Skip to main content

7 things you didn’t know you could do in Windows 10

Windows 10 is ubiquitous. Many of us depend on it every day for both work and play. But there are a few features right under your nose in Windows that you might not be aware of.

Here are seven things that you didn’t know you could do in Windows 10 that might make your life a little easier.

Use your Windows 10 laptop or tablet as a second monitor

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Extra screen space often means buying an external monitor, but did you know that if you have a spare laptop or Windows tablet in the house, you can set one up for use as a second monitor for your primary PC? This is actually possible on all modern PCs, thanks to the Miracast technology and the help of a Wi-Fi network.

You can set this up yourself by making sure both of your PCs are on the same Wi-Fi network. Then, search in the Windows 10 settings for Projection Settings. If the settings are grayed out and aren’t available, head into Optional Features in Windows 10 settings and add the Wireless Display optional feature. Just search for Wireless Display in the box that pops up, choose the check box, and click Install.

Arif Bacchus/Digital Trends

Once the feature is available or added, you can configure both of your PCs for casting. On the host PC and the secondary PC, head into Settings and search for Projecting to this PC. Make sure you choose Available everywhere, Every time a connection is requested, and Never from the drop-down boxes. In the last box, set the toggle switch to Off.

After all the settings are configured as such on both of your PCs, you can hit Windows key + P on your main PC, and then choose Extend from the list. Choose the Connect to a Wireless display option, then look for the name of your spare PC or tablet that you want to connect to as a second monitor. Click it, then follow the prompts on the screen on both PCs. You’ll now be able to use the display as a second monitor!

Stream your Xbox to your PC and enjoy Xbox anywhere in your home

Ever wanted to take your Xbox on the go around your house? That’s possible with the built-in Xbox app on Windows 10! All it takes is for you to make sure that your console and your PC are on the same Wi-Fi network or are connected to the same router (if your console is hard-wired.) Then, open up the Xbox Console Companion app on Windows 10. (You can search for it in the Start Menu.)

After that, expand out the side menu of the Xbox Console Companion app from the top left corner of the screen and choose Connection. You can then find your console listed and choose the Connect button. After that, you can choose Stream to stream your Xbox to your PC. Just be aware that you’ll need a solid Wi-Fi connection (preferably 5GHz) as well as an Xbox controller plugged into your PC. You’ll now be free to play games anywhere!

Shake your active window with your mouse to minimize all other open windows

Want to hide something that’s open on your PC in a hurry? You could use the Windows key + D shortcut to show the desktop, but did you know there’s another fun way to hide windows? It’s a trick first introduced in Windows Vista: If you click on the title bar of an active Window, drag it, and shake it left and right quickly, you’ll minimize every other window except the one you’re active in. Go ahead, give it a try right now — it’s quite fun to see your windows dance.

Turn on nearby sharing to share files between PCs

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Usually, sharing a file you want to use on another PC or laptop means emailing it to yourself or using a USB drive. However, Windows 10 has a Nearby Share feature that lets you share files wirelessly between computers. It’s a lot like AirDrop on an iPhone, and it just involves a few simple clicks to set up.

Nearby Share isn’t on by default, but you can enable it by searching for Nearby Share in the Windows 10 settings or from the Start Menu and then clicking the Nearby share settings link. From there, toggle the switch to Share content with a nearby device by using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Be sure to choose My devices only from the list so you’re only sharing with devices that you’re signed into. You can choose Everyone nearby if you want to share with PCs other than your own.

Once the feature is enabled, keep the PC or phones you want to share files on connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Then choose the file to share by right-clicking it and choosing Share. You should see your device pop up on the list, and you can click its name to send the file over.

Turn on clipboard history so you can see your clipboard history across devices

Did you copy something from your Android phone and want to see it on your PC too? Or how about copying something from your PC and seeing it on your phone? Windows has a feature known as clipboard history that will let you sync your clipboard history across different devices where you’re signed in with the same Microsoft Account.

To enable the feature, search for Clipboard history in Windows 10 settings or on the Start Menu. Then toggle the Clipboard history and Sync across devices switches to on. You’ll need to have the Your Phone app installed on your Android for this to work, though, but it will work across different PCs without any other apps.

Once you turn the setting on, you can see your clipboard history by pressing Windows key + V  on your keyboard to show everything you’ve copied, including images!

Summon the emoji picker with Windows key and (.)

Feeling expressive? Instead of having to copy an emoji, you can use Windows 10’s built-in emoji picker. It can be summoned by clicking the Windows key and period keys together on your keyboard in a text box. This lets you search for an emoji using your keyboard and insert it as needed. The power is in your hands!

Use the Windows calculator for measurements, conversions, and more!

If you have ever needed to convert currencies, measurements, time zones, speed, weights, and other things, then you’ve probably headed to the web or asked Google or Siri for help. But did you know the Windows 10 calculator can do all of this natively? Just click the hamburger menu at the top left of the app and choose the items you want to convert. It’s really easy and takes just a few seconds.

Editors' Recommendations

Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
Windows Task Manager: 5 most important things to know
task manager on windows 11 displaying the performance tab

Windows Task Manager is a powerful system-monitoring tool that comes built-in with Microsoft Windows operating systems. It provides real-time information about the various processes, applications, and services running on your computer.

When Windows 11 was released, Task Manager got a fresh new look, with new features that can help you actually reduce how much power is drawn from your device. As is the case with many applications, there’s a lot more to Task Manager than meets the eye.

Read more
Windows 12 could repeat Windows 11’s big mistake
surface laptop studio 2 review 07

The first details about Windows 12 are starting to take shape, and the rumored OS could repeat the biggest mistake of Windows 11. As we've heard previously, the new OS will likely have a big focus on AI features. Now, we're hearing that many of those features will require a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU), as reported by Windows Central.

It's hard to forget the fumble Microsoft made with Windows 11 and its requirement of a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). This security chip isn't included, at least in hardware, on the majority of off-the-shelf PC components, leading many to believe their PC wasn't compatible with Windows 11 when it really was.

Read more
Microsoft plans to charge for Windows 10 updates in the future
Windows 11 and Windows 10 operating system logos are displayed on laptop screens.

Microsoft has confirmed it will offer security updates for Windows 10 after the end-of-life date for the operating system for consumer users but for a fee.

The brand recently announced plans to charge regular users for Extended Security Updates (ESU) who intend to continue using Windows 10 beyond the October 14, 2025 support date.

Read more