Under the Hood: 6 Hidden Windows 10 Features You Can Unlock
Windows 10 comes with many new features. You already know about the major ones, like virtual desktops , Cortana on the desktop , or the new Start Menu . Here are some less obvious ones that impact your Windows 10 experience, and how you can make use of them.
Personalize Your Lock Screen
With Build 9926 , Windows 10 added new lock screen features, including a selection of beautiful images.
To customize your lock screen, open the Settings app and go to Personalization. Here, you can switch from Windows Default to a custom picture or slideshow.
Below the lock screen preview, you can select up to seven apps to display their status on the lock screen, including one with a detailed status.
While you can switch images and add your own pictures, you don’t actually have access to all the visuals used by Windows 10. Some lock screen images are hidden; although you may have noticed them already. Interestingly, not all setups have the same set of hidden images. One author speculated that lock screen images are downloaded from Microsoft servers and change dynamically when you log in.
To find your hidden set of lock screen images, browse to %localappdata%\Packages\Microsoft.ContentDeliveryManager_[custom string of characters]\LocalState\Assets\, copy the files to a new folder, add the .jpg file extension to each file, and you should see something like this:
Bypass Login Screen
Maybe you could care less about the lock screen and would prefer Windows to automatically log you into your account. Just like in other versions of Windows, this can be done in Windows 10.
To protect your privacy and security, you should only disable the lock screen if you’re the only person using your computer and if no one else will have access to it. You wouldn’t want to encourage anyone to play a prank on you or worse, steal your data.
Sure you want to do this? Click the Windows key, type netplwiz, and hit Enter to launch the User Accounts manager. From the list of users, select the account you’d like to see logged in by default, remove the checkmark for the option Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer, click Apply, enter the password, confirm with OK, and you won’t have to log yourself in again. You can of course reverse these changes later on.
Enable Battery Saver
To access Battery Saver, open the Settings app, and go into the System tile. Via the option Battery usage, you can see what’s eating up your battery. When you click Battery saver settings at the bottom, you can turn the feature on or off. When turned on, battery saver will kick in when the battery falls below a preset battery level; mine is set to 20%.
Hide Recently or Frequently Used Files and Folders from Quick Access
In Windows 10’s File Explorer, Favorites are now called Quick access. You can pin items to Quick access. You’ll also notice a number of items that are not pinned; these are either recently used files or frequently used folders. Per default, File Explorer will also launch showing these folders and files.
To hide these folders and files, click > View > Options and in Folder Options remove the checkmarks under Privacy. Click Clear to reset your File Explorer history. As a result, only your pinned items will be shown under Quick access and frequent folders.
Under Folder Options, you can also make File Explorer launch with This PC as your default view.
Disable Bing Powered Web Search
When Cortana doesn’t have an answer, she refers you to a Bing search result . Likewise, the results clutter up your other searches, which isn’t always helpful.
Microsoft will tell you it’s not possible to disable the web search and to some degree that’s true. It doesn’t seem possible to prevent the search results from showing up, but you can stop Cortana from launching Bing. From the Control Panel, open Edit group policy. In the Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search, double-click Do not allow web search and set it to Enabled. Confirm with OK. For the changes to take effect, restart explorer.exe or restart your PC.
Repeat the procedure for Don’t search the web or display web results in Search. Note that you will still see Bing search results.
Furthermore, you can prevent content indexing and file search on your computer or OneDrive. Click Windows key + R and open services.msc. Double-click Windows Search and set Startup type to Disabled. To stop the service immediately, click Stop. Confirm the new startup setting with OK.
Enable Hidden Calendar & Clock
This may be enabled in a future build or reserved for mobile devices, but in Build 9926, the new calendar and clock widget is hidden. If you’re curious, you can enable it via the registry.
Click Windows key + R, open regedit, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\ImmersiveShell, create a new DWORD (32-bit) value named UseWin32TrayClockExperience, and click the clock in your notifications area to see the new design.
Clicking on Additional clocks will launch the Alarms app, which includes alarms, a world clock, a timer, and a stopwatch.
Windows 10 is Full of Secrets
These are certainly not the only features hidden in Windows 10 , and we’ll probably see more features appear for which the basic structures were present in previous builds.
Have you discovered anything that surprised you in Windows 10? Or are there features you wish you could turn off? Please share your insights in the comments below!