bars (That is what they are called.) by default. This is a bit of a change from Windows 8 which did let you choose any color you wanted. There is a way to get some color to your desktop title bars. Okay this method only affect some apps, mainly the traditional apps but not the universal apps. The universal apps stick to the white but a color change for some apps can really make a different for some depending on what apps you use consecutively. The univeral apps though depend on the developer of the app to specify a color. You can make the universal apps use a dark (hidden) theme though. I will talk about that after.
Change Windows Theme Files
Since Microsoft chose to rather force the white title bars we have to make a few changes. See in the DWM.dll theme file, there is code that compares the current theme file with the “aero.msstyles” file which is the default theme file. If it matches windows ignores the color in the file and sets the color to white. A solution… Just change the default Windows theme file to not have the name “aero.msstyles”.
- Open File Explorer and navigate to C:\Windows\Resources\Themes. (The more windows changes the more it stays the same.)
- Select the “aero” folder and copy it (CTRL+C to copy) then paste it (CTRL+V to paste) right after into the same folder so you end up with 2 folders called aero, the 2nd folder having “copy” in its name. During the process you will get a UAC prompt that you will click “Continue” for. After select “Do this for all current items” and click “skip” when you see the File Access Denied window.
- Once you do that you will have made a folder called “aero – copy”. Rename it to whatever you want, in this case I will say rename it to “mytheme”. Just make sure you remember what you named it because you will have use that name later.
- Go inside your new folder “mytheme” and you will see a file named “aero.msstyles”. Rename it to “mytheme.msstyles”. Oh and click Continue when you see the UAC prompt.
- Open the en-US folder and you will see a file called “aero.msstyles.mui”. You need to rename it to “mytheme.msstyles.mui”. Again when you see the UAC prompt just click Continue. (The en-US folder may have a different name if you are using a different language version of Windows so just use a little common sense and goto the the folder with your language name with its shortened 2-letters and a dash with country code. Which in this case is US. (en = English, US = United States)
- Now go back to the main Themes folder and there is a file named “aero.theme”. You will need to copy it to your desktop because Windows will fight you in altering this file so copy and paste it to your desktop. Once you have your copy of the file on your desktop just rename it to “mytheme.theme”.
- Right-click on the mytheme.theme file and select OPEN WITH, then select CHOOSE another app (click on MORE APPs) and open the file with Notepad. Scroll down in the file and locate the line under [VisualStyles]. It should be reading like this: Path=%ResourceDir%\Themes\Aero\aero.msstyles. Replace or change the Aero part to mytheme so it reads like this:
Save the file and close notepad. It will basically look like this.[VisualStyles]
- Now select the mytheme.theme file you edited on your desktop and cut (cut and paste) it by pressing CTRL+X then go back to the C:\Windows\Resources\Themes folder then paste it by pressing CTRL+V. Agree to the UAC prompt when you are done. These steps have helped you create a theme that can use colored window title bars.
- Now you have to activate the theme and you can do that by just simply double-clicking on it. Your title bars once finish applying should be colored now.
From the images I am sure you see I have already done this so you have your proof that it does work. Windows 8 had like a default that auto chose a color based on the colors in your curerently selected wallpaper. You can pick colors too if you want. You just have to right-click on the desktop and select Personalize (the long way is to open your Start Menu and select Settings and find Personalization from there.) Once you are there just select the Colors option/category and disable the “Automatically pick an accent color from my background” toggle and a list of colors will show up. (Notice this window is still white.)
The list is limited but if you are not satisfied with the choices you can still access the old school control panel applet by first pressing Windows Key+R to open up the Run dialog box then copy-&-paste the following command line into the run box and run the command by clicking OK. There will be a Show or Hide color mixer toggle arrow and using that you can get any color your want. If you do not see it you may have windows set to choose colors based on the wallpaper but you will still see colors in this window so just choose a color and it should show up.
This trick was tested using the latest version of Windows 10 (not a test build) from the date of this article. Given what I have been seeing I would not be surprised if Microsoft adds more theming options later on as they seem to be listening a bit more to their users. Alot of us techy people have been testing out development versions even after windows 10’s release and they have an improved feedback tool to help you voice your issues.
I’m moving along doing my techno geek thang and what do you know, I notice a little icon on the bottom of my screen. So Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 is coming on July 29th, and I don’t even need to get out of your chair to get a spot in the upgrade line. So everyone take a peek at your Notification Area in the Taskbar and you should find a Windows icon that, when clicked will open a new Windows 10 upgrade panel. As I mentioned before, users will have a year to climb onto the……………………FREE Windows 10 bandwagon, but once you do, you will get free security upgrades for the life of whatever you are installed it on. Be picky what you choose to install it on my fellows techs.
So on July 29th get some Windows 10 goodness and be relieved that your Start Menu is back……..
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