In context: Windows 10 is turning five this year, and to celebrate the occasion, Microsoft has released a comprehensive list of all the user-recommended features they’ve added. It’s easy to take these little upgrades for granted, but Microsoft has truly made Windows 10 a lot more comfortable since launch.
Here are the five most interesting features, because five is my favorite number. If your favorite happens to be six, head to Microsoft’s blog post to see the rest.
Emojis are a wonderfully unnecessary staple modern communication. Not only do you get the benefit of being able to skimp on typing in casual scenarios, but emoji in Windows also means you can integrate them into your professional world.
If you want to sound less passive-aggressive in a work email, just add something accurate to how you feel. For example, a message to tech support: “Hey Jack, I was wondering if you got my email yesterday 🤔 My computer’s stopped working, and I can’t do anything until it’s fixed 😆.”
Or if you want to sound more passive-aggressive, “Jack, it’s been a week since you said I’d have a replacement desktop and I’ve had to work from my phone since. Can you get it to me today? 🔪 ☠”
The emoji panel is activated by pressing Windows and the period key. It has a kaomoji section too, which are the adorable little faces that come from Japan. (◕‿◕)
Your Phone App
The Your Phone app is one of Microsoft’s most practical updates. Through a companion smartphone app, Your Phone can display a phone's text messages, calls, recent images, and live notifications on a PC.
Screenshotting on PC has always been terrible compared to the smartphone experience, but Microsoft has definitely improved things in the past few years. The old Windows key + PrtSc command could only shoot the whole screen, but the new Windows key + Shift + S brings up the options to select a portion of the screen using a rectangular or freehand tool.
Xbox Game Bar
The Xbox Game Bar is an essential, regardless of whether you have an Xbox or play games. The Performance tab is the fastest way to see CPU, GPU, and RAM utilization and FPS. The Audio tab lets you adjust the relative volume of different applications, so you can put a stop to egregiously loud system notifications that interrupt your music. The Control tab is also the easiest way to check the time without interrupting a full-screen video or game.
The bar is activated by pressing Windows key + G.
Microsoft is adding the option to adjust the size and color of the mouse pointer and text cursor. The feature is technically to help users who have trouble spotting their mouse, but if you want to go full gamer, you could web browse with a giant red crosshairs too. This feature is still rolling out, but will be under the Ease of Access tab in Settings soon.
Microsoft still has some work to do, like giving Windows 10 a workable search feature, but the smaller upgrades are nonetheless appreciated.
Image Credit: Johny Vino on Unsplash