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11 easy Windows 10 tricks you didn't know about – CNET

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These Windows 10 tips and tricks can save you time and effort.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Whether you’ve been using Windows 10 for years or have only recently upgraded, there are plenty of new and old tips, tricks and hidden features to learn that will make using your laptop every day faster and smoother. For example, finding the secret Start menu and saving battery power with a simple trick.

Microsoft doesn’t typically publicize its hidden features the way Apple does, which can make it more difficult to know how to get the most out of the machine you use day in and day out.

Even learning how to upgrade to Windows 10 for free can be tricky. You’ll want to do this soon, by the way, since support for Windows 7 ends Jan. 14. So no matter which Microsoft, Dell, HP or other Windows 10 rig you have, these clever tips will help you stay organized and get more done. And here’s everything you need to know about the Windows 10 Nov. 2019 update.

Minimize all windows except the active one

If your desktop screen has gotten too crowded with open windows, you can quickly minimize them all except the one you are currently working in.

Just click the title bar of the window you want to remain open to select it. Then, hold the mouse down and move the window back and forth quickly — shaking it, essentially. After a couple of quick shakes, all other open windows will minimize, leaving only the one you’ve shaken open. Neat, huh?  

Open the ‘secret’ Start menu

You know that to get to the Start menu, you hit the Windows icon at the bottom left of the screen or on your keyboard. But Windows 10 includes a lesser-known second Start menu that makes accessing important features like the Command Prompt, the Control Panel and the Task Manager much easier. You can access it two different ways, either by pressing the Windows key + X, or right click the Windows icon/Start button. 

Create an event without opening the Calendar app

Windows 10’s latest update lets you quickly add events to your Microsoft calendar directly from your Taskbar — without actually having to open the calendar at all. Here’s how to do it: 

1. On your Taskbar, click the box with the time and date in it in the right corner. 

2. Click the date when you want to schedule an event. 

3. Enter the event name, time and location. (If you have multiple calendars, click the down arrow next to the event name field to choose the one you want to add it to.) 

4. Click save. The event should appear in your Calendar app across your devices. 

Take a screenshot

I know, it’s a basic one — but it’s amazing how easy it is to forget how to take a screenshot on your laptop or desktop when you don’t do it often. 

There are at least eight different ways you can take a screenshot with Windows 10. If you want to capture and save a picture of your entire screen, the easiest way is to hit the Windows key + Print Screen key, and that picture will be saved to the Pictures > Screenshots folder. 

To capture just one part of your screen, hit the Windows key + Shift + S to open a tool called Snip & Sketch, which allows you to click and drag to create a screenshot, which is saved to your Clipboard.

Open items on your Taskbar with keyboard shortcuts

If you’ve pinned programs to your Taskbar at the bottom of your screen to create a shortcut, you don’t have to click the icons to open them. Instead, use the keyboard shortcut Windows key +  [Number key], with the number key corresponding to the position of the program on the Taskbar. For example, Windows key + 2 will open the second item on the Taskbar. 

This is especially useful if you’re typing furiously and don’t want to lift your fingers from the keyboard. It may feel more natural to reach for the Windows key.

Figure out how much space apps are taking up

Computers start running slower as they grow short on space. One quick way to speed them up may be to get rid of apps that take up more space than they should, especially if you don’t regularly use them.

To see how much space an app uses, navigate to Settings > System > Storage. Click on the drive you want to search (likely the local storage, “This PC”), and click Apps & games to see a list of apps installed on your machine and how much space they are taking up. You probably won’t get rid of your browser, but you might find that a game you haven’t played in years is some good dead weight to drop. 

Get rid of ads in your Start menu

When you run Windows 10 with default settings, you may sometimes see apps on the right side of your Start menu. Microsoft calls them “suggestions,” but they are actually ads for Windows Store apps you can buy. 

To get rid of the ads in your Windows 10 Start menu, go to Settings > Personalization > Start. Toggle the setting called Show suggestions occasionally in Start to the off position. 

