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15 easy ways for students to prepare their laptops for a new school year

Windows Central logo Windows Central 7/24/2020 Mauro Huculak
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Start the school year with a fine-tuned laptop. Here's how to make sure your Windows 10 device is in tip-top shape without spending a dime.

If you're planning to take your laptop to school, proper maintenance and preparation are essential to ensure it's ready with everything you need to tackle every project.

Thankfully, Windows 10 includes all the necessary tools to tune up your laptop, including tools to optimize the hard drive and get rid of junk files, improve system performance and battery life, adjust security settings, and apps to make you more productive.

In this Windows 10 guide, we walk you through 15 easy ways and recommendations to tune up your laptop for the new school year.

  • 1. How to free up space using Storage Sense on Windows 10
  • 2. How to uninstall non-essential apps on Windows 10
  • 3. How to limit apps at startup on Windows 10
  • 4. How to improve drive performance on Windows 10
  • 5. How to repair drive errors on Windows 10
  • 6. How to backup laptop running Windows 10
  • 7. How to protect files with OneDrive on Windows 10
  • 8. How to protect laptop from viruses and hackers on Windows 10
  • 9. How to upgrade to latest version of Windows 10
  • 10. How to optimize laptop battery life on Windows 10
  • 11. How to change desktop appearance on Windows 10
  • 12. How to set up printer on Windows 10
  • 13. How to install Office on Windows 10
  • 14. How to switch to Microsoft Edge on Windows 10
  • 15. How to reset laptop running Windows 10

1. How to free up space using Storage Sense on Windows 10

As you prepare to return to school (in person or remotely), you want to ensure that the laptop has enough space for your project files (that being documents, pictures, and videos).

On Windows 10, Storage Sense provides the tools to delete junk files from the system drive and secondary and external drives. Using this feature, you can quickly get rid of temporary files and previous installation files to free up space for more important documents and improve drive efficiency.

Free up space manually with Storage Sense

To delete temporary files on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Storage.
  4. Under the "Local Disk (C:)" section, click the Temporary files item.

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  5. Clear all the selected items.
  6. Check only the content you want to clear to free up space, including:

    • Delivery Optimization Files.
    • Temporary files.
    • Thumbnails.
    • Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
    • Recycle Bin.
    • Temporary Windows installation files.
    • DirectX Shader Cache.
    • System created Windows Error Reporting Files.
    • Temporary Internet Files.
    • Previous Windows installation(s).

    Quick tip: The available items may vary with your installation. Also, note that we're not mentioning to select the Downloads contents. If you're planning to choose this item, before clearing these files, make sure to understand that this option deletes everything stored in your "Downloads" folder.

  7. Click the Remove files button.

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Once you complete the steps, Storage Sense will declutter the hard drive, making more available space to save school projects and personal files.

Free up space automatically with Storage Sense

To free up space using Storage Sense automatically, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Storage.
  4. Turn on the Storage toggle switch to enable Storage Sense.
  5. Under the "Storage" section, click the Configure Storage Sense or run it now option.

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  6. Use the "Run Storage sense" drop-down menu and select when the feature should run automatically:

    • Every day.
    • Every week.
    • Every month.
    • During low free disk space (recommended).
  7. Under the "Temporary Files" section, check the Delete temporary files that apps aren't using option.
  8. Use the Recycle Bin drop-down menu to specify how to clear trashed files.
  9. Use the Downloads drop-down menu to determine how to clean up files you downloaded from the internet.

    Quick tip: If you need to delete as many files as possible, use the 1 day option in the drop-down menu. Also, the Downloads folder may contain personal data, which means that it's a good idea to back up those important files before running Storage Sense manually.

  10. Under the "Locally available cloud content" section, use the drop-down menu to specify how long OneDrive content synced on your device becomes online-only to reduce local space usage.

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  11. Under the "Free up space now" section, check the Download previous versions of Windows option (if applicable).
  12. (Optionally) Click the Clean now button.

After you complete the steps, as you start running out of space, or depending on your configuration, Storage sense will run automatically to optimize the storage space.

If the option to remove previous versions of Windows 10 is available, you may be able to free up anywhere from 10GB to 20GB of additional space.

In the case that you're still running out of space, this guide includes a dozen effective ways to free up space on Windows 10.

