Windows 10 tips, tricks, secrets, and shortcuts: File Explorer-ZDNet

Even certified Windows masters can learn a trick or two from Ed Bott's series of how-to articles. This edition covers tips, tricks, secrets, and shortcuts for using File Explorer.

For the past few months, I've been working with my two longtime partners, Carl Siechert and Craig Stinson, on a new book, Windows 10 Inside Out. It's off to the printer this week and should be available in about a month.
Putting a book of this size together is always a learning experience, and that's especially true with Windows 10, which mixes classic elements that have been part of Windows for many editions with all-new stuff.

Over the next few weeks, I want to share some of that learning here, in a series of how-to posts. Today's edition covers tips, tricks, secrets, and shortcuts for using File Explorer. Even if you're a certified Windows master, I bet I can show you a trick or two you didn't know before.
1. Open a File Explorer windows fast
Get to know the classic shortcut combination for File Explorer, Windows key+E. For opening a single window, it's only a few microseconds faster than clicking the taskbar icon, but it's a huge time-saver when you're trying to open a second window.
Knowing that shortcut is especially handy when you plan to move or copy files between two folders. To open a second window using the mouse, you have to Shift+click. Instead, press Windows key+E twice to open two windows, which you can then snap left and right for easy dragging and dropping.
2. Customize the Quick Access list
The signature feature of Windows 10's revamped File Explorer is the new Quick Access list. You can pin your favorite folders to the top of the list for quick, one-click access. Folders you've used recently show up below the pinned items, which is handy when you're working with a group of files as part of a short-term project.
Anything in the Quick Access list is a drop target, which means you can move files to that location by dragging them from the main window (or even from another File Explorer window) and dropping them on the pinned folder.
To pin the current folder, click the big Pin to Quick Access button on the ribbon's Home tab. Click to enlarge.
To pin the current folder, click the big Pin to Quick Access button on the ribbon's Home tab.
To pin the current folder, click the big Pin to Quick Access button on the ribbon's Home tab.
3. Change File Explorer's opening folder
In Windows 10, File Explorer opens with Quick Access selected. Old-school Windows users might prefer to start in This PC (previously known as My Computer), which includes the six standard data folders in your user profile as well as any local drives and removable media such as USB drives.
No problem. On the ribbon, open the View tab, click Options, Change folder and search options, and then choose one of these two options.
Choose one of two folder options.
4. Use the expanded Send To menu
Yes, you can right-click a file or folder (or multiple items, for that matter) and use the Send To menu to do a few interesting things, like move or copy the selection to your Documents folder, create a compressed file (in .zip format), or send the selection as an email attachment. But the selection is pretty weak and, frankly, weird. Fax recipient? Really?
The selection is pretty weak and, frankly, weird. Fax recipient? Really?
But the Send To menu gets much more interesting if you hold down the Shift key before you right-click. The menu you get after doing that is just filled with interesting stuff, including every folder in your user profile. Here, see for yourself.
Hold down the Shift key before you right-click.
5. Customize the Send To menu
Speaking of the Send To menu, you can make it much more useful by adding and removing the options on the default (short) menu. They're just shortcuts, but good luck finding them, because they're buried in a folder hidden deep within your user profile.
To get to that folder, open the Run box (Windows key+R), type shell:sendto, and then press Enter.
First order of business: delete the Fax Recipient shortcut. After that, you can add shortcuts to favorite folders (local and network). You can also add shortcuts to programs. Adding a shortcut to Notepad or another text editor makes it much easier to quickly edit any file, for example. Ditto for pictures and your favorite image editor.
6. Customize the Quick Access toolbar
If you've jumped straight from Windows 7 to Windows 10, the addition of an Office-style ribbon is probably the biggest change in File Explorer.
Its companion, the Quick Access Toolbar, is equally noteworthy and arguably more useful. It appears in the title bar, above the ribbon. Customize that toolbar with the commands you use most often and you can bypass the ribbon completely for many tasks.
Some obvious customization options are available on the menu that appears when you click the arrow to the right of the toolbar. Not so obvious and much more useful is the option to add any individual command from any tab on the ribbon. Just right-click the command and then click Add to Quick Access Toolbar.
Right-click the name under the group to see this option.
But even most Windows experts don't know you can right-click an entire group of commands and add the group as a menu on the Quick Access Toolbar. Right-click the name under the group to see the option. I use this trick to add the Panes group from the View tab, so I can easily show or hide the Preview pane or Details pane on the right.
7. Master advanced search
See that search box in the upper right corner of the File Explorer window? Type a word or two in there and you can find any file in the current folder that contains your search term, either in the file name or (for file types that are fully indexed) in the body of the file.
But there's an entire advanced search syntax, complete with Boolean operators, parameters, and operators. My favorite is the datemodified: operator, which accepts actual dates but also understands relative dates, like today, this week, last week, this month, and last month.
If you want to see all the Excel spreadsheets you've worked on so far this month, for example, just enter this in the search box:
type:excel datemodified:this month
The search syntax assumes you want to find files that match both criteria, treating the query as if you had added the AND operator between the two terms.
The search syntax assumes you want to find files that match both criteria.
8. Pin saved searches to Start
So maybe you didn't like that last tip, because the idea of typing commands in a box seems too retro. Fair enough.
But what if you could save those searches, so you could just click a shortcut to show only files that you worked with in the past week or two? You can, and the search results will always be relative to the current date.
Start in the folder or library you want to use as the search scope - that could be your synced OneDrive or Dropbox files, your local Documents folder, or a network store, for example.
Enter datemodified:(this week OR last week) in the search box. Be sure to include the parentheses and capitalize the Boolean OR.
Because you've just run a search, File Explorer politely switches the ribbon to the Search tab, where you can click Save Search and give those parameters a name. The search gets saved, logically enough, in the Searches folder in your user profile. Right-click that saved search to pin it to the Start menu, or drag it onto the File Explorer icon on the taskbar to add it to the jump list.
Right-click that saved search to pin it to the Start menu.
9. Use filters to find files faster
Typing in the search box is one way to narrow a large group of files to a more manageable one, but it's not the only way. Filters are an even easier way to point and click your way to search success.
Start in the folder or library you want to search, and then use the button in the lower right corner of a File Explorer window to switch to Details view, which arranges your files into columns. Now look to the right of each heading, where you'll find a small arrow. Click that arrow to show a filter list for the data in that column. By clicking a check box or two (or three), you can cut a very large list of files down to size.
The date navigator is much more powerful than it looks at first glance. Use the calendar to zoom in or out and narrow or expand your view of the contents of a folder or a search. Initially, the calendar shows the current month, with today's date highlighted. Click the month heading to zoom out to a display showing the current year as a heading with the current month highlighted. You can then drag or hold down Ctrl and click to select multiple months.
Drag or hold down Ctrl and click to select multiple months.
10. Group files
Everyone knows how to sort files--just click a column heading to sort by that value, and click again to reverse the sort order.
But you can also group files by date, size, or type, making it much easier to see similar files in a folder or a set of search results. The Group command is on the View tab of the ribbon. It's also available when you right-click in the File Explorer window.
Each group gets its own heading in File Explorer, with a count of how many items are in that group. You can right-click a heading to expand or collapse it. You can also collapse all groups to produce a neat breakdown of groups, with the number shown beside each one.
You can also collapse all groups.



Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to your machine 'just in case'

Thu Sep 10 2015, 12:17
Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to your machine 'just in case'

that Windows 10 is being downloaded to computers whether or not users have opted in.
An INQUIRER reader pointed out to us that, despite not having 'reserved' a copy of Windows 10, he had found that the ~BT folder, which has been the home of images of the new operating system since before rollout began, had appeared on his system. He had no plans to upgrade and had not put in a reservation request.
He told us: "The symptoms are repeated failed 'Upgrade to Windows 10' in the WU update history and a huge 3.5GB to 6GB hidden folder labelled '$Windows.~BT'. I thought Microsoft [said] this 'upgrade' was optional. If so, why is it being pushed out to so many computers where it wasn't reserved, and why does it try to install over and over again?
"I know of two instances where people on metered connections went over their data cap for August because of this unwanted download. My own internet (slow DSL) was crawling for a week or so until I discovered this problem. In fact, that's what led me to it. Not only does it download, it tries to install every time the computer is booted."
We asked Microsoft to comment on whether it was downloading Windows 10 anyway as the company rushes to build on the 75 million machines with the new OS installed in its first month, putting it in fourth place behind Window 7, 8.1 and the erstwhile XP.
Microsoft told us: "For individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates through Windows Update, we help upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they’ll need if they decide to upgrade.
"When the upgrade is ready, the customer will be prompted to install Windows 10 on the device.”
In other words, if you are patching via Patch Tuesday, as you should of course be, then you are going to get a big hefty folder on your hard drive ready so you can update to Windows 10 on demand.
Now, far be it from The INQUIRER to point fingers, but isn't this a bit presumptuous on Microsoft's part? We know it's keen to get everyone on Windows 10 as quickly as possible but this is not a small background patch - it's a whopping huge operating system image.
For someone using a 2-in-1 with 32GB of flash memory, that's a hefty chunk of their storage being clogged up with an OS that they might not want yet, if at all.
Whether you believe it's to avoid fragmentation or to spy on you depends on how much pot you smoked in college, but it now appears to have gone from 'over keen' to 'needy' and you have to wonder why and whether it's going to blow up in the company's face.
It should be enough of a clue that over 10 percent of Windows machines are still on XP and Vista, while there's over 40 percent more of the market on 7 than on 8, to be able to tell that people don't like to assume.
It's like the U2 iTunes debacle again. After that, Bono said: "Oops … I’m sorry about that. I had this beautiful idea … might have got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that thing.
"A drop of megalomania, a touch of generosity, a dash of self-promotion, and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn't be heard. There’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it."
Satya Nadella take note: you may have to answer to similar complaints. If any other readers have found that this has happened to them, please get in touch via Disqus or the email link. ยต



