Windows 10 For Dummies
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Windows 10 offers some exclusive settings for the portable crowd. Learn how to toggle Airplane mode in a hurry, connect to yet another Wi-Fi hotspot, and toggle an uncooperative tablet’s autorotate feature.

If nothing else, please read the section on backing up your laptop or tablet before traveling. It’s easier and more essential than ever.

Turn on Tablet mode

When in Tablet mode, Windows 10 switches to its finger-friendly mode: The Start menu fills the entire screen. Your apps fill the screen as well. Because tablets are often smaller than desktop monitors, seeing one program at a time makes it easier to focus on the essential information.

When running in Tablet mode, Windows even adds extra space to a list of menu items, making it easier to poke the desired option with a fingertip.

However, Tablet mode isn’t always easy to define. When you plug a keyboard into your tablet, for example, do you want to turn off Tablet mode and return to the desktop and its less-touch-friendly menus? The same question arises when you plug in a mouse.

Convertible laptops that switch between a laptop and a tablet with a folding motion complicate matters. Windows 10 sometimes can’t tell which mode you want.

Fortunately, it’s easy to see whether or not you’re in Tablet mode and to toggle the setting on or off.

To toggle Tablet mode on a touchscreen tablet, follow these steps:

  1. Slide your finger inward from the touchscreen’s right edge. The Action Center pane appears.
  2. When the Action Center pane appears, tap the Tablet Mode button. The Action Center pane shows at least four toggle buttons along the bottom. The highlighted buttons are turned on; the others are turned off.
Some tablets may switch automatically depending on the devices plugged into it. When your tablet senses a change — perhaps you’ve removed it from a docking station — it sends you a message in the screen’s bottom-right corner, asking whether you want to switch to Tablet mode. If you’d like to toggle to Tablet mode, approve the message, and Windows switches accordingly.

If your tablet toggles to Tablet mode at inappropriate times, give it a little supervision: Tap the Start button, tap the Settings icon, and, when the Settings app appears, tap the System category. The Tablet Mode section, found on the left side of the System page, gives you these options:

  • When I Sign In: Tap this, and a pop-up menu lets you choose how Windows should behave when you sign in to your account. Windows can automatically send you to your preference of desktop or Tablet mode. Choose the other option, Use When Appropriate for My Hardware, and your PC defaults to its manufacturer’s recommendations, handy with some combination laptop/tablets.
  • When This Device Automatically Switches Tablet Mode On or Off: Here, a pop-up menu lets you fine-tune your computer’s discretion in automatically toggling Tablet mode. If your tablet already chooses Tablet mode correctly, Choose Don’t Ask and Always Switch. If your tablet needs more supervision, choose Always Ask Me Before Switching. And, if you’d rather it never switch, choose Don’t Ask Me and Don’t Switch.
  • Hide App Icons on the Taskbar in Tablet Mode: This toggle lets you choose whether to see app and desktop program icons on your taskbar. Some tablet owners prefer to remove the icons to reduce clutter. (Tablet owners can always see which apps are running in the background by tapping the taskbar’s Task View icon.)
  • Automatically Hide the Taskbar in Tablet Mode: There’s little need for a desktop in Tablet mode, so there’s even less need for the taskbar, that once essential strip along the desktop’s bottom edge. Choose this option to toggle it off when in Tablet mode. If you prefer the safety net of the taskbar, toggle this back on.
Choose any option, and the change takes place immediately; you don’t need to click an OK or Yes button to approve the changes.

Switch to Airplane mode

Most people enjoy working with their tablets or laptops during a long flight. Portable devices are great for watching movies and playing games while pretending to catch up on some work.

But most airlines make you turn off your wireless connection while the plane is in flight, referred to in airport lingo as Airplane mode.