2. How to uninstall non-essential apps on Windows 10

Uninstalling apps and games you don't use is an excellent way to reduce compatibility problems, errors, and distractions. Also, they help to reclaim additional space on your laptop and keep the drive running at optimal performance.

To uninstall non-essential apps and games on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click on Apps & features.
  4. Select the app (or game) you want to remove.

    Quick tip: Use the "Sort by" drop-down menu and select the Size option to identify the apps using the most space.

  5. Click the Uninstall button.

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  6. Click the Uninstall button again.
  7. Continue with the on-screen directions (if applicable).

Once you complete these steps, you may need to repeat them to uninstall additional apps and games you may not need.

3. How to limit apps at startup on Windows 10

Many apps you install on your computer can register themselves to run automatically on startup and even configure additional background services that will also run every time you start your device. Although setting up apps on startup can have its benefits, these processes can impact boot times, battery life, and system performance.

If you have multiple apps running at startup, you may want to review them and disable those non-essentials to improve startup performance and reduce the number of resources on the laptop.

To disable apps to launch at startup, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click on Startup.
  4. Under the "Startup Apps" section, turn off the toggle switch for third-party apps that may be impacting performance during startup.

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    Quick tip: Use the "Sort by" drop-down menu and select the "Startup impact" option to list the apps by their performance impact. Although the fewer the apps during startup, the better, usually, you don't want to disable Microsoft services, such as OneDrive and Windows Security Notification.

After you complete the steps, your laptop should load faster, and performance should be a little better than before.

4. How to improve drive performance on Windows 10

If you have a laptop with a traditional hard drive with spinning platters, you can use the defragmentation tool to organize the bits in the disks to improve system performance. (If you're using a Solid-State Drive (SSD), it's unnecessary to follow these steps.)

To defrag a hard drive on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Under the "More storage settings" section, click the Optimize Drives option.

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  4. Select the C: drive (or the hard drive you want to optimize).
  5. Click the Optimize button.

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  6. Click the Close button.

Once you complete the steps, the tool will reorganize the bits inside the drive to improve the overall system performance.

5. How to repair drive errors on Windows 10

Over time, the hard drive on your laptop may start showing strange behaviors and errors, and in these cases, the Check Disk tool can repair logical problems on the hard drive to help tune up the device for school.

To use the Check Disk tool to determine and repair logical problems on the hard drive, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on This PC from the left side.
  3. Under the "Devices and drives" section, right-click the Windows 10 drive, and select the Properties option.

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  4. Click the Tools tab.
  5. Under the "Error checking" section, click the Check button.

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  6. Click the Scan drive option.

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  7. Click the Show Details option to open the Event Viewer to see more information about the scan.

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  8. Close the Event Viewer.

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  9. Click the Close button.

If the system detected any problems, the feature should repair them automatically.

In the case that the installation is having more severe problems, then you should use this guide, which includes the instructions to use the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) and System File Checker (SFC) tools to repair the installation of Windows 10.

6. How to backup laptop running Windows 10

On Windows 10, creating a full backup is among the best ways to protect your laptop and files from hardware failure, software problems, malware, and even theft.

Usually, you can find many (free and paid) third-party tools to complete the task, but you can still use the legacy system image backup tool on Windows 10 to create a backup of everything stored on your laptop.

Warning: Microsoft no longer maintains the System Image Backup feature. It's possible to use the tool to create backups, but it may stop working in the future. Also, as a deprecated feature, the company can decide to remove the tool in future releases altogether.

To create a full backup, connect an external drive to the Windows 10 laptop, and use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Under the "Looking for an older backup?" section, click the Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7) option.

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  4. On the left pane, click the Create a system image option.

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  5. Under "Where do you want to save the backup?" select the On a hard disk option.
  6. Using the "On a hard disk" drop-down menu, select the location to save the backup.

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  7. Select any additional drives that you may want to include in the backup.
  8. Click the Next button.
  9. Click the Start backup button.

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After you complete this process, the tool will create a full backup, including everything on the primary hard drive and other drives you may have selected.

When the process finishes, you'll receive an alert to create a system repair disc, which you can use to restore the backup. However, you can skip this step and use a bootable USB flash drive to access the same recovery environment.

