(Pocket-lint) - Windows 11 is packed full of different features, some of which are hidden away or nestled in such a way that they're not immediately obvious.
We're showing off some of the features worth using as well as some tips and tricks to help improve your machine's performance or your own productivity.
- How to download Windows 11: Get the free Windows update now
- Microsoft Windows 11: Features, release date and more for the next generation of Windows
With Windows 11 Microsoft has improved how snapping Windows works so it's easier to not only put windows side-by-side but also to arrange them the way you want.
Drag open windows to the side of the screen and you'll find them snapping into place, but it's also now possible to re-arrange them more easily and into different shapes and sizes.
Once you've snapped windows (like a browser for example) to the side, you can easily use your mouse to drag and resize or change the shape.
Use Windows key + directional arrows and you can also easily reposition and resize windows into a variety of positions and sizes. This makes productivity much easier. Even more so with the addition of Snap Groups.
Once you've positioned several windows into a particular layout, you'll find they're then automatically grouped in the taskbar.
Hover over one of the apps and you'll see the option for the group in the list. Click that group and it'll bring all the grouped apps to the foreground in the same way you had them positioned before.
This is great as it means if your attention is distracted by other things, you can easily leap back into what you were doing with ease with just a couple of clicks.
If snapping Windows side-by-side doesn't make you feel productive enough. Then multiple desktops might be the solution.
Press the Windows key and tab and you can then see at the bottom of the screen there's an option to create multiple desktops. You can then have different apps in different desktops and switch between them easily. Even more grouping, even more opportunity for productivity.
Windows 11 has a number of changes to menus and layouts of things. But if you're moving from Windows 10 and find yourself frustrated by these layout changes then there is a solution.
For example, if you right-click on the desktop and find you can't easily see something you'd expect to (like Nvidia display settings) then there's a button at the bottom to "show more options". You can click that or hit Shift+F10 to access legacy menus.
How to put your start menu back on the left
With Windows 11 Microsoft has moved the start menu to the centre of the screen. This is to make it more naturally useable, but if you're not a fan of change don't worry because it's easy to move it back to the left.
To do so follow these steps:
- Click the Windows key on your keyboard to start searching and type "taskbar settings"
- From the menu that pops up, scroll to the bottom and click "taskbar behaviour"
- Then click the taskbar align dropdown menu and select "left".
Easy access settings
Did you know there's a faster way to get to some of the essential settings and buttons - even simple things like turning your machine off.
Right-click on the start button and you'll find a menu pops up with access to task managers, settings, search, power options and more. Much easier than digging through multiple menus.
Enable dark mode
It's possible to change a number of different settings in Windows 11 including turning transparency on and off, adjusting colours and even selecting dark mode across all apps.
To do so, right-click the desktop and click personalise, then click colours. From there you can then tweak a number of settings including switching to dark mode.
Go easy on your eyes
Find you have trouble sleeping after a long day at your PC? No problem, Windows 11 has a "night light" mode which takes out some of the harshness from your screen and eases pressure on your eyes.
Click the Windows key and search "Night light" then you can apply it straight away or set a time where you'd prefer it comes on.
Shake to minimise
If you've got too many windows open then this setting can help you focus or get rid of distractions.
This setting has been in Windows for a while, it's off by default in Windows 11 but easy to turn on.
Hit the Windows key and type "Multitasking" from there you'll find a winder where there's an option for "title bar window shake". Turn that on. Then when you grab a window by the top and shake it Windows 11 will minimise everything else. When you're done, you can repeat the shaking process and you'll bring all the other windows back into view.
Compact folder view
The Windows 11 design overhaul means there are some subtle changes to the layout and design of things. This includes a little extra spacing between folders and filers in explorer.
If you're not a fan though, you can go back to the Windows 10 style by clicking view, then selecting "compact view" from the drop-down menu.
Another handy Windows 11 feature is yet again aimed at productivity. Focus assist disables notifications so you can keep working hard on the task at hand without being disturbed.
To activate it go to system settings or hit the Windows key and search for Focus Assist then activate it or set it to come on at specific times to maximise your productivity.
How to screenshot easily in Windows 11
To streamline your productivity it's possible to change a setting in Windows so you can press the print screen button and launch Microsoft's handy Snip & Sketch tool.
Navigate to Windows settings and accessibility or search for the setting by pressing the Windows key and typing "Use the print screen key to launch screen snipping" then clicking that setting.
When you do this, whenever you press the button on your keyboard you'll launch the tool and then can easily select the area, window or display you want to capture.
Windows 11 is optimised for gamers just like Windows 10, which means you can access some settings to make the most of your gaming session.
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.
There are various settings gamers can activate to crank out even more power from Windows for a better gaming experience.
One of these is Game Mode.
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.
Activate clipboard history
If you're anything like us, you're forever copying and pasting text and other things from one place to another then you'll love this setting.
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.
You can also find emojis and gifs in this part of the clipboard which you might like to use when chatting to friends or colleagues.