Shut down background apps

Apps that run in the background can receive info, send notifications, and stay updated, even when you aren’t using them — which can be useful, but can also suck your battery and your data, if you’re connecting via a mobile hotspot. 

To control which apps are running in the background and save some battery power and data, go to Settings > Privacy > Background apps. To stop all apps from running in the background, toggle Let apps run in the background to Off. Or, you can choose which apps to run in the background individually by going down the list on the same page. 

Use background scrolling

With Windows 10, you can scroll up and down on any window — even if it’s not the one you’re directly working in. This is a useful tool when you have a lot of windows open that you want to look through at the same time — for example, if you want to open new sub-menu options in new windows to save you time clicking back and forward on the same page. 

Try opening two programs — say, an internet browser page and a notepad or Word document. Arrange both on the screen so you can see at least some of the text on each. While you are in one window, hover your mouse or use the touchpad to move to the second window, and scroll. Even though you aren’t active in that window, it should allow you to move up and down the page. 

The feature should be on by default, but if it isn’t, go to Settings > Devices > Mouse, and toggle Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them to On. Then you can place your mouse over a window that’s in the background and use the scroll wheel to scroll. 

Show file extensions in File Explorer

Microsoft hides file extensions by default, which makes life difficult for people who need to look for specific types of files, like JPEGs and JPGs. To see file extensions in File Explorer, do the following: 

1. Go to the Search bar at the bottom of the screen, and type in File Explorer Options, and click it. (There are a number of other ways to get here too, but that one seems fastest.)

2. In the window that pops up, click the View tab

3. Uncheck the box that says Hide extensions for known file types. Click Apply, and OK. You should now see file extensions for all files in the File Explorer. 

You can also use the File Explorer Options menu to choose to show empty drives, hidden files and folders, and more. 

Cut down on distractions with Focus assist

It’s frustrating to try and get work done when you keep getting interrupted with notifications. You can determine how many you get with Focus assist, a tool Windows 10 added in the April 2018 update

Set it up by going to Settings > System > Focus assist. Choose from three options: Off (get all notifications from your apps and contacts), Priority (see only selected notifications from a priority list that you customize, and send the rest to your action center), and Alarms only (hide all notifications, except for alarms). 

You can also choose to automatically turn this feature on during certain hours, or when you’re playing a game. 

For more Windows 10 laptop tips and tricks, check out Don’t put up with a slow PC, fix it yourself and 6 simple security changes all Windows 10 users need to make


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Samsung Galaxy A51 review: Old wine in a shiny new bottle – Android Central

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Samsung Galaxy A51 review

Samsung Galaxy A51 reviewSource: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

Under increased pressure from Chinese rivals, Samsung overhauled its budget strategy last year. The underwhelming Galaxy J series was gone, and the Galaxy A lineup essentially took its place. Samsung traditionally limited the Galaxy A series to the mid-range segment, but now it fields devices starting as low as $120 all the way to $600.

The new-found change in focus also came with better product releases. The Galaxy A50 was one of the best budget phones you could buy in 2019, featuring great hardware, a fresh design, and decent cameras. In typical Samsung fashion, the company introduced an updated model six months down the line in the Galaxy A50s, and now we have the Galaxy A51.

The Galaxy A51 is a continuation of what Samsung has been doing in this segment for the last 12 months. There are a few enticing changes — particularly around the camera side of things — but the fundamentals are unchanged from last year. In fact, 80% of what I wrote in my Galaxy A50 review last year is relevant for the A51, because the underlying hardware hasn’t changed much.

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That said, the Galaxy A51 isn’t a bad phone. If anything, the new design and the fact that it comes with One UI 2.0 based on Android 10 out of the box makes it a decent option for under $350. With the phone slated to go on sale in the U.S. and other global markets later this year, let’s find out if it may just be the budget phone for you in 2020.