List of Windows 10 desktop shortcut keys

Keyboard shortcuts can be great time savers regardless of application you are using them in. No matter if it is Ctrl-t in Firefox to open a new tab, Windows-Pause to open the System Control panel applet in Windows 7 or Windows-q to open Windows Search quickly on Windows 10.

Tip: Check out this Windows keyboard shortcut top 10 list.

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system supports most of the shortcuts of previous versions of Windows.
In addition to that, new shortcuts were added to Windows 10 that power new features such as Cortana or virtual desktops.


The following list displays all new shortcuts that Microsoft added to its Windows 10 operating system as well as a handful of old shortcuts that were already part of previous versions of Windows.
Windows 10 desktop shortcuts
  • Windows-A opens the Action Center.
  • Windows-B highlights the notification area.
  • Windows-C launches Cortana in listening mode so that Cortana accepts voice input right away.
  • Windows-D toggles Show Desktop and the previous state.
  • Windows-E launches File Explorer with the Quick Access tab focused.
  • Windows-H opens the Share charm on the right side of the screen.
  • Windows-I opens the Settings application.
  • Windows-K opens the Connect pane to connect to wireless displays and audio devices.
  • Windows-L locks the device and displays the Lock screen.
  • Windows-M minimizes all open windows.
  • Windows-O locks the device's orientation.
  • Windows-P opens the Project pane to search and connect to external displays and projectors.
  • Windows-Q opens Search.
  • Windows-R display the run dialog box.
  • Windows-S launches Cortana in typing mode which means that users can start typing queries right away.
  • Windows-T cycles through the apps on the taskbar.
  • Windows-U launches the Ease of Access Center.
  • Windows-V cycles through all notifications.
  • Windows-X opens the advanced menu in the lower-left corner of the screen (introduced in Windows 8.1).
  • Windows-Z opens the app-specific command bar.
  • Windows-Enter launches the Narrator.
  • Windows-Spacebar switches between supported input languages and keyboard layouts.
  • Windows-Tab opens the Task View.
  • Windows-, to peek at the desktop
  • Windows-+ to zoom in.
  • Windows-- to zoom out.
  • Windows-Escape to close the Magnifier.
  • Windows-Left Arrow to dock the active window to the left half of the monitor it is displayed in.
  • Windows-Right Arrow to dock the active window to the right half of the monitor it is displayed in.
  • Windows+Down Arrow minimizes the active window or restores it.
  • Windows-Up Arrow maximizes the active window.
  • Windows-Shift-Left Arrow moves the active window to the monitor on the left.
  • Windows-Shift-Right Arrow moves the active window to the monitor on the right.
  • Windows-Shift-Down Arrow minimizes or restores the active window vertically while maintaining the current width.
  • Windows-Shift-Up Arrow maximizes the active window vertically while maintaining the current width.
  • Windows-Home minimizes or restores all inactive windows.
  • Windows-Print takes a picture of the full screen and saves to to the Pictures > Screenshots folder.
  • Windows-Ctrl-Left Arrow switches to the previous virtual desktop.
  • Windows-Ctrl-Right Arrow switches to the next virtual desktop.
  • Windows-Ctrl-D creates a new virtual desktop.
  • Windows-Ctrl-F4 closes the current virtual desktop.
  • Windows-? launches the Windows Feedback application