One of the most useful features in Windows 10 is the built-in VPN. For those who use a VPN regularly, this feature will come in very handy. In this post, you’ll learn about the various settings you can tune to get the most from the built-in VPN in Windows 10.
Automatic Secure Connections
When you set up a VPN on Windows 10, you’ll notice that the operating system will try to connect to the VPN server whenever you connect to a public Wi-Fi network. This can be a convenient way for Windows 10 to provide seamless connectivity whenever you’re connected to an open network. For those who use a VPN frequently, this automatic secure connection will come in extremely handy. You won’t have to manually select the VPN server and enter the authentication credentials every time you want to use a public Wi-Fi connection.
To enable automatic secure connections, go to Settings | Network and click the Change WiFi settings button. From here you can enable or disable automatic secure connections. When you disable this feature, you’ll have to manually select the VPN server and input the authentication credentials each time you connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
This setting allows you to configure Windows 10 to automatically reconnect to a Wi-Fi network after a period of inactivity. For those who use VPNs regularly, this option will come in handy. If you ever have to reconnect to a Wi-Fi network after a period of inactivity (e.g., you left the network area or the connection was lost temporarily), you’ll have to manually select the VPN server and input the authentication credentials once again.
To enable this feature, go to Settings | Network and then click the Change WiFi settings button. From here you can select the amount of time that Windows 10 will wait before re-establishing a disconnected connection (1-2 minutes to 30 days).
Change The Theme
There are several built-in themes available for Windows 10 that you can choose from. These themes change the way the operating system looks, including the lock screen, the welcome screen, and the way apps look and behave. If you’re on the lookout for a new lock screen, you can find several free themes online that you can download and install.
To change the theme, select Settings | Accounts | Password and then select the Change password button. From here you can select the theme that you want to use and follow the onscreen prompts to set a new password.
Change The Welcome Screen
The welcome screen is the screen that appears whenever you start up Windows 10. As the name suggests, you can use this screen to greet the user (i.e., either yourself or an administrator) when they turn on your computer. If you’re on the lookout for a new welcome screen, you can find several free templates online that you can use to craft your own.
To change the welcome screen, select Settings | Accounts | Password and then select the Change password button. From here you can select the theme you want to use and follow the onscreen prompts to set a new password.
As a rule of thumb, installing an app should not alter the settings of another app. However, this is not always the case, and sometimes a free app will inadvertently change a setting in a paid app (or vice versa). This is why it’s a good idea to review the apps you have installed on your computer and configure them individually.
To configure an app, go to Settings | Apps and click the Settings button next to the app. From here you can control a variety of settings, including the app’s name, description, and whether or not to allow the app to be installed on a mobile device (i.e., a smartphone or tablet).
Some apps are more useful than others, and sometimes it’s necessary to give them more permissions than they need. For instance, if you have an app that connects to the internet to look up information, there’s no need to give that app the ability to read or write to your PC’s hard drive.
Change The Look Of The Desktop
If you’re looking for a new desktop wallpaper, you can find several free wallpapers online that you can use to change the look of your desktop. Simply search for desktop wallpapers on Google and you’ll be presented with a variety of options.
To change the desktop wallpaper, select Settings | Personalization | Background and click the Change wallpaper button. You can also create your own custom wallpaper from a variety of images online (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, or images from your phone).
Include My Phone Number
This option allows you to configure Windows 10 to send an anonymous usage report to Microsoft every 30 days. For those who use a VPN frequently, this option will help the company understand how the software is being used and if any improvements can be made to enhance the user experience.
To include my phone number in an anonymous usage report, go to Settings | Privacy | Cookies and then click the Change settings button. From here you can select whether or not to include your phone number in the report and save the settings. The next time you use the VPN, your phone number will be attached to the report.
Microsoft will use this information to better understand how people are using the product. While this information is completely anonymous, you can opt out of future reports by selecting the Unsubscribe option at the bottom of the email.
Protecting Your PC When You Travel
If you travel abroad and use public Wi-Fi hotspots to gain access to the contents of your PC, you run the risk of your data being monitored by governments and organizations that are looking to pry into your personal life. If you use a VPN to encrypt your network traffic while you’re traveling, you’re protecting the information that you send and receive through public Wi-Fi networks. You’ll notice that whenever you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, your network activity is encrypted.
To further protect your personal information when traveling, consider using a travel-sized USB hard drive that is fully encrypted. You can also purchase a hardware wallet such as the Ledger Wallet to store your digital currencies (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Monero) on the go. With a hardware wallet, all of your private keys are safely stored on a dedicated piece of hardware, preventing any software from being compromised.
To learn more, visit the Windows 10 FAQ or call Microsoft Support at 1-800-MICROSOFT.