Although creating a full backup is an excellent method to protect your files, you must be proactive backing up your device as this method only allows you to restore files since the last backup.

You can check this guide to learn more about creating and restoring a full backup of your device. Also, you can use these instructions to perform incremental automatic backups using the same feature on Windows 10.

If you don't have an external drive to backup your laptop, you can always purchase removable storage, such as the Backup Plus Slim from Seagate, which comes in different sizes up to 5TB and portable design.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB

Portable size

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From $95 at Amazon $55 at Walmart

The Backup Plus Slim from Seagate is one of the smallest and lightest drives in the market, available in four different sizes up to 5TB and four different colors. It's just 0.48 inches thick for easy portability inside a laptop bag, and USB-A 3.0 connectivity means relatively fast transfer speeds.

7. How to protect files with OneDrive on Windows 10

In this digital world, there's not such a thing as too many backups. In addition to using full backups, you should also be using OneDrive, not only because you can keep an up-to-date backup of your school files and synchronize them across devices, but also because it can protect your files if your laptop ever gets lost or stolen.

Also, OneDrive offers the Personal Vault service to protect sensitive files in the cloud, ransomware protection, files on-demands to keep local storage to a minimum, Windows 10 settings syncing, and more.

Set up OneDrive

To configure OneDrive on a laptop to protect your school and other files, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search OneDrive and click the top result to open the app.

    Quick Tip: If you don't find OneDrive on your computer, download the OneDrive client from Microsoft, and double-click the file to install it.

  3. Using the setup experience, enter your email address.
  4. Click the Sign in button.

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  5. Confirm your Microsoft account password.
  6. Click the Sign in button.
  7. Click the Next button.

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  8. (Optional) Clear the local folders you don't want backup in the cloud.

    Quick note: Although this is an optional step, it's recommended to backup your personal folders to the cloud whenever possible. Otherwise, if you have important files in the Desktop, Documents, or Pictures folders, you'll need to transfer them manually to the OneDrive folder.

  9. Click the Continue button.

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  10. Click the Not now button.
  11. Click the Next button.
  12. Click the Next button again.
  13. Click the Next button one more time.
  14. Click the Later button.
  15. Click the Open my OneDrive folder button.

After you complete the steps, files inside the OneDrive folder will upload automatically to the cloud, and they'll be available anywhere, including from another Windows 10 computer, macOS, iOS, and Android devices.

Backup local folders

If you skipped the configuration during the initial setup, you can also backup files stored inside the Desktops, Documents, and Pictures folders without the need to move their contents to the OneDrive folder.

To backup your Windows 10 folders to OneDrive, use these steps:

  1. Click the OneDrive icon from the taskbar.
  2. Click the Help & Settings button.
  3. Click the Settings option.

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  4. Click the Backup tab.
  5. Under the "Important PC Folders" section, click the Manage backup button.

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  6. Select the local folders (Desktop, Documents, and Pictures) you want to protect in the cloud.
  7. Click the Start backup button.

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Once you complete the steps, documents and other files stored in any known folders will be securely uploaded to your OneDrive account.

The free version of OneDrive only allows you to upload a total of 5GB of storage. If you want to backup a lot of files, it's recommended to switch to a Microsoft 365 subscription, which for a small monthly fee, you get 1TB of OneDrive storage as well as access to the suite of Office apps and many other offerings, such as Family Safety and Microsoft Teams.

8. How to protect laptop from viruses and hackers on Windows 10

You can always install third-party security solutions, but Windows 10 comes with the Windows Security app, which includes the Microsoft Defender Antivirus and Microsoft Defender Firewall offering more than enough protection against malware and hackers.

Perform full virus scan with Microsoft Defender Antivirus

Microsoft Defender Antivirus is always running and ready to protect your laptop from virtually any kind of malware, including viruses, spyware, and ransomware. However, now and then, we recommended performing a full malware scan, especially if you notice your device is acting up or performance is not optimal.

To perform a full malware scan on your laptop, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Windows Security and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Click on Virus & threat protection.
  4. Under the "Current threats" section, click the Scan options button.

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  5. Select the Full scan option.
  6. Click the Scan now button.

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After you complete the steps, Microsoft Defender Antivirus will perform a virus scan of your computer to detect and remove anything recognized as malicious.