At a glance



Samsung Galaxy A51

Bottom line: The Galaxy A51 shares the same fundamentals of last year’s A50 and A50s. The 48MP camera takes decent shots during the day, you get all-day battery life, a vibrant AMOLED display, 3.5mm jack, and Android 10. But the hardware just doesn’t hold up in 2020, and there are much better alternatives available at the same price point.

The Good

  • 48MP camera
  • 3.5mm jack
  • Gorgeous new design
  • Long-lasting battery
  • One UI 2.0 with Android 10

The Bad

  • Aging hardware
  • Laggy in daily use
  • Low-light shots are unusable
  • Macro lens is limited

Samsung Galaxy A51 Design and display

Samsung Galaxy A51 review

Samsung Galaxy A51 reviewSource: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central

No other brand rolls out iterative updates quite like Samsung, and in the last five years it has managed to turn iteration into an art form. The Galaxy A51 takes a lot of cues from the A50s, which in turn was based on the A50. So essentially, a lot of the internal hardware that you get in the A51 is over a year old at this point.

But that doesn’t mean there are no new features on the A51. Let’s start with the back: the A51 has two diagonal lines across its surface that break up the design — just like the A50s — but this time there’s a gradient effect that shows up when light hits the surface. That gradient effect is the basis for the device’s colors, with the A51 available in Prism Crush Black, Prism Crush Blue, and Prism Crush White.

With a vibrant design and Infinity-O cutout, the Galaxy A51 is one of the best-looking phones Samsung has released.

The lower quadrants also feature subtle lines that further differentiates the design, and the overall effect is that the A51 is one of the best-looking phones Samsung has released to date. I’m using the blue option, and the vibrant color makes the phone stand out. Like last year, the back is made out of plastic, but the glossy finish gives it a glass-like feel. The best part is that it doesn’t smudge as easily as a glass back, and it is more durable.

Another major change at the back is the camera housing. The rectangular camera housing is identical to that of the Galaxy S20 series, and it’s clear that Samsung is trying to create a design identity here. While the camera housing is by no means attractive, it is consistent across all of Samsung’s 2020 devices.

The major design change at the front is the Infinity-O cutout for the front camera module. Last year’s A50 and A50s featured the Infinity-U cutout, and the cutout on the A51 is smaller and better integrated into the design. The bezels are razor-thin this time around, and it makes using the A51 that much more enticing.

Rounding out the design, you’ll find the power and volume buttons on the right, and the 3.5mm jack, USB-C charging port, and a solitary speaker at the bottom. Samsung has also moved away from the 3.5mm jack on its flagships, so it’s good to see the analog jack intact on the A51. The SIM card tray is on the left, and you get the option to slot two SIM cards as well as a MicroSD card. Of course, the variant of the A51 sold in global markets will likely have a single SIM slot.

The Galaxy A51 is astonishingly light at 172g for a phone that has a 4000mAh battery, and it has a great in-hand feel thanks to the subtle curves at the back. With a width of 73.6mm, the phone is also narrow, and while it isn’t conducive for one-handed usage, it is on the lower end of the scale as far as phone sizes go in 2020.

The Galaxy A51 has the same AMOLED display as last year’s A50, but that’s not a bad thing.

Coming to the screen, the Galaxy A51 has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display that ticks all the right boxes. Colors are vibrant, you get decent viewing angles, and there weren’t any issues while using the screen under harsh sunlight. You get to choose from Natural or Vivid picture modes, and there’s no option to manually tweak the color balance of the screen.

But you do a blue light filter that can be customized to run from sunset to sunrise, and you get the other scaling and font sizing options that are standard on all Samsung phones. The screen is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 3, another area that’s unchanged from last year. That’s true for the panel quality itself — other than the switch to an Infinity-O cutout and a minor 0.1-inch increase in screen size, there isn’t any difference from the A50 or A50s. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, as the screen holds up just fine in 2020.

