So let's see where to find most important menus and options to configure Windows 10, specifying which changes can be made without problems and which ones should not be done if you are not an expert.
1) Control panel
The Control Panel has always been the starting point for Windows configurations, but it has lost much importance in the latest versions of Windows 10. Microsoft is slowly moving Control Panel settings into the Settings app, making it easier than just search for various controls and menus, but also more compact and organized in defined categories. The problem with the Control Panel has always been the fact that it is so full of windows and menus that it is difficult for an expert systems engineer.
In the Control Panel, you can still configure many settings for audio, video, system, devices, network connections, mouse, keyboard, printers, uninstalling programs, but things can change quickly.
We talked extensively in another article on how to open the Windows Control Panel and its secrets, especially explaining how to use the God Mode with all Windows settings in one folder.
2) PC settings
This is the simplified Windows setup menu found in Windows 10 only. You can press the keys together to open Settings Windows-I or you can find it by right-clicking the Start button or opening the Start menu by pressing the gear key.
You can then configure all the System, External Devices, Network, Apps, Date and Language, Privacy and Security settings, desktop customization, updates, accounts, app management settings.
In another article the guide for configure Settings in Windows 10.
3) System properties
Windows 10 System Settings is a very important submenu, which was previously in the Control Panel and was then moved to Settings> Information .
From here, you can configure the performance of the PC and especially the system recovery options, which is very important.
To this section I have dedicated a synthetic guide to understand and change the advanced system settings of Windows.
4) Device and driver management
From the Windows Control Panel or by pressing the right mouse button on the Windows 10 Start Menu, you can access the list of hardware devices used by the PC, both internal and external.
When a device is malfunctioning or if there are problems with drivers, the device manager window is the first place to check. Device management is a sensitive area where you don't have to disable anything unless you're sure what you're doing.
With Windows 10 this configuration menu has become less important because the drivers update automatically and even errors on external devices can be solved using the troubleshooter included with the system.
5) The Registry Editor
Windows, unlike Unix and Linux systems, is an operating system where all general and program settings are stored in a centralized database called the Registry which contains thousands and thousands of valued keys. Each option that is changed in the Windows menus therefore changes the value of a specific registry key and vice versa, if you change a key, then some internal function is modified.
The more experienced will be able to make changes to the system by changing the registry keys and therefore going beyond what is allowed to do from the Settings or the Control Panel. In general, no user, even an expert, should put his hand to the registry (because a wrong key can cause instability and errors) unless you make changes for sure tricks to the Windows registry safe and described by reliable sites.
To open the registry you have to write the command Regedit on the box Run .
6) Local Group Policy Editor
Only on Professional or higher versions of Windows there is a hidden section called Local Group Editor which opens by searching the Start menu for the command gpedit.msc . This editor is a huge set of options to configure everything, absolutely everything, of Windows and customize the system within it even in a profound way.
Unfortunately, its complexity makes it rather difficult to use even for more experienced users.
In another article, we saw the simplified guide to using the Windows Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc).
7) The "Computer Management" administrative tools
Computer Management is a Settings menu to manage how Windows uses the hardware of the PC it is installed on. For example it is possible to manage PC disks, users, performances, event log and services.
In another article the guide to the "Computer Management" administration tools in Windows
Explaining the Windows services is quite simple, they are nothing more than programs that run in the background. To open the service management you need to execute the command services.msc in the box Run (press together in Windows keys – R to make it appear).
Unfortunately, the description of the services is quite confusing and therefore if you are not an expert it is not so easy to understand which one is needed and which one is not.
In general, however, this is a part of Windows where you can also do tests and any changes can always be brought back.
In another article, the list of the services that can be disabled on Windows, without consequences.
9) Activity Management
The task management menu is what is known as the Windows Task Manager, where it often happens to manage active processes and unlock the PC by terminating the processes that block it.
The Windows 10 Task Manager is much more comprehensive than previous versions and also allows you to manage startup items. To open the Windows task manager just press the keys together CTRL-Shift-ESC .
10) Menu to customize the desktop
This is the best known configuration panel even by the less experienced, where you can change the background and the appearance of the windows as you see fit. To access it, just right-click on the empty space of the desktop and then click on Customize. In Windows 10 this menu has disappeared, replaced by the Personalization options in the Settings app.
11) System configuration
In spite of its name, the System Configuration window is not essential to know and use it unless you have specific needs; it is mostly a remnant of the old versions of Windows, now almost superfluous To open System Configuration you can type the command msconfig in the Run box or search for System Configuration in the Start menu.
The most important part of this configuration window is the boot options, which can be used to troubleshoot Windows problems and have a clean, safe and error-free boot.
In any case, if you make changes or wrong configurations, there are different ways to reset Windows back to the initial settings and to return the computer to its original state. Finally, Among the best features of Windows 10 that I use every day there are definitely:
- the virtual printer to save as PDF in Windows 10.
- The ability to minimize a window by shaking it with the mouse from its title (press on the title, hold and then move the mouse quickly to resize it on the fly).
- Use automatic window arrangement when you move a window sideways, down or up, to tile multiple programs or folders.
- Use the Windows 10 Clipboard History feature to make copying and pasting easier.
- Use the options (in Settings> System), on a large monitor, to enlarge the desktop, the size of text, icons and images.
- Use of the Microsoft account in Windows 10 to synchronize settings and documents within the Onedrive cloud.
- Options to disable all monitoring options in the section of Settings -> Privacy as explained in the Windows 10 privacy management guide.
- Use the internal function to keep free space in Windows 10.
- Using Virtual Desktops on Windows 10