Enabling Windows Firewall

As an extra layer of security, you also get the Microsoft Defender Firewall to protect your laptop from unauthorized access.

On Windows 10, the firewall is enabled by default, but you can always confirm and enable it as necessary with these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Windows Security and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Click on Firewall & network protection.
  4. Click the Restore settings button. (Or the Turn on button)

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Once you complete the steps, the firewall will protect your laptop and data from network threats.

If you're still skeptical about the built-in antivirus and firewall, you can always use a different solution, and in this guide, you'll find the best antivirus software to protect your device.

9. How to upgrade to latest version of Windows 10

Staying current with Windows 10 allows you to access the latest features and enhancements. Also, it's among the best way to make sure your device has the newest security improvements to keep your installation and files secure from online threats.

Important: Although this is not a destructive process, things can always go wrong. It's recommended to make a full backup of your PC before proceeding.

Upgrade to Windows 10 version 2004 using Windows Update

To upgrade to the latest release of Windows 10 with Windows Update, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Windows Update.
  4. Click the Check for updates button.
  5. Click the Download and install now button, under the "Feature Update to Windows 10, version 2004" section. (The option will only be available if your device is fully compatible with your device.)

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  6. Click the Restart Now button.

After you complete the steps, the Windows Setup will install the latest version of Windows 10 on your school laptop.

Upgrade to Windows 10 version 2004 using Update Assistant

If the option to upgrade is not available because of a problem with Windows Update, and you know the laptop is fully compatible, you can use the Update Assistant tool to upgrade.

To install the latest version of Windows 10 with the Update Assistant, use these steps:

  1. Open this Microsoft support website.
  2. Click the Update now button.

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  3. Double-click the Windows10Upgrade file to launch the assistant.
  4. Click the Update Now button.

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  5. Click the Next button.
  6. Click the Restart Now button.

Once you complete the steps, the Update Assistant will upgrade your laptop to the most recent release of Windows 10, keeping your files, apps, and most settings intact.

10. How to optimize laptop battery life on Windows 10

When using a laptop, one of the most annoying things that can happen is running out of battery while working on a school project. Fortunately, Windows 10 includes several settings to make a single charge last longer when you can't plug in your laptop.

Change power mode

To optimize Windows 10 to conserve battery life, use these steps:

  1. Click the battery icon in the taskbar.
  2. Use the slider and set the preferred energy mode:

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    • Battery Saver: Uses a power profile to expend battery life the longest, but some features and functionalities will be disabled, throttled, or work differently.
    • Better battery: Enforces a power profile that prolongs battery life significantly without losing features and functionalities. (Usually, this is the recommended mode for most users.)
    • Better performance: Implements a power profile that slightly favors performance over battery life. (Not recommended if you're trying to prolong battery life.)
    • Best performance: Uses a power profile that favors performance over battery life completely. (Not recommended if you're trying to prolong battery life.)

    Quick tip: You must unplug the laptop from the power outlet to see these options. Otherwise, you'll only see the power modes when the device is plugged in.

After you complete the steps, Windows 10 will enforce the selected power profile to optimize your laptop's battery life.

Manage background apps

Windows 10 decides when apps should run in the background, but you can also manage which apps can manually run in the background to prolong battery life.

To manage background apps on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Battery.
  4. Under the "Battery usage per app" section, select the setting you want to control.
  5. Use the drop-down menu, and select the Never option to prevent the app from running in the background.

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    Quick note: You may also this option as "Let Windows decide when this app can run in the background."

Once you complete the steps, the apps won't run in the background to expand battery life on the laptop.

Customize battery saver settings

To enable battery saver mode to get the most usage from a single charge, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Battery.
  4. Under the "Battery saver" section, use drop-down menu to decide when to enable battery saver.

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    Quick tip: The higher to set the level, the soon battery saver will enable and prolong the battery life of the device.

  5. Check the Lower screen brightness while in battery saver option (recommended).

After you complete the steps, the battery saver mode will help you expand battery life. When using this option, brightness will be set to a lower setting, and some features will be disabled, throttled, or behave differently.

Change video playback settings

If your laptop isn't connected to a power outlet, and you have to watch a video to complete a school project, you can change the video playback settings to improve battery life.