Samsung Galaxy A51 Hardware

Samsung Galaxy A51 review

Samsung Galaxy A51 reviewSource: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

Samsung has been recycling hardware on its phones for several years, and it’s no different on the Galaxy A51. The phone is powered by the Exynos 9611, the same as the A50s. The A50 had the Exynos 9610, and while the Exynos 9611 is marketed as a new chipset, the only difference from the 9610 is that it can facilitate 48MP camera modules. Both the 9610 and 9611 use the same set of cores and the same Mali G72 for visuals, and they’re both fabricated on a 10nm node.

SpecsSamsung Galaxy S10 Lite
SoftwareOne UI 2.0 based on Android 10
Display6.5-inch (2400×1080) Super AMOLED
Chipset2.30GHz Exynos 9611
RAM4GB/6GB/8GB
Storage64GB/128GB
Rear Camera 148MP ƒ/2.0 (primary)
Rear Camera 212MP ƒ/2.2 (wide-angle)
Rear Camera 35MP ƒ/2.4 (macro)
Rear Camera 45MP ƒ/2.2 (portrait)
Front Camera 132MP ƒ/2.2
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 ac, BT5.0, NFC
Battery4000mAh | 15W
SecurityIn-screen fingerprint
ColorsPrism Crush Black, Prism Crush White, Prism Crush Blue
Dimensions158.5 x 73.6 x 7.9mm
Weight172g

If anything, Samsung is shortchanging buyers on the storage front this year, with the A51 offering UFS 2.0 storage whereas last year’s A50 and A50s had UFS 2.1 storage. Let’s get back to the hardware, because Samsung’s decision to use the Exynos 9611 in the A51 makes things sluggish in day-to-day use. The chipset has four Cortex A73 cores at 2.3GHz and four energy-efficient A53 cores at 1.7GHz, and there’s just not enough grunt to handle even basic tasks like web browsing.

You will notice lag at times even while navigating the user interface, with actions like opening the app drawer causing a negligible delay. Then there’s the issue of gaming, and the Mali G72 just does not hold up in titles like PUBG and Fortnite. If you’re serious about mobile gaming, you’re better off picking a phone with a Snapdragon 730 instead. The A51 is barely adequate even for everyday use — you should not be able to see lag when exiting an app to go to the home screen.

The phone is available with 6GB/128GB and 8GB/128GB variants in India, but in other markets Samsung will offer the A51 with a 4GB option. There’s a MicroSD slot that can accommodate cards up to 512GB in size, and you also get NFC with Samsung Pay, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, FM radio, and Wi-Fi ac. The optical in-display fingerprint sensor is fast and reliable, and I didn’t face any issues with it.

On the connectivity front, the A51 has LTE bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/20/26/28/38/40/41/66. That should be more than adequate to connect to most LTE networks around the world, and with the phone slated to go on sale in global markets, Samsung will tailor LTE bands according to the region.

Yet another area where things are unchanged is battery. The A51 has the same 4000mAh battery with 15W fast charging, and I didn’t have any issues with battery longevity. The phone manages to last a day with ease, and although the hardware itself hasn’t changed from the A50, I got better battery usage figures on the A51.

Samsung Galaxy A51 Software

Samsung Galaxy A51 review

Samsung Galaxy A51 reviewSource: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

One of the highlights of the A51 is that it comes with One UI 2.0 based on Android 10 out of the box. That wasn’t always the case with Samsung’s budget phones, so it is great to see the manufacturer offer its latest UI on all of its 2020 phones. One UI 2.0 integrates Android 10’s system-wide dark mode, and you also get the ability to choose from Android 10’s default navigation gestures or Samsung’s take.

One UI 2.0 comes with Android 10 and a treasure trove of customization options.

Samsung’s gestures include designated zones at the bottom of the screen from where you swipe up. It is an elegant solution, and is easier to get acclimated to if you’re switching from the legacy navigation keys. But the fact that you also get Android 10’s gestures — with the swipe-in from either side to go back, and swipe up from the bottom of the screen to go to the home screen — makes it that much more enticing.

Samsung has always offered a healthy list of customization features, and it’s no different on the A51. You now get Edge screen, with the ability to configure pull-out Edge panels and set up Edge lighting for incoming notifications and calls. Edge lighting makes up for the fact that phones these days don’t have an LED notification light, and there’s just a lot of customizability to choose from here.

