Windows 11 Hidden Features You can Use Your Computer

Windows 11 Hidden Features You can Use Your Computer.

 

Windows 11 Hidden Features You can Use Your Computer. Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 11, began rolling out last year, and the company has since announced it is ready for broad deployment. Windows 11 can be downloaded and installed by anyone with a computer that meets the minimum requirements.

The holidays are a great time to master some of Windows' productivity features, whether you're using your computer for work or personal use. There are many built-in tricks that can help you do everything from setting up shortcuts in the Taskbar to saving battery power.

Apple tends to be more upfront about its hidden features than Microsoft, which can sometimes make it more difficult to utilize these features to their fullest potential. To get the most out of Windows 11, we've compiled a list of hidden features you can start using right now.   

What is Windows?

Microsoft's Windows operating system is a GUI-based operating system. Windows was developed and designed by Microsoft. On November 10, 1983, Microsoft introduced the first version of the operating system, which we can refer to as Windows 1.0.

The Windows Operating System provides an interface to the user for playing games, storing files, storing databases, creating desktop applications, and running so many different types of applications. Users are able to upload and download files. We can also delete and update files.

Microsoft released Windows XP in 2001. The company developed different versions of the operating system based on their features and functions, such as Home computing, Professional, and also other versions. Like Intel and AMD processors, it also depends on the CPU bit size x86 and x64. At present, Windows 11 is available.

What's in Windows 11?


This new version of Windows has a streamlined design, pastel colors, rounded corners and a Mac-like startup sound. Starting from the bottom left corner of the screen, the Start menu moved to the middle, while app icons are arranged around it.

With Windows 10, you'll get lots of new desktop tools, like widgets that give you quick access to information, and the ability to create virtual desktops with ease. Microsoft Store users will be able to install Android apps on Windows, although the feature won't be available right away. (Read about the best features of Windows 11 and how to use them.)

After launching Windows 10 in 2015, this is the first major update to Microsoft's operating system. For the past year, rumors have circulated about a major Windows redesign.

In May last year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the company was planning "the most significant update to Windows this decade," confirming that there would be a significant change to the OS in 2021. After leaked images of Windows 11 spread throughout the web, Microsoft quietly announced in mid-June that it would cease to support Windows 10 in 2025.

You can read all about the features we wanted to see in Windows 11 but didn't get, as well as the differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11.


Here are hidden features of Windows 11:


To help you get the most out of Windows 11, we have provided you with a list of hidden features you can use right now.

Support for Android apps:


Microsoft has finally made Android App support available to Windows 11 stable users, after months of testing in Insider channels. The US version of Windows 11 allows you to install Android apps and games without any issues.

In partnership with Amazon, Microsoft has introduced Android apps for Windows 11. Here is a guide that explains how to use Android apps on Windows 11.

There are currently only a limited number of Android apps and games available through the Amazon App Store (around 1000), but you can learn how to sideload Android APKs on your Windows 11 computer by following our guide.

You can also install Google Play Store on Windows 11 if you're not satisfied with Amazon App Store.

 

You can see file extensions in File Explorer as follows:


By default, Microsoft hides file extensions, which makes finding specific types of files, such as JPEGs and JPGs, difficult. You can view file extensions in File Explorer by following these steps:

1. You can search for File Explorer Options by typing it in the task bar and clicking on it. You can also use the start menu search option, but this method works fine, too.

2. Click the View tab when the window appears.

3. Remove the check mark next to Hide extensions for known file types if it's checked. Then click Apply and OK. In the File Explorer, you should now see file extensions for all files.

You can also choose to show empty drives, hidden files, and folders from the File Explorer Options menu.

Mutes/umutes the microphone in the taskbar:


Another great hidden feature in Windows 11 is the ability to turn the microphone on and off directly from the taskbar. Your microphone no longer needs to be muted or unmuted through a particular app. Currently, this feature is available only to users who have a work or school account.

Microsoft has announced the availability of an API for developers to use this feature. In the future, you will be able to mute/unmute your mic directly from the taskbar itself as more companies adopt this feature.

The Windows + Alt + K keyboard shortcut can also be used to quickly mute/unmute the microphone. Streamers or regular users might find this useful during video chats.

Using this feature, you can also see which apps have been granted access to the mic, and you can disable access for those that do not need it.


Save battery by shutting down background apps:


Keeping apps running in the background allows them to receive information, send notifications, and stay updated, even when you're not using them. This is useful, but can drain your battery and data.

