(Pocket-lint) - Windows 10 is jam-packed with a whole range of features that you'll be sure to love. This includes some nifty productivity tools, simple user interface options and some things specifically for gamers as well.
So if you have just got yourself a new Windows 10 laptop or are getting into Windows for the first time, then stick with us for some of the best highlights from the operating system.
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The Start menu
Microsoft got rid of the “Start” button in Windows 8 in favour of the Metro interface, but then bought it back with Windows 10.
The humble Start Menu allows you to access and pin apps, as well as pin your contacts and websites into it.
Our favourite function though is the ability to search for anything you need with ease. Press the Windows key on your keyboard and it'll open the Start menu. Start typing and you'll then get straight to the setting, program or file you need. Plus search results from the web too if you need easy and fast access.
Microsoft Edge is the company's replacement browser for Internet Explorer. It is the new, default web browser for Windows 10 and is great. Cortana integration, Reading View, direct web page annotation, Reading List and easier sharing are just a few of the new browser's most interesting features.
Edge is also very different from Internet Explorer, mostly thanks to the fact that it's based on the Chromium open-source project. This means it feels very much like Google Chrome in a variety of ways. Microsoft Edge is now faster because of it, but also supports Chrome extensions and does other nifty things like syncing data with your Microsoft account.
Perfect if you're worried you're sharing too much data with Google but don't want to suffer as a result of moving to another browser.
Game captures and integration
With Windows 10, Microsoft has made it easier for gamers to get the most out of their gaming sessions with ease.
Hitting Windows Key + G, for example, launches the Xbox Game Bar. From there you can do all sorts of things from monitoring system performance to chatting with Xbox friends across Xbox console, mobile and PC.
The highlight for us though, is how the Xbox Game Bar makes it dead simple to capture game footage and screenshots in an instant.
Optimisation options for gamers
Microsoft is regularly updating Windows with simple options that help gamers eek extra performance out of their gaming PC with just a few clicks.
Hit the Windows key and search for Game Mode and then simply turn that on and you can get a boost with ease. Other highlights include Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling and ultra-performance power settings that can be turned out with a couple of clicks.
Microsoft's personal assistant is ever-present. Cortana will offer her help and answer your questions through various browser commands, as well as through Windows itself. She's always listening too, as long as you enable the feature. Just say "Hey, Cortana", and then she'll wake up and understand you.
Windows 10 allows you to create different desktops for multiple projects and purposes; you can easily switch between them and pick up where you left off each time.
This type of feature should come in handy for working on separate projects simultaneously - or just keeping business and personal business separate.
A quadrant layout in Windows 10 allows you to snap up to four apps on the same screen. You can view and rearrange all open apps, as well as switch them between any of your multiple desktops.
Snapping Windows side by side is really simple too. Either grab an app with your cursor and drag it to the edge of the screen or press the Windows key and an arrow key to move a Window they snap it in place in that direction.
Xbox gaming on PC
Windows 10 gives gamers easy access to a multitude of games with Xbox Games Pass for PC. For a small monthly fee, you can access a library that's delightfully full of games that you can download and play with ease.
With the Xbox app you can also chat with friends who are playing on Xbox or PC with ease.
Windows has a long list of shortcut options that make it easy to carry out actions or access settings with just a few keystrokes. It also has some brilliant accessibility settings which make these even better.
Search for "Ease of access keyboard settings" and you'll find a setting to "Use the PrtScn button to open screen snipping". This then allows you to use the awesome Snip & Sketch to capture screenshots with a single button press.
If you're anything like us, you're forever copying and pasting text and other things from one place to another. The frustration is when you've copied something then want to paste something you copied previously. Well, that's now solved by Windows 10 clipboard history.
Simply press Windows key + V to open clipboard history to access anything you've copied recently. History stores as many as 25 items, so it's worth bearing that in mind for the sake of security. If you're copying passwords or other sensitive data, you might want to clear that history regularly.
If you're on a laptop, Windows 10 has you covered with even more shortcuts.
If you're using a Precision Touchpad, you can use various different gestures to get things done. This includes multi-finger gestures where various swipes can switch between apps, the desktop and multi-tasking views too. You can edit these to your own personal preference as well.
Smart Task Manager
Task Manager has always been useful. When apps freeze up or something seems sluggish you could always open Task Manager to kill off programs and get things running again.
Windows 10 Task Manager just keeps getting better though. Now you can not only see what apps are using CPU, Memory, GPU and Network bandwidth but also access other data too.
It's easy to see CPU, disk and graphics card utilisation from the performance tab. You can also enable and disable things from start-up to allow for quicker booting.
Right click the task bar and click to access it or simply press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to open Task Manager easily.
If you're on your PC all day, it pays to ease the pressure on your eyes. Something as simple as dark mode can make all the difference. Windows 10 makes it easy to turn dark mode on and customise the look of your system too.