The A51 also has software-based face unlock, and while it isn’t as secure as a fingerprint reader, it is fast. Elsewhere, you get the ability to use two instances of an app at once, Bixby, off-screen gestures, Digital Wellbeing controls, and one-handed mode. Samsung made a dedicated effort to modernize its UI in recent years, and the result is that One UI 2.0 feels modern and a far cry from the TouchWiz days.

Samsung Galaxy A51 Camera

Samsung Galaxy A51 review

Samsung Galaxy A51 reviewSource: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

The highlight with the Galaxy A51 is the quad camera array at the back: there’s now a 48MP primary camera joined by a 12MP wide-angle lens, 5MP macro shooter, and another 5MP lens for portrait mode. You get a 32MP camera up front, which is a minor upgrade from the 25MP shooter on last year’s A50.

The camera interface itself should be immediately familiar if you’ve used a Samsung phone recently. The main shooting modes are laid out in a ribbon at the bottom, and you can edit these as needed based on your preferences. There are toggles for flash, timer, filters and beautify effects, and you can easily switch between the primary lens and wide-angle shooter.

The 48MP camera is a known quantity at this point, and it takes great shots in daylight conditions. Resultant images have plenty of detail and decent dynamic range, and you get those saturated colors that define Samsung’s cameras. One of the biggest changes Samsung made in 2020 is with the ultra-wide lens, with the shooter managing to produce shots with the same level of detail as the primary lens.

As good as the A51 is in daylight conditions, shots in artificial or low lighting are a blotchy mess. There’s far too much noise, colors are washed out, and the final images are just nowhere near good enough for sharing on social platforms.

The macro lens does not have autofocus, and it struggles to dial in on busy subjects, like a watch face. Regardless of what I tried, I could not get it to focus on the watch face of my Promaster Skyhawk, and although the 5MP resolution is higher than what you get with most other phones, the macro lens is still very limited in its usability.

Samsung Galaxy A51 Should you buy it?

Samsung Galaxy A51 review

Samsung Galaxy A51 reviewSource: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central

The Galaxy A51 isn’t vastly different from what Samsung offered in this segment last year, but the upgrades to the camera and design allow it to stand out. The 48MP camera takes decent shots during the day, the display is one of the best you’ll find in this segment, the battery life is fantastic, and you get the latest One UI 2.0 based on Android 10.

There are far too many trade-offs here to justify the $350 price tag.

That said, the hardware is slow compared to the rest of the field, and you will see noticeable lag in day-to-day use. Also, it doesn’t make sense to switch to the Galaxy A51 if you’re already using the A50 or A50s, because for the most part this is the same phone that Samsung released last year.

Obviously, the Galaxy A51 doesn’t make much sense for the Indian market, because there are phones that offer much better value and beefier hardware in 2020. The Realme X2 Pro, Redmi K20, or the POCO X2 would be a better option if you’re in the market for a phone under ₹25,000 ($350).

However, none of those phones will make it to most Western markets — unlike the Galaxy A51. The A51 will be going on sale in the U.S. and other global markets in a few months, and while there aren’t many devices at the $350 price point, there are a few options like the Pixel 3a. If you’re spending $350 on a phone in 2020, you’ll want usable hardware, and the A51 fails to deliver on that front.

3.5
out of 5






If you want to save some cash, you can just get the Galaxy A50s for ₹19,999 ($280) and get a phone that’s nearly identical to the A51. Or if you’re in the market for a device for gaming, the POCO X2 at ₹16,999 ($236) is my recommendation.

There aren’t many alternatives to the Galaxy A51 in global markets. Samsung dominated with the Galaxy A50 last year for this reason alone, and while the phone by itself had a lot going for it, that isn’t the case with the Galaxy A51. If you need a phone for under $400, you should pick up the Pixel 3a or wait for Google to launch the Pixel 4a series.

