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The Ultimate Guide to Windows 11 Tips and Tricks

Windows 11 updates Microsoft's legendary operating system's appearance and introduces a few new features that you'll want to customize.

Windows 11, Microsoft's latest operating system, is now available for those with compatible PCs. If you make the switch, you'll notice that the OS has had a clean overhaul with a centered taskbar reminiscent of Chrome OS and rounded app corners. Under the hood, Windows 11 mostly the same operating system, but there are a few new features that you should be familiar with. These Windows 11 tips, tricks and recommendations will assist you in making the switch from Windows 10 to Windows 11.

Windows 11 Tips and Tricks for Beginners: How to Make Windows 11 Faster

1. Realign the Start Button

The first thing that will strike you is the Start button's positioning. Previously positioned in the lower-left corner of the screen, it has been centered alongside the rest of the taskbar's icons. However, if this is not to your liking, do not fret; you may alter it back. Here’s how:

  • Open Taskbar Settings by right-clicking the taskbar.
  • Change the Taskbar alignment to Left by selecting the Taskbar behaviors drop-down menu.
  • This will reposition all of your taskbar icons to the left and restore the Start button to its proper location.

For more information on customizing the Windows 11 taskbar.

2. Right-Click Menu Simplified

The right-click menu in File Explorer has been streamlined to show only the most critical settings. If you would like to see more right-click settings—for example, to print, change the backdrop, or examine the complete file location—select Show more options to reveal a spill-over menu.

3. Personalize the Quick Settings Panel

Windows 11 decouples the Quick Settings panel included in Windows 10's Action Center from the panel's notifications. To activate the settings menu:

  • Click the section of the taskbar that contains the Wi-Fi, speaker, and battery icons.
  • From there, you can configure Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, and energy saver mode, among other things.
  • Click the pencil-shaped Edit quick settings button to add or remove settings buttons.
  • Unpin any features you no longer want or click Add to add new options to the Quick Settings menu.

4. Easier Management of Virtual Desktops

Microsoft has replaced the old Task View button on the taskbar with a revamped symbol that simplifies the process of creating and managing numerous desktops. Simply hover over the icon to view any currently open virtual desktops or to create a new one. These desktops can then be reconfigured as desired, and applications can be moved from one desktop to another.

5. Assemble Your Widgets

While Windows 10 experimented with widgets, the new Windows 11 fully embraces them. You can use widgets to check the weather, look up sports scores, follow stock prices, monitor nearby traffic, manage your Outlook calendar, check off things on your to-do list, or read the latest news.

  • Click the new Widgets icon on the taskbar to view your widgets.
  • You may tailor the widgets to your tastes, move them on the page, and manage your newsfeed selections via Microsoft News.

6. Additional Multitasking Layouts

Microsoft has enabled snap and resize since Windows 7, but Snap Layouts gives it a boost in Windows 11. While you can still drag and drop windows into place with Windows 11, hovering over the Maximize button in supported apps brings up a selection of layout options—for example, one giant window on the left and two on the right stacked on top of each other, or three in a row. Select your desired formation and then arrange your apps.

7. Communicate With Teams

Microsoft Teams—the company's free chat, telephony, and videoconferencing application—is integrated into Windows 11. Launch video calls and initiate chats directly from the taskbar's new Chat icon; no need to open the Microsoft Teams app. While you can sync your contacts via the Teams mobile app, if they do not use Teams, you can issue invites via email or SMS. You can also communicate via SMS with contacts who do not have a Teams account, and they can join a video chat via a web link.

8. Concentrate on Getting Things Done Through Focus Sessions

With SMS and video chats interrupting the workday, it's easy to become sidetracked as work piles up. Windows 11's Focus Sessions feature encourages you to schedule time for work that demands uninterrupted, intense concentration. It's available now in the new Alarms & Clock app and provides a convenient method for obtaining at least 30 minutes of distraction-free work time. If your session exceeds 45 minutes, the app automatically schedules a five-minute break approximately halfway through. Here's a step-by-step tutorial on how to configure it for your PC.

Microsoft streamlined the ribbon at the top of the File Explorer menu in Windows 11. Now, only the cut, copy, share, sort, and view options are accessible; there is no need to go through numerous menus and settings you'll never use. Additionally, Windows 11 includes a New button for generating new folders, shortcuts, and documents based on the installed apps.

10. Input/Output Devices in Pairs

Windows 11 includes a robust Sound menu that includes the option to pair new input and output devices. To connect external speakers or other devices, navigate to Settings > System > Sound and select Add device under the Output section. Under Input, select Add device to connect an external microphone. After that, you'll be able to connect via Bluetooth, wireless docks, and more. To display a complete list of all input and output devices connected to your PC, scroll down to the Advanced section and click All sound devices.

11. New Audio Modes

Windows 11 gives you additional control over your audio output, including mono and improved audio modes. To switch to mono mode, navigate to Settings > System > Sound and toggle the Mono audio option to merge the left and right audio channels. To activate improved audio, click All sound devices under the Advanced part of the Sound menu, select a device to open the Properties menu, and enable Enhance audio.

12. View the App Catalog

Windows 11 adds an additional step to examine the whole list of installed applications. Rather than opening the Start menu and immediately viewing the App List alongside your live tiles, you must first select the All Apps button in the Start menu's Pinned area. You can then browse the list or do a search for a specific app.

13. Apps are pinned to the Start Menu

Live tiles have been phased out of Windows 11. They have been replaced by a more simplified Start menu, which allows you to pin apps for convenient access. To move an app to the Pinned section, open the App List, right-click on it, and select Pin to Start. You can then drag the app into the position you like. To unpin apps from the Start menu, right-click and select Unpin from Start.

14. Improve Your Recommendations

The redesigned Start menu has a Recommended section for recently used files and applications. To change what shows here, navigate to Settings > Personalization > Start.Here, you can enable or disable your recently added apps, most used apps, and recently opened items.

15. Improved Visualization of the Battery

Windows 11 does a better job of visualizing your battery usage data than its predecessor. To see the Battery use tab, navigate to Settings > System > Power & battery. You'll find a chart here that indicates how much power you've consumed in the last few days or hours. Below the chart is a list of apps that shows how much power each app consumes. If you discover a software that is consuming an excessive amount of power, you can disable background usage and put it to sleep, exactly as iPhones and Android devices do.

Bones Ijeoma

Author since Nov 11, 2022
Bones Ijeoma is CEO and co-founder of AllSafe IT, and his mission is to make downtime obsolete. Bones received a BS in Computer Engineering from Cal State Long Beach and received an MBA in Entrepreneurship from USC Marshall School of Business. After finishing school and working for companies such as Marriott Hospitality, Dreamworks, and UCLA Medical Center, Bones realized there was a need for small businesses to have access to the same technology solutions that large corporations leverage.
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