To adjust video playback settings on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click on Video playback.
  4. Under the "Battery options" section, use the drop-down menu and select the Optimize for battery life option.

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  5. (Optional) Check the I prefer video to play at a lower resolution when on battery option.

Once you complete the steps, the battery should last a little longer when watching videos, and the laptop is unplugged.

Change display settings

The display on your laptop is one of the components that use the most power. This means that adjusting the brightness, selecting the correct screen and sleep timers, and tweaking other settings can expand battery life.

Reduce screen and sleep timers

To specify when the screen should turn off and when the device should sleep to conserve battery on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Power & sleep.
  4. Under the "Screen" section, use the On battery power, turn off after drop-down menu and select the lowest preferred time range before turning off the display to save battery. For example, 5 minutes.

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  5. Under the "Sleep" section, use the On battery power, PC goes to sleep after drop-down menu and select the lowest preferred time range before sending the device to sleep mode.

After you complete the steps, your laptop's battery life should last a little longer based on the new configuration.

Reduce brightness

To reduce the screen brightness on a laptop, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click on Display.
  4. Under the "Brightness and color" section, use the slider to reduce the brightness as much as possible.

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  5. (Optional) Clear the Change brightness automatically when lighting changes option to prevent automatic increase of brightness when running on battery.

Alternatively, if you're running the May 2019 Update or higher version of Windows 10, you should be able to the slider option at the bottom of Action Center (Windows key + A keyboard shortcut) to control the display brightness.

Switch to dark theme

When every tweak counts, you can also switch to the dark color mode to help extend battery life.

To enable the dark mode on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click on Colors.
  4. Use the Choose your color drop-down menu and select the Dark option.

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  5. Turn off the Transparency effects toggle switch.

Once you complete the steps, elements on the desktop, such as Start menu, taskbar, File Explorer, and certain apps, will use the dark color mode, and the transparency effects will be disabled to help optimize battery life.

Use dark background

Also, when running on battery, it's recommended to use a dark background to conserve battery.

To apply a dark background on the desktop, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click on Background.
  4. Use the "Background" drop-down menu and select the Solid color option.

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  5. Under the "Choose your color background" section, select a dark color. For example, black or dark gray.

After you complete the steps, the desktop background will change to the selected solid color.

Turn on airplane mode

If you don't need to connect to the internet or use a Bluetooth device, you can enable "Airplane mode" to stop wireless communication from wasting battery.

To enable Windows 10's Airplane mode, use the steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Network & Internet.
  3. Click on Airplane mode.
  4. Turn on the Airplane mode toggle switch.

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Alternatively, you can also enable or disable Airplane mode from Action center (Windows key + A keyboard shortcut) or by opening the Network flyout in the taskbar.

Disconnect non-essential devices

Peripherals like external storage, cameras, Bluetooth devices (such as mice and keyboards), and others can significantly impact battery life. If you're looking to extend battery life as much as possible, make sure to disconnect non-essential devices until you find a power outlet to recharge the laptop.

Enable hibernation

On Windows 10, hibernation is a feature that saves everything in the current session to the hard drive, allowing you to perform a complete shutdown to conserve battery life without losing your current session.

Although hibernation is an excellent power-saver feature, usually, it's disabled by default, but you can always enable it to extend battery life.

To enable hibernation on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Hardware and Sound.

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  3. Click on Power Options.

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  4. Click the Choose what the power button does option from the left pane.

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  5. Click the Change settings that are currently unavailable option to modify the Shutdown settings.
  6. Check the Hibernate option.

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  7. Click the Save changes button.

Once you complete the steps, you can use the Hibernation option from the Start menu power options to shut down your computer, preserving your current session without wasting battery. This option not only comes in handy to extend the battery life on your laptop, but it's a great feature to save your current session when running out of battery, and you can't afford to close the apps you're using.

If you don't see the Hibernation option, you may need to use these additional steps to enable the feature on your laptop.

11. How to change desktop appearance on Windows 10

You can personalize the appearance of Windows 10 virtually any way you like, but if you're tuning up your laptop for school, these are the best customization settings that you should be using.

Refresh desktop with a theme

The quickest way to change the appearance of the Windows 10 desktop is to apply a new theme. Themes are packages that usually include a collection of wallpapers and specific color settings, and you can download tons of them from the Microsoft Store.

