How to change Taskbar icon size based on screen size on Windows 10

The taskbar can house pinned apps that you use frequently. If you have an app open, it’s icon will also be displayed on the taskbar to indicate that its running. Furthermore, if you hover your mouse cursor over the taskbar icon of an open/running app you will get a small preview window of the app. The taskbar is pretty great and some might find it’s more efficient than the Dock on macOS. The pinned app icons on the taskbar appear only on your main display. The secondary display doesn’t show the pinned apps. If you happen to change you primary screen a lot, and both your screens are different sizes, you could benefit from using AdaptiveTaskbar. It’s a free open source app that  can change the taskbar icon size based on screen size.

Adaptive Taskbar icon size

Taskbar icons are bigger if you’re using a bigger screen. On smaller screens, the icons that are displayed are much smaller or so they should be. Unfortunately, Windows 10 only lets you choose between using either large or small icons.

If you often disconnect an external display which happens to be much bigger than your main/internal display, you may not want the large taskbar icons to be used. At the same time you may not want to manually change their size every single time you switch your primary screen or disconnect the external display. To fix that, you can install AdaptiveTaskbar and leave it running in the background. It will proactively change taskbar icon size based on screen size.

Screen size vs resolution

An important distinction to make when using this app is between screen size and screen resolution. Two screen that are different sizes can have the same resolution. A 21 inch screen can have the resolution 1920×1080 and a 15 inch display can have the same resolution.

The difference is that on the 15 inch display the pixels are packed much closer and things tend to look much smaller. You may use scaling to ‘fix’ this since Windows 10 allows you to set different scaling levels for different screens. The point is, just because your screens have the same resolution, it doesn’t mean that the items on your screen scale 1:1 between them. That only happens if both the screen size and the resolution are the same.

AdaptiveTaskbar is an app exclusively for multi-monitor set-ups. If you only use a single screen, this app isn’t for you. It reacts to whichever is your primary monitor so even if you do not disconnect a monitor, you can simply change which one you use as the primary one and the app will adjust the size of the taskbar icons.

Read How to change Taskbar icon size based on screen size on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to switch apps in list view on Windows 10

Windows 10 has carried forward the same app switcher that Windows 7 and 8 had. The mechanism is the same and the display mode for running apps is also similar though, there are some changes made on account of the new Timeline feature. The current app switcher, which is activated with the Alt+Tab keyboard shortcut shows large preview windows of running apps. You can use a registry hack to replace the window previews with app icons. If you don’t like either of those options, you can switch apps in list view with an app called Alt-Tab Terminator. It’s a free app that gives you both a list and a window preview in the app switcher.

Switch apps in list view

Download and install Alt-Tab Terminator. It can take over both Alt+Tab and Win+Tab keyboard shortcuts though you can choose which shortcuts it takes over.

Once the app is running, use the Alt+Tab keyboard shortcut to bring up your new app switcher. You can hold down the Alt key and tap the Tab key to cycle through the various app windows that are open. Release the Alt key to switch to the selected app.

Alt-Tab Terminator gives you both a list of the apps and a preview window.

With respect to size, the app has three basic sizes; small (pictured above), medium, and large. It also has a full screen size. You can have the app display large icons or use smaller ones which are, frankly, a bit too small.

If you want the app to only capture the Alt+Tab shortcut, you can change it from the app’s settings.

With app switchers, it isn’t just about how the open apps are displayed and the mechanism used to switch to an app but also about how fast the app switcher is. Alt-Tab Terminator is as fast as the default app switcher on Windows 10 so you’re not compromising on speed when you choose to use this app.

It has its shortcomings; it doesn’t always display the app icon. This is noticeable if you’re running a UWP app. In my case, the app didn’t display Groove’s icon though the window preview was accurate and it didn’t stutter when I used it to switch to the app.

You can use Alt-Tab Terminator to close and quit apps which is a handy tool for unresponsive apps. And finally, there’s the app’s dark mode which is enabled by default. It’s a decent dark mode that is still absent from the default app switcher on Windows 10.

Alt-Tab Terminator will run in the system tray and is light as far as resource consumption goes. Even for older, aging laptops, they app may be perfectly usable.

Read How to switch apps in list view on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to enable Protected Media Playback in Edge on Windows 10

Edge isn’t going to be winning any awards for innovation any time soon. The browser is still young and Microsoft is already planning on rebuilding it. That said, there is one area where the browser does beat out the competition; Netflix. Edge lets you watch Netflix in UHD which neither Chrome nor Firefox support. It also lets you watch Apple Events on a Windows 10 PC so again, it does have its advantages. If you’re trying to watch Netflix in Edge, and keep getting the ‘enable Protected Media Playback’ message, it’s pretty easy to fix.

In fact, Netflix links you to the solution. Unfortunately, the solution is out-dated because Microsoft likes to move the settings around for just about everything. Here’s how you can enable Protected Media Playback in Edge.