Too little too late



Samsung Galaxy A51

Decent design letdown by poor hardware.

The Galaxy A51 shares the same fundamentals of last year’s A50 and A50s. The 48MP camera takes decent shots during the day, you get all-day battery life, a vibrant AMOLED display, 3.5mm jack, and Android 10. But the hardware just doesn’t hold up in 2020, and there are much better alternatives available at the same price point.

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Pandemic simulation game 'Plague Inc' pulled from China's App Store – Mashable

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The coronavirus gave Plague Inc. a surge of popularity in China.
Image: plague inc: evolved

Pandemic simulator Plague Inc. became China’s top paid iOS download in January, as players flocked to the game in the wake of coronavirus concerns. Now the game has been taken down from China’s App Store, with the Cyberspace Administration of China citing “illegal content.”

Plague Inc. developer Ndemic Creations announced the sudden removal in a Feb 27. blog post. “We’ve just been informed that Plague Inc. ‘includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China’ and has been removed from the China App Store,” Ndemic Creations wrote. “This situation is completely out of our control.”

Exactly what illegal content Plague Inc. contains is unclear. Though it was only removed from the App Store this week, the game had been available in China since its worldwide release eight years ago. However, Plague Inc. had recently gained significant attention due to its thematic relevance to the current coronavirus epidemic.

In Plague Inc., players take on the role of an infectious disease and attempt to wipe out all human life. Gameplay involves choosing how to evolve, becoming more deadly and spreading across the globe. 

It feels very pertinent considering recent events.

“It’s not clear to us if this removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that China is facing,” wrote Ndemic Creations. “However, Plague Inc.’s educational importance has been repeatedly recognised by organisations like the CDC and we are currently working with major global health organisations to determine how we can best support their efforts to contain and control COVID-19.”

Ndemic Creations is attempting to contact the Cyberspace Administration of China to find out more information and work to return Plague Inc. to the Chinese App Store.

Last month, Ndemic Creations acknowledged Plague Inc. had seen a significant spike in players due to the coronavirus. “However, please remember that Plague Inc. is a game, not a scientific model and that the current coronavirus outbreak is a very real situation which is impacting a huge number of people.”

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Coronavirus Concerns Lead to the Cancellation of One of Tech's Biggest Developer Conferences – Gizmodo

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Photo: Getty Images

The spread of coronavirus is prompting companies to cancel nonessential travel. That includes trade shows like the smartphone-centric Mobile World Congress, which was scheduled to be held in Barcelona this week but was called off. Now Facebook has canceled its own annual event, the F8 developer’s conference, citing “growing concerns around COVID-19.”

The move is clearly out of an abundance of caution: F8 was scheduled to take place in San Jose, California, May 5 and 6. Now all eyes are on Facebook’s rival companies, Google, Microsoft, and Apple, who also have developer conferences in the works for early summer. Google I/O is slated for May 12 through 14 in Mountain View, Microsoft’s Build is scheduled for the following week in Seattle, and Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is typically held in the first half of June in San Jose.

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Facebook’s Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, director of developer platforms, wrote in a Thursday blog post that the company is still planning local events and live-streamed sessions for developers to learn about changes and new features.

“This was a tough call to make—F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world—but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on,” Papamiltiadis wrote. “We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.”

Microsoft also announced Thursday that it will no longer attend the annual Game Developers Conference, slated for March 16 through 20 in San Francisco. The company joins Epic, Unity, and Sony in withdrawing from the event due to the coronavirus outbreak. Microsoft plans to host an online event that will coincide with GDC for developer sessions and announcements March 16 through 18. It’s unclear if GDC will be canceled or proceed without some of gaming’s biggest players.

It makes sense that voluntary conferences and trade shows be called off to stem the spread of COVID-19. Facebook and Microsoft don’t want to be the reason for a severe outbreak, nor do they want to be in the news for encouraging people to travel when they don’t need to. Developers will miss out on networking opportunities, but they’ll still be able to learn about the latest developments despite the lack of in-person sessions. At this point, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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