To turn on Airplane mode on a tablet or laptop, follow these steps:

  1. Click or tap the Action Center icon near the clock in the screen’s bottom-right corner. The Action Center pane appears.
  2. Tap or click the word Expand above the row of buttons. The Action Center pane normally shows four buttons along its bottom edge; tapping or clicking Expand reveals a row of hidden additional buttons.
  3. Click or tap your Airplane Mode icon. When the button is highlighted, Airplane mode is on, which turns off your tablet’s radios: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.
To turn off Airplane mode and reconnect to the Internet, repeat these steps. This time, however, you toggle off Airplane mode, which reactivates your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

Airplane mode not only puts your tablet and laptop in compliance with airline safety rules, but it conserves battery life as well. If you’re running short on battery life and don’t need the Internet, feel free to keep your computer in Airplane mode.

Airplane mode turns off not only your computer’s wireless but its cellular gear as well, if you have a cellular data plan. It’s a handy way to shut off all your computer’s radio activity with one switch.

Connect to a new wireless Internet network

Every time you connect to a wireless network, Windows stashes its settings for connecting again the next time you visit. But when you’re visiting a wireless network for the first time, you need to tell your computer that it’s time to connect.
  1. Turn on your laptop’s wireless adapter if necessary. Most adapters stay on continuously unless your computer is in Airplane mode. If so, turn off Airplane mode, as described in the previous section.
  2. Click your taskbar’s wireless network icon. You can reach the taskbar’s wireless network icon even when Tablet mode is turned on. Windows lists any wireless networks it finds within range.
  3. Connect to a wireless network by clicking its name and clicking the Connect button. At many places, clicking the Connect button connects your laptop to the Internet immediately. But if your laptop asks for more information, move to Step 4.

    Never connect to a wireless network listed as an ad hoc connection. Those connections are usually set up in public places by thieves hoping to rip off unsuspecting visitors.

  4. Enter the wireless network’s name and security key/passphrase if asked. Some secretive wireless networks don’t broadcast their names, so Windows lists them as Hidden Network. If you spot that name or Windows asks for the network’s security key, track down the network’s owner and ask for the network’s name, known as its SSID (Service Set Identifier) and security key or passphrase to enter here.

When you click the Connect button, Windows announces its success. (You may also need to click through a disclaimer when connecting at some public places.) Be sure to select the check box labeled Connect Automatically. That tells your computer to remember the password and connect automatically the next time you come within range.

If you sign in with a Microsoft account, your Wi-Fi passwords travel with your account. If you log in to a Wi-Fi network with your laptop, you can automatically log in with your tablet as well.

Toggle your tablet’s screen rotation

Most Windows tablets are meant to be held horizontally. But when you pick them up, they automatically rotate to keep your work right-side up. Turn your tablet vertically, for example, and your desktop becomes long and narrow.

Autorotation comes in handy when you’re reading a digital book, for example, because the longer, thinner pages more closely resemble a printed book. It’s also a convenient way to rotate photos on a tablet when showing them off to friends. But when the screen rotates unexpectedly, autorotate becomes a bother.

Most tablets come with a rotation lock button along one edge. (The rotation button is usually near the power button for some reason.) Pressing that toggle button either locks the screen in place or lets it rotate freely.

You can also toggle autorotation directly from Windows by following these steps:

  1. Click the Action Center icon near the clock in the screen’s bottom-right corner. On a touchscreen, slide your finger inward from the screen’s right edge. The Action Center pane appears.
  2. Tap or click the word Expand above the four buttons. The Action Center pane normally shows four buttons along its bottom edge; tapping or clicking Expand reveals the hidden buttons.
  3. Tap or click the Rotation Lock button. When the button is highlighted, Windows stops the screen from rotating automatically. Tap it, and the highlight disappears, letting the tablet stay right-side up no matter how you move the tablet.
Repeat these steps to toggle autorotate on or off.

Adjust to different locations

PCs don’t move from a desktop, making some things pretty easy to set up. You need to enter your location only once, for example, and Windows automatically sets up your time zone, currency symbols, and similar things that change over the globe.

But the joy of a tablet or laptop’s mobility is tempered with the annoyance of telling the thing exactly where it’s currently located. This section supplies the steps you need to change when traveling to a different area.

