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Tips for boosting productivity in Windows 11

Are you looking to boost your productivity on Windows 11? With its sleek design and improved functionality, Windows 11 offers a variety of features and tools that can help you work more efficiently. In this article, we'll explore some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Windows 11 experience while improving your productivity.

Tips for boosting productivity in Windows 11

Start menu: The Start menu is Windows 11's central hub, and customizing it can help you access your most-used apps and files quickly. You can rearrange, resize, and pin tiles to the Start menu to create a personalized layout that suits your workflow. This can save you time and improve your efficiency by reducing the time spent searching for apps and files.

How to personalize the Start menu in Windows 11

Virtual desktops: One of the most useful features of Windows 11 is the ability to create and manage virtual desktops. This feature allows you to create multiple desktops for different tasks and switch between them easily. For example, you can have one desktop for work-related tasks and another for personal use.

This feature can help you stay focused and organized, reducing distractions and boosting productivity. Additionally, you can set a unique background for each desktop to quickly identify your current desktop.

How to create multiple desktops in Windows 11

  1. Left-click on the Task view icon Task view icon on the Taskbar on the Taskbar and select New desktop
  2. Open the programs you want to use on that desktop
  3. Left-click on the Task view icon Task view icon on the Taskbar again to switch between desktops

How to set the background for a desktop

  1. Right-click on the desktop you want to change and select Choose background
  2. Choose an image from the recent images or left-click on Browse photos to select an image

Keyboard shortcuts: Keyboard shortcuts are a quick and easy way to perform tasks in Windows 11 without having to navigate through menus and options. Learning a few essential keyboard shortcuts can save you time and boost your productivity. For example, press the Windows logo key Windows logo + D to minimize all windows and go to the desktop, or press the Windows logo key Windows logo + E to open File Explorer.

Windows logo key shortcuts for Windows 11

My favorite left-hand Windows keyboard shortcuts

You can create keyboard shortcuts for items on your Desktop.

Everything you wanted to know about Windows shortcuts

You can also create custom keyboard shortcuts using the Keyboard Manager app inside the free Microsoft PowerToys.

Free Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10 and Windows 11

Focus assist: Focus assist is a feature that blocks notifications and alerts while you're working on a task, reducing distractions and helping you stay focused. You can customize Focus assist settings to allow specific notifications or set it to turn on automatically during specific times or when you're presenting. This can help improve your productivity by reducing interruptions and allowing you to focus on the task at hand.

When you enable Focus assist, a timer will appear on the screen, the do not disturb button will turn on, apps in the Taskbar will not flash to get your attention, and badge notifications in the Taskbar will be turned off. There are several ways to start Focus assist in Windows 11.

How to start Focus assist from the Notiification center

  1. Left-click on the Notification icon Notification icon on the Windows 11 Taskbar(bell) on the right end of the Taskbar
  2. Adjust the length of time if you like, and then left-click on the Focus button.

How to start Focus assist from Settings

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
  3. Left-click on the System category in the left-hand column.
  4. Scroll down the right-hand column and left-click on Focus.

How to start Focus assist from the Clock app

  1. Left-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the Start menu, left-click on All apps.
  3. Scroll down the list of programs and left-click on Clock.

Snap layouts and Snap groups: Windows 11 includes a new feature called Snap layouts and Snap groups that makes it easier to organize and manage multiple windows on your screen. Snap layouts allow you to quickly arrange your windows in predefined layouts, while Snap groups let you save and restore groups of windows for specific tasks. This can help you work more efficiently by reducing the time spent resizing and rearranging windows.

How to open Snap layouts

To open the Snap layout box, select the open program window and do either:

  • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo + Z
  • Hover your mouse cursor over the Minimize or Maximize button

When you Snap every space with selected windows, this then becomes a Snap group.

Taskbar: The Taskbar in Windows 11 is more customizable than ever. It lets you pin your most-used apps and files for quick access and show only the apps you need, reducing clutter and improving productivity.

You can also easily add an existing shortcut to the Taskbar by right-clicking on almost any shortcut on the Start menu or Desktop and selecting Pin to taskbar. Additionally, you can use the Taskbar to access the Start menu, search, and virtual desktops, making it a central hub for your workflow.

Widgets: Windows 11 includes a new Widgets feature that provides quick access to news, weather, and other information. You can customize the Widgets to show only the information you need, making them useful tools for staying up-to-date on the latest news and events. This can help improve your productivity by reducing the time spent searching for information.

