9 Windows 11 Hidden Features
1. Minimize every window except the active one
If your desktop screen has become cluttered with open windows, you can instantly minimize all but the one you’re working in. You can enable this in Windows 11 by going to Settings, System, Multitasking, and selecting Title bar window shake.
To choose a window, simply click the title bar of the window you want to keep open. Then, while holding the mouse down, move the window back and forth swiftly, as if shaking it. All other open windows will minimize after a few of fast shakes, leaving only the one you’ve shook open.
2. Open the ‘secret’ Start menu
You know how to get to the Start menu by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard or the Windows icon at the bottom left of the screen.
However, Windows 11 contains a lesser-known second Start menu that makes it much easier to reach critical tools like as the Command Prompt, Control Panel, and Task Manager. You may get to it in two ways: by hitting Windows key + X or by right-clicking the Windows icon/Start button.
3. Take a screenshot on Windows 11
It’s a simple task, but it’s astonishing how quickly you can forget how to take a screenshot on your laptop or desktop if you don’t do it frequently.
You can take a screenshot in Windows in at least eight distinct methods. The simplest approach to take and save a photo of your complete screen is to press the Windows key + Print Screen key, which will save the picture to the Pictures > Screenshots folder.
To record just a portion of your screen, press Windows + Shift + S to launch Snip & Sketch, a tool that lets you click and drag to produce a snapshot that is saved to your Clipboard.
4. Open pinned items from your Taskbar with keyboard shortcuts
You don’t have to click the icons to open them if you’ve pinned them to your Taskbar at the bottom of your screen to create a shortcut.
Use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + [Number key], where the number key corresponds to the pinned program’s location in the Taskbar.
For example, pressing Windows key + 2 on the keyboard will bring up the second pinned item in the Taskbar.
This is particularly helpful if you’re typing quickly and don’t want to take your hands off the keyboard. Reaching for the Windows key may feel more natural.
5. Learn how much space apps are taking up
As computers become more space constrained, they begin to slow down. Get rid of apps that use up more space than they should, especially if you don’t use them on a regular basis, to speed them up.
Navigate to Settings > System > Storage to check how much space programs, temporary files, and documents are using up. To see the entire list, tap Show more categories.
Tap Cleanup recommendations to see what Windows 11 advises to get an idea of what to throw. You’re not going to get rid of your browser, but you might discover that a game you haven’t played in years is a terrific place to start.
6. Shut down background apps to save battery
Background-running apps can gather information, send notifications, and stay updated even while you aren’t using them, which can be handy but also drain your energy and data.
Go to Settings > System > Power & battery to manage which apps are operating in the background and save some battery power and data.
To limit some notifications and background activity, tap Battery saver and then adjust when it turns on.
7. Use background scrolling for multiple windows
You can scroll up and down in any window in Windows 11, even if it’s not the one you’re currently working in. When you have a number 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 different windows to save time clicking back and forth on the same page — this is a helpful tool.
Open two programs: a web browser page and a notepad or Word document, for example. Arrange them on the screen so that at least some of the text on each can be seen. Hover your mouse or use the touchpad to navigate to the second window and scroll while in the first. Even if you aren’t in that window, you should be able to navigate up and down the page.
If it isn’t turned on by default, go to Settings > Bluetooth & devices > Mouse and toggle Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them to On. After that, you can hover your cursor over a backdrop window and scroll using the scroll wheel.
8. Show file extensions in File Explorer
By default, Microsoft hides file extensions, making it difficult for those who need to find specific sorts of files, such as JPEGs and JPGs.
Follow these steps to show file extensions in File Explorer:
1. Type File Explorer Options into the task bar’s Search box, then click it. (There are other options, such as using the Start menu’s search function, but this one works great.)
2. In the pop-up window, select the View tab.
3. Uncheck the item that says Hide extensions for known file types if it’s ticked. Click OK after applying the changes. In the File Explorer, you should now see file extensions for all files.
You can also use the File Explorer Options menu to choose to show empty drives, hidden files and folders, and more.
9. Minimize distractions with Focus assist
It’s difficult to concentrate on work when you’re constantly disturbed by notifications. With Focus help, you can choose how many you want.
Go to Settings > System > Focus Assist to set it up. Off (receive all notifications from your apps and contacts), Priority only (see only selected messages from a prioritized list that you specify, and send the rest to your action center), and Alarms only (get just alarms from your apps and contacts) (hide all notifications, except for alarms).
You may also set this function to turn on automatically at specific hours, such as while you’re playing a game or using an app in full-screen mode.