Useful tips and "hacks" for Windows

Get more options when right-clicking

When right-clicking on a file or folder, you can hold Shift to get more options, such as "Copy as path", which lets you copy the full path to the file or folder.

Enable the legacy context menu

The context menu is the pop-up menu that appears when you right-click on a file or folder.

In Windows 11, the new context menu was introduced which has fewer options and some of them are replaced with icons. At the bottom, there is an option to "Show more options" which will show the legacy menu.

Screenshot of the new context menu, introduced in Windows 11.

However, if you prefer the legacy menu, and you don't want to click "Show more options" every time, you can modify a registry key to disable the new context menu. To do that, open Powershell and run the following command

reg.exe add "HKCU\Software\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32" /f /ve
Screenshot of a Powershell window, running the command above.

Then, open the Task Manager, and search for Windows Explorer, then right-click on the process and click Restart. If you right-click a file or folder, you should now see the legacy context menu.

Screenshot of the legacy context menu.

Note

When holding down Shift when right-clicking, the legacy context menu will always appear (and with the extra options as described in the previous tip), even without modifying this registry key.

Windows Master Control Panel shortcut

The Windows Master Control Panel shortcut, often referred to as "God Mode", is a shortcut to access all control panel settings in one place.

To create the shortcut, create a folder and name it allSettings.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

The text in front of the dot has no effect. You may change it to whatever you want, but the shortcut will appear to have no name.

You can now open the folder to find all control panel settings.

Make Windows search faster

There are a few ways you can make Windows Search faster and make it search for your apps and files instantly.

Disabling Bing Search on Windows 11/10

By default, when you search for anything on your device, it gets searched on Bing, most of the time unintentionally, and you want an on-device result instead. This can slow down performance especially with excessive keystrokes. To disable this behavior you can follow the steps below:

DANGER

The steps below involve modifying the registry. Before making changes to the registry, you should always backup the current state of the folder you are modifying. You can do this by right clicking on the folder you are making the changes to in the Registry Editor, then clicking "Export" and saving the file somewhere safe. In case something goes wrong, you can restore the backup by selecting File > Import in the Registry Editor.

  1. Search for "Registry Editor" in the Start menu.

Screenshot of the user searching for the Registry Editor in the Start menu search.

  1. Paste the below path in the Registry Editor address bar.
Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer

Registry Editor address bar

  1. Right click on "Explorer", and choose New > DWORD (32 bit) value.

User right clicks on the Explorer key in Registry Editor, to create a new DWORD (32 bit) value.

  1. Set the value name to DisableSearchBoxSuggestions.

User sets the new value name to Disable Search Box Suggestions in Registry Editor.

  1. Double-click on it and change the “Value data” to 1 and click on “OK”.

User sets the value of the Disable Search Box Suggestions value to 1, in Registry Editor.

  1. Restart the computer, and try searching for something. Online search suggestions will be disabled.

Screenshot of the user searching in the Start menu search.

Enabling indexing

You can make the Windows Search way faster by enabling Indexing, which indexes the locations you select. In simple words, it essentially creates a list of all files, so that when you search for a file, Windows searches in that list instead.

Although indexing is enabled by default, it only indexes important folders, such as the Desktop or the user's Documents. However, it can be configured to index all drives and folders on the computer.

First, search for "Indexing Options" in the Start menu.

Screenshot of the user searching for the Indexing Options in the Start menu search.

Then, in the window that appears, click "Modify".

Screenshot of the Indexing Options window with the modify button highlighted.

Then, click "Show All Locations".

Screenshot of the Indexed Locations window with the Show All Locations button highlighted.

Now, check all the locations that you want Windows to index. Finally, click Ok to confirm.

Screenshot of the Indexed Locations window with the location checkboxes and the Ok button highlighted.

Your files will now be indexed.

Note

Indexing can take a long time depending on how many files it has to go through, and it may consume some system resources while indexing is in-progress. Indexing will pause however if it detects that you are using your computer. The indexing process only needs to run once.

Restart GPU drivers

If your screen glitches sometimes, or your graphics are lagging, try restarting your GPU drivers using the shortcut Win + Ctrl + Shift + B. You will hear a beep sound, and your screen will go black for a few seconds.

You can always try a restart if that doesn't fix it.

View more columns in the Details view in File Explorer

In the details view in File Explorer, you can show more columns in addition to the default ones, such as Focal Length for images, or Rating for media files.

To do that, right-click on the columns in the Details view, and then choose More. You can then enable the columns you want to see by checking them.

Screenshot of the window for adding more columns to the File Explorer details view.

Voice typing

Voice Typing is a feature built-into Windows that allows you to "type" without actually typing, but by speaking into your microphone instead.