Follow these steps to let your laptop know you’ve entered a new time zone:

  1. From the desktop, right-click the clock in the taskbar’s bottom-right corner. A pop-up menu appears.
  2. Click Adjust Date/Time. The Settings app appears, open to the Time & Language category.
  3. Click the Time Zone option, and then select your current time zone from the drop-down list. That changes your time zone, which is all most travelers need. Extended-stay travelers may opt to change region-specific items — the region’s currency symbol, for example, or the date, time, and number formats — or to add foreign characters to their keyboard. If you travel often, turn on the Set Time Zone Automatically toggle switch. If you’re deeply embedded in a foreign zone, move to Step 4.
  4. Change your date and time formats, as well as regional and language preferences to match your current country’s customs. The Settings app’s Time & Language category lets you change all the regional settings in Windows:
    • Date & Time: This is the section you changed in Step 3. There’s no need to revisit unless you erred in that step.
    • Region: Choose the Region option, located in the left pane, to tell your apps what country you’re visiting. (That lets the apps display local content that matches your location.)
    • Language: Choose Language from the left pane to add another language so you can read and type in that language. You can also change your keyboard layout to match other country’s keyboards as well.
    • Speech: Click here to fine-tune the speech recognition in Windows.
  5. Close the Settings app, if desired. Your changes take place immediately. To exit the Settings app, click the X in its top-right corner.

Back up your laptop before traveling

Backing up a laptop or tablet works just like backing up a desktop PC. Please, please remember to back up your laptop before leaving your home or office. Thieves grab laptops and tablets much more often than desktop PCs. Your laptop and tablet can be replaced, but the data inside them can’t.

Keep the backed-up information at home — not in your laptop’s bag.

Theft is why I don’t recommend storing any sort of backup memory card inside your tablet or in your tablet’s carrying case. When the thief takes your tablet, he takes your backup as well.

Microsoft’s OneDrive, built in to Windows 10, lets you store your information on the Internet quite easily, providing an automatic backup.

Access the Mobility Center

Introduced in Windows 7, the Mobility Center lives on in Windows 10. It’s a collection of frequently accessed settings for portable devices.

To access the Mobility Center, right-click the Start button and choose Mobility Center from the pop-up menu. The Mobility Center appears, as shown.

Windows 10 Mobility Center The Mobility Center places laptop and tablet settings in one easy-to-reach location.

Different manufacturers offer different settings, but most of them offer quick ways to toggle screen brightness, sound volume, rotation, battery plans, and ways to connect to monitors and projectors.

Turn Calculator into a road warrior tool

When it burst onto the computing scene in the mid-eighties, Windows included a basic calculator with the usual arithmetic functions. With Windows 10, however, the calculator sports many new features that help not only math students, but world travelers.

Specifically, the calculator now includes a wide variety of converters, letting you calculate currency exchange rates, metric values, and a variety of other measurements.

To access Calculator’s different conversion modes, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start menu, type Calculator into the Search box, and press Enter. If you’re running a tablet in Tablet mode, click the Question Mark icon near the Start button to bring the Search box into view. The Calculator app appears, shown in the following figure.
  2. Click the Menu icon in Calculator’s upper-left corner. A menu drops down, listing all the modes the Calculator app can display.
  3. From the menu’s Converter section, choose what you want to convert. Choose Currency, for example, to convert from dollars to Euros.
  4. Enter the amount you want to convert and the currency of your currently visited country. To convert $100 into Euros, for example, enter 100 into Calculator’s type pad by clicking (or touching) the calculator buttons. Beneath that, use the drop-down menu to choose Euros, or the type of currency you’d like to convert. Calculator offers a wide variety of currency, from Afghanistan’s Afghani to Yemen’s Rial.
Calculator app The Calculator app lets you convert foreign currency rates and metric system equivalents.

As soon as you choose the type of currency, Calculator looks up the current exchange rate and lists how far that much money will go in the country you’re visiting.

In another boon for travelers, Calculator converts volume, temperature, and speed measurements. It’s worth a look when traveling in unfamiliar countries or when you’ve finished a trip and need to itemize receipts.

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Andy Rathbone's computer books, which include Windows? 2000 Professional For Dummies? and Upgrading and Fixing PCs For Dummies?, have sold more than 11 million copies.

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