In conclusion, there are many ways to improve productivity on Windows 11. By using virtual desktops, customizing your Start menu, using keyboard shortcuts, enabling Focus assist, using Snap layouts and Snap groups, utilizing the Taskbar, and using the Widgets feature, you can work more efficiently and get more done in less time. By implementing these tips and tricks, you'll be well on your way to becoming a Windows 11 power user.

My first look at Windows 11

Microsoft recently announced that they are releasing a successor to Windows 10, aptly named Windows 11. So join me as I take a look at Windows 11.

My first look at Windows 11

When Microsoft announced the next version of Windows, I went looking for a beta or technical preview of Windows 11. I soon found out that the only way to get a version of Windows 11 is through their Insider Program.

Well, it just so happens that I had created a Virtual Machine (VM) a couple of years ago for the Windows 10 Insider Program. I started it, and sure enough, Windows informed me that I need to download a new build of Windows.

I went through the upgrade process, and when all was said and done, I had Windows 11 Insider Preview running inside a VM. So let's take a look at Windows 11.

Note: This build of Windows 11 that I am using for this article is just a beta, so the look and the way it operates may and probably will change before the final release of Windows 11.

Login Screen

The Windows 11 Logon Screen

Not much different here from Windows 10. The default font has changed, but other than that, it looks and feels like Windows 10.


The Windows 11 Taskbar

The first thing you will notice when the Desktop appears is that the Start button and pinned programs are centered in the Taskbar. Is this by default, and can it be easily changed back to left-justified.

Start Menu

The Windows 11 Start Menu

The Start Menu has gotten a makeover, with a new cleaner looking layout. All the same features are available, but they are arranged completely different.

Power User menu

The Windows 11 Power Users menu

It is still there, The only component of Windows 8.1 to still be inside of Windows. Don't remember Windows 8.1? That is one version of Windows I would love to forget.


The Windows 11 Settings app

As with the Start Menu, the Settings app has also received a makeover, getting broken into two (2) columns. The categories are now listed in the left-side column, and sub-categories are listed in the right-hand column.

Control Panel

The Windows 11 Control Panel

Microsoft has been trying to eliminate the Control Panel for a while now, but it still exists in the preview build I am running. Who knows if it will make it to the final build of Windows 11.

File Explorer

The Windows 11 File Explorer

File Explorer has gotten a small makeover too. The Ribbon appears to be gone, and a simple toolbar with the most commons functions has taken its place. We will have to wait until the final build to see if the Ribbon is truly gone.

The overall look and feel of Windows 11 is smoother than Windows 10. With rounded corners on dialog boxes and newer icons, Windows 11 looks like an excellent successor to Windows 10.

But of course, we will have to wait and see how the final build of Windows 11 looks and feels. For a more in-depth look at this version of Windows 11, check out the video below.

How to create a shortcut in Windows 10

Updated February 10, 2021

Shortcuts are links to various types of objects, like a program, file, folder, another computer, or a webpage, and they can be placed on your Desktop, Taskbar, or Start menu. Here's how to create a shortcut in Windows 10.

In this article, we are going to look at two (2) types of shortcuts, File (.lnk) and Internet (.url). You can spot a shortcut on your Desktop or File Explorer by the curled arrow in the lower left-hand corner of the shortcut's icon. Shortcuts on the Start Menu do not have the curled arrow.

How to create File shortcuts in Windows 10

To create a shortcut to a file in Windows 10, you need to know where the object is located on your computer. Open File Explorer by left-clicking the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar or right-clicking on the Start Menu to bring up the Power User menu and select File Explorer. Then navigate to the object you want to create a shortcut to. If you're going to create a Desktop shortcut, make sure File Explorer is not in full-screen mode.

  • For a shortcut to a file on the Desktop, press and hold the right mouse button on the object and drag it to the Desktop. From the context menu that appears, select Create shortcuts here.
  • For a shortcut to a file on the Taskbar, right-click on the object and select Pin to Taskbar.
  • For a shortcut to a file on the Start menu, right-click on the object and select Pin to Start. That will create a shortcut in the app tiles section. To create a shortcut in the list of programs, that is a little more complicated. For more information on creating a shortcut in the program section of the Start menu, check out how to customize the Start menu in Windows 10.

How to create Internet shortcuts in Windows 10

To create a shortcut to a webpage in Windows 10, you will need to open your favorite web browser and navigate to the webpage you want to create a shortcut. Make sure the browser is not maximized to full screen, as you are going to need access to your Desktop.

  • In your browser's address bar, place your mouse cursor over the icon to the left of the web page address. Then press and hold the left mouse button and drag it to an empty spot on your Desktop. If you are not sure about how to do this, watch the video below for more details.

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