To use Voice Typing, press Win + H, and a small window will appear.

Screenshot of the voice typing window.

If it does not turn on automatically, simply click on the microphone button. Now, you can speak into your microphone to enter text, instead of typing!

Keep calculator always on top

You can keep the calculator window always on top, so that it stays pinned on your screen while you interact with other windows.

To do that, press the icon next to "Standard" that looks like a box with an arrow. Calculator will now stay on top of all windows.

Screenshot of the calculator app with the always on top button highlighted.

Additional clocks

By default, the clock on the right side of the taskbar shows the local time. But you can add two additional clocks that show the time in a chosen timezone.

To do that, right-click on the clock on the taskbar, and click "Adjust date and time". Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click "Additional Clocks".

In the window that appears, you can check one or both clocks, select their timezone, and add a name.

Screenshot of the additional clocks window.

Click Ok to save the settings you changed.

If you hover over the taskbar clock, you should now see your additional clocks.

Screenshot of the popup with the additional clocks when hovering over the taskbar clock.

Clipboard history

You can view your clipboard history, which is a list of the last 25 objects that you've copied.

To do that, press Win + V, and a small window will appear. If it's the first time you are using the Clipboard History feature, you will see a button that says "Turn On" as it's disabled by default.

Screenshot of the clipboard history window with the Turn On button visible.

After clicking on it, everything you copy will be logged there. You can then "go back in history" and paste something you copied earlier.

Screenshot of the clipboard history window showing text that was copied earlier.

You can click "Clear all" to empty the list. You can also click the pin icon next to an entry to keep it pinned forever1.

You can also click the three dots next to an entry for more options.

At the top of the window, you can also enter Emojis, GIFs, Analog Emojis, and other symbols.

Window snap menu

You can snap a window to the left, right or any corner of your screen by simply dragging the window and placing it on the edge of the screen.

However, in Windows 11, there is also a new feature that allows you to snap windows from a small popup menu.

To use it, hover over the maximize button of the window you want to snap, and the menu will appear. You can then choose where you want to snap the window, or even select one of the recommended window groups, which will snap all windows.

Screenshot of windows snapping menu on the maximize button.

Always show on-screen keyboard icon

The on-screen keyboard allows you to use your mouse to type. While it is not very practical for every day use, it can be very useful for troubleshooting, for example, in case you don't have a physical keyboard attached to the computer.

To pin the icon, right click on the taskbar and choose "Taskbar settings". Then, under the "System tray icons" category, you will find the option "Touch keyboard".

Screenshot of the on-screen keyboard setting.

You can select "When no keyboard attached", which will only show the icon when a physical keyboard is not plugged in, or "Always" which will always keep the icon pinned on the taskbar.

Screenshot of the on-screen keyboard dropdown options.

You will then find the keyboard icon on the tray area of the taskbar.

Screenshot of the on-screen keyboard icon on the taskbar tray.

Screenshot of the on-screen keyboard.

Speed up File Explorer for big folders

For most users, upgrading to an SSD is sufficient for speeding up disk operations like browsing files. Still, even fast SSDs can halt to a crawl when browsing specific folders that contain a lot of files. If you are tired with these slowdowns, here's a simple trick to make browsing files faster for big folders.

File Explorer in modern Windows versions has a system that tries to detect file types in each folder you open to optimize specific options, like default view. This mechanism can cause significant performance issues regardless of your storage type or its speed. Therefore, forcing Windows to "consider" each folder as one containing miscellaneous items should make things a lot faster.

DANGER

The steps below involve modifying the registry. Before making changes to the registry, you should always backup the current state of the folder you are modifying. You can do this by right clicking on the folder you are making the changes to in the Registry Editor, then clicking "Export" and saving the file somewhere safe. In case something goes wrong, you can restore the backup by selecting File > Import in the Registry Editor.

  1. Search for "Registry Editor" in the Start menu.

Screenshot of the user searching for the Registry Editor in the Start menu search.

  1. Paste the below path in the Registry Editor address bar.
Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell

Registry Editor address bar

  1. Right click on "Shell", and choose New > String value.

User right clicks on the Shell key in Registry Editor, to create a new String value.

  1. Set the value name to FolderType.

User sets the new value name to Folder Type in Registry Editor.

  1. Double-click on it and set the “Value data” to NotSpecified and click on “OK”.

User sets the value of the Folder Type value to Not Specified, in Registry Editor.

  1. Restart the computer, after that browsing most folders with heavy metadata should be instant.

Notes

1: Clipboard history automatically clears after restarting your computer. Pinned items are not cleared, and do not count towards the 25-object limit.




More tips will be added to this page soon!

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