Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Useful Windows 7 Tips and Tricks

Windows 7 has received an overwhelmingly positive response and many people are already started using it as their primary operating system. I am still careful to switch completely to this Operating System, but I have already installed it on one of my home computer. While I still personally consider it in “test mode”, I am trying to enhance my experience with its features and capabilities. I found the presented review quite useful, and I am sure it will help other Windows 7 examiners as well.
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1. How to Open “Computer” with Windows Explorer
By default, Windows Explorer’s launch page is the Libraries directory. Clicking on the Explorer button on the taskbar also launches your Libraries directory. However, most of us would rather have My Computer as the launch directory. In order to do this type “explorer” into the Start Menu search field, locate the Windows Explorer shortcut and select properties from its right click context menu.
Change the target from “%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe” to “%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}”.
Save the changes and you are done!

If you want to change the properties of the taskbar entry only, right click on the explorer button on the taskbar, right click on Windows Explorer (near the bottom of the jumplist) and select properties. Then change the target to “%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /root,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}”

2. Learn the Hot-Keys
Knowing some of the essential keyboard shortcuts can seriously improve your productivity and enhance your operating experience with the new Operating System. There are some of the useful shortcuts:
  • Alt+P: Toggles the Explorer preview pane.
  • Win+G: Displays gadgets in front of other windows.
  • Win + +(plus key): Launches the magnifier and zooms in.
  • Win +- (minus key): Zooms out
  • Win +Up: Maximizes the active window.
  • Win +Down: Minimizes the active window.
  • Win +Home: Minimizes/ restores all background windows.
  • Win +Left: Hotkey for Aero-Snap. Docks the window to the left edge of the screen and resizes it to half the screen size.
  • Win +Right: Same as above, but snaps the window to the right edge of the screen.
  • Win + T: Changes the focus to the taskbar. Once focused, you can use your arrow keys to select any taskbar item.
3. Create another Instance
If you have an application open, then you can launch another instance of it by simply pressing and holding Shift key while clicking on its taskbar icon. There is no need to go hunting for it again in the start menu.

4. Tweak the Taskbar
The first thing you notice in Windows 7 is the new taskbar. Button labels have been done away with and the buttons themselves have been made larger. If you are not comfortable with the new taskbar here are a few suggested modifications:
  • Intelligent Grouping: By default Windows 7 always groups similar windows together. This is counterproductive as you need to hover over an entry to first select that group and then click on the desired instance. A better approach is to group windows only if you are running out of space. To achieve this right click on the taskbar, select properties and set taskbar buttons to Combine when full, instead of Always combine, Hide labels.
  • Small Buttons: Many people also dislike the bigger buttons in Windows 7. To slim down your taskbar just enable Small Buttons from Taskbar Properties (Right click on taskbar and select properties).
  • Quick Launch: The new taskbar makes the quick launch redundant, but if you preferred the old style you can still get it back. Right Click on the taskbar and select New Toolbar from the Toolbars section. Enter “%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch” as the selected folder. Once again bring up the right-click context menu by clicking on the taskbar and make sure that Lock Taskbar isn’t enabled. Now right click on the divider and disable Show Text and Show Title. Move the Quick Launch section to the desired position and Lock the taskbar.
5. Windows Gestures
  • Windows 7 doesn’t support mouse gestures per say. However, it does include support for touch-screen devices and the touch-screen gestures works even with the mouse. There are two of them which are particularly useful.
  • Click on any taskbar entry and drag your mouse upwards. This would bring up the trigger the Jumplist.
  • Click and drag your mouse downwards in Internet Explorer address bar to unveil your browsing history and bookmarks.
  • There is also Aero Shake, which was designed to work with the mouse. If you shake a window (click-hold title bar of any window and move up and down rapidly) all background windows would be minimized.
6. Tweak User Account Control
User Account Control (UAC) in Vista was one of the weak points and target for critics. Thankfully, Windows 7 allows you to tone it down. To change UAC settings navigate to Control Panel –> Action Center –> User Account Control Settings. The slider allows you to set the notification level (or even disable user account control). If you want more control fire up the Group Policy Editor by typing gpedit.msc in the start menu search box. Browse to Computer Configuration/Windows Settings/Security Settings/Local Policies/Security Options. At the bottom of the list you would find the following UAC settings :
§         User Account Control: Admin Approval Mode for the Built-in Administrator account.
§         User Account Control: Allow UIAccess applications to prompt for elevation without using the secure desktop.
§         User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode.
§         User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompts for standard users.
§         User Account Control: Detect application installations and prompt for elevation.
§         User Account Control: Only elevate executables that are signed and validated.
§         User Account Control: Only elevate UIAccess applications that are installed in secure locations.
§         User Account Control: Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode (i.e. as standard users).
§         User Account Control: Virtualize file and registry write failures to per-user locations.
To edit any setting select properties from the right click context menu.

7. Calibrate Your Display
Windows 7 includes a display calibrator that adjusts basic colors settings, gamma, brightness, contrast, color balance etc according to your display device. You can type dccw in the Start Menu search box to launch the Display Color Calibrator.


Anonymous said...

Oh, my friend.

I like it, Thanks for tips.

Windows 7 Tips said...

Thanks, nice sharing.

Pius Paulus said...

nice friend

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