Under the Hood: 6 Hidden Windows 10 Features You Can Unlock

Tina Sieber 19-02-2015

Windows 10 comes with many new features. You already know about the major ones, like virtual desktops The Best PC Software for Your Windows Computer Want the best PC software for your Windows computer? Our massive list collects the best and safest programs for all needs. Read More , Cortana on the desktop Cortana Arrives on the Desktop & Here's What She Can Do for You Is Microsoft's intelligent digital assistant as competent on the Windows 10 desktop as she is on Windows Phone? Cortana has a lot of expectation on her shoulders. Let's see how she holds up. Read More , or the new Start Menu 6 Ways to Hack & Customize the Windows 10 Start Menu The Windows 10 Start Menu combines classic elements with modern tiles. Tiles can add a lot of creative freedom. We'll give you tips and reveal tricks for customizing the entire Start Menu to your preferences. Read More . 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: The Dream Of A Cross-Device Operating System Is Becoming Reality & It's Free Microsoft is boldly stepping into the future with innovative software and hardware. Windows as a service and mobility of experience were the major keywords from the recent Windows 10 briefing. Most importantly, Windows 10 will... Read More , 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.

Windows 10 Lock Screen

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.

Windows 10 Lock Screen Apps


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 [Broken URL Removed] 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:

Windows 10 Hidden Lock Screens

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.

Windows 10 User Accounts

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%.


Battery Saver Settings

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.

Windows 10 Quick Access


Under Folder Options, you can also make File Explorer launch with This PC as your default view.

Windows 10 Folder Options

Disable Bing Powered Web Search

When Cortana doesn’t have an answer, she refers you to a Bing search result How To Search Better & Faster On Windows 8 Windows 8 search features are quite robust once you get used to them. You can use modern and desktop approaches to search your computer and the Internet. Find out more! Read More . 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.

Windows 10 Disable Web Search

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.

Windows 10 Calendar and Clock

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 How To Get Novel Windows 10 Features On Windows 7 Or 8.1 It's time to upgrade your Windows experience. Short of installing a new operating system, you can get awesome features with third party applications. Windows 10 is not that novel after all. Read More , 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!

Related topics: Battery Life, Microsoft Bing, Windows 10.

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  1. Mary
    November 26, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    The unlock will only work for the 1st time you shut it off then when you walk away and come back it has you locked out again--stupidist thing microsoft ever added

    • Tina Sieber
      November 28, 2016 at 9:43 am

      Yeah, Microsoft has changed stuff in Windows 10 since this article was written. Will try to update it with something that works.

  2. arlkweith
    September 29, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    On some occasions there is no "pictures-without-extension" in '%localappdata%\Packages\Microsoft.ContentDeliveryManager_[custom string of characters]\LocalState\Assets\'

    What I found is that this dreaded "leaving-cave-of-MSmadness" lock screen picture sits within location 'C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\SystemData\S-1-5-18\ReadOnly\LockScreen_[letter]'

    First you need to take ownership of that 'SystemData' folder in order to even open it up.
    After replacing 'LockScreen___[screen resolution]_notdimmed.jpg' with the picture of my liking all things are showing on the lock screen, as I intended to :)

    Hope my finding will help anyone :)

    • Tina Sieber
      September 30, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      Thank you for sharing your finding, Arlkweith!

  3. GM
    July 14, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Rather unusual event concerning the Windows 10 lock screen on my PC is that when my system comes out of sleep mode and should show the lock screen, I can, for a short period of time see the normal, opened screen with every detail and documents I was working on before the PC went into sleep. That is BEFORE the Lock screen and pop-under password screen fineally appears. That sort of makes the lock screen security feature a joke.. My system runs from an SSD drive and all monitor & video drivers are up to date. Could it be the speed of the SSD drive versus the speed of (video) memory that's causing this?

    • Tina Sieber
      July 14, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      That is indeed unusual. Sounds like Windows 10 is having some issues and suffers from bad design. Frankly, this should never happen and I'm not sure what would cause this. How much memory do you have installed?