Go to Settings > System > Power & battery to see which apps are running in the background and save some battery power and data. You can disable some notifications and background activities by tapping Battery saver and adjusting when it turns on.


From the Taskbar, you can open pinned items using keyboard shortcuts:


To open pinned programs at the bottom of the screen, you don't need to click the icons. Alternately, press Windows + [Number key], where the number key corresponds to the Taskbar location of the pinned program. You can open the second pinned item on the Taskbar using the Windows key + 2 combination.

If you're typing furiously, you won't have to lift your fingers from the keyboard. Aiming for the Windows key might seem more natural.


You can open the 'secret' Start menu as follows:


When you click on the Windows icon over on the left side of the screen or on your keyboard, you will get to the Start menu. There is a lesser-known second Start menu in Windows 11 that provides easy access to important features such as Control Panel, Command Prompt, and Task Manager. Either right click the Windows icon/Start button or press the Windows key + X to access it.

Minimize all windows except the active one:


You can quickly minimize all open windows except the one you're currently working in if your desktop screen has become cluttered. In Windows 11, you can turn this on by going to Settings, System, then Multitasking and selecting Title bar window shake.

Choosing a window to remain open is as simple as clicking its title bar. Next, hold down the mouse button and shake the window quickly -- sort of like shaking a bottle. Shaking the window a couple of times will minimize all other open windows, leaving just the one that you have shaken open. Nice, right?


Here is a screenshot on Windows 11:


I know, it's a very basic tip, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to forget how to take a screenshot on a computer or laptop when you don't do it very often.

Windows allows you to take a screenshot in at least eight different ways. Taking a picture of your entire screen is as simple as hitting the Windows key + Print Screen key, and then saving that image in the Pictures > Screenshots folder.

Learn how to boost your productivity here. Use these Windows 11 multitasking features to maximize your productivity

Snip & Sketch lets you click and drag a portion of your screen to create a screenshot, which is saved to your Clipboard once you've completed it. To capture just a portion of your screen, press Windows + Shift + S.


To see how much space your apps take up, click here.


When a computer runs out of space, it runs slower. Getting rid of apps that eat up more space than they need, especially if you don't use them regularly, may be an easy way to speed them up.

Go to Settings > System > Storage to find out how much space apps, temporary files, and documents are taking up. You can see the complete list by tapping Show more categories.

Check out the Cleanup recommendations to get an idea of what to toss. Most likely, you aren't going to get rid of your browser, but a game you haven't played in years might be a good one to drop.


If you have multiple windows open, use background scrolling:


You can still scroll up and down even if you aren't working directly in the window. It is useful when you have multiple windows open at the same time, such as if you want to open new sub-menu options in new windows instead of clicking back and forth on the same page.

Click on an internet browser page and open a notepad or Word document. As long as you can see some of the text on each, you can arrange them on the screen. Navigate to the second window using your touchpad or your mouse. It should still be possible to scroll up and down even though you are not in that window.

Toggle Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them to On in Settings > Bluetooth & devices > Mouse if it isn't already on. Afterward, you can use the scroll wheel to scroll a window in the background by placing the mouse over it.


Focus assist reduces distractions by:


Getting interrupted by notifications while you're trying to get work done is frustrating. Focus assist can help you control how many you receive.

You can activate it from the Settings menu by clicking on System > Focus assist. Three options are available: Off (you will receive all notifications from your apps and contacts), Priority only (you will see only selected notifications from your prioritization list, and the others will be sent to your action center), or Alarms only (you will receive only alarms).

In addition, this feature can be turned on automatically at certain times, when you play a game or use an app in full-screen mode, for example.

Check out how to maximize the battery life of your computer for more Windows 11 laptop tips and tricks.

Here's the Weather Widget in the Taskbar.


Windows 11 adds a glanceable weather widget to the taskbar in addition to the huge flyout widgets panel. Weather information is displayed in the bottom-left corner, based on your location. The widget panel can be opened by clicking on the weather info.

Remember that if your taskbar alignment has been moved to the left, the weather widget will not appear. To display the weather widget on the taskbar, simply enable “Widgets” from the Taskbar settings. Here is a tutorial that explains how to completely disable widgets in Windows 11.

How to share any window that appears on the taskbar:


Microsoft has also introduced a seamless way to share screens during video calls in addition to the universal microphone switch. When using Microsoft Teams, you can now select "Share this window" by hovering over an app or an active window on the Taskbar. The particular window will be shared instantly, allowing for hassle-free screen sharing. For this feature to work, you must have a Microsoft Teams account associated with your workplace or school.

