2017 Donald R. Snow - This page was last updated 2017-07-07.
These Freeware Corner notes are published in TAGGology, our Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group (UVTAGG) monthly newsletter.  They are also posted on my Freeware Corner Notes page on  where the links are active and there may be corrections and additions and other related notes and articles.


Windows 10 is the current version of the Windows Operating System from Microsoft.  They are still supporting Windows 7, but not XP or anything earlier than that.  "Supporting" means they are still upgrading the product when they find problems, i.e. things like a way for hackers to take control of your computer or introduce viruses or ransomeware.  Windows 10 has many new features that were not in earlier versions of Windows and also has ways to make it appear the same as earlier versions, if you are used to using an earlier version and don't want to learn the newer format.  This Freeware Corner note will list some features of Windows 10.  There are usually several ways to do these options, but this note will usually only discuss one way to accomplish it.


Clicking the Windows 10 icon (the Start button) you see an option called Help and Support.   Clicking on this takes you to the online Windows 10 helps which includes helps, tutorials, and other information.  There are articles and videos of Getting Started With Windows 10, Keyboard Shortcuts, Top Five New Things in Windows 10, Getting Started With Cortana (the voice searcher part of Windows 10), and much more.  It is worthwhile to spend a few minutes going through some of these to get a picture of how to use Windows 10, even if you already know how to use many of its features.  In this Freeware Corner article we will consider just a few more such options.


The taskbar is the bar at the bottom of your windows screen that shows the programs you have running.  It can be moved to any of the four edges of your screen.  Most of us just leave it across the bottom, but you may want to move it for some reason.  For example, on a 16 x 9 aspect-ratio laptop screen you might want it move it to the left side, so you have more vertical room (vertical "real estate").  The aspect ratio is the shape of the screen and 16 x 9 means 16 units from side-to-side and 9 units from top-to-bottom.  Laptops used to be 5 x 4 aspect ratio, closer to a square, but now most are 16 x 9, primarily since most movies are now that shape.  To move the taskbar right click on a blank part of it and uncheck the option to Lock The Screen.   Then by left clicking any blank part of the taskbar, drag it to the left side, right side, or top of the screen, whichever you want.  To make sure it stays there and so you don't inadvertently move it, right click a blank spot on it and put the check mark back in front of Lock The Screen.   There are other options for the taskbar that you can get to from the right-click option by clicking on Taskbar Settings. 


If there are programs you want to run on a regular basis, or even just while working on a special project, when they are running and you see their icon on the taskbar, right click on the icon and click Pin To Taskbar.  That makes the icon stay there, even after you shut off your computer, until you unpin it.  Then you always have it accessible, even when your screen is completely covered by other programs.  I usually leave a few programs pinned to my taskbar, e.g. EVERNOTE, CHROME, EVERYTHING, FASTSTONE CAPTURE, and a couple of others.  When these are running there is a blue underscore bar under the icon.  To unpin a program from the taskbar, right click the icon and select Unpin from Taskbar.


If you are running one or more programs and want to go to your desktop for any reason such as to open another program, hold down the Windows key and press D, that is, Win+D.  The Windows key is the one near the bottom left side of your keyboard with the Microsoft Windows emblem on it.   Holding down that key and pressing D toggles between the desktop and the program you are running.


The left-most icon on the taskbar, a small clear square with rectangles on the sides, allows opening a second, third, or more (Extra) windows. Windows 10 starts with two windows and these are labeled Window 1 and Window 2.  Hovering the cursor over each opens small windows above showing the programs running in that window or project.  Clicking Window 1 or Window 2, etc., opens that one with the programs running in that window.  As you change windows you see the blue underscores change on the taskbar to indicate which which programs are running in that window.  You can add windows by clicking the large + New Desktop icon at the lower right side of the screen.  With this you can have as many separate windows (projects) going as you want and can go from one to the other by clicking on the tashbar icon.  You can move data between the projects by copying it to the clipboard, for example.  This is a Windows 10 feature that has never been in earlier versions of Windows.


Clicking on the Windows start icon > Control Panel > Ease of Access Center gives you options to set it the way you want when Windows 10 starts.  These options include ways to make the cursor larger and different colors so it shows up easier, a magnifier for you to drag around the screen to show things larger, ways to have the computer read aloud any narration it finds, changing the colors of the screen to make it higher contrast so you can see it more easily, and other things.   There is a short questionnaire you can go through about yourself, sight, hearing, etc., that will then give you suggested settings that may help you.  When you have the Control Panel/Ease of Access screen open, you can pin it to the taskbar by right-clicking and Pin, so you can get to it easily to change settings when you need them.  Some of these will be described below.


One of the settings I find most helpful is the size and tail of the mouse cursor.  Go to Ease of Access > Make the Mouse Easier to Use.  I use the Extra Large White cursor.   Also, at the bottom under Mouse Settings, I use Pointer Options > Long Pointer Trails.   This makes it much easier for me to find the cursor on the screen.  There is also an option to check so that pressing the CTRL key shows concentric circles surrounding the mouse cursor.   This is helpful to find it and also to demo where it is when teaching a class.


Sometimes the magnifier is useful when I'm examining small items in a document, for example.   When you turn it on it has a rectangular "lens" that moves with the mouse to magnify everything under it like a magnifying glass.  When it is turned on, there is an icon on the taskbar for it.  Clicking on the icon opens the Magnifier window with options to change the magnification and size and shape of the rectangular "lens".  The large buttons labeled + and - control how much the magnification is.  About 200% works well for me, but I tried clicking the + button a few times and got the magnification up to 1600% and it would still go further, but it ia hard to use with that much magnification.  Whatever you set it for will be the magnification it will start with the next time you open it.  There are other options in the Magnifier window such as the size and shape of the "lens" you want.  To turn off the magnifier click on the Red X on the Magnifier window from the taskbar. 


There are many more features of Windows 10 and I will write other articles about additional things it will do.