The Operating System (OS) makes your device usable. On a desktop, you will probably use Windows or MacOS whereas on mobile, most devices are powered by Android or iOS. Almost always, the OS is already set up on a device. If you want a bit more control over your device and make them behave more how you’d like, then this page is for you.
Click Next Steps for how to put the tips into practice.
Looking for specific help with Windows 10? See our Windows 10 tips page for guidance on how to do common tasks in Windows 10 and how to personalise it to suit you.
Adjusting the settings on your devices and apps to suit your needs and preferences can make a huge amount of difference.
There are many different settings in different places that you can personalise, but don't let that put you off! Here are a few suggestions of settings you might want to play around with to get you started:
Modern devices, particularly smartphones, can have the illusion that you don't need to organise your files, but we would beg to differ. Keeping your files (and shared files) organised can save time, lower stress, and make work and life easier.
Here are some suggestions for keeping your files organised. They may depend on which operating system or storage method (cloud/filestore) you are using.
Look at wherever you keep most of your files (e.g. filestore, Google Drive) and reflect on how easy it is to find things. Do you need to use more organisation or name your files more usefully?
Keeping your devices and your personal information safe and secure are vital when using technology. This includes choosing a strong password and keeping it safe, protecting your devices with screen locks and virus protection, and looking after confidential data.
Keyboard shortcuts are keys or key combinations that provide an alternative - and often quicker - way to something on your computer that you would usually do with a mouse. This Microsoft support page provides all Windows keyboard shortcuts. Likewise, if you use a Mac, Apple has listed all of their shortcuts on this support page. Why not try a few?
For more information on Windows 10 keys and shortcuts, see our Windows 10 tips page.
|What does it do?||Windows shortcut||Mac shortcut|
|Copy an item to the clipboard||Ctrl + C||Command + C|
|Paste an item that has been copied||Ctrl + V||Command + V|
|Undo an action||Ctrl + Z||Command + Z|
|Switch between open applications||Alt + Tab||Command + Tab|
|Lock your screen (will require user password to unlock)||Windows key + L||Option + Shift + Command + Q (see note below)|
Note: The Mac shortcut for locking your computer actually logs you out of your user account. You can also set a Mac to require a password after it is 'woken up' (e.g. when you reopen a Macbook after closing it without turning it off).
Try out using a keyboard shortcut or two that you've not used before. For example, many people copy and paste regularly, so try using the shortcuts instead. Or find another shortcut on Microsoft or Apple's support pages (linked above) that suits what you regularly do on a computer.
It is important on any device to make sure everything is regularly backed up in case your device is ever replaced, lost or damaged.
If you are using a university computer and your personal filestore, the backup service makes copies of this data on a regular basis. It is possible to recover recent files yourself.
If you are using Google Drive, your files will be automatically backed up, including data on mobile devices. When using Google Drive, you can also revert to old versions of your documents to recover old versions.
You can see and find your Google Drive files on your Mac or Windows computers by downloading Backup and Sync. This tool synchronises your Google Drive files with your computer and backs up other folders and photos from your computer choosing which folders to sync. This method allows you to work on and save non-Google files such as PowerPoint to Google Drive without uploading and downloading them all the time.
Taking a picture of all or part of your screen can be handy for a variety of reasons. How to take a screenshot varies across devices and operating systems.
On a Windows computer:
On a Mac:
On an Android device:
On a iOS device (iPhone, iPad):