Ken's Korner Newsletter Logo November 2019
Hits & Misses

Hits and misses for Windows 10

Last Tuesday, (11-12-2019) was “patch Tuesday”. The moniker commonly used for the second Tuesday of the month when Microsoft issues updates. Among the various packages of software released was the new Feature Update for Windows 10, (version 1909 build 18363). Feature Updates are more than just the usual security patches and bug fixes that comprise most of the Windows updates. These are new versions of the software with new features, and often new problems.

Given the history of recent Feature Updates I approached this one with some trepidation. What did they break this time? With only a few test machines and a few days of operation I am hesitant to put my full endorsement behind it. But it seems that this Feature Update is OK. The install was much faster than most feature updates, more like a security update.

The 1909 version doesn't seem to be loaded up with a lot of silly new “features” like the last several versions. One big change is the new Edge browser with the Chromium engine driving it. The jury is still out in the new Edge but it with all the problems of the old Edge it is about time for Microsoft to come up with a decent browser.

Hits! Hits:
A partial list of some of handy or beneficial tips and tricks that Windows 10 got right. You might even know some of these already

  • Shake
    This feature actually originated in Windows 7 but many people don't know about it. If you have a desktop with a number of open windows cluttering up the screen you can clean that up easily. Grab, (click and hold the left mouse button down) on the top of the window you are interested in and “shake” it horizontally, the other windows disappear. If you want the other windows back just shake it again and the other windows come back. Try it – you'll like it!
  • God Mode
    If you are a serious “power user” or if you just want quick access to the controls of your computers operating system this is for you. To enable God Mode right click on the desktop, then New and Folder. Rename the folder with this bit of code, “GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}” (without the quotes). Then just double click the folder and have a blast
  • Drag to Pin Windows
    This feature also originated in Windows 7 but Windows 10 enhanced it. Grab a window and drag it to the side where it will fit to half the screen. In Windows 10 you can drag it to a corner where it will fit to a quarter of the screen. You can also do this by holding down the Windows key and using the directional arrow keys.
  • Jump Between Virtual Desktops
    For serious multitasking Windows 10 has Virtual Desktops. To enable virtual desktops click on Task View, (the icon to the right of the four white squares or to the right of the Search Bar if displayed). This will separate all your open windows and apps into icons. You can then drag any of them over to where it says “New Desktop”, which creates a new virtual desktop. For example you can separate your work apps, personal apps and gaming apps into different desktops.

    Once you click out of Task View, you can toggle between virtual desktops by pressing the Windows key+Ctrl+right/left arrow keys. This will allow you to switch between all the open windows which you have separated into different desktops, while leaving the icons on your desktop unmoved.

    To remove the virtual desktops go back to Task View and delete the individual virtual desktops. This does not close out the apps contained within the desktop. It just sends them to the next lower desktop.



  • The 3D Objects Folder
    How many people actually use the “3d Objects” folder under This PC in File Explorer? It was added back in the Creators Update when Windows 10 also received Paint 3D, Mixed Reality headsets and 3D Printer support. Microsoft talked about converting Minecraft worlds to 3D models and printing them.

    That's all very cool I'm sure, but not they're not important to most PC users. At least you can uninstall apps like Paint 3D but you need a registry hack to hide the 3D Objects folder.

  • Edge's News Feed
    Even in the new Chromium based Edge the default news feed is a mess. It's full of clickbait articles about famous celebrities, credit card offers, shopping advertisements, dental implant information and so on. True, you can hide the news feed but it's full of junk and Microsoft should remove it entirely.

    And while they are at it Microsoft could cease and desist from all the dumb ads that seem to pop up from everywhere.

  • The People Icon
    With no people in it! By default it is on the task bar and supposedly you can click on it and chat with your favorite people. That may be how it was supposed to work but in reality there are very few apps that integrate with it. In the default installation it only works with Mail and Skype. You would think that People would be integrated with other Microsoft apps like Microsoft Teams, LinkedIn, Yammer or Xbox Live Chat but no. The Facebook windows 10 app doesn't integrate with it either. Fortunately you can disable the People icon by right clicking the taskbar and unchecking “Show People on the taskbar”.
  • Candy Crush Saga
    Along with Farmville 2 and all the other stupid games that Microsoft is installing these days. OK I know, Mount Redmond will say that technically they are not part of Windows 10 as they are actually downloaded after you set up Windows 10. Many of them are just tiles that download the app after you click them. While you can delete the tiles and uninstall the apps Windows 10 Pro is supposed to be a professional business platform. Lose the “teeny bopper” stuff and leave it in the kids section of the store.

And remember — always back it up!



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