‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,’ or to put it another way if something is working adequately, leave it alone.

Many users of Windows 10 may have felt this way when compared to previous Windows operating systems.

But without the urge to change and develop where would be today? Still using flint to start fires?

Windows 10 was a bit of a step change in operating systems and most people would have recognised this when confronted with the tiled interface.

But there are many useful features of Windows 10 that remain buried for the average user.

To shine a light into these hidden digital corners here are some of the most interesting and useful features:

Old school start up

If you preferred the traditional Window Start menu you can still have it, almost.
  • Right-click on the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner
  • It will prompt a textual jump menu with a number of familiar popular destinations (Apps and Features, Search, Run)
  • These options are available through the standard menu interface, but you'll be able to access them quicker via this textual interface

Dictate rather than write

Voice-based computing used to be the Holy Grail of computing. In Windows 10 it’s a well-established reality.
  • In Settings, go to Time & Language > Speech > Related settings and click "Speech, inking and typing privacy settings" to enable speech services and typing suggestions.
  • Once you’ve done this you can use the Windows Key and ‘H’ letter combination in any text field to bring up the Cortana box that records your voice dictates the speech in your text field.
  • You'll still need to type manual punctuation, but you can dictate emails, messages and more.

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Smart home commands

Have you got a home that is full of smart devices or do you just have one or two? They are normally controlled via smartphone apps but Windows 10 cleverly enables you to do this via Cortana, the Windows 10 voice activated personal assistant.
  • Search for Cortana Notebook, which brings up a list of to-do items, reminders, and suggested tasks for Cortana.
  • To find the connected home function click on the Manage Skills tab at the top right of the pop-up window.
  • From there, scroll down and click into Connected Home.
  • First, toggle the option at the top to Enable Connected Home, after which you can log into all your smart home devices and then connect to Cortana.
  • Once enabled, all you have to do is issue your voice controlled commands by starting with ‘Hey Cortana…’

Pin your contacts

Did you know you can pin your closest contacts to your task bar the same way you can your most-used apps?
  • Tap on the People icon, and at the bottom of the pop-up box you’ll see an option to find and pin contacts to your taskbar.
  • If you don't see any contacts click the Apps tab at the top of the box to connect your Mail app, Skype, or other apps from the Microsoft Store.
You can then import your contacts to set up the equivalent of speed dial icons on your Windows 10 task bar.