To apply a new theme on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click on Themes.
  4. Click on Get more themes in Microsoft Store option.

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  5. Select the theme that you like.

    Quick note: The Microsoft Store includes paid themes, but there are many great themes that you can download for free.

  6. Click the Get button.

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  7. Click the Apply button.
  8. Select the new theme to apply it.

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After you complete the steps, the theme will set a new desktop background and set a new color and accent color.

You can learn more about customizing the look and feel of Windows 10 with these instructions.

Pin apps to Start and taskbar for quicker access

Another quick way to customize the experience is to pin frequent apps to the Start menu and taskbar for faster access.

To pin apps to Start and taskbar, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for an app you use frequently. For example, Mail, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Calculator.
  3. Right-click the top result and select the Pin to Start option to make the app available through the tile section of the Start menu.
  4. Right-click the top result and choose the Pin to Taskbar option to make the app quickly available in the taskbar.

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Some apps (such as Microsoft To-Do, Mail, and Weather) can show useful information within the tile. If you want to get the most from this feature, right-click the app, select Resize, and choose the largest available option (wide or large).

Show most used apps in Start

Alternatively, you can also enable an option to show your frequent apps in the All apps list.

To show the most used apps in the All apps list, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click on Start.
  4. Under the "Start" section, turn on the Show most use apps toggle switch.

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  5. (Optional) Turn on the Show recently added apps toggle switch to quickly surface those apps you installed recently.

Once you complete the steps, the Start menu All apps list will now show a "Most used" list that includes quick access to your most frequently used applications.

Organize apps into groups and folders

In addition to pin your favorites apps in the Start menu, you can also organize them in groups and folders.

Create group

To create a group with your frequent apps, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Click and drag the tiles together.
  3. Click the group header and type a descriptive name. For example, School apps.

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After you complete the steps, you can repeat the instructions to create additional groups to organize your apps.

Create folder

To maximize the Start menu space, you can also group apps into folders using these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Click, drag, and drop a tile on top of another tile.

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  3. Repeat step No. 2 to add more app tiles to the folder.
  4. Click the folder (Name folder) header and type a descriptive name.

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Once you complete the steps, you can use the same instructions again to create more folders to optimize the space in the Start menu.

Declutter desktop

Although the best way to keep the desktop clean is to proactively organize your files inside any of the default folders and keeping shortcuts to a minimum, Windows 10 includes an option to declutter the desktop with the option to hide icons quickly.

To hide the desktop icons and files, use these steps:

  1. Right-click on the desktop.
  2. Select the View menu option.
  3. Clear the Show desktop icons option.

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You can always access your files and shortcuts from the Desktop folder using "File Explorer" or using the same instructions, but on step No. 3, make sure to check the Show desktop icons option.

Install new fonts for school projects

Another way to get your laptop ready for school is to add new font families that you can use on projects or Office apps.

To install new fonts on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Personalization.
  3. Click on Fonts.

    Quick tip: If you have the font file, you can also drag and drop it to the settings page to install it. Or you can right-click the file and select the Install option.

  4. Click the Get more fonts in Microsoft Store option.

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  5. Select the font family that you want.

    Quick note: The Microsoft Store includes paid fonts, but many are free to use.

  6. Click the Get button.

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Once you complete the steps, the font family will download and install on your computer, making it available automatically to all supported applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, and others.

12. How to set up printer on Windows 10

Printing content on paper is still relevant, and knowing the steps to set up a wireless or USB printer on a Windows 10 laptop will always come in handy.

Set up Wi-Fi printer

To install a Wi-Fi printer on Windows 10, make sure the laptop is connected to the internet, and use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Devices.
  3. Click on Printers & scanners.
  4. Click the Add a printer or scanner button.

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  5. Select the printer from the list.
  6. Click the Add device button.

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After you complete the steps, Windows 10 will download and install the required drivers automatically.

Set up USB printer

To set up a USB printer, make sure the computer has an internet connection, and use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Devices.
  3. Click on Printers & scanners.
  4. Connect the printer to the laptop using a USB cable.

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Once you complete the steps, Windows 10 will try to detect and install the local printer automatically.

If you're having problems installing an older printer, then use these steps.