  4. JC
    January 27, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    When I boot up the computer it takes me to the log in screen.
    Here is the problem, it automatically takes me to a profile with my real name but says password incorrect after attempting to log in. Then it prompts me to put my password in. So I clicked the right mouse button, and low and behold my real acct pops up as well as my admin acct. It also shows this new acct with my name.
    When I go into admin and try to go and pull up the users, it only shows my real acct, guest, and admin. No other acct that has my real name.
    What should I do?
    Can someone hide a user acct. from a admin? If so how do I find it and delete it?

  5. Jude
    January 9, 2016 at 5:47 am

    I want to disable windows 10 spotlight, but not the password screen. It is annoying to have to hit a key just to be able to put in my password. I want the password screen to be the lock screen

  6. nik
    December 5, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    hi. i want to remove pictures on my computer but this keeps on appearing when i try to delete:

    the action can't be completed because the file is open in lockscreen content server.

    What do i do?

    • es
      August 31, 2016 at 11:43 pm

      maybe kill the exe then delete, or, boot to another os *such as ubuntu's live cd* and go find them n delete that way..not sure why though, they dont take u much space

  7. Anonymous
    August 7, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Does anyone know how to stop the slideshow of your desktop backgrounds. I have three custom backgrounds for my monitors but I cannot stop the slideshow.

  8. Anonymous
    August 3, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I want to disable the lock screen, but not the password screen. I know it sounds small, but it is annoying to have to hit a key just to be able to put in my password. I want the password screen to be the lock screen

    • Anonymous
      August 5, 2015 at 7:09 am

      RUN>gpedit.msc in the Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to Administrative Templates > Control Panel> Personalization> Do Not Display Lock Screen> Enable

  9. Anonymous
    July 30, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Thank you Tina Sieber!

  10. jean
    February 20, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I would love to have different wallpapers on my virtual desktop but still can't do that wonder why MS wont let me do that on Windows 10

    • Tina Sieber
      February 20, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      It's a Preview. Did you suggest this feature via the Feedback app? Might come in a future Build.

    • Anonymous
      August 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      You need to go to where your pictures are located and copy them to this file, C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper\Windows
      Use control key to choose multiple pictures, right click on one of them and set as desktop background.
      then go to %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Themes
      Your pictures you chose are: Transcoded_000, and 001, and 002 etc.
      To change the order just rename by changing 000 to 001 and so on.

  11. Tanya
    February 20, 2015 at 12:49 am

    On this PC there are two things I'd like to be able to do.

    1. Completely hide the Folders view (I know you collapse it but I'd rather hide it from view completely)

    2. Split the categories for removable drives and hard drives. As of Windows 8 they got combined. Prefer the Windows 7 view having these separate.

    • Tina Sieber
      February 20, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      Re 1: Do you mean the list of folders in the File Manager? You can hide that pane. Go to > View > Navigation pane and click on "Navigation pane" to hide or show it.

      Re 2: Hmmm, I actually didn't notice this, but now that you mention can be changed! Go to "This PC", right-click on an empty space, select > Group by... > More... and place a checkmark next to File System.

      You're welcome! :)

    • Tanya
      February 22, 2015 at 12:54 am

      Appreciate you taking the time to respond, but I wouldn't have mentioned these if there was currently a solution.

      1. No. I mean the Folders category on the ThisPC main are. I always turn off the navigation pane. There is currently NO way to disable the folders category shown. You can only have it collapsed.

      2. No. This does not work. There is currently NO way to split the categories of Devices with Removable storage, network locations and drives as it is in Windows 7.

      If you do a search you will find people have tried, but as I said, Windows 8 and 10 have totally butchered the ThisPC views.

    • Tina Sieber
      February 22, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      Re 1: You can remove folders from This PC using a registry hack. I haven't tried it on Windows 10, yet.

      Re 2: Grouping by file system only works if your external drives have a different file system than your local drives of course. It's a workaround. If you're happy to use a third party tool, try OldNewExplorer, reviewed here. I haven't tested this, though.

  12. xhark
    February 19, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    For "netplwiz", since Windows 2000 : win+r > "control userpasswords2"
    (works with xp, vista, 7, 8, ...)


  13. likefunbutnot
    February 19, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Hopefully, someone will figure out a way to augment Windows Search with A9 plugins or the like that can be used in place of Bing. Spotlight on OSX is one of the very few user interface elements I like on an Apple product and to the extent that Windows Search can be closer to that, the more I would appreciate it.