If you just installed or reinstalled Windows, you do not have to settle for the default configuration. In fact, this configuration is not always the best. Today we will tell you nine options that are better to change right after installing Windows. We will focus on Windows 10, although some of them were also present in previous versions.
Sometimes for sheer stubbornness, sometimes for self-interest, the default configuration of Windows 10 just installed is not always the one that interests you the most. The changes that we are going to suggest will facilitate the use of Windows or reduce the use of resources.
1. Show the file extension
For more than a decade, Windows has always had the option Hide extensions for known active file types, which in the latest versions of Windows is shown as the File name extensions box, in the File Explorer, View tab. We recommend that you check the box.
By default Windows hides the file extensions, so you do not know if an image is PNG, JPG or GIF at first sight, because it is possible that they all have the same icon. This is not only confusing but it is cannon fodder for malware, because it is easier for you to fall into opening a file believing it is something else.
2. Show the hidden items
We are not going very far to find the second recommendation, because it is exactly in the same place as the previous one: in the File Explorer, in the View tab. In this case, we refer to the Hidden Elements option, which we recommend activating.
Although hidden folders are often folders that need not be entered, the fact that they are hidden can only lead to misunderstandings. For example, some applications save their data in ProgramData, and it would be impossible to find it because it is hidden. In addition, it is one of the sites in which the malware hides after infecting your computer.
The eyes that do not see, heart that does not feel, but in this case see a handful of hidden folders and files does not really bother you or affect you at all. Seeing them does not bother you, but hiding them all could pose a problem, so it’s better to show them.
3. Reduce the aggressiveness of UAC
UAC stands for User Account Control; something like “Windows police” that controls no application goes too far. As a concept, its fine, but the ads are overly aggressive. Some people prefer to deactivate it completely, although perhaps it is more sensible to simply reduce their level of aggression. The quickest way to do this is to open the Start Menu, type UAC and choose the first option.
The default configuration is level 3, which shows a confirmation window and prevents you from working with the PC until you answer, which is a bit excessive. We recommend that you reduce the level one step down, which still shows the same warnings, but allows you to continue working in the meantime.
4. Show all icons in the notification area
Windows started grouping and selectively hiding icons in the Windows notification area (next to the clock) to have more space for open applications. But, now that it is more common to have a large display monitor and that open applications are shown as an icon, this is not necessary. To change it, type “notification area” in the Start menu, and it should appear.
Windows is responsible for selecting which icons are visible and which are hidden, and this can be confusing because sometimes you will not find an application or you will not know if it is open. To change it, click on Select the icons that will appear in the taskbar.
In this window you can activate or deactivate icons in the notification area, but we recommend that you choose the option to always show all the icons in the notification area. Do they look like a lot? In many cases the applications let you choose if you want your icon to appear there or not, it’s all a matter of going to your settings and configuring it.
5. Reduce the size of Cortana
By default, Cortana is displayed as a search bar in the taskbar, which takes up a lot of space. This bar is really not worth (almost) nothing and it is better to replace it with an icon. To do this, click with the right mouse button on the taskbar and go to the Cortana menu -> Show Cortana icon.
The functionality is exactly the same with the icon as with the bar, but it occupies much less. After clicking on the icon, you can type your search, which is the same as what you have to do if you had the bar. The only thing you will lose is that you need to click one more time to do a voice search.
6. Hide Contacts from the taskbar
And, since we’re talking about the Windows taskbar, have you noticed that the latest versions include a new Contacts icon next to the notification area? This is a novelty designed to allow you to interact with your contacts easily, but in reality it has little use because it is connected to a limited number of applications.
To deactivate it, right-click anywhere on the taskbar and uncheck the Show Contacts option in the taskbar. If at any time you change your mind, you can always bring it back and try again if it is useful or not.
7. Change the active hours
There are few things more frustrating than Windows starting to update while you’re using it and kidnap the PC for a few hours. One of your best tricks to avoid it is to configure the active hours, which in terms of Windows is something like the time slot in which you are using the PC and do not want to be updated. To do so, open the Windows options (shortcut: Windows + I) and then go to Update and security.
We will return to this display in the next recommendation to visit the advanced options, but for now go to the section Change active hours. Here you can tell Windows not to bother you when you’re working (or playing).
You can then choose the start time and the end time of the active hours, a time interval in which Windows will not restart to apply updates. The interval can be a maximum of 18 hours. Click Save when finished.
8. Deactivate Delivery Optimization
Windows has a feature enabled by default that your PC uses to distribute Windows updates to computers on your network and the Internet. This can put an extra burden on your PC and your connection, and you probably want to deactivate it. To do this you must go to the same Windows Update section that we saw before, but now by clicking on Advanced Options.
You should click on Delivery Optimization, but before doing so there is another option that I recommend you activate. It is the third, We will show you a warning when we go to restart, which will help to avoid the unpleasant experience of being using the PC and that suddenly reboots while you use it in an oversight.
Disable Allow downloads from other computers and forget that your PC does the dirty work of Microsoft. Although it is likely that this feature will almost never affect you, it really does not benefit you unless you have many PCs on the network and your Internet connection is very slow.
9. Uninstall Bloatware
Windows 10 comes with many pre-installed apps that probably interest you little. And above it adds its icons in the Start menu, giving them enough prominence. Luckily, getting rid of them is very fast. You only need to right-click on its icon and choose Uninstall.
The process is usually very fast and you will not only eliminate the pollution of the Start Menu, so it will take less time to find the apps that do interest you, but you will free up disk space.