These instructions cover the installation of basic drivers to start using a printer. However, many printer manufacturers also include applications to take full advantage of the printer functionality. Usually, it's not necessary to add these applications, and they can cause compatibility issues. But if you must use those features, you'll need to download and install the package from your manufacturer support website using their specific instructions.

13. How to install Office on Windows 10

The suite of Office apps from Microsoft include the essential tools (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook) that every student needs to stay productive. If you already have a Microsoft 365 subscription, or you're planning to purchase one of the plans, these are the steps to install the suite of apps on your laptop:

  1. Open Office account page.
  2. Click the Sign-in button.

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  3. Click the Install Office button to download the installer.

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    Quick tip: If you don't have a Microsoft 365 subscription, click the Buy Office button to select the plan that best suits your needs. If you want to share the subscription benefits with friends and family, the Microsoft 365 Family package is your best option.

  4. Click the Office apps option.
  5. Double-click the setup file to launch the Office app installer.

After you complete the steps, the setup will download and install all the popular Office apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and others.

Microsoft 365

Best apps for school

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$70 at Microsoft

Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) gives you full access to all the apps and perks you'll need for school, such as 1TB of OneDrive and Skype minutes. You can also install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and other apps on up to five devices, and depending on the subscription, you can share the account with up to six people (with the Family plan).

If you're a student, you may qualify to get Office 365 Education for free using the Microsoft students and educators promotion.

14. How to switch to Microsoft Edge on Windows 10

Although Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are great and well-supported web browsers, the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge is arguably a better option for laptops running Windows 10. The reason is that the browser has better power handling to help the battery last a little longer. You even get support for Chrome extensions and features like Collections, which you can use to work on research papers more efficiently.

This is an optional step. If you're comfortable using your browser, you don't need to switch.

Install Microsoft Edge

If you don't already have the Chromium version of Edge, you can install it with these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Edge download page.
  2. Click the Download button.

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  3. Click the Accept and download button.
  4. Double-click the MicrosoftEdgeSetup.exe file to complete the installation.
  5. Click the Get started button.
  6. Select the new tab layout. For example, Inspirational.

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  7. Click the Confirm button.
  8. (Optional) Turn off the Sync browser data across your signed-in devices toggle switch.

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  9. Click the Confirm button.
  10. (Optional) Turn off the toggle switch to allow Microsoft to collect information about you.
  11. Click the Confirm button.

Once you complete the steps, you can proceed to import the data from the other browser to complete the switch to Microsoft Edge.

Import browsing data

To import the data from another browser (such as Google Chrome), use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Edge.
  2. Click the Settings and more (three-dotted) button.
  3. Select the Settings option.

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  4. Click on Profiles.
  5. Click the Import browser data option.

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  6. Select the Google Chrome option.

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  7. Select the profile where you want to import the data. (Usually, it's Profile 1.)
  8. Check the data you want to import. (If you're switching browsers, you may want to select all the options.)
  9. Click the Import button.

Once you complete the steps, you can start using Microsoft Edge on your laptop to extend battery life a little longer, compare to using other browsers.

15. How to reset laptop running Windows 10

If you have an old installation of Windows 10, it's likely that your laptop is running slow and may show error messages frequently, and you may even experience issues with apps and battery. If this is the case, Windows 10 includes the "Reset This PC" feature to quickly wipe out the old setup reinstalling a fresh copy of Windows 10 while preserving your files and most settings to revitalize your laptop.

To reset your laptop while preserving files and most settings, use these steps:

Important: This process may remove apps and third-party security software, but you can always install them back after the reset.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Recovery.
  4. Under the "Reset this PC" section, click the Get started button.

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  5. Click the Keep my files option.

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  6. Click the Local reinstall option to reset the laptop using the manufacturer image.

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    Quick tip: You can also select Cloud download, an option designed to download and install a fresh copy of Windows 10. However, using this option, you may lose custom manufacturer configurations and apps.

  7. Click the Next button.

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  8. Click the Reset button.

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Once you complete the steps, the feature will reset your laptop to the factory settings using the manufacturer image available on your device.

We're focusing this guide to help you tune your laptop using the tools and settings available on Windows 10. However, if you have a relatively old laptop, you may need to upgrade some of the components, such as the traditional hard drive to a solid-state drive (SSD) and memory to improve the system performance.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

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