The following features are supported:


There is no doubt that voice typing is one of the best hidden features of Windows 11, and it is not used by many people. Using a hotkey, you can type in any text field or window. You can see the voice typing pop-up by pressing "Windows + H". You can now speak out whatever you wish to type, and it will accurately translate your speech, with correct punctuation. For detailed instructions on how to use voice typing in Windows 11, please read our guide.

New Emoji Picker with improved graphic quality


Windows 11 has not yet received 3D emojis (but they are coming and have already been rolled out to Teams), but Microsoft has updated the emoji picker with new features. You can also add GIFs (powered by Tenor), Kaomoji, and Symbols using the Windows 11 keyboard shortcut "Windows + .".

The emojis have been redesigned and now match the aesthetics of Windows 11. If you use WhatsApp Web or other messaging services, you should take advantage of this hidden Windows 11 feature.

Dynamic Refresh Rate (DRR):


Another hidden feature in Windows 11 is Dynamic Refresh Rate, which everyone should use if they have a high refresh rate display. Using Windows 11 while navigating the UI and interacting with different OS elements is so smooth.

At my workplace, I have a 75Hz monitor, and Windows 11 scales beautifully with smooth transitions and without sacrificing frame rate. Open Settings and move to "System -> Display -> Advanced display" to customize the dynamic refresh rate. Use the drop-down menu to select the appropriate refresh rate. You can find more information about dynamic refresh rate in Windows 11 by following the link.

Highlight Session:


Microsoft's Focus Session feature is one of the few hidden features in Windows 11. You can achieve a lot with Focus Session if you wish to remain productive and disciplined when using your Windows 11 computer.

The feature can be found within the Alarm and Clock app. Your Microsoft account will be listed, and all tasks from Microsoft To-Do will appear. Timer options, customizable notifications, and more are available. Listen to your favorite music while completing your tasks by integrating your Spotify account.

You can also track your progress using the app's dashboard. You are notified periodically to take a break, just like on your smartphone. The Focus Session feature in Windows 11 is an interesting feature that more people should use to work from home and stay productive. Check out our detailed guide linked here if you want to learn how to use Focus Sessions on Windows 11.

HTTPS over DNS:


Windows 11 PCs have a hidden setting called DNS Over HTTPS that isn't widely known, but it is a valuable feature that can protect your privacy. This tool encrypts every DNS query made by your computer, including those generated by browsers, apps, and services. A computer connects to a DNS resolver when resolving a domain name, and this communication has largely remained unencrypted.

DNS over HTTPS encrypts DNS queries using the HTTPS protocol, making all communications over your Windows 11 PC secure and private.

Time on Screen:


Microsoft Windows 11 now offers a dashboard where you can view your laptop's screen time, just like on smartphones. During the 24-hour and week-long period, you are able to check the screen on time, screen off time, and sleep time. With this app, you can find out which apps are draining your laptop's battery and gauge how much power they are using. Apps can also be sorted by the amount of background usage and overall usage. You can learn more about checking the screen on time on Windows 11 in our guide.

What Does Windows Backup Do?


Windows 11 comes with a complete backup solution similar to what we have on smartphones. For this feature to work on your PC, you must sign in with your Microsoft account. You will be able to upload all the files and folders from your user profile (Desktop, Documents, & Pictures) to OneDrive, and Microsoft will store your app list, on-device Settings preferences, Microsoft Store preferences, and more.

All your preferences will sync and files will be restored from OneDrive when you sign in on another computer. Isn't that great? The solution is a cloud backup, not to be confused with older solutions such as File History and Windows Backup and Restore. Open Settings, then select “Accounts -> Windows backup” to access this feature.


How to download Windows 11 is as simple as following these steps.


As with any new version of Windows, Windows 11 can be downloaded from the Microsoft website. Simply click on Check for Updates under Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update. This will display Windows 11 Feature Update. Click Install to begin installing.

An installation assistant is also available. To make sure your hardware is compatible, you must download the assistant and click Run. After accepting the licensing terms, click Accept and Install to begin the installation. Your computer will need to be restarted after the installation is complete. Don't be alarmed if your PC restarts several times during the process of installing. Just keep it running until everything is finished.

If you prefer another option, be aware that they are more difficult. It is possible to create an ISO file or installation media for Windows 11 if you are certain you want to do so. Click here for more information on downloading Windows 11.


Here are some of the little-known features of Windows 11 that you should use to make the most of Microsoft's latest desktop operating system. Only stable channel features are covered in this article. Stay tuned as we will be writing a detailed article on all the new features in Windows 11.