Four Years of Windows 10: Our Favorite 15 Improvements

Dark original screen background and updated Windows 10 origin

Four years after its release, we all still use Windows 10. However, this is not really true: the version of Windows 10 that we use today has had four years of improvements. It's packed with brilliant new features and smart optimizations under the hood.

More control over Windows Update

Work on updates on Windows 10

With each major update of Windows 10, Microsoft has given everyone more and more control over the updates. This is a major problem in Windows 10, and Microsoft has improved it.

For example, Update Windows 10 Anniversary added "active hours. "Set your" active hours "and Windows will not restart for updates during the hours of the day when you usually use your PC. Up to 18 hours a day can be active hours. the Updated April 2018 brought an update facility faster, too.

The most significant change occurred in the May 2019 update, which ultimately offers more choice than these large updates every six months. Each version of Windows 10 will be supported for 18 months. You do not need to install these big updates immediately when they are released –you can even choose to skip some of them.

RELATED: Brand new in the May 2019 update of Windows 10, available now

On-demand files for cloud storage

OneDrive downloads a file in the file explorer

Files on demand are a very underrated feature. Added in the Update of the creators of autumn, this feature displays "reserved" copies of files stored in the cloud on your PC. They appear as normal files on your PC. When you open them, Windows automatically downloads them. In other words, they are loaded on demand, but they all appear in File Explorer.

You can have 1 TB of files in your cloud storage and check them all in the file explorer, by downloading them only when necessary.

This feature does not apply to OneDrive only! While OneDrive uses it, Apple also uses it for the new iCloud on Windows. We would like Dropbox and Google Drive to adopt it as well.

RELATED: Using OneDrive On-Demand Files in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Integration with your phone

Your PC phone application showing photos from an Android phone

After abandoning Windows Phone, Microsoft can finally focus on the integration of Windows 10 smartphones actually used. And he has: The Windows 10 application of your phone provides deep integration with Android phones. You can send SMS from your PC, copy wireless photos and even mirror your Android notifications on your Windows desktop.

Unfortunately, iPhone users do not have nearly as many features: Apple will not let third-party software integrate such a level of integration with the iPhone. As a result, only Mac users benefit from this type of integration. But Android and Windows 10 now work better than ever.

RELATED: Why Android users need the Windows 10 "Your Phone" app

The hidden panel of Emoji

Emoji panel in Google Chrome on Windows 10

Windows 10 Emoji Panel it's great. Since the fall designer update, you can press Windows +. (dot) no matter where to open the emoji panel and insert an emoji. in the Updated May, 2019he now supports kaomoji, as well! (□ ° □ °) ╯(

Beyond the emoji, this panel also provides an easy way to inserting special characters. This previously required opening the character map, storing a numeric code, or simply searching the web and copying and pasting it.

It's not really a hidden feature, but it's easy to miss that keyboard shortcut unless someone tells you that. Windows 10 does not facilitate the search.

RELATED: Secret Keyboard Shortcut Opens New Windows 10 Emoji Selector in Any Application

The Windows subsystem for Linux

Ubuntu logo in a Windows 10 WSL terminal

Introduced with the anniversary update one year after the release of Windows 10, the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is perhaps the coolest and most unexpected feature of Windows 10. This feature is absolutely amazing for developers because it allows you to run a Linux environment on Windows. Only the command-line software is officially supported, but it's easy to run Linux graphical applications.

We are about to be even better. WSL 2 is more powerful and features a Linux kernel built by Microsoft which will be bundled with Windows. You can provide your own custom Linux kernel if you want too.

RELATED: Four years of Windows 10: our 15 favorite improvements

GPU info in the task manager

GPU Usage Statistics in Windows 10 Task Manager

For gamers, GPU features added to Windows 10 are just great. Since the update of the creators of autumn, the task manager now contains information about the use of the graphics processor. On the Process tab, you can see your total GPU usage and see the amount of GPU resources used by each running application, just like the CPU and memory activity .

In the Performance tab, you can see your total GPU usage and information about your GPU's memory usage, as well as other information.

Best of all, the Process tab will also tell you which GPU an application uses. And on multi-GPU systems, you can assign applications to specific GPUs using a standard option in the Windows 10 settings.

RELATED: How to monitor the use of the graphics processor in Windows Task Manager

History of the clipboard (it syncs too)

Clipboard History Panel in Notepad in Windows 10

History of the clipboard, added in the Updated October 2018, is another feature unfortunately neglected. When enabled, Windows remembers the history of text, images, and other media copied to the clipboard. You can press Windows + v to open the history and select a previously copied item.

This feature can also sync your clipboard between your PCs, but you do not have to use the sync feature at all.

The clipboard history is disabled by default. If you have not configured it yet, press Windows + v and you will be prompted to activate it.

RELATED: Using the new Windows 10 clipboard: history and synchronization in the cloud

Integrated protection against exploits

Protection settings against exploitation in Windows Security

IT security professionals have been recommending for a long time run anti-exploitation software. Previously, we had recommended that Microsoft EMET (complicated) or Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit (simple) for that.

With the update of Fall Creators, Microsoft has finally added anti-exploitation software to Windows. The "protection against attacks" feature of Windows 10 is inspired by EMET. In fact, Microsoft has stopped EMET. It is enabled by default for all Windows 10 users without requiring configuration, although it offers an extreme number of configuration options.

RELATED: How does the new protection against exploits of Windows Defender work (and how to configure it)

A dark mode (in the file explorer, too)

Dark mode in the settings of Windows 10 and the applications of the file explorer

Dark themes make furyand Windows 10 also has one. The initial version of Windows 10 had a dark masked mode, but a rocker for the "dark application mode" was added to the Settings application with the release of the birthday update. Microsoft continues to improve the dark mode, has recently extended even to The Windows 10 File Explorer.

In fact, Microsoft is now moving in the opposite direction: the latest version of Windows 10, the May 2019 update, features a new "light theme" which provides a clear taskbar instead of a dark bar. There is also a new wallpaper on the theme of light.

RELATED: How to use a dark theme in Windows 10

Spectrum increases performance

CPU with a snail logoVLADGRIN / Shutterstock.com

All PCs, including those running Windows 7, were affected a slowdown in the spectrum after patches have been published to protect against this nasty processor security vulnerability. Windows 10 was not as hard hit as Windows 7, which was good.

But Microsoft did even better, debuting new spectral patches in the May 2019 update. This will speed up your Windows 10 PC by making these Specter patches more efficient. It's easy to miss, but it's a way for Microsoft to silently improve your PC.

RELATED: New, breathtaking update speeds up Windows 10 computers

Windows Sandbox for the test software

Windows sandbox on a Windows 10 desktop

We like it Windows Sandbox, as well. This new feature added to the May 2019 update provides a simple way to test unreliable software. This is "an application half, a virtual machine half" – it's a simple interface to quickly create an isolated environment where you can test software. When you close the sandbox, the status of this virtual machine is cleared.

Of course, you can do it with virtual machinesbut it's more work. The Sandbox environment is also dynamically generated from your current Windows 10 system, which means that it always runs the latest version of Windows 10 with the latest updates. You do not need to spend time updating your virtual machine separately. Pretty cool.

RELATED: How to use the new Windows 10 sandbox (to test applications safely)

Better looking PC files

Windows 10 File Search Can not Find File

The search function of the Windows 10 Start menu has never been able to find files on your PC – until recently. The May 2019 update now allows you to indicate to the Start menu search for files anywhere on your PC.

You can finally use the Start menu search to search all your files reliably, not just to search Bing on web pages. However, this option is disabled by default. You must enable "enhanced" indexing to take advantage of it.

RELATED: How to search all the files on your PC in the Windows 10 Start menu

A redesigned and more powerful game bar

New Windows 10 game bar version 1903

The Windows 10 game bar was originally a minor feature built into the Xbox app. He left you save the gameplay or capture a screencast from any applicationbut that was just about everything.

In the May 2019 update, the game bar is now a complete game overlay including monitoring system performance and fast audio controls. It even has a Spotify integration and a quick chat on Xbox.

RELATED: 6 great features in the new Windows 10 game bar

Notebook improvements (seriously)

Notebook on Windows 10

Are we really going to include Notepad in this list? Yes; Yes we are. Microsoft does many improvements to Notepad with the October 2018 update, and now it can finally open the files created on Linux or Mac through the support of Unix style end-of-line characters.

Other improvements have been made in the Updated May, 2019. For example, if Windows automatically closes Notepad for updates, Notepad will automatically open and restore the unsaved content you were working on after the restart.

RELATED: What's New in Notepad in the October 2018 Update of Windows 10

Telemetry Tweaks

Windows 10 diagnostic data viewer

Since the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has made Windows 10 telemetry less confusing. Telemetry levels have been simplified to "Basic" and "complete" remove the "enhanced" confusing option between the two.

You can now see a lot more information about what is happening in the background. There is a diagnostic data viewer you can use to see the exact information that your PC sends to the Microsoft servers. Microsoft has also introduced a new Privacy dashboard which shows all the information associated with your Microsoft account.

RELATED: What do the basic and full Windows 10 telemetry settings actually do?

And so many others

There are also other cool features of Windows 10 that go unnoticed. For example, Power limitation automatically limits available CPU to background processes-Even typical Windows desktop programs – saving you battery life. This is the kind of feature that works in the background, which enhances your PC experience.

Other great features are also coming soon. Windows is about to get a new console named the Windows Terminal. It comes with tabs – you can even combine the Cmd, PowerShell and Linux tabs – and it's already in beta. Finally, a modern command line experience for Windows 10.

Microsoft has already worked a lot on the command line too, update the color scheme of the command prompt and enable Unicode support.

Despite the version number, the Windows 10 operating system that we all use today is virtually a new version of Windows. If Microsoft kept the naming scheme of Windows 8.1, we would already be on Windows 10.7.

There have also been some changes for the worse, such as the growing number of Microsoft ads continues to focus on Windows 10. But overall, Windows 10 is better than ever.

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