Windows 10 productivity tips: Making everyday tasks easier

Ed Bott's extensive collection of Windows 10 tips, organized by category. This page includes the most popular tips for working smarter.
Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor

The fastest, smartest ways to open a Command Prompt window.

The best way to increase your productivity is one step at a time. By learning smarter ways to accomplish the simple tasks you perform every day, you streamline those repetitive actions. A few seconds here and there might not seem like much, but those savings add up over time.

The tips in this category cover a wide-ranging assortment of Windows tasks, including ways to organize open programs and windows by snapping them to the side of the display or moving them to virtual desktops.

It also includes shortcuts you can use to speed up file management and program launching, as well as tricks to help you keep your desktop organized and uncluttered.

Finally, the tips in this category include pointers to help you get the most out of Cortana, the built-in virtual assistant in Windows 10.

Mount (and unmount) any ISO file instantly

Disk image files in ISO format have mostly replaced old-fashioned shiny disks. Windows 10 includes the ability to mount any ISO file as a virtual DVD. To unmount the file, you need to use a slightly illogical command.

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    Access symbols, emojis, and other special characters

    Entering special characters, including foreign currency symbols, fractions, and emoji, is a cumbersome task on most physical keyboards. Use this hidden Windows 10 option to open an on-screen keyboard that puts all those characters at your fingertips.

    Disable annoying app notifications

    By default, Windows 10 apps (even desktop programs like Outlook) can interrupt you with notifications. Here's how to take control of those pop-ups and sounds so they don't become a distraction.

    Reclaim precious disk space with these storage tools

    Is your Windows 10 laptop or tablet running low on free space? Built-in storage management tools let you pinpoint exactly which files and apps are to blame. In many cases, you can recover that free space with just a click or two.

    How to access Cortana's secret calculator

    Who needs Windows Calc? Cortana can do simple math, and with one extra keystroke you can display a full-featured calculator in the Start menu.

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      Startup and shutdown secrets

      Thanks to a default feature in Windows 10, choosing Shut Down from the power menu doesn't really shut down Windows. That's a great time-saving feature, but it can cause problems with some updates and installers. Here's how to do a full shutdown when necessary.

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