Enable Protected Media Playback

Open Edge and click the more options button at the top right. From the menu, select Settings.

On the Settings panel, select the Privacy & security tab. Scroll down to the Media Licenses switch, and turn it on to enable Protected Media Playback.

This should fix the problem however, if you’re still unable to play Netflix, check if you’re using a proxy or VPN service. Netflix doesn’t play nice with these services and actively tries to block them. It’s had a great deal of success at it too and the result is often playback errors that aren’t really related to your VPN or Proxy use. You could get any sort of generic error that has a simple solution but it won’t work because the underlying problem is the VPN or proxy that you’re using.

If disconnecting the VPN or proxy fixes the problem then you’re going to have to watch Netflix with it disabled. This can be a problem since a lot of users turn to VPNs so they can access regionally restricted content on Netflix.

If you’re looking to do the same but your VPN of choice is being blocked or is causing playback errors, consider switching to one that can actually push back against the Netflix VPN crackdown. You have a few affordable options to choose from and if you pick a good VPN service, you will not run into any more errors.

A good robust VPN will not only let you watch Netflix in any browser of your choice, it will also ensure that the streaming quality remains good, and that it isn’t blocked out of the blue leaving you with nothing to binge on.

Read How to enable Protected Media Playback in Edge on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to set a folder image on Windows 10

When a folder has files in it, you can tell from just its icon on Windows 10. An empty folder icon is just that; the yellow folder icon that has been used since Windows 98. By default, Windows 10 will use the very first image in a folder as the folder image and when it doesn’t have an image that it can use, it will show the generic file icon to indicate there are files inside the folder. Here’s how you can manually set a folder image on Windows 10.

Set folder image

You can use just about any image you want for the folder image however it should be a format that Windows 10 can display. To check if the image format is one that Windows 10 can display, simply navigate to the image in File Explorer and check if the thumbnail gives you a generic file icon or a smaller version of the image. If it’s a smaller version of the image, then Windows 10 can display it.

You need to move the image to the folder. If the folder has several nested folders under it, you can move the image to one of the nested folders or you can move the image to the root of the folder.

Right-click the folder and select Properties from the context menu. On the Properties window, go to the Customize tab and click the Choose File button under the Folder Pictures option. Select a file from inside the folder, and click Apply.

The folder icon will now show the image. If the folder is on your desktop, you can set the folder icon image from there however you will need to repeat the entire process from File Explorer as well or File Explorer will stick to the default behavior for the folder icon.

This is a fairly simple way to make a folder easier to identify. By default, if a folder has multiple images in it, the icon will stack them up which may or may not be beneficial in helping to identify a folder. If you find that the stacked images aren’t very useful, you can set a default folder icon image.

Of course, as far as folder identification is concerned, there are other ways to make the folder easier to identify from just its icon. You can change the icon to something, anything else, or you can use a colored folder icon instead. You can also use emoji in the folder name if that helps you identify it at just a glance.

Read How to set a folder image on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to pin the on-screen keyboard on Windows 10

Windows 10 has both a desktop mode and a tablet mode. The tablet mode is for devices like the Surface, or for touch-screen laptops. If you have a normal, non-touch screen laptop, it’s rare that you’d ever switch to tablet mode or need to use any of its  features. That said, the tablet mode has a touch keyboard that can be used on the desktop version. The only problem is, in desktop mode, it automatically dismisses itself if you tap the Windows key and sometimes after you click outside it. Here’s how you can pin the on-screen keyboard on Windows 10 and use it as a substitute.

Pin on-screen keyboard

Open the Settings app and go to the Ease of Access group of settings. Select the Keyboard tab, and turn on the ‘Use the on-screen keyboard’ switch.

This will enable the on-screen keyboard and it will remain visible no matter where you click. You can also enable/disable it with the Win+Ctrl+O keyboard shortcut.

This on-screen keyboard is different from the touch keyboard. It has more or less the same keys and supports input for multiple languages, and various keyboard layouts however, it does not have different display layouts for you to choose from, nor does it have an emoji panel, clipboard access, or large keys.

The on-screen keyboard is basic compared to the Touch keyboard which, unfortunately cannot be pinned in desktop mode. Even in tablet mode, the keyboard only appears when it detects a text input field. There is, at present, no way to pin it permanently to the desktop.

If you are determined to use it, you should know that it will dismiss itself if you tap the Windows key, tap Backspace twice, double-click outside it, among other things. If you can commit to using only the buttons you see on the touch screen keyboard you can use it comfortably without it dismissing itself. This will of course take some getting used to so to make it easier to open the touch keyboard, you should add it to your system tray.

To add the touch keyboard to your system tray, right-click the taskbar and select ‘Show touch keyboard button’. The button will be added next to the date and clock in the system tray. Click it to open the keyboard. The keyboard can be dragged to other parts of the screen. If you have a dual screen set-up, you can move the keyboard to the secondary screen and it will not dismiss itself as frequently.

Read How to pin the on-screen keyboard on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter