Microsoft’s first major Windows 10 update debuted yesterday with some new features and changes. Most of the additions are obvious, but there are a few hidden away. Here are several Windows 10 features you might not have discovered yet.
Find my device
You’re probably used to using a find my device feature on your phone, but what happens if you lose your laptop? In most versions of Windows you’d have to settle for a third-party app to trust and track your laptop’s location, but Microsoft has decided to add this functionality straight into Windows 10. Just like the mobile equivalent, you can enable find my device and it will track the last known location of your laptop or PC.
It’s linked to your Microsoft Account so you can sign-in on the web from another device if you lose your laptop or it gets stolen. You can find the setting to enable it in settings > update & security > find my device.
Cortana will let you reply to texts and more
If you have a Windows Phone then Cortana gets a lot more useful with the latest Windows 10 update. A new option in Cortana’s settings section lets you enable missed call notifications. That’s useful if you simply miss a call, but it also lets you reply to calls with text messages. Cortana will use your phone and its number to send the text, and you can even say “text Joe Bloggs” to initiate a text message without having to miss a call.
Sadly this isn’t available yet in the new Messaging app, so you need to use Cortana at the moment to send text messages. If you have a device with a stylus then Cortana will also let you create reminders based on times, dates, and locations that you scribble into digital notes. If you’re an Uber user then you can even link your account so Cortana will offer driving directions for events alongside an option to request an Uber ride.
Automatic time zones
Windows has had the ability to set automatic time for years, but if you travel to another country it never changed time zones automatically. That’s changing with the latest Windows 10 update. Hidden away in settings > time & language is a new “set time zone automatically” option. It’s enabled by default if you install the latest update, and it does exactly what it says. Now if you’re travelling for vacation or work, you won’t get to your destination and be puzzled by your old time zone. It will finally work just like your smartphone does.
Cast media to device
Microsoft already supports DLNA and Miracast streaming inside Windows 10, but the latest update makes it a lot more discoverable. If you’re using Microsoft Edge then there’s a new option to “cast media to device” and elsewhere there’s a little cast icon in apps like photos or videos. The cast media feature lets you send photos, video, and audio to compatible devices with no setup required. It’s a lot like Google’s Chromecast feature now.
Microsoft Edge sync passwords and favorites
It’s surprising that password, favorites, and reading list sync wasn’t enabled for the Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 10, but that’s changing with the new update. If you use multiple Windows 10 devices then you can enable the sync option in Edge settings so the browser finally syncs passwords and favorites across all the laptops and PCs you use.
New Skype apps
Microsoft is including Skype integration with its latest Windows 10 update, but you might not even notice it at first. If you install the latest update then apps like Messaging, Phone, and Skype Video will also be installed. You can find them using Cortana or the app list, and they’re basic versions of Skype features. They’re useful if you want a lightweight messaging app to talk to Skype friends, but they still need some improvements.
Better app snapping
Windows 8 introduced some useful “Metro” app snapping features, and now Windows 10 is extending them to all apps. When you place two desktop apps side-by-side, like File Explorer and Notepad, you can now resize them individually and the other window will adjust to fill the gap. It’s a lot more like how Metro-style apps worked in Windows 8, and it’s great if you want to have apps side-by-side but have one act like it’s a sidebar. Just hover your mouse in the middle of two snapped apps and you’ll see a new slider will appear to let you adjust accordingly.