Windows 10 is the realization of Microsoft’s Big Dreams to have a single Windows that runs across PCs, tablets, phones, and even the company’s Xbox One console. Right now Windows’ current version is mostly about fixing the messed up Microsoft crave caused by its previous versions. One of the first signs of that is the return of the start menu, and it’s not just the regular one from Windows 7 instead Microsoft has the best aspects of the last two versions of Windows to create a redesign start menu. The live tiles from previous versions remain but you no longer booted into an entirely different full-screen interface.
But one thing is common in all the versions of Windows – The OS accessories. Microsoft keeps on updating these handy applications but the series of accessories have not changed much. It still includes a Calculator, Explorer, Paint, Notepad, WordPad, Snipping Tool and some other frequently used features. Along with these, some other tools are provided to enter into the system configurations and access them with ease.
There are two basic ways to open these applications
- Click on Start _=> Programs _=> Accessories _=> “Select the one you need.”
- You can also open the “Run” dialog box from the Start menu and then type the application name in the dialog box and hit enter.
So here are the Top 10 Windows accessories, in-built for our convenience by the MICROSOFT.
1. Character Map
Ever wondered that from a single English keyboard, how Greek letters and epsilons are typed in a document. Here is where the Windows accessory – Character Map comes into the picture. It is an application to view and type the character in any installed font in order to check what keyboard input is used to enter those characters and to copy characters to the clipboard instead of typing them. The tools can also enter special characters. It can be opened via the command line or Run Command dialog using the ‘charmap’ command.
2. Snipping Tool
Windows 7,8,10, Windows Vista, and Experience Pack for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 included another useful Windows accessories called Snipping Tool. Known by the name Powertoy for Tablet PC, it is used for taking screenshots of the screen in different shapes and forms. Snips can then be snapped using a mouse or a tablet and saved as an image file (PNG, GIF, or JPEG file) or an HTML page.
The tool arrests the selected parts of the screen and saves it as a picture which can then be edited and shared easily.
Click the Start button =>Snip => Snipping Tool from the search results. The screen fades slightly after the screenshot indicating the successful arrest of the screen.
Notepad is a simple text editor that enables computer users to create documents. It was first released as a mouse-based MS-DOS program and has been included in all versions of Microsoft Windows since Windows 1.0. The converted files are saved in the .txt extension and do not include the format tags or styles and thus make it a liable application for editing system files that are to be used in a DOS environment.
Notepad holds both right-to-left and left-to-right based languages, and one can alternate between these viewing formats by using the right or left Ctrl+Shift keys to go to right-to-left format or left-to-right format, respectively.
An application that is included in all versions of Windows to resolve the mathematical calculations in Microsoft Calculator (MC). Started as a simple arithmetic calculator by Microsoft in its Windows 1.0, this application has got upgraded with new themes and modes drastically. The 3 types of calculations that are supported by the MCs are-
- Simple Calculation.
- Programming Calculation.
- Scientific Calculation.
- Statistical Calculation.
It’s possible to access all of these from the View Menu of the application.
Inside the Edit menu, Copy and Paste commands can be used to paste the result to other applications or input the numbers into a calculator.
The types of Calculations possible included are arithmetic, logarithms, logic operations, factorial-based functions, exponents and roots, trigonometry braces radian, degree, and gradients angles), base conversions with (2, 8, 10, 16), variable statistics, Wages template, and linear regression.
Programmer, Statistics, Unit Conversion, Date Calculation, and Worksheets modes were also added in recent versions.
The interface is changed in every new update of Windows.
Usually referred to as Microsoft Paint or MS Paint, this application was included in all versions of Windows. It’s a simple graphics painting application that opens and saves files as Windows Bitmap.
Paintbrush supports GIF without animation or transparency. Since Windows 98 Paint supports GIF with transparency. It also supports PNG (without alpha channel), and TIFF (without multiple page support).
The problem with this is that the grayscale mode is lacking. Its simplicity was the key which made it so popular and useful for people of all ages.
For the smooth performance of a system, periodic maintenance is necessary. Tools like Disk Check, Disk Derangement, etc., helps in system maintenance. Windows includes some of the system utilities such as Format, System Restore, Control Panel, and so on.
1. Control Panel
Imagine how hard it would be to type every single command to make any change in the system configuration. But the Control panel helps to make changes within the system with a Graphical Interface in action. It allows users to view and manipulate basic system settings and controls via applets. It can be used to add the drivers of hardware, or for adding or removing software and also for changing the current system configurations.
2. System Restore
It is a feature of the Windows Operating system to reset to the previous configurations of your device. Turning on this feature periodically takes the backup of the installation process and then it gathers the information from these snapshots to restore your system to a previous configuration.
It is a good idea to create a restore point before you make major changes to your system, such as before installing new hardware or doing any major updates.
To run System Restore:
- Go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.
- The System Restore screen will come up.
- Follow the on-screen instructions
Imagine the times when your system is all corrupted and damaged by the viruses where the only remedy left with you is to format the device. This is where this application comes into application. It erases all the programs and the data on your machine, and re-install Windows.
The format creates a new root directory and file system for the disk. It can also check for bad areas on the disk, and it can delete all data on the disk.
Users love the direction in which Microsoft is taking with Windows 10 and accepting the ideas and feedbacks from its customers along the way. It feels like the best way to shape Windows into something that people enjoy using, rather than they are compelled to use it. Windows 10 is a great fix to the problems of Windows 8 and it’s clearly the version of Windows that we will be using for many years. As it might have some moves to regular updates instead of major versions every few years. It feels like the cycle of a good and bad version of Windows could finally be over. Windows 10 is good and it’s here to stay and that’s very exciting.
But whatever comes and goes, these Windows accessories will be there, no matter whatever version the Windows takes.