Do you have a hybrid device with Windows 10? Here's how you can get more out of your device.
Really, you can only fully appreciate Windows 10 on a 2-in-1 device. That’s not to say it doesn’t work well on a desktop or a conventional laptop, but only on a hybrid can you use one of operating system’s best features: Continuum.
It's a rather simple idea: Continuum senses the type of device you're currently using and the input methods available, and will switch the interface to suit. That's particularly important with a 2-in-1, as the way you use a computer with a keyboard and touchpad is completely different to using only a touchscreen.
To address this, Windows 10 has two modes. In Desktop mode, you get the Windows interface that we all know well, with a searchable Start menu and all apps running in resizable windows.
Switch to Tablet mode and all apps go full-screen, the onscreen keyboard appears automatically when you select anything to type text into, and the Start menu goes full-screen when you open it.
Crucially, you still have access to the same range of apps, and any running programs continue to run when the mode switches.
1. Control the switch
Recent 2-in-1 devices designed to be used with Windows 10 have built-in sensors that enable Continuum to change modes automatically. This occurs no matter what type of hybrid you have – whether the keyboard detaches or flips around 360 degrees, deactivating the keyboard. So if you deactivate the keyboard, Windows changes from desktop to tablet mode – and vice versa.
But you can also control how and when the switch happens, based on your preference.
At first, deactivating the keyboard displays a pop-up asking if you want to change to Tablet mode. You can choose to be always asked the same question, or pick a default option. Likewise, you get a similar option when reconnecting or activating the keyboard.
If you don't like the choice you've made, you can change it. Go to Settings in the Start menu, select System and then Tablet mode. Here you can choose the mode you want when you sign in, although generally the default option, which automatically detects, is best for most users. Next, you can choose what to do when a change is detected: do nothing, ask what to do, or switch mode automatically.
You can also switch modes manually whenever you like by bringing up the Control Centre (click the icon in the Notification area or swipe in from the right of the screen). Just tap the Tablet mode icon to toggle the mode.
2. Hide the menu bar
When Windows 10 first launched, the Tablet mode wasn't quite as good as we expected. In particular, Tablet mode would leave the taskbar in place, which never felt particularly natural. With the Anniversary Update, this changes. In Settings | Personalisation | Taskbar, you can choose to hide the taskbar when in Tablet mode only. This gives a much more natural tablet appearance. A simple flick upwards from the bottom of the screen displays the Taskbar when you need it.
3. Use touchscreen shortcuts
Using the keyboard and touchpad to navigate Windows 10 is pretty straightforward and what most of us are used to, but there's a lot you can do with the touchscreen interface.
Swipe in from the right and you bring up the Control Centre, where you can toggle modes, such as switching on Flight mode and Tablet mode, and see recent notifications.
Pull down from the top and your current app turns into a small thumbnail. Drag this to the left or right to put it into the side-by-side mode so that you can run two apps on screen at once; drag down to shut the app.
Swipe in from the left and you get the multitasking view, so you can quickly switch between any open apps. Of course, as with every other touchscreen device, you can pinch to zoom on supported apps, too.
4. Use touchpad shortcuts
Microsoft has introduced support for gestures with the touchpads on recent laptops and hybrids that fully support Windows 10. Use two fingers to scroll (horizontally or vertically) on any app.
Swipe up with three fingers to show all open apps. Swipe left or right with four fingers to switch between any